There is an expectation in most churches. An unrealistic expectation more often than not. It's of that woman sitting in the pew Sunday after Sunday. The woman who is listening intently - or at least seems to be. Usually the loneliest woman in your church. Or maybe in your church she's the busiest. At any rate, most church attenders have an expectation of this woman. But to her confusion, not all expectations are the same. There are as many expectations of this woman as there are attendees in your church.
She's your pastor's wife.
Here's my piano story:
When I was a child I took piano lessons for several years. - For some reason 7 years sticks in my mind. Finally, Mrs. Johnson, the piano teacher told my mom that I was incapable of learning how to play the piano. I can play with my right hand - but can't look at the music and play with both left and right hands! (I have a hard time chewing gum and walking!)
So my life rocked along with no more piano. Then at age 26 I found myself living on a college campus with three children and a husband going into the ministry.
The Music Professor asked me if I could play the piano. So I told Mrs. Murray my tale of the piano. She said to me, "You should take piano from me for one semester. I can have you playing out of the hymnbook in that amount of time. EVERY preacher's wife should be able to play the piano." Okay. Sounded good to me. Maybe Mrs. Murray knew something Mrs. Johnson didn't.
After a long semester of practicing every day in the practice rooms and learning my final piece, Mrs. Murray said, "Honey, I think your childhood piano teacher was right!"
So that was the end of this preacher's wife playing the piano!
But, if I could tell you how many times I was asked if I played the piano, if I could sing, if I could do anything musical - you would be shocked.
Everyone expected something from me.
When asked what could I offer the church - my answer became, "I will be a Christian." When asked, before moving my family to work at the church in Kingston, Jamaica - "What will you be doing as a missionary?" My answer was "I will be a Christian."
That was an easy way to say, I will be doing whatever God calls me to do, whatever He guides me to. And you know what? Often that was encouraging, standing beside and supporting the pastor. Sometimes God calls us to do the background work - not the stage work. As a church we should be asking God to give our pastor's wife the strength and courage just to do what HE wants her to do. To be who HE wants her to be. Not who we want her to be.
One of my pet peeves is to hear of a church board hiring a new minister with a talented wife and saying "We are getting two for the price of one." SHAME on YOU....
Our responsibility to our pastor's wife?
Don't judge her.
Don't gossip about her or her children.
But the most important action we can do for our pastor's wife -
Pray for her.