by Courtney Laib, Story Hope
This post today is kind of geared towards Pastor’s wives but if you’re not a married to a Pastor, keep reading, because you might still be able to relate on some level.
I read a very interesting and intriguing article online recently and I’d like to share a portion of it…
“It is an antiquated and strange notion to view a woman as an extension of her husband’s occupation. Yet for some reason, we insist on doing this with pastor’s wives. There are websites, conferences, and resources galore for pastors’ wives, as if they signed up for some kind of apprenticeship when their husbands became pastors.
There is no other occupation — besides, perhaps, being the actual First Lady — in which a spouse is so defined by what her husband does. I cannot think of a single instance in which a woman was expected to give up her gifts and calling in service of her husband, the dentist. Or lawyer. Or plumber. But a woman who is married to a pastor will inevitably face expectations about her role in the congregation that have nothing to do with how she is gifted by God.” -Laura Ortberg Turner, Christianity Today
Lauren and I are both married to Pastors. We’ve had several conversations on the tension that sometimes lingers in the balance of supporting our husband’s calling and pursing the passions God has placed in our own hearts. It can be a challenge. And if you marry into the “Pastors wives club” (which actually doesn’t exist, I just made that up) without your own set of passions or ideas of how God shaped you uniquely to serve His kingdom than it can be very easy to just fall in line with whatever your husband is doing without giving any thought to what YOUR heart desires. I’ve personally struggled for years with wanting to serve side-by-side with my husband in student ministry but knowing full well that student ministry is not my passion. I mean it’s not that I hate students… I’ve done lots of student ministry and have always done my best with the relational opportunities God put in front of me, but I also know that God has wired me to love the broken and ‘the least of these’. And ironically, those were almost always the students that gravitated towards me and I toward them.
But with any relationship in our life, if we are living off of someone else’s gifts and passions we are only doing a disservice to the people around us. We’re allowing them to miss out of the unique ways God has wired us because we are attaching our identity to someone else’s. Does that make sense?
Maybe you have an older sibling and when you were younger you just wanted to be whatever they wanted to be. Maybe you had a boyfriend or girlfriend and you changed who you were in hopes that they might like you more. Maybe you had or still have a demanding parent who is trying to live out their dreams through you, and you’re letting them. All of these scenarios share the commonality of letting someone else hold our identity rather than putting it in the hands of Jesus.
I love that my husband is a Pastor (most of the time) because it’s how God has gifted him, but we are not the same person and God has gifted me in different ways. I actually had a new friend ask me today if I also worked at the church and was a Pastor too? I kind of chuckled inside because I would so not be a good Pastor. And I’m ok with that:)
God made you because He loves you. Be YOU today because that’s exactly what the world needs.
Courtney is a mom, wife, friend, and Instagram addict. She lives in the Chicago area with her Pastor husband and three year old son. She is a fan of summer time, chai tea lattes, running, making new friends, traveling, and loving the ‘least of these’. She blogs at storyhope.com and you can usually find her talking about life, faith, and finding hope in brokenness.