GUEST BLOG::open letter from a pastor's wife

>> September 22, 2009

So often people look at me and they THINK they know who I am. After all, I married a man called by God into His ministry ... I must be a super-holy, deeply spiritual person.

Some people think I must have a beautiful voice, be an excellent pianist, and love teaching toddlers in Sunday School.

Others imagine I am a gifted Bible teacher who bakes fresh bread every day and rises at 4 a.m. to pray for each church member by name.

Still there are some who believe my home is always immaculate and I never lose my temper or feel jealous, inadequate, or tired.

And, to be honest, there are days when any one or two of those things might be true about me ... but there are never days when they all are.

But here is what I wish you could see ...

I'm just a girl like you who wants someone to say they like my new haircut.

I'm just a person like you who is painfully aware of my shortcomings (and doesn't need them pointed out!).

I'm just a mom like you who wishes I knew how to handle every situation with my children but spends most of my life wondering if I'm scarring them forever.

I'm just a wife like you who loves her husband but wishes he'd pick up his socks and towel instead of leaving them in the floor.

Most days my life look much like yours ... I struggle to find adequate time for prayer and Bible study in the midst of helping with homework, doing laundry, and trying to fix a dinner that is nutritious, inexpensive and everyone will at least try. I wonder why the cleaning fairy never manages to end up at my house, who drank the last of the milk and put the empty carton back in the fridge, and where all my forks have disappeared to. I have a never-ending "To Do" list that always gets lost in the frantic pace of carpools, dance and soccer, church activities, and grocery shopping.

Most days I don't do many "spiritual" things ... I'm a wife, a mom, a church member, a community volunteer, an employee, and the list goes on ~ just like it does for you. And there are days when I feel very inadequate for every one of those roles.

Sometimes I wish you could just spend the day with me ... so we could talk about how hard it is to raise Godly children in today's world, so we could share how much we long for marriages that reflect Christ's love for the church, so we could cry over the failures in our past and find joy in the God who takes all our mistakes and molds them into something beautiful to His glory.

The truth is ... I need you. I need friends who will window shop with me and enjoy a venti latte as we stroll through shops we could never afford. I need prayer warriors who will hold my arms when I can no longer raise them on my own. I need fellowship and friendship. I need someone who doesn't need details but whose shoulder can bear my tears.

And you should know this ... every note you send to say that you appreciate me or my husband, every time you say how much you enjoy having my child in your Sunday School class, every time you give me a hug and say that you love me ... that all matters! I may not always be able to tell you why your timing is perfect but God has used you!

Next time you look at me and think, "She's too busy," or "What could we ever have in common?" or "I can't be myself with her, she's the pastor's wife!" PLEASE toss that thought away!!

Yes, my life is full and the seasons of our life may be very different but there is room in my heart for relationships. And I've got no illusions that anyone is perfect ... I look in the mirror every morning and am reminded of that very truth. But I would cherish time to get to know you.

So, go ahead ... invite me to coffee, suggest a new shop I might like, pick up the phone and give me a call.

Yeah, I'm married to the pastor. And yeah, my life is different because of that. But the bottom line ... I'm just a girl, just like you.


Teri Lynne is an avid lover of books, constant drinker of strong coffee (with lots of sugar and creamer), and passionate follower of Christ. Married to Scott since 1996 and mother of Casiday since 2000, Teri Lynne, in her words, is living her own happily ever after ... mostly.

Writing and teaching women to live empowered, confident lives in Christ and HIS strength is a dream come true for her. TL is working on her first book in between teaching Bible studies, volunteering at a crisis pregnancy center, helping with homework, and trying to conquer laundry mountain. Oh yeah, she's a pastor's wife too ... Whew!

Learning to blend the sacred with the secular in daily life is Teri Lynne's writing style ... from sharing how she studies and prays in her own life to helping others laugh as they learn to see the spiritual in moldy shower curtains, TL wants others to find the great joy and peace she has found in Jesus Christ. You can find her musings almost daily at Pleasing to You where she encourages, challenges and inspires others to pursue lives that are pleasing to God.


Sarah Mae September 22, 2009 at 12:44 PM  

This is EXCELLENT! Thank you for sharing it!

Brooke McGlothlin September 22, 2009 at 12:49 PM  

Teri Lynne - This is SO good! I think it's the best I've seen of you yet...probably because it reveals your true heart. Love you sweet friend...

Krista September 22, 2009 at 1:02 PM  

Teri, this is so often what my heart is saying - you've said it here so eloquently. thank you.

Garnetlady1 September 22, 2009 at 1:07 PM  

Teri - I absolutely love this!! The more I read about you the more I learn, the more I respect, and the more I am so glad I have the opportunity to worship and get to know you!!!

Teri Lynne September 22, 2009 at 1:22 PM  

Humbly and gratefully, I thank each of you.

Tanya September 22, 2009 at 1:46 PM  

Great post! Teri, you rock!

prechrswife September 22, 2009 at 2:12 PM  

So well said! Thanks for writing this.

ClassyMomma September 22, 2009 at 2:55 PM  

This made my cry. As a pastor's wife who is feeling very alone right now, you said it for me. I often wonder what people are really thinking about me... a scary thought! Thanks for saying it for all of us pastor's wives.

ClassyMomma September 22, 2009 at 2:55 PM  

It made *me* cry, not *my* cry... ;~)

Teri Lynne September 22, 2009 at 3:21 PM  

Again I say, thank you. You cannot know what it means to me to know that I have spoken for us all. What an incredible honor!

Anonymous,  September 22, 2009 at 4:15 PM  

Thanks for being strong enough to share, I have in the past associated with pastors and their wives, so I have seen first hand how life can be for them as well as how both can be misunderstood. But God gives each of us just what we need and who we need at the perfect time to help take the pressure off just in time before we miss the mark. He has done it for you and he will do it for others who walk in your shoes. Be of good cheer my sister.

Nikki September 22, 2009 at 6:27 PM  

Thank you for writing this! Your sincerity shines through!

vmchechile September 22, 2009 at 7:30 PM  

SO perfectly stated! I've only been a pastor's wife for 1 year and a mother for 11 months, but I feel the same and it is the perfect example of why I have enjoyed CLUTCH so much. Knowing that I am not alone because PW are so often brushed aside as not being someone that the average parishioner can be "friends" with. Thank you so much!

Sisterlisa September 22, 2009 at 8:32 PM  

Getting to know a pastor's wife like you is so different than the ones I have known for the past 15 years. (((hugs))) It's refreshing to see reality and sincerity in another ministry wife. :O)

Stephanie September 22, 2009 at 9:04 PM  

I loved reading this. Gives me,a laywoman in the church, some good insight. Thank you. And if we were closer, I would be calling you for that coffee!!

choosing faith September 22, 2009 at 9:44 PM  

I've been a pastor's wife for 9 years. We came into the ministry in mid-life, so my children are grown. We have just moved to a new area and I am so lonely here. I sometimes wish my children were small again, just to have some way to connect. I am the family organizer, accountant, homemaker, secretary/assistant, friend and wife of my husband who happens to be the pastor. I would love the chance to be a shopping buddy, sharer of stories, laughter, latte or tea with a girlfriend or sisterchick living close to me.

Teri Lynne September 22, 2009 at 11:04 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Teri Lynne September 22, 2009 at 11:04 PM  

Choosing Faith, I am so, so sorry for what you are facing. So many of us have felt that isolation ... and it hurts. I am praying for you. ((Hugs))

SKA September 23, 2009 at 9:23 AM  

Terri Lynne,
Even as a CLUTCH blogger, I'm not exempt from these same feelings. I just had a conversation with a church member last weekend who seemed curious about how I choose/make friends. Her perspective was that everybody wants a "piece of the pastor and PW" so I must have a hard time choosing, right?

I had to explain that I hardly ever have women beating my door down for real friendship, and that it is actually often very VERY lonely.

Hmmmm, maybe I should post here about that whole conversation sometime... :)

Sarah @ CLUTCH

Carrie September 23, 2009 at 11:17 AM  

Beautiful, Teri Lynne. You speak for me as well.

Angela September 23, 2009 at 1:58 PM  

Wow, you said it all and so well. This is a lonely journey isn't it & true friends are hard to find. Thank you for sharing & putting into words what most of us feel.

Kate September 23, 2009 at 10:48 PM  

Amen! I feel like I want to say this to all the people at church! I am just a sinner saved by grace like they are! Thanks for writing this!

Carrie September 24, 2009 at 12:21 PM  

Coming back to this with further comment...

As a missionary wife, friends are hard to come by. People in the churches expect a spiritual leader. People outside the church want money. People in the States are busy with their own lives. It's difficult.

What I'd really like is for someone to just listen---and then if I vent about mission stuff, I don't want them to think I'm trying to hit them up for money. Argh, that's frustrating!

I'm thankful that you all understand the feelings of a minister's wife and that this site's purpose is to encourage. It really is a blessing!

Anonymous,  October 4, 2009 at 11:19 PM  

I Love this post! This past week I was told that as a pastor's wife I have no right to have an opinion, I should basically work like a dog to make my church better, be treated like a dog. I couldn't believe how this church member was berating me for a simple opinion, that was widely held by the congregation, just not him!!! I immediately posted this letter on my facebook account, and am praying that people realize, we as pastors wives are just human, and want and need everything that comes along with just being a woman!

thanks so much for sharing, it was a real help to finally have written down what I have been feeling for so long!

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