what’s in a name?

>> March 18, 2010

What’s in a name? What is so important about a title? The importance lies in the identity that name or title places upon the bearer—whether that identity is in fact authentic or not. As the wife of a pastor, I am often given a title that may or may not appropriately belong to me.

There is the ubiquitous “Pastor’s Wife.” Most of my church members introduce me as “the Pastor’s wife,” and often neglect to even mention my name. I guess that is my name. The name implies that I am who I am because of the fact that I am married to a pastor—or The Pastor. Of course that is true, somewhat. I am who am because of the life I have lived with my husband, and the life I have lived in service to the Lord. But isn’t my husband who he is because of the fact that he is married to me? No one ever call’s him “Julie’s husband,” or “the Pastor’s Wife’s Husband.” No, he is simply “The Pastor.”

Then there is the title “First Lady,” which I never heard until we took a multicultural church. I’m not sure how that one makes me feel. Does that mean I have to always act like a “lady?” I am definitely not the perrineal lady. I prefer to live in sweats or jeans and sneakers, and I am the first one to change out of my church clothes after the church service—even if there are more events to come during the day. Plus, I have three boys and a very boyish husband; so being ladylike is not very fitting. And what about “first?” Is that referring to my status, or my timeliness? Because I am not the most punctual of people. In fact, as long as I arrive within 5 minutes of the start time—before or after—then I consider myself on time. (Whereas my husband feels that if you are “just” on time, then you are in fact late!)

I have other titles as well. There’s “Sister Pastor,” “Mrs. Pastor,” and even “Sister Brad.” (My husband’s name is Brad). Some call me "Sister Julie," "Sister Cassell," or even one young man calls me "Dr. C," (don't ask me why!). But not many people call me by just my name, with no title attached. Is that out of respect, or is it a barrier? Is it related to how hard it is for pastoral spouses to find a true friend in their church? (But we’ll discuss that in another post.)

So, who am I? I don’t really mind being called all of the aforementioned titles, as long as I know who I am. All I know is that I am Julie. I am the wife of a pastor, and the mother of three crazy but precious boys. But more than that, I am who I am because of my position in Christ. Because Jesus died on the cross for me, I can call God my Father. He calls me by name, and He knows my innermost being. He loves me for who I am, and for who He created me to be. I am the daughter of the King. So I guess that means you can just call me “Princess Julie.”

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LaVonne March 18, 2010 at 6:54 PM  

This is funny because I am always called "the pastor's wife". My husband is not technically a pastor though he is ordained, but people call him that, he doesn't mind, and people call me that, I sometimes mind. :)

Life has changed since we went into ministry. Roles have changed in our life. But, God has led us this entire way and so I trust Him too. This ministry is not about "ME" but Him. So call me whatever you want :)

Julie Kaye March 18, 2010 at 9:09 PM  

That's right, LaVonne. We have to remember that it isn't about us, but HIM. That's easy to forget, sometimes.

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