Not Your Pastor’s Wife: Figuring Out Who I Am In The Church

I’ve had this blog since 2013. If you go back to those earlier posts (which, honestly I don’t recommend you do because some are rough) you will see that nearly all of my posts contained elements of my faith and spirituality. Scrolling through you will notice that eventually, those posts start to disappear and over time, I only blogged about my mental health. Why? 

There is an answer – and it isn’t that I just forgot to write about my faith or didn’t care about it anymore. The truth is that I was struggling – hardcore. With my faith, with my relationship with the church, with what I even believed in and why and how I lived out my faith.

See, I probably would have written about all of this as it was happening – this isn’t anything new. This is a journey that has taken years – and honestly, is still something I’m dealing with now.

But I was scared.

Because my husband is a youth pastor.

How could I admit that I was struggling with my faith, that I was angry and bitter with the church after past hurts, that I didn’t even know what I believed in anymore – when his entire job was to be a minister in the church? When I was a “Pastor’s Wife” ?!

Could I even admit to these thoughts? Was I allowed to? Where did I fit in?

I am not your traditional “Pastor’s Wife” – you won’t see me playing piano at the front of the church on Sunday morning. I probably won’t go out of my way to talk to you (though I would like to, but, you know, anxiety…). I don’t have any kids and don’t know when or if that will happen. I don’t want to attend your bake sale. I definitely don’t want to volunteer in the nursery.

I feel very lucky that the church we attend now puts literally zero pressure on me as a “Pastor’s Wife” – but that doesn’t change the fact that I still had to work through all the pressure I was putting on myself to fit into a mold that simply did not fit me as a person.

The pressure that said I needed to be perfect and happy every single Sunday morning.

The pressure that said I needed to have every question about faith answered.

The pressure that said I wasn’t even allowed to question anything – how could I?!

The pressure that said I couldn’t change my views.

The pressure that said there was only one way a “Pastor’s Wife” could look.

So, I haven’t written about my faith in a long time because I didn’t know how to without bringing all of this up. Without bringing up the fact that when your husband works in a church, you get to see ALL the things that go on inside of one: the good and the bad.

Whether you’re at a church of nearly 1,000 or a church of 100 (which, we have been to both) – the same is true. There are some amazing things and amazing people in churches – but there are also things that will hurt when you are on the inside. When your church is also your husband’s employer.

It is a weird place to be. It’s a weird thing to try to balance.

I think sometimes, when you grow up in the church, you have an unrealistic, glorified view of what the church is because you don’t see the inner workings. However, for better or for worse it is an organization – an organization made up of regular people.

I definitely became bitter. I definitely had no idea where I fit in. I was definitely scared to make connections and start putting down roots – after all, we had been to three churches in three years!

But now, we’ve been in the same place for almost two years now, and things feel much more settled. And I finally let go of my bitterness, and I finally felt like I was no longer clouded by anger. Like I was in a place where I could really think about what my faith meant to me again.

My views on faith and church have changed over time, and I don’t see the church in the same way anymore (which is probably good, because now I have a much more realistic and healthy idea of what church is!)

I don’t see myself as Pastor’s Wife (capital P and W) – even if other people do. It is not my title. But I am the wife of a pastor – and with that does come some scary, exciting, and still unknown territory.

Honestly, I am still figuring out a lot of things when it comes to my faith – but from now on, I’m not going to let my fears stop me from writing about these very real struggles.

 

P.S. It is pretty unlikely that any of you guys are in the same position as me, but if you are, this is a good article on letting go of bitterness as a “Pastor’s Wife” (I normally STRONGLY dislike and disagree with The Gospel Coalition…for, well, many reasons…however, this article is helpful! You know, don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater type of thing…)

One thought on “Not Your Pastor’s Wife: Figuring Out Who I Am In The Church

  1. I completely understand! My husband was a youth pastor too. I had a church member look upset or disappointed because I would not volunteer to work in VBS. I dedicated myself to going to the youth group getaway camp for a week. It was great but it would wipe me out. I never wanted to fit the mold and there was a rebellious streak in me. I am moody, I struggle with anxiety and depression, I am real with people and will not put on a fake smile at church. After several years, I stopped caring what people thought. I also hated the label of being a “Pastor’s Wife” Thanks for sharing your blog!

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