Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Being a Preacher's Wife

When I was a little girl I looked up to my pastor's wife.  My church was a bit crazy so over 17 years, I had plenty of pastor's Wives (PW) to look up to.  We averaged about a new pastor every year or so.  One of my absolute favorites was Sister Lola.  She had beautiful red hair that she wore in a bun to church  and always stood so straight. ( I spent the night over at their house- I was friends with their daughter- and saw her bun on a head mannequin!!!!  I was shocked!)   She played the piano and sang.  Her husband really tried to help our church change but the folks wouldn't have no part of it.  So she had to deal with a lot of adversity-I even recognized it as a 12 year old and admired her all the more for it.

Being 12 years old I remember telling her one time that I wanted to be a pastor's wife.  I was standing in her kitchen and she was frying chicken. She looked at me and said "Oh no you don't!" And she was right!

As a young girl, I do believe that God was leading me into full time ministry despite my many shortcomings.  There was always a desire in my heart to be in ministry.  Growing up I was in church every time the door was opened-I had no choice but it wasn't a real big problem to me.  Oh I did hate missing out on Sunday night's "the Wonderful World of Disney" but other than that our church was extremely entertaining.

 Church was such a big part of my life.  There was Sunday School and Sunday morning worship, then Sunday night worship.  Sometimes there was a ladies meeting before Sunday night service.  Then we had Wednesday night Family Hour (basically another Sunday school class)  During the summers I had to go with my aunts every Thursday mornings to Ladies Prayer Meeting.  I have to admit I absolutely dreaded the Prayer meeting.  It was very Pentecostal and I was usually the only kid there, actually I was usually the only one under 50 years old there. There was our church's attempt at Girl's Scouts called Joybells ( I kid you not!)  As I got older there were various youth meetings and outings.  There was always at least two revivals a year and sometimes they'd go on for weeks every single night but Saturday night.  And believe me, we went every single night!  Then there were Camp Meetings and youth camps, and Vacation Bible School  in the summer.  Do you get the picture?  I certainly was always in the right place to feel a nudge!

So as a high school grad, I feel called to go to Bible School even though by that time the bible school was more a Christian Liberal Arts school.  We had chapel daily and were required to go to church on Sundays.  We had various spiritual emphasis weeks AKA revivals.  It was pretty strict back then and that was ok with me for the most part although I did do some rule breaking.

Through it all I knew I was called to ministry, it wasn't just that I was always involved in church.  I can remember lying awake at night and praying-while I was praying I'd see people of every nationality in my mind's eye.  Over the years I had a few "God dreams" in which I knew God was speaking to me.  There were some confirmations too.

Then after dating a lot of guys I met Jon.  We  totally clicked.  We got married one month after we met (28 plus years ago)  I knew he was THE ONE!  Or at least I thought he was.....
Then a few weeks after we were married we went to my hometown so he could meet my family.  While there I found an old journal that another favorite PW (Frances)  had me start writing in.  In the journal I had a list of goals for my life (one included adopting!)  But the most amazing thing in the world is on December 7, 1982 I'd written a prayer for my husband to be.  That was one Sunday I missed church.  It was extremely cold and our water pipes had frozen.  Honestly I can count on ONE hand the times I missed church and it mainly had to do with deaths in the family!   Anyhow I prayed that God would save my husband to be if he wasn't a Christian yet and call him into ministry.  Well...

On that morning Jon went to a full gospel church for the very first time in his life and responded to the altar call!   I kid you not!  We both freaked out a bit while reading the journal!  Wow!  What are the chances????   I'd forgotten all about that journal it was now 1989 -7 years later....  We kept that journal for years.  We boxed it away when we moved to NY and it may still be in my brother in law's shed LOL   I wish we had taken better care of it.  What a confirmation to us.  BTW that was the only prayer I have ever written down.

Anyhow now I was married to a minister.  We envisioned a grand far reaching ministry.  Maybe we would be a new Billy Graham or David Wilkerson....  Our heart was always in out reach, we met working in a homeless shelter (actually we'd met in a class but didn't really talk till years later)   So we wanted to reach those outside the church doors......

The reality of ministry is a lot less glamorous.  Oh we've traveled a lot of the years sharing the ministry we were working for.  Lots of hotels and long rides, sometimes even forgetting what town we were in....believe me that is not glamorous!  Jon's been a pastor of a small rural church now for almost 12 years ( in just about 3 weeks it will be our anniversary there)  He's been a prison chaplain for over 20 years ( he pastors and he is a full time chaplain)  Since he is at the prison all week long (40 hours a week)  much of the administration stuff falls to me at the church.  I've dealt with remodeling & contractors, new roof, septic tank issues, well issues, toliet and plumbing issues, tree cutters, snakes, snakes and more snakes (real one) name it and I've dealt with it or got someone else to deal with it!

There have been times when I've actually screamed "they didn't teach me this at Bible school"   The last time I screamed that i was trying to get a water moccasin out of the church without him getting away (wouldn't that make for a fun Sunday morning service?) or having to kill him on the foyer tile! Yep true story!

Well today I got up early and had our wonderful sitter coming in early just so I could meet a funeral director at our church's graveyard....yep we have one!  Some graves are unmarked and he was supposed to help me find them so relatives could buy markers for them.  We'd also been falsely told that no one else could be buried there anymore and just recently found out that was not true.  Anyhow it was a very cold morning (in the 30's) and it was early....on my way there I thought about dear Sis Lola and smiled :)  My funeral director stood me up, called and told me there was an emergency but hopefully I'll soon get the chance to add this to my repertoire!

There have been times I loved being a PW and times I absolutely hated it.  There has certainly been times I've not lived up to the title too!  And if you haven't figured it out, I'm not a typical Pastor's/Minister's wife.  I don't sing or play the piano.  I'm not sweet at all.  My counseling is pretty much "suck it up buttercup-life is hard"  I love missions and orphan care and our church folks love my heart and make allowances for the rest of me!  Thank God!

So Sis Lola you were right but you were a good example to follow....  You'll never know how much this little girl looked up to you.

(dedicated to Lola Brewer who was an inspiration  She recently passed away....on a Sunday..

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