Meet the Pastors’ Wives

Meet the Pastors Wives www.terilynneunderwood.com

I thought I’d introduce you to a few of my pastor wife friends today.  It’s easy to classify us because we all have one-dimensional personalities and are exactly the same all week long as we are for the two hours you see us on Sundays.

Teaching Teri … I’m most familiar with her.  She tends to be outspoken and often has to apologize to her pastor-husband for possibly embarrassing him or saying more than she should have.  Teaching Teri can be intimidating because she always seems to know the answers and she always appears very sure of herself.  She’s the pastor’s wife you call when you can’t think of that verse you ought to know.

Sweet Sally … Always smiling, always helpful, always gracious, Sweet Sally also never sweats.  She always stops to ask how you are doing and remembers to send cards to your grandmother’s-cousin’s-friend’s-neighbor who had to have their gizzard checked.  Sweet Sally visits hospitals and nursing homes, hugs church visitors and calls them by name when she sees them at Walmart later in the week, and never complains about how many times she is asked to fill in as a nursery worker.  She’s the pastor’s wife you can’t help but love.

Musical Maggie …  She can play the piano, organ, flute, tambourine, and kazoo.  Musical Maggie also sings both soprano and alto.  Somehow Maggie can make 14 kids who can’t carry a tune sound like the National Children’s Choir as they perform the Christmas play she both wrote and staged.   Maggie is the consummate creative – able to draw, paint, write drama, and sing – all while she plays the offertory on piano and organ simultaneously.  {As a non-musical pastor’s wife married to a minister of music, I can tell you that Musical Maggie is sort of my PW nemesis.}

Serving Sarah … Oh Sarah.  Always ready with a casserole for the new parents, cake for the bereaved family, or game for the kids waiting for their parents to get out of choir practice, Serving Sarah is a workhorse.  She can singlehandedly clean the whole church after a big event (and would really prefer to do it on her own so it gets done right).   Sarah runs Vacation Bible School, organizes Operation Christmas Child, fills in when needed in the nursery, and hands out the bulletins on Sunday mornings.  Truthfully, the church would fall apart without her.

Aloof Abby … We’re not really sure if Abby is short for Abigail because no one has ever actually spoken to Aloof Abby.  She’s a loner, helping her husband with his tasks, but never really engaging with anyone outside “her circle.”  She has a few close friends and they do things together all the time but never invite anyone else.   She doesn’t speak in Sunday School,  never moves from her spot during the weekly “Grip and Grin” welcome time, and is out of the parking lot before everyone else has had time to gossip share prayer requests after church.

Those are the pastors’ wives you might see each week … but here’s what you might not know.

  • Teaching Teri doesn’t have all the answers but is terrified to let you know that because she’s afraid you’ll be disappointed in her.
  • Sweet Sally is completely stressed out but doesn’t dare ask anyone to pray for her because she doesn’t want to burden them.
  • Musical Maggie has been thinking lately she’d like to teach a women’s Bible study but she is afraid no one would come.
  • Serving Sarah would really like to give up at least one of her positions but she wonders if anyone else would be willing to pick up the slack.
  • Aloof Abby is so shy that the idea of initiating conversation with anyone makes her physically ill but she prays every Sunday that you’ll walk over and say “Hi” because she would love to get to know you.

Maybe your pastor’s wife is more of a “Bitter Betty” or “Bossy Bertha” (and I might just have to write a whole different blog post about the two of them!).  But the truth is, no matter what sort of personality and gifting she has, the bottom line remains she’s just a girl, like you.  She’s got her own successes and failures, her own issues and idiosyncrasies, just like you.  She has good days and bad days, just like you.

So today is your chance to bless the pastors’ wives!  Will you take just a moment to leave a comment sharing one way your pastor’s wife has encouraged or blessed you?  Because all of us—Teaching Teri to Bossy Bertha—need a periodic reminder that something we’ve done has touched the life of someone else.

{Today’s post is part of an ongoing series here about being a pastor’s wife.  The View from the First Pew is just my heart —inviting you into the “secret world” of PWs and reminding us all that we are on this journey together.}

graphic via (c) Can Stock Photo

22 Replies to “Meet the Pastors’ Wives”

  1. Such a great post. Made me laugh. But, also to remember that our pastors and their wives are humans too, seeking to follow Christ to the best of their abilities. My dad was a pastor and as a child I watched my mom struggle to define her role as the “pastor’s wife”. I think she often came across as the Aloof Abby and was misjudged. Thanks for causing me to stop and think today.

    1. Jana, thank you for your kind words.

  2. Love the post! I have almost completed Prayers from the Pew. Loving it too!

  3. This is good, Teri.

  4. Teri, great post as always. I think I’ve been all of these women at one time or another, and I *did* host a Bible study where *no one came.* And I’ve shown up at church for craft and fellowship time and no one else came because they’d all decided to shut me out and no one told me. {Two different churches, by the way/}

    I don’t really have a “pastor’s wife” per se, but I would like to say that I appreciate the Air Force chaplain wives who hug me when they see me, and check in on me while my husband’s deployed on his military mission trip 🙂

    1. Pattie, I know how truly awful your experiences in churches have been and I am so sorry. I am thankful for the community you have found as the wife of an AF Chaplain … and that those wives are encouraging to you. xo

    2. Pattie, I am sorry to hear that this happened to you at a church. I am not a PW, but I am a PK. In my life, I have attended many churches and I have seen and received the same kind of treatment. It always saddens me that some people treat church as a social club where it is accepted to treat others badly as the mood strikes them rather than what it could be: a place of comfort, rest, healing and belonging. Hooray for those chaplain’s wives who have treated you well. You deserve that, because that’s what God would do if He was a pastor of a local church.

  5. Thanks for this honest post! As a pastor’s wife I greatly appreciate it!! I am just one of the girls! Being a pastor’s wife is one of the loneliest positions to be in!!

  6. Great post. I appreciate the thought that went into writing this. Being a PW is not an easy job and it’s 24-7. Not easy for the kids, either. Your post shows how even the most “perfect” PW is really just human like everyone else. I like that you say she’s a girl. Very true.

  7. I love this! How fun! I think I can identify with each of these personas at one time or another… So very true that we’re just regular people. Sometimes I think I’ve got it figured out…then I wake up. 🙂 This article made me laugh, and I’m definitely gonna make time to read your other posts! Thanks!

    1. So glad it made you laugh! I think there’s always room for more laughing!

  8. Hi, Teri. I have a couple of honest questions: What if Aloof Abby really did want to be left alone? What if she really doesn’t want someone to come over and talk to her? I could relate to that.

    1. By the way, I am not a pastor’s wife.

    2. Well, sometimes people do want to be left alone. And there are countless reasons … I think the best way to respond is to simply say hello and follow the other person’s cues. {I can also relate to wanting to be left alone at times.}

  9. Since we often move, I’ve been a member of several different churches. Most all of our pastors and their families have been wonderful, but two wives stand out in particular. One is a genuine Titus 2 “big sister” to me, and the other is wise and thoughtful and so encouraging. It’s been years since we attended their churches, and I miss them somethin’ fierce. I still feel their absence, but the mark they left in my life is there to stay. I am so thankful for them, and I couldn’t love them more.

    I love this series, Teri. What a beautiful, beautiful idea! Just like your heart.

    xo
    Kristen@Chasing Blue Skies recently posted…When You Need to Lighten Your Load Right NowMy Profile

    1. You, Kristen, are undoubtedly a huge encouragement to the pastors’ wives you know. Thank you for sharing what they have meant to you!!

  10. The pastor’s wife at our church is on the quiet side and seems to keep to her small circle of friends but she is always ready to give a warm smile and will listen intently when she is approached. I’ve given a lot of thought as to what it would be like as my husband feels he is being called to serve as a pastor. To be in that position as a pastors wife seems like a very difficult role on many levels. I pray for the strength of their family all the time. They are wonderful people that have blessed countless lives.

    1. Your insight is so filled with grace, Dana. Thank you for sharing. And for choosing to see your pastor’s wife in the best light.

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