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I've noticed a pattern in the ministry of pastors' wives, and I've written a lot about the loneliness of being a pastor's wife. Perhaps it's just my personality, but I tend to look for ladies in the community or the church who don't seem to have any close friends or even friends to do stuff with.

So I befriend them, call them, have them over and it's great for a while. If they have kids, we do playdates, if not they come for a meal with us.

Then, maybe they get plugged in at church or I introduce them to another person I think they might get along with, and I start to fall by the wayside. The relationship seems to gradually slip and the third wheel gets pushed out. This has really bothered me in the past, but I had an epiphany this morning about it.

No matter what we do as pastors' wives, there will always be that invisible barrier that exists between us and our church members. No amount of sharing or praying will make it disappear. There will always be issues going on in our lives or the lives of people we know that we cannot express, but that are heavy burdens to bear. I'm coming to accept this truth, even though it's difficult.

But as the PW, what I can do is to network. I'm friendly by nature and like to do things with people, so it isn't hard for me to be outgoing and initiate get-togethers. I also seem to have a sixth sense about if people will click or not, so I like to introduce them. Then, they go and do their own thing.

This has happened recently, and at first it was pretty lonely, but then another young mom has found a place in my life who is looking for a friend, whose husband isn't a believer, and who wants to work out in the mornings with me. Now I'm not trying to "pawn" her off on someone else, but I know of two different ladies who she might really gel with. I like this gal a lot, but I'm always her pastor's wife. I've become a networker.

This was a role I didn't expect. Thoughts, anyone? I love your input!

4 comments:

fascinating. i never thought of that. being on the other side, i just assumed that pastors' wives have way too much to do to spend time with people. i think there's something about the PW role that's intimidating too... that I'm not spiritual enough to hang out with her. Our church is huge (3,000 people), so my PW doesn't even know I exist.

Glad you're back. I've been lazy about posting these days, but do like to read your blog :)

July 13, 2007 at 12:42 PM  

Julie, my mom often feels this way so you are not alone. i do think that pastor's wives have it harder, but I also think that your small town makes it extra hard. In NoVA, our large church's pastor's wife had some very close and dear friends in the church. I think I remember her saying that they didn't talk church and she didn't try to "correct" or "admonish" them. They were just friends (having kids similar ages always helps cause then you can talk kid stuff) I will pray for you. Keeping in touch with your friends out of state will also help fill that void ;-)
love you,
rach

July 13, 2007 at 12:53 PM  

Being a networker is something I enjoy!

I do like to meet new people and learn about them. After learning about them the most natural step for me is to introduce them to someone I think they will have something in common with or I remember them as a resource for someone else down the road.

I am not good at other things that one might consider PW like but, this is one of my gifts!

July 14, 2007 at 5:25 PM  

Hi! I'm the wife of a youth pastor in Australia, and I can completely relate. There always seems to be the "job" barrier between us and members of our church. I'm not sure why. Perhaps it's because we're seen as "temporary" in some ways - over here it's often expected that the senior pastor will move on every 7 years - so youth pastors are seen as even more temporary! Perhaps it's related to common interests. Perhaps there's a (faulty) perception that you have to be on your best behaviour with the pastor's wife because she's somehow more "holy". It becomes really easy to have an address book full of acquaintances! :)

July 16, 2007 at 10:53 PM  

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