Saturday, June 21, 2008

When You Look at Me, Who Do You See?

It amazes me how many different vocations I have in my life. My parents see me as their daughter and I will be their little girl until the day I die. To my brothers, I am that annoying little or big sister who just got into everything and thought she knew best with everything. To my husband, I am love, companionship, and probably much more than I am aware of. To my kids at the daycare, I am comfort, fun, a teacher, and love. To my birds, I am part of the flock, the food provider, and God's mask for their daily needs. To many others, I am the pastor's wife.

I would love to put a description on that. I would love to clarify it with who I am in regards to being a pastor's wife, but I am afraid that is without a description for two reasons. One, most people have an idea of who a pastor's wife is and isn't and they expect her to follow that ideal. Two, most pastor's wives who I know are their own persons with their own specific vocations and have no model that they follow. In the church, pastor's wives fulfill many jobs and vocations all on their own. Sometimes they choose to and sometimes it is expected of them.

However, it occurs to me that the pastor's wife is often held to the same standard as the pastor. They are expected to know the Bible as well, it seems, and to understand all matters of doctrine as well as their husband. While it is true that living with a pastor does seem to lend itself to having doctrine plugged into ever aspect of life and in almost all discussions, it doesn't mean that the pastor's wife is in any way the other half of the pastor's ministry. His ministry is given from God apart from his vocation as husband. Just as I have many "hats", so does he, but that doesn't mean that we share that pastor's "hat" or have it cut in half.

Pastor's wife or not, I am no different than any other layperson in the pew. I come to church to hear that my sins are forgiven, to receive Christ's body and blood, and to remember that where there is forgiveness of sins, there is also life and salvation. I am still learning. I don't have the Book of Concord memorized, nor do I know every piece of doctrine there is to know. I am and probably will always be a student of theology, learning, expanding, and asking questions. I know I will not always be right, but I try my best and where I falter, I know that there is forgiveness at my Saviour's hands.

My request: Yes, I may be the "pastor's wife" but the one vocation I left out in my list to purposely bring attention to it is that I am a baptized, forgiven sinner. This is the part of me that I wish everyone would focus on that in light of all other vocations. I am a child of God. My pastor recently said that I am a princess of God. It wasn't something I had ever thought about before, but it's true. In all the other vocations I mentioned at the beginning of this post, there is always a remembrance that I am a sinner and in need of forgiveness, except, it seems, as a pastor's wife.

What does this mean? Well, if you read this post and don't agree with me, don't attack me! Deal with me as you would another Christian who you don't agree with. Use love, kind words, and simple explanations. I am no pastor, just a layperson who happens to be married to one. Don't attack my husband if you don't agree with me, either. Believe it or not, he is also a forgiven sinner, a prince of God, and should be treated as such as well. The old saying goes, "You get more flies with honey than with vinegar". If you want to truly correct someone, do it in the kindest way, and if you forget to, ask for forgiveness from your God, Jesus Christ, and from the person whom you have offended and life in love.

This is how all pastor's wives, all Christians regardless of vocation, should be dealt with when conflict arises.