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Pastors' Wives--A Place of My Own

In addition to Spiritual encouragement, I also want to offer up some practical tips for things that have been either a great blessing to my own life in the ministry or a huge failure. There have been MANY things that I have learned from good and bad experiences over the last 20+ years that I hope might benefit you.

One of the struggles of living in the fishbowl is that it is really easy to lose your personal identity. While I embrace being a pastor’s wife (most days), I hope that I am MUCH more than that! I’m an individual woman striving to follow God’s lead, a mom facing the daily battle to raise Godly, productive daughters who make me want to pinch their little heads off at times, a plain ol’ wife with ups and downs in marriage, a girl seeking friends I can trust, a chef, a housekeeper and a taxi driver to name just a few aspects of who I am. But at our church or in the surrounding community I’m kind of pigeon-holed into the one category of “pastor’s wife,” even though people don’t intend to do that.

When we first began at our current church almost 14 years ago, we rented a small house in a neighboring town just so we could get over here quickly. For the next year, my duties like banking, grocery shopping and oil changes were done in this town. So when we bought the house we now live in closer to the church, I continued driving in the opposite direction to the town I was familiar with. Then when our oldest daughter started school 10 years ago, we felt led to put her in that town’s system rather than one of the five school systems that are prominent in our church. It didn’t really make a lot of sense, even to us, but we weren’t going to question God.

NOW, 10 years later, let me tell you what a blessing it has been!! I can go to Wal-Mart and not have people looking in my cart to see what I’m buying, which happens any time I go to the one in the town our church members frequent. Not that I’m buying anything bad, but I guess I don’t feel it necessary for people to investigate what brand of toilet paper we use.

Also, the relationships that I’ve built in this town are based on who I am, not my position in the church, and that is refreshing. Yes, I have lots of personal relationships within our church too, but having those relationships that I have had to develop on my own are also important to keeping me accountable in my walk with The Lord. People don’t treat me nice because I’m the pastor’s wife—they treat me nice because I pray I’m sharing Christ with them in my interactions. I try to find out names of people who wait on me in stores or cashiers at the checkout, and over the years, I’ve learned about some of their families and been able to share my own faith.

One other benefit has been that our girls don’t have to be looked at as the “preacher’s kids” either. They get rewarded or reprimanded in school based simply on their own merit. And they as well have had to develop their own witness to their friends, not just rely on their position either.

Just this past weekend we went to a graduation open house of one of the families we’ve gotten to know in “my town.” While we were there, a lady I knew from school functions came up to us and said to Ryan, “Oh, you’re Tracy’s husband!” I actually started laughing out loud because THAT so rarely happens anywhere other than my own little town.

I know that this is not a necessity for all pastor’s wives. Some of you love that feeling of everything being close-knit like a warm blanket, and that is wonderful!! But for those of you who sometimes feel lost in the ministry shuffle and have forgotten your individuality, you might consider stepping out and finding a town you can make your own, a place where you build some new relationships and share the love of Christ. It might mean driving a bit further, but it just might be worth it!!


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