Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Florida V--Ministers Wives

So I’ve posted about the car, the flights, the Amish, and the phone calls, but not much about the conference itself.

What I liked about the conference was that it was designed to encourage. The special ladies-only times made us feel cared for, and the afternoon tea was lovely, and the skits were funny but thought-provoking.

It was fun to connect with old friends, and most of the speakers at the whole-group sessions were really good and I learned a lot.

However. This is the tough thing about a conference such as this: it highlights all my misgivings about being a minister’s wife.

Don’t get me wrong. I love being Paul’s wife. And I really like hearing him preach, and I think he is excellent at what he does. And it's not that people at our church aren't supportive and wonderful. But the honest truth is that I have issues with the whole Minister's Wife aura and vague undefined expectations that I always sense I am not living up to. If I were choosing ministers wives I would pick someone who first of all is calm and good, and isn’t worried about what people think, but I guess God disregarded that memo in my case.

It’s not that I hate being a minister's wife, constantly chafing at the bit. I see it kind of like asthma, a burden to bear, a source of suffering that God put into my life for some reason I’ve never understood. I think I’ve accepted it, and I’m sure it has a purpose. But I can’t say I like it.

I don’t fit the mold. I talk and laugh too much, and I don’t shut up when I should, and I’m either too honest or not honest enough. I don’t pray enough, and I don’t sound deep and spiritual, and I am terrible at confronting people. Oh, and I don’t like going visiting, and I like to imitate weird preachers, and it just kills me to keep secrets. And I can't sing.

During the icebreaker times at the conference I was chagrined at how many women said they enjoy cooking, baking, and having guests in for meals. I enjoy all of these on occasion, but I’m always relieved when I don’t have to do them, with the exception of my children bringing home their friends on Sunday afternoons. But I completely stress out about having a tableful of "real" company for Sunday dinner.

Also, ministers’ wives are supposed to be good, and I frankly am a sinner and if God didn’t keep me saved by his grace and mercy I would be hopelessly out on my ear.

As you can see, I’ve been way too honest here, which proves my point I think.

Quote of the Day:
"Well, see, I just like to cry. I just enjoy it. I like to listen to funeral songs and stuff. I would make a good charismatic."
--my friend Arlene, who is a great encouragement to me


  1. Wow, you actually sound like you're just a 'normal' person. Not at all like a ministers wife... just kidding! Ministers wives are supposed to be normal, that way they can connect with the rest of us. I don't like to say normal, because that could be anything, but you know what I mean.:) I like honesty like that! SuEllen

  2. Well. you and friend Arlene sound like real folks to me.
    Unlike one nice,calm preacher's wife I once saw who took three bites to eat one piece of popcorn.
    Good preacher's wives make wonderful mothers of Israel,but they usually leave me bored and un-natural.

  3. thank you for this honesty. it's quite nice. i think just because you're a pw doesn't mean you have to be superhuman. i'm currently dating a pk, and it is rather nice knowing that these people are just PEOPLE with their struggles, like the rest of us.

  4. Dear Dorcas,

    You sound like an AWESOME Minister's Wife to me. Even IF there are expectations that you aren't living up to, it doesn't mean that you SHOULD be different than you are. You can minister to people that one of those "moldy" (mold fitting)minister's wives could never reach. Besides it's impossible to please everyone all the time.

    Thank you for your honesty. It's refreshing andhelpful to the rest of us


  5. Just "keepin it real". That's what this world needs more of. At our church their slogan is basically, "we'll take anybody" so even though we're not Mennonite, you'd fit right in the Body! There are too many "fake" Christians out in the world and the world sees that! They're looking for authentic. If it's any consolation, I am way too transparent and wonder sometimes if I have shared TOO much?

  6. Dorcas,God knew what he was doing. I can share struggles, feelings, etc. etc with you because you face the same things, and you aren't afraid to let us know that. Preachers wives who "fit the mold" scare me. And I don't confide in them. And besides all that, most of the time I forget you are a preacher's wife and you're just my normal friend. Keep up the good work. Pauline

  7. Your honesty about your doubts and self consciousness is why I am so comfortable with you and love you. I can relate to so many of your thoughts although I'm not a PW, I am a Christian trying to follow Jesus' way. He loves you exactly as you are and so do I!

  8. I think your a wonderful minister's wife, and I love your honesty!

  9. Since you listed what your not I'll say what you are: First of all you are Real there are no twisted mind games that need to be played to figure out what you maybe, possibly could be trying to say and then there is smart, funny, talented have lots of wise insite which then also makes you one of the best liseners (is that a word?!) that I know!

  10. How nice that you are normal. I've seen normal pw's and the kind you describe and the latter make me distinctly uncomfortable. Your congregation is fortunate to have someone like you to help lead the way. Michelle

  11. Thank you so much for being a normal person. I'm in my 20's and have two friends who are minister's wife. One of them is a delight to be with, very much herself, honest about her frustrations with her children, and just living with the rest of us. The other one feels this pressure to spiritualize everything. Nothing is ever nice; it's a blessing. Although inside she gets frustrated with being extremely stetched, she just says it's a "challenge to meet the needs around us." I find it very difficult to enjoy being around her now that she's morphed into Miss Perfect. It makes me feel that sharing anything about myself that is less than ideal would put me in a very bad place.

    Just know that we love preachers' wives who are people like us--imperfect, struggling, growing, real. Oh, yeah, and it's such a relief to know that I can be godly even if I don't like to cook and clean.

  12. make a wonderful preachers wife. You are a good friend that I can come too when I need an "ear" and then I know you will tell me just how it is. Keep it up!!

  13. Dorcas,

    You have my sympathy in your feelings of not being a perfect person.

    Can you imagine what it feels like to be the Pastor himself and not be totally sanctified?


  14. Your husband and children are first and if they take up all your time so be it. Louise

  15. Im very grateful for your page. My name is Paige and I am the wife of an Episcopal deacon soon to be a priest next month. I have pleaded with God to either alter his call or my attitude about it. I have never known someone honest as you to put it out there about all that I also feel anxious about, including the cooking and entertaining, and the talking too much. I keep saying all these years of preparation, God, you've got the wrong woman for this job! But, it is coming soon and here we are. I am in oregon too. I am glad you are there, and that you are you. Thanks.

  16. Hello Mrs. Dorcas,
    I too am a ministers wife and struggle with something quite different. My husband and I have been chosen by God I guess to revive a dead church. Its literally dieing off and I am unhappy here. I long to go back to the plain thriving church, instead of where we are at with the closest member to our age being 25-30 years our senior ( we are both 33) I get so lonely here and would love to be friends and find encouragement for you or anyone thats interested who is or was plain. My email is
    :) Ginny