My biggest fear about being a pastor's wife was that I would have to bake cookies for every church function. When my husband Brad and I candidated for our first ministry position, we met one night with the search committee. I wanted to weep when we were presented with a plate of fresh-baked cookies—straight from the oven of the pastor's wife. So it was true! I was relegated to the life of boring Betty Crocker.

My reaction wasn't about the cookies; I actually love to bake. It was about the assumptions regarding what my role would be. Leaving seminary, the expectations of being a pastor's wife loomed large and intimidating as storm clouds.

"Betty" fit the image I had conjured up in my head—a woman in a beige dress, ever-smiling, with a lackluster personality as she scurried to and fro to meet the insatiable demands of a congregation. I feared being pressed into a mold that didn't fit. I wanted life and liveliness in the Lord. How could I have that if these rigid requirements were forced upon me?

My self-protection turned into rebellion. In fact, at each interview for pastoral positions, I asked, "What is expected of me as Brad's wife?" A legitimate question, but I meant it as a trap. If the answer was anything other than "nothing" or, "same as any other church member," I was incensed. After all, it was Brad who was employed by the church, not me, right?

I don't know where my husband's patience came from. He was young and fresh out of seminary, but my prickly resistance didn't seem to intimidate him. He didn't insist on talking me out of my fears or forcing me to conform. I think he knew that I had to become reconciled to where the Lord had placed me, to find my own way. And I have.

Incredibly, I now enjoy my role. I can't believe ...

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Spring
Spring 2003: Community Transformation  | Posted
Expectations  |  Marriage  |  Pastor's Family  |  Women
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