Open Letter from a Pastor’s Wife

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.

being a pastor's wife comes with its own set of expectations. but what if your pastor's wife is really a whole lot like you?

I’M JUST A GIRL … AN OPEN LETTER FROM A PASTOR’S WIFE

This 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 school, 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 triple grande flat white (just in case you ever wonder what I order at coffee shops!) as we stroll through stores 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.

20 Replies to “Open Letter from a Pastor’s Wife”

  1. Kristi_runwatch says: Reply

    This is SUCH a beautiful post, friend. Once again, makes me wish I could give you a hug in person, window shop, and enjoy some starbucks with you! [White chocolate mocha for me, please]. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing your heart – I think we all need that reminder.

  2. Kelly @ Wisdom Begun says: Reply

    Wow, sweet lady! Wonderful words that needed to be said. A great reminder that pastors' wives are real people too!

  3. wordwranglernc says: Reply

    oh girl. I don't know you personally, but you sound like a fab person…and a REAL person. If you're ever in NC, come on! 🙂 Everybody needs encouragement and real conversation that is devoid of any type of "facades". I hope the Lord sends you folks some "Barnabus" folks soon! 🙂

    Donna Earnhardt
    wordwranglernc@hotmail.com
    http://www.donnaearnhardt.com (blog)
    http://www.write2ignite.wordpress.com (writer's conference)

  4. Thank you, ladies. I am blessed with friends like this in our current church … but I know so many who are not. And, I still encounter people who say, "I had no idea you were so normal." It's a struggle for so many pastors' wives … give yours a hug next time you see her!

  5. Brooke McGlothlin says: Reply

    I'm your friend…I'm just a girl…and I love you to pieces! LOVE this post…it's so real and so true. We have to realize that those around us, no matter what their position or status, are sinful humans just like us.

  6. The Fifth Street Mama says: Reply

    I really like this post. Thank you for reminding me to reach out and really be friends with my pastors wife. I must admit i am intimidated by that but I will pray for strength.

  7. Muthering Heights says: Reply

    This is such a great post!!! I'm often too nervous to talk to Pastor's wives…but now, I would be more likely to say hello! 🙂

  8. Kristin Schell says: Reply

    I'm not a pastor's wife, but a pastor's sister. Imagine your younger brother preaching the Gospel! If they only knew…. 😉 So, I very much loved reading your insight and on some level identify with the assumptions folks make. Thank you for your honesty in this post and your wisdom always. I'm so excited about the Fresh Year, Fresh Start series. Have y'all come up with a name for your amazing blogging buddy team? I've so enjoyed getting to know each of you via twitter and your blogs. The Lord is surely smiling! Thank you for sharing so faithfully.

  9. Erin @ Closing Time says: Reply

    I love this post!! It makes me want to give you a huge hug and sit down for that coffee!

  10. awww, Teri that was sweet and humorous. Love ya!

  11. Susan McCurdy says: Reply

    I’m a pastor’s wife ….and I’m missing some forks too! I’m reading this early in the a.m hours …I got up to pray through the church phone directory, of course! Thanks for your words…I really am a girl just like you. : ) May you feel the warmth of His smile on your ministry today (even if it’s just picking up socks….)

    1. Teri Lynne Underwood says: Reply

      Oh thank you!!! Your words have warmed my heart on this coolish fall morning.

  12. […] I get caught up in this kind of thinking spiritually sometimes. People look at me and see a pastor’s wife who knows Scripture and supports her husband’s ministry. They see a mother who is faithful to […]

  13. Joangel Kirkwood says: Reply

    Hello i am glad i read your letter today, And i pray that one day i will understand Gods word, sometimes i get confused about things but i know the lord is with me… I live in benson arizona but i am from nova scotia canada. and i find it very hard to lead people to the Lord Jesus because they do not want to hear about Jesus. and i have trouble with that because i love Jesus so much and i want everyone else to love him too.. I pray that after i read your letter that my heart would be much happier and it is . and i truly thank you for that letter i will pass it on to everyone i know i hope you do not mind… thank you again Joangel

    1. Teri Lynne Underwood says: Reply

      Thank you, Joangel, for sharing your heart with me!! What a blessing to read your comment.

  14. I am a Pastor’s wife and have been for many years now. I can relate to some of this post, especially the part about bringing up children without scarring them for life!

    I am so grateful for the ladies that I have had in my life who have done the things you describe. I have a good friend from my previous church who is still so important to me and am building friends in my present one.

    A number of years ago I realized that I couldn’t go through life friendless so I took the risk in making some; it has been well worth it. God had a good idea when He designed communities.

  15. […] I am a church member and and a pastor’s wife. […]

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