In the book of James, James the brother of Jesus, begins his epistle with “James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ” (James 1:1). Have you ever wondered why he didn’t start with “James, the brother of our Lord Jesus Christ”? After all he was his brother and that would give him more authority, one would think, and yet he neglected to mention that. Why?
I think I may have an idea. Could it possibly be the same reason that when I meet people at church I don’t tell them my husband is a pastor?
The reason: I want to earn my own legitimacy. I want them to like me for me, and not because I am a pastor’s wife. Perhaps James wanted to be identified as a Christ-follower, not because he was his brother but because he was a yielded servant.
Don’t get me wrong, I am very proud of my husband and I am proud to be his wife; nonetheless, I have been introduced quite often as “Pastor Mike’s wife.”
While I love that title, I can become tangled and wrap my identity around my husband’s title and lose who God wants me to be.
Most people have their own ideas of what a pastor’s wife should look like, should behave like, and should perform like. I instinctively desire to meet everyone’s expectations. And yes, I meant to write “perform.” It becomes easy to perform and easy to neglect remembering that the one we need to please is God, and only God. I disappoint often, including myself.
At times it is tempting to retreat and hide away. As was the day someone said to me, “Nobody likes you; they only come to you because you’re Pastor Mike’s wife.” Yes, on that day I wanted to hide.
And then there are the days when you are in a “bit of a disagreement” with your pastor husband—yes, even pastor’s have disagreements with their wives—and everyone you pass wants to tell you what a wonderful husband you have, and all the wonderful things he said or did. While I love hearing those compliments, I’m thinking, “I’m a terrible person! He practically walks on water. How can I be irritated with him?”
Here’s the funny part, at the end of the day, I wouldn’t want it any other way. It is an honor to be married to such a godly man whom God uses so enormously, and I am blissfully happy to be “the wife without a name.”
To conclude, I want to send a shout out to all my brothers and sisters at Shepherd of the Hills Church for allowing me to be me, with all my imperfections, and for laughing with me at my quirkiness; it is my prayer that other congregations are as gracious and loving as you are to the pastor’s wives at their church. I wholeheartedly love you all!