I’ve been reading a lot of church planting books lately and have come across something that is true but I have never really thought about before. The wife of a preacher is know and even introduced as the preacher’s wife. It’s almost as if her identity is summed up in that one phrase: “preacher’s wife.” As I looked back over the “preachers’ wives” I’ve known, I realized that this is true. My first pastor’s wife, Janie, was a terrific lady. She worked at Mary Black Memorial Hospital over the volunteers; she had three children and several grandchildren. But I always remember people calling her the preacher’s wife, sometimes not even using her given name. I’ve known several other wives of pastors and the same is true. This is the only occupation in which the wife (and even children) are defined by the husband’s role. I read on the planters’ wives blog that she even had to interview with her husband.
As a result of this, the preacher’s wife has to endure the same criticism as the preacher. She is under constant surveillance. Consequently, she tends to put up a front to those around her. She must pretend everything is fine when it’s not. She must appear to be righteous at all times. Any mistake she makes is seen as a reflection on her husband. In fact, Janie was attacked by Christians within the church and through her, they got what they wanted. It was a very sad turn of events. Janie was always very candid and real with me. She was the first preacher’s wife I ever knew who followed her own path instead of living in the role that church members tried to force upon her. And that was awesome, especially now, as I am going to be under the title, “preacher’s wife” soon.
I don’t know, maybe as a pastor’s wife there should be a sense of “righteousness,” but shouldn’t it be the same for all Christians? I mean, just because she’s a pastor’s wife (just because he is a pastor), does that mean she’s perfect? No one is perfect, and I think to pretend like everything is okay is misleading of the Christian life. We all make mistakes. I tell people that I am a hypocrite: I try to live as sinless as I can, but there is no way I can always be righteous on my own. And not only that, life is never perfect, it’s hard, and by leading to believe everything is peaches and cream…. isn’t that lying?
Anyway, when I thought about writing this post, it was really to honor my current “preacher’s wife:” Liz Everette. Liz is totally honest in everything she says and does. She never pretends that life has been easy. She admits they have made mistakes and that God has used those experiences to make them who they are. I love that she doesn’t shy away from tough questions. And I love her openness. She has three boys and she works as a part time hospice nurse. She is unique and is exactly who God has made her to be. I guess right now, she is currently my teacher even though she may not know it. So if you know her or meet her in the near future, do me and her both a favor. Call her Liz!