Worst Pastors Wife. Ever. (Part I)

There are plenty of reasons why I make possibly the worst Pastors Wife ever.  And for those that know me, I’m sure they could add a few reasons of their own.

  • For starters, I don’t have the gift of hospitality. Or organ playing.  And that seems to be a requirement of pastor’s wives.
  • My 4 year old recently said the word dammit and I’m pretty sure she didn’t hear it from her father.
  • The only craving I have had in my current pregnancy is wine.  Delicious red wine.  (Don’t worry, I haven’t given in yet).
  • I love Greys Anatomy and Revenge, and 90210 (the original) is still at the top of my list.
  • I don’t like to pray outloud.
  • Most revealing however, is that I hate going to church.  There.  I said it.  I hate going to church.

thIn fact, I have always hated going to church.  But let me be clear – it’s the GOING that I hate.  In high school, there were not many things appealing enough to get up for at 8am on a weekend.  In college, new found freedom led to late Saturday nights and it was super hard to get up for church after going to bed just a few hours prior.   After college, I returned home but didn’t want to go to the church I grew up in and it’s hard to start going to a new one by yourself.  Translation:  It was always easy for me to have an excuse not to go.

I never liked GOING to church.  Once I’m there, I have always loved it. In the right church, you can find good teaching that challenges you and translates the Bible into relevant messages.  In the right church, you can become part of a community that makes you wonder how you ever survived without it.  In the right church, you can be you.

I always said I would never work in a church and didn’t want my future husband to either.  People always assured me, “Don’t worry, you don’t strike me as the Pastors Wife type.”  I whole heartedly agree.  Because there is a Pastors Wife type.  And she’s got it all together. When I grew up, our pastors wife was Barbie-perfect. She was there every Sunday with perfectly coiffed hair.  In fact, I think the word ‘coiffed’ was created for the Pastors Wife. She would stand next to him smiling quietly after the service as he spoke to people in the congregation.  In my mind, she also made casseroles, ran women’s Bible studies, homeschooled her perfect children and sewed all their clothes from scratch.  Basically all the things that I cannot do.  And don’t want to do.  I hate casserole.

But then it happened. And Paul is now a pastor. At a mega-church no less.  He doesn’t have to preach or give sermons or cast out demons.  But his title is Pastor and he runs the disability ministry. And I’m equal parts proud of him for his job in doing something that God has so clearly called him to do and equal parts terrified about my lack of ability to fulfill the role of Pastor’s Wife. I feel pressure, like there’s a 3-strike rule and then I will screw the whole thing up for him.

When he took the job, I had these grandiose ideas of inviting the families in the ministry over for lunch after church – homemade of course.  How we would provide respite for the weary parents of children with special needs.  I even thought about how we can make our house handicap accessible so that we can always be ready to welcome any family over.  I was going to send letters of encouragement to the families and the volunteers.  I was going to support my husband in the admin areas that he hates doing.

Wanna know what happened instead?

I didn’t even GO to church for the first SIX months of his job.  Good thing wives aren’t employees or I would have been fired.  I would have fired myself.

I always had a really good excuse.  The girls are sick.  My left nostril is swollen.  The dog needs some TLC.   I…uh….I don’t want to? I did take the girls to the church we had been going to prior to him getting this job so at least we were still attending church each week.  Ok, every other week.  Does watching Joel Osteen on tv count?  If so, then for sure we went a few times a month….

When I finally acknowledged that this was not the best option for our family (read: Paul said get your ass to church), I resigned myself to taking on the role of Pastors Wife.  And I was going to go as the best Pastors Wife there was – after all I had to at least look the part after not showing up for it the last 6 months.  So I made sure to get up early, straighten my pregnancy-hormone filled frizzy hair, apply make-up as a pastors wife should look (you know, natural and smiling) and got the girls all dolled up in their matching dresses.   I was ready.  Nevermind the fact that the girls had been screaming the whole time I was trying to get them dressed and that I lost my temper more than once trying to corral them into the car.  It didn’t matter – we were going. Just one problem; I hadn’t factored God’s plan into mine.  And guess whose plan usually wins…. (Click here to read Part II)


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20 responses to “Worst Pastors Wife. Ever. (Part I)

  1. Heidi

    This is a little ironic to me because for the short time I knew you, I had you pegged as sincere, kind, compassionate, magnetic woman- all qualities I see in pastor’s wives (most of them), but I love that you’re being ugly honest. I love ugly honesty. And your 3 favorite shows… all my guilty pleasures, I just got into Revenge.
    More serious note… What is it about church you don’t like?
    We’ve had a rough road with churches the last 3 years (long story) and I’ve struggled with church for quite a while now. I’m more annoyed and frustrated with the ‘show’ of it all and wish we could find a church that is actually BEING the church not just pretending. Churches that preach about being the body of Christ and being a community and being the church, preach it but don’t do it, results in nothing but a bunch of isolated christians sitting in the ‘pews’ doing nothing, wishing they could be useful or be part of a community.


  2. Mariana

    I really enjoyed this Jenni. I think we all suffer the feeling of not beeing what’s expected of us. I guess we just have to trust in Gods plan and that the way other people live their life may not be the way for me to live mine.
    Can’t wait for your next post!


  3. Karen

    Jenny – I totally get it and I’ve been there, both sides, the wanting to “look good” and the “I really don’t want to walk through those doors anymore.” I’ll share a funny pastor kids at church story – my boys were young, we borrowed a camper to take a family vacation. Their dad taught the boys that the bushes were an alternative to an outhouse. The next Sunday in the courtyard outside of church I caught my boys standing next to a planter, shorts down to their ankles, turning the flower bed into an outhouse. There went my perfect, pastor wife and mother image.

    I had someone tell me I wasn’t a good worship pastor’s wife because I didn’t sing in the choir. Ouch!! But I knew that I was doing the right thing and it still hurt to hear those words, I began to feel pressure to sing in the choir, and Satan really used those words to mess with my head.

    Looking forward to reading Part 2.


    • LOL Karen, I love it! I think those are the kinds of things that happen to remind us that we don’t need to hold onto any image because it’s going to be ruined anyways! Much easier to accept with grace and humor. 🙂


  4. I LOVED your first post! I seriously love how honest you are! I can’t wait to read the next one:) Girlfriend we definitely need to start hanging out:) PS we are at Willow Northshore now:)


  5. Mary Jo

    Jenny you spoke the truth !!!
    When I was growing up my parents would be screaming at us kids to get in the car. I thought how holy are we as all 11 of us walk into church .
    Well I became the same parent , in fact on Sunday in church my husband turn to offer the sign of peace the women said ” peace be with you”my husband said thank you I can use it right now .
    I gently whispered in my husbands ear I know our four children are a handful but that woman has twelve children !
    We have our plan and God has his !


  6. Bjorn

    Wait, so you hate all casseroles?


  7. Frida

    So proud of you and everything you do DO!
    “Thinking everyting needs to be perfect before we can feel good is a sure way to never feel good” Casper Caron

    Love you!


  8. Awesome! I can totally relate. And whenever I am faced with the gap between who I am, and the magnificent shortfall of others’ expectations, I remind myself that I am the “perfect” wife for Jeff– which is the best role ever!


  9. hawilliams

    i know you are great for paul:)


  10. Margie Carrick

    Well said Jenny! Thanks for being you – honest and open and loving. :0)


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