I had just asked my wife, Pam, to marry me when I heard through the grapevine that someone who knew her well was sure she wouldn’t be a good pastor’s wife. Maybe that person was right. Here’s why:
- She doesn’t lead women’s groups. To use a cliché, that’s not her cup of tea. She’ll teach young children all day long, but not adults.
- She doesn’t play an instrument. She started playing the piano soon after we married (just because she’d always wanted to play – not because she felt any pressure to do so), but she stopped her lessons at “When the Saints Go Marching In.”
- She’s not that interested in theological discussions. For nine years, she was an administrative assistant for a seminary president, so she’s certainly been exposed to theological discussions. She’s just not interested in engaging the theological debates that reverberate among theologians.
- She’s not likely to share her testimony publicly. She would if the Lord so compels her, but standing in front of adults to speak would seriously stretch her. I’ve seen her speak publicly only once in almost 25 years of marriage.
- She mentors girls without doing Bible studies. She loves spending time with young ladies, but she sees her role as simply to hang out with them, love them, encourage them, and help them live life. She’s not going to lead them through an expositional Bible study.
- She’s not interested in denominational heroes and politics. In her own roles wherever I’ve served, she’s met many significant evangelical leaders. They neither impress her nor intimidate her; in her eyes, they’re no more special to God than she is.
- She doesn’t always want to be beside my side. Sure, she always wants to be with me just because she loves me – but that doesn’t mean she always wants to go to every conference or meeting I attend. If the event will likely bore her, she’s fully comfortable doing something else.
- She serves behind the scenes. It doesn’t bother her to minister where nobody sees; in fact, she prefers it that way. Her good works are quiet ones.
- She doesn’t say “yes” to every need in the church. She doesn’t want anything to go undone, but she knows her gifts and her limitations. She’s not afraid to say “no.”
So, there you have it. Maybe my friend was right – my wife doesn’t fit the role of a pastor’s wife.
Here’s what she is, though. The most honest, pure, faithful person I know, a woman in whom there really is no guile. A woman whose gift of hospitality is enormous, who will open our home and roll out the red carpet to anyone. A mentor whom young ladies immediately flock to. A servant impressed by no one, but who treats everyone like a king or queen. A lover of missionaries (in fact, a former Acteen queen, for those who know that language) who would give everything for cross-cultural workers. A fun, loving, laughing friend whose humility, humor, and “realness” draw people to her. A children’s teacher, “Miss Pam” to little ones who adore her. An incredible helpmate with whom I could not do all I do, who’s committed more to being my wife than to playing the role of a pastor’s wife.
Put that all together, and Pam makes a phenomenal pastor’s wife. She is God’s gift to me – and to the church.