My Life as a Pastor’s Wife (PW)

There have been several anonymous blog posts making the rounds lately. It tends to happen right around seminary graduation time.

These posts are brutally honest about the downfalls of being a pastor’s wife.

The problem is, these posts are not about one person. They are the conglomeration of what you get when 30 PWs sit in a room sipping coffee sharing “war stories”.

Yes, we PWs have war stories. Many of us have battle scars.

But, I’m here to tell you, that scarred or not, I would not trade the vocation of Pastor’s Wife for anything.

Yes, I called it a vocation. A calling. Not everyone can do this. The vocation of PW, like most vocations, and life in general, is not for the weak of heart.

We’ve spent years at seminary in what could be called abject poverty. At one point, we were not sure if Dakotapastor would even have a church to shepherd. And, through it all, God was with us.

And so, tonight, I’m not going to swap war stories. They rarely do any good.

I’m going to share my heart, and share the many blessings that our family has received from living in the fishbowl of parish life.

These are my top 10 Pastor Wife Perks:

10. Front Row Seating Yes, ma’am. The front, left-hand row does not need a reserved sign. Our kids never have to wonder where to sit.

9. More Grandmas than I can count. Yes, our family lives far off. We are not likely to live close to relatives this side of paradise. But what we do have is an unlimited number of grandmas (and grandpas too!) willing and ready to fill in the gap for our parents. And when our parents visit, they regale them with stories of their wonderful grandchildren. It is a beautiful relationship! (If you are reading this and live far from your own grands, feel free to “adopt’ some church grands, it is a mutually beneficial relationship.

8. Extended Family. While somewhat related to #9, this is a little different. The pastor’s family often becomes a de facto member of many families. I cry at church member baptisms, weddings and funerals as if they are close family members. Because they are. These are the people I am blessed to pray for on a daily and weekly basis!

7. Generosity. We have been the recipients of much generosity in our time as a seminary family and as the Pastor’s family. Just knowing that these wonderful people think on us and treasure us, warms my heart.

6. My own, personal, spiritual adviser. Yes, living with the pastor has perks. While he may have to work late with meetings (don’t most working men?), he also is usually willing to answer my sometimes silly theological questions.

5. Watching him grow. Yes, this is a big perk for me. I had the privilege of watching my husband be confirmed. I watched him stumble through Greek texts. I made coffee for sem wives while our husbands debated theology until the wee hours of the morning. I watched him give his first, halting, practice sermon. I tagged along on vicarage. I beamed proudly from MY pew when he was ordained. I watched him baptize half of our children. I was a witness in the wedding he solemnized for his best friend. I watched him, quite literally build a church. Do you have any idea what an incredible privilege this is?

4. Watching our Church grow. Our pastor is the most humble person I know. And so, as our little mission start blossoms and grows, all of the credit goes to God who gives the growth. And what an honor it is to witness this flock entrusted to my husband’s loving care.

3. Watching our children grow up in the church. This is often seen as a negative in parish life. The pastor’s family ends up having to spend too much time at church. And, while sometimes it seems burdensome to be the first to arrive and the last to leave on Sundays, we know that our children have been given a gift. We make a strong effort not to “overchurch” the kids (whatever that is), and we shield them as much as we can from negative things within the church (filled with sinners as it is). We have found that the church is a place that our children want to be. They enjoy worship and even the youngest participate with gusto. The girls even have an occasional “work day” with daddy at the church office when daycare does not quite work out (they beg for more). I hope for at least one pastor, but at the very least, I pray that our children will feel comfortable with a generous church activity level as adults.

2. Watching our church family grow up. What a joy it is to see the children that I nurtured in Sunday School take Confirmation vows. How sweet it is to see the babies grow up to sing Jesus Loves Me. And how wonderful it is to watch couples become a family, then parents, and then grandparents.

1. God richly blesses us. Not always in our time, not always with our plan. However, to look back on our 16 year journey so far and see the loving hand of God is incredible. He has never left us. We have never gone hungry. We have always had more than we needed (Though not always everything we wanted). He has given me the great gift of contentment. So no, even though we will never have a million dollar career (can you imagine the taxes?) and even though my husband has to work nights, weekends, holidays, most family birthdays and anniversaries (we knew that going into this, right?), I still think my husband has the coolest job ever. The saying goes something like “Choose a job that you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” Well, that is Dakotapastor’s job. He’s pretty blessed to have it, and so am I!