Things A Pastor’s Wife Won’t Tell You (But WANTS To…)

24 07 2014

I don’t blog as much as I’d like to.

The majority of my infrequent blogging has to do with the fact that A) I’m really busy and B) I have a problem with saying “no” to the things that keep me busy.

I also can’t forget C) I hate living in a house that isn’t vacuumed multiple times a week (see “B”).

But frankly, a big factor in my blogging is the fact that I’m under a microscope as a church worker and pastor’s wife. That means every single thing I write is scrutinized. Often, by thousands of people.

But every once in a while, I get an uncontrollable rebellious streak. Like now.

As a fairly young pastor’s wife, I’ve not yet grown that thick shell of impervious battle armor that all pastor’s wives seem to possess. I still find myself laughing over things that probably won’t even register when I’m a hardened, turtle-like character in a few decades.

So in my formative state, I feel compelled to make note of the many things a pastor’s wife won’t tell you…but WANTS to.Pastor

I don’t dress him.

It may be difficult to believe that a grown man who survived graduate school can successfully pick out his clothes, but it is true.

And no, if we happen to be wearing the same color on Sunday morning, it’s merely coincidence. Only a crazy person (or someone trapped in a family photo, circa 1993) would ever dress to match their spouse.

I’m not a messaging system. 

There’s this incredible new invention out there called “technology”. It’s amazing, really.

You can get on a tiny computer in the palm of your hand and type on a teensie keyboard to send messages a whole variety of ways. Seriously, you should try it. It’s the latest thing. You can even record your voice and leave a message in your own words.

Really. Try it. I’m not a reliable courier system, anyway. And I’m sure as heck not getting paid to take notes as my husband’s administrative assistant.

I have an automatic role in VBS, no matter what.

I’ll never be able to escape some sort of leadership role in yearly Vacation Bible School. I know that even if I’m crippled and struck blind at the same time I’m attempting to adopt twelve kids from an orphanage and tenderly nurse a baby bird back to health, you’ll still pester me to take on something.

It’s just one of the laws of pastor’s wifedom.

I don’t know what he’s going to say about me in sermons. 

Yeah, I’m hearing it for the first time, too.

No, I don’t know what embarrassing or bizarre real-life story he’s using about me until he says it. Yes, the blushing is authentic. Yes, I do indeed color-code my closet, and I’m glad the entire congregation now knows about it.

I don’t know everyone’s names, let alone their gossip. 

Everyone knows me, but I don’t always know everyone else. It’s challenging to try to learn a zillion names and facts about a congregation. I’m accosted with new stories by the dozens every Sunday, so forgive me if my brain shuts down and I can’t remember what day you took your dog to the vet last week. I really do care. Unless it’s gossip–then I’m already disinterested.

I’m the designated pinch-hitter when everything goes wrong. 

Communion team forgot to show up? I’m in the back, pouring wine into tiny cups. Sunday school teacher late? I’m already halfway through the lesson. Sound system or lights malfunctioning? I’m the first one up to deal with it. Building leaking? I’m dragging out the buckets. New guest arrives? I’m introducing myself and making small talk. Bulletin board needs updating? I’m already drawing. Disgusting disaster in the bathroom? I’m the makeshift janitor. Ushers absent? I’m handing out bulletins and lighting candles. Dessert reception? I’m wiping off tables and serving up pie.

Before you complain about church, realize that I’ve already done your job before. Quietly and thanklessly. If I can do it with a smile and make the best of things, you certainly can, too.

I can hear you when you talk about the pastor.

It doesn’t matter if you’re sitting five rows behind me, or on the other side of the church. I have supersonic hearing when it comes to hearing any phrase that involves the word “pastor”.

I hate when people judge me by what I wear. 

I’m not a nun, I happen to like fashion, and I actually have eyeballs. No, I don’t judge you by what you wear to worship–so kindly don’t return the favor for me.

You don’t have to point out the obvious about either my husband or me.

Sunburned? Yes. We’re human and went to the beach. We are already aware and don’t need your loud guffaws to inform the entire church.

Oh, and you can entirely abolish the phrase, “My, you look tired” from your vocabulary when you’re talking to me.

I know, I’m making it easy for you.

The phrase “poor as church mice” is accurate. 

Most pastors are barely scraping by and their congregations are largely clueless to the immense financial toll that years of school and a low-paying salary give you.

Basically, we broke as a joke.

We prefer not to dwell on it, and make every effort to be faithful stewards–but I sure can’t tell you what a delightful treat it is to receive something as simple as a gift card for coffee. It also has the added benefit of helping you never say, “My, you look tired” to me in the morning.

We love the church more than you know. 

I’ve met my fair share of pastors’ wives who are angry and disillusioned with their churches, but I don’t feel that way. Despite frustrations, I know that tension is a natural part of ministry and I welcome it because it means we’re growing. We’re tirelessly supporting our churches, and will do whatever it takes to contribute.

Yeah, yeah, even cleaning the bathrooms. Been there, done that. More than once.

I have an opinion of my own. 

Despite what you may assume, I have a brain entirely of my own. I have my own opinions, talents, passions, and ambitions.

Someone once told me that, as a pastor’s wife, I should “never open my mouth about anything, ever.”

That’s ridiculous. How could I possibly take communion?

I don’t buy it. As a pastor’s wife, I’ll open my mouth about what matters–and what matters to me, more than anything, is my Savior.

And despite however critical someone may choose to be, the fact remains that I’m a sinful human who’s been redeemed–just like everyone else. So when I get my rebellious streaks and spout off about the challenges of being a pastor’s wife, you just softly smile and respond as every good Lutheran does:

“Oh, I’ll pray for you.”










My Husband Tried to Smother Me…Accidentally?

3 06 2011

Sometimes, husbands and wives write sweet, endearing little anecdotes about each other. They prattle on about gag-inducingly adorable little stories of foibles and flaws, painting a rosy picture of a perfect marriage.

This is not one of those times.

My story for today is sinisterly dark, betraying the inner workings of a subconscious desire to kill.

In a word, it’s terrifying.

You see, I think my husband tried to smother me in my sleep the other night.

If you’re an avid reader of my blog, you may be thinking to yourself, “Hm. Cassie already wrote about that crafty squirrel living in her apartment complex, and how that little bugger tried to kill her…and she wrote about that mean old lady at Toys R Us who tried to kill her when she grabbed the last of the squirt guns out of the sale barrel…and she blogged about that middle-aged mom who almost ran her over twice with the same shopping cart at Walmart…I sense a pattern of people trying to take her out.”

All true stories.

So you can see why this most recent brush with death has led me to the firm conclusion that I am being hunted down.

(If you’re a psychologist and you’re reading this, please don’t psychoanalyze me. Rest assured, all I really am is a Type-A firstborn with slight OCD tendencies.)

Luckily, on the fateful night my young life almost came to an abrupt and untimely close last week, I managed to escape the jaws of death by some fast thinking.

Let me set the scene for you:

It’s the middle of the night. The cicadas are humming outside and the dogs are breathing their soft whiffles of a snore outside our bedroom door. I’m bundled up in my blanket, sleeping peacefully, when suddenly I hear my husband murmur something unintelligible.

Sleepily, I asked, “Are you ok?”

His response?

He immediately sat up, promptly grabbed the pillow he was lying on, held it over his head, and then brought it down on my unsuspecting face.

And then held it in place over my head.

After a few seconds, Tyler let go of the pillow, saying “I don’t want it….I don’t want it.”

I lifted the pillow off my face and said, “It’s ok, I’ll take it.” I held onto the pillow for about two seconds, and then said brightly, “Tyler, do you want your pillow?”

Until death....which may come sooner for me than I expected....

(Incidentally, my tone was the same tone I take when I’m offering a treat to the dogs. That faked cheerfulness that says, “Oh, I know you want a bite of this turkey sandwich, but how about I give you this stale piece of dry fake bacon instead? Mmmm! So yummy!”)

His response? “Yeah, thanks.” He immediately slumped back down and started snoring.

Whew. Suddenly, I was given a second lease on life—and I wasn’t about to waste it.

I promptly fell back asleep myself.

Boy, our pastor wasn’t kidding when he said, “Until death do you part”. Neither was Tyler, apparently.

I never figured I’d almost meet my Maker at the hands of my zombie-like husband who was not just sleep-talking, but sleep-murdering.

Now, I just have to figure out how to sleep with one eye open…

What REALLY Goes On In Mrs. Reverend’s Head

5 03 2010

I’ve always secretly wanted to be a pastor’s wife.

Why? I have no idea.

No, really–I have no idea.

Maybe it stems from the grade school crush I had on the pastor’s son. Or maybe it’s because I’ve always considered the pastoral office to be a very important, noble profession. Or maybe it’s because I come from a rich family history of Lutheran pastors (someday, I’ll dig out the records and recount that long and fascinating tale).

I was adamantly opposed to getting my MRS. degree at a Concordia–and, surprisingly, quite opposed to the pre-seminary students there.  I actually didn’t date at all my entire freshman year of college, just because I didn’t want to be sucked into that whirlpool of romance while I was concentrating on my studies and my future career. I especially didn’t want to be courted by the crazy church work guys, who saw me as the perfect counterpart to their future role in the church. (As in, “Hey, this girl is awesome and she’s willing to spend her entire life slaving away in a church already–she’s quite a catch!”)

But, God has a sense of humor…and a good memory.  I ended up marrying a pre-sem guy.

Fast-forward a few years to the present day, where I’m now working in a church as a Director of Christian Education as Tyler is attending Concordia Seminary.

Tyler preached his very first sermon this last Wednesday night. No one ever told me how nerve-wracking it would be to sit and listen to my husband preach for the first time.

I’m not sure who was more nervous, in fact. A thousand questions danced through my mind, everything from “Where should I sit? I can’t sit too close, otherwise he’ll be looking right at me–but if I sit too far in the back, people will think I’m ashamed of him!” to “What if he trips, going up the steps to the stage? Oh, no, he didn’t bring a bottle of water with him–what if his mouth suddenly goes completely dry while he’s up there and he can’t keep preaching?”

I guess I’m experiencing what it’s like to be a pastor’s wife, finally. Now, I finally know.

Tyler did just fine. In fact, he rocked his sermon. (Check out his sermon here).

I’m so proud of him—and just glad this first one is finally over.

I must admit, though, I’m a bit terrified of the stories he might pull out about me in future sermons. I wonder how many pastors’ wives live in a state of near-blackmail conditions?

Nah—those godly men wouldn’t do that.

I hope.