I’ve joked around before about possibly being the worst future minister’s wife in training. I’ve joked that I often prefer reading magazines to the Bible. I’ve said that God must have a sense of humour to direct my life to this point. It certainly would not have been my choice, had I been left to my own devices.
It’s making me anxious, being a minister’s wife in training. It’s up there with snakes and sharks and geese and the thought of my dog being hit by a car.
It was the one criteria I pretty much had set in stone, when thinking about a future husband. I will not become a minister’s wife, I decided. And God laughed. And he gave to me the kindest, funniest, silliest, most godly man I’ve ever met and worked in his heart, leading him towards ministry.
My anxiety about being a minister’s wife is more understandable when you learn that my dad is a minister. Thus my mum was a minister’s wife. They have been divorced for over ten years.
There is never one single reason for people choosing to split up but I happen to think that pressures from a life in ministry had a great part to play in my parent’s marriage ending. It wasn’t much fun as a kid either, having to share so much of your parent’s time. Living in a fishbowl with everyone watching you every Sunday and every church event, scrutinising your behaviour. Telling you off for eating the left over communion bread. Being social work trained makes me slightly more self aware (some days) and reflective of my background and upbringing. And all the more worried that I could repeat these patterns.
You don’t just get to be that mixed up pre-teen who is sick of making polite conversation every Sunday and eating stale biscuits at morning tea. You are the minister’s daughter. People know you. People see what you are doing. You have an audience.
It takes all of my strength and courage to trust that my husband knows what he is doing, that this absolutely is a calling from God and not some altruistic venture in deciding to head into ministry. Some days it takes faith and my commitment to my marriage, to not run like crazy in the other direction. I’ve lived this life before and it didn’t turn out so great.
I’ve also been known to wear a shorter skirt to church and to focus too much on what my outfit looks like. And then there are the tattoos, of which I have too many. And too many plans to have more tattoos. And I won’t be giving my children Christian names. And I firmly believe that u2 is a Christian band and Bono won’t save the world one day but he’s doing an ok job trying. None of which are things worth worrying about in church, not when we have big things to get concerned over like making sure we’re being missional and relational and in community but church is often more political than anything. A sad truth.
I’m also probably not patient enough to be a minister’s wife. I don’t like teaching Sunday school all that much, although potentially would do it if they really had run out of leaders. I’m not super thrilled about the idea of opening up my home to the hoards of people who will need to talk to my husband, the minister, at strange hours of the day. I worry that I will have to turn off my tv when they are there.
So where does that leave me?
I guess I should just dump my baggage at the cross and remind myself that it’s not really about me. It’s not about what I think I can’t do. It is about what God can do. And even when I don’t see it, He’s working in me. I hope.
“I know nothing, except what everyone knows – if there when Graces dances, I should dance.” W.H. Auden