The Dutch Rush

they're Dutch...and life's a rush

pastor’s wife

I didn’t really think I was up for this job.

I mean, everyone wants to be a pastor’s wife, right?

We would all like to have their kids watched in such a way that the bee-watcher in Dr. Seuss looks HARMLESS.

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photo(Sorry about the dark, blurry pictures. I took them at night on my phone. I figured non-Seuss fans would want to know what I was talking about).

I realize that maybe some people like being watched. They have an “oh yeah, well if you’re gonna watch me, then I’ll watch you right back” type of attitude. And then others who are watched want to go crawl into a very dark cave…on a little island far far away that no one has ever heard of. Maybe the island Napoleon died on. But people already know about that one. Oh well.

Then there’s the part that I’m just a normal t-shirt and jeans girl. And then for special occasions I pull out my “good” t-shirt and jeans…and then for weddings and things I have even better jeans. (Just kidding)

But, I think I won the Pastor jack-pot. (I think that’s a real thing). God gave me Michael, who lets me be me. Even though that means being married to a casual, jeans wearing, rebel-type pastor’s wife. He has let me find my little place at church and encourages me and cares for me. Like a best friend. God knew what I needed.

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I had wondered if Michael would jump ship from the fishing boat (think day fishing in Baja California) of youth ministry to the crabbing hauler (on that show “Deadliest Catch”) of senior pastor.

I have not been on either of those boats, they both seem dangerous and no one should be out in the open sea, VERY DANGEROUS, what with sea creatures and waves and all.

I began to be a little uneasy about it a few years into youth ministry when Michael would groan over the state of the family. He would go on about how you can only reach a certain amount of people working in youth. I would inform him that I was not “real” pastor’s wife material, I was too selfish, too impatient…t-shirts, jeans, blah blah blah. He would just smile.

But even I could see that all around us there were broken and hurting families. And I was married to someone who had been gifted and called by God to care about these families.

I think I knew it for sure the day he went to start seminary. It was a little like in Job…”the thing I feared has come to pass”. But just a little. It seemed far away.

Then we went through some years that I don’t like to remember. But God had to do some work. Maybe to wrestle me into pastor’s wife land? Whatever it was, it was intense. We had some tough times, and came out on the other side…alive. I’ll take alive.

About a year and a half ago people would ask “So how do you feel about becoming a Pastor’s wife?” And I would say “well…it’s sort of the same as being a youth pastor’s wife…only creepier”.

I mean, he still has to eat, and have clean clothes, and be smiled at.

He will want me to keep trying to teach our children to love God, each other, and people…the same people who take their Dad away at inconvenient times. And that means they will need a good example…

We will still care about people and have them to our home. They will just be bigger…

He will still want me to be right next to him at church. To smile at him, to squeeze his hand, and to tell him what a great job he’s doing. I think I’m in my 17th year of telling him what a great job he’s doing…time flies.

Then last year I got to find out what it was like for real. Amazingly, I have found this:

God gives strength to the weary…the Bible says it and now I know it is true.

But I only have that strength as I need it.

I don’t really like that. I like to plan ahead. I like to feel like I have strength for next week…right now. But it has blown me away. Just when I think I couldn’t possibly be a very good pastor’s wife, another day happens and we make it through.

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God gives incredible peace to me, when I don’t think I can be what I need to be. He is faithful to me.

Life is really weird sometimes. I’m sure everyone knows that. Obviously.

It’s hard to know how to think about this job. On one hand I don’t want to make this role something too important, so I’ll coast for a bit, and just pretend I live a normal life. But then one of those really weird things will happen and people are hurting and need us, and Michael gets worn out and needs me, and if I’m off somewhere coasting I forget that he needs me…to be his comforter, encouragement, cheerer-upper, etc.

So balance, that would be good. An understanding of this job probably takes a long time. Or never. Maybe you never figure it out. Great.

As a teen I read a funny book about a pastor’s wife. (Back when I was planning to never marry a Pastor). The main character of the book had spunk. She knew how to handle him, and yet she still followed him. (Sort of). He took his calling very seriously, and she understood this. It was interesting to read it again at this point in my journey. The opening sentences caught my attention.

“Papa was an old-fashioned preacher. He preached the word of God straight from the Bible, without regard for personalities or consequences.”

-Papa’s Wife

I love how Michael is somewhat like this. Then again, he is not. He cares about delivering the Word of God without diluting it, but you can also sense how he cares about his listeners and where they might be in life. And I love him for it.

There are perks to this job…people bring us things. Tomatoes, plums, beef, pies, churros, (just kidding, no churros).

But really, this is my main big perk:

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I get to look at this every day.

I would cry if I only got to see him on Sunday like most people.

I love hanging out with him, talking about life, church, grass, kids, beef stew, Italians, how being Dutch is better than being anything else, pound cake, Latin roots, whatever…

And I love that he practices what he preaches. Not in a perfect way, in a human, we-all-mess-up-way. That makes what he says on Sunday very real and practical. I could listen to him forever…because he tries to live it, and walk close to God…and of course because he’s such a good preacher. And because he’s so handsome.

I found my motto for this season of married life in my favorite marriage book. I have been blown away by the simplicity and truth of it. ¬†When I live it, things work. When I don’t, bad feelings can multiply. Sort of like rabbits. Anyway, here it is :

“…instead of making him over, try making him happy.”

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He looks pretty happy.

1 Comment

  1. Great blog Mary–I love your honesty and your love for our son–your husband. Thanks for being such a good pastor’s wife–it is noticeable.

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