The Real Staff Wives of Pinnacle Hills

staff wivesSo the other day I was at Target buying a bunch of duct tape for VBX (Vacation Bible Xtreme) which is part of my day job as a Children’s Ministry Assistant at our church.  When I buy items for work it is always a conversation starter because I buy some of the most random things in mass quantity and this duct tape was no different.  The Target employee is scanning away (one roll at a time) and the below conversation takes place between me and the customer behind me:

Other Customer:  Birthday party?
Me (smiling):  No, Vacation Bible School at church.
Other Customer:  What church?
Me:  Cross Church Pinnacle Hills, right across the street.
Other Customer:  Oh.  That’s a big church.
Me:  It is.  But like most things you get out of it what you put in it.
Other Customer:  I guess.  How did you decide to go there?
Me:  Well, my husband is on staff there.
Other Customer:  {leaves}

That’s right.  Conversation over.  She switched lines.  It was as if I had said, “I have a highly contagious flesh eating disease.”  Telling people your husband works at a church is a conversation killer (as Christine Hoover calls it).  It’s true.

I remember when I was working in Bryan, Texas I told a co-worker my husband and I were going to see a movie and she says, “I didn’t know you guys went to the movies.”  I laughed and said, “We’re not Amish.”  She was all the time coming up with questions for me, like, “Do you eat bacon?”  “Do you have church every night?”  I’m telling you the most random questions would come out of her mouth.  And I’ve always been completely honest about our life.  Yes, we eat bacon and no, we don’t have church every night…although I suppose we could have “cHuRcH up in haya” every night.  Sorry, I had too.

What makes being a minister’s wife so hard?  A friend of mine asked me once why minister’s wives thought they were so much better than everyone else.  Ouch.  I was taken a back at first because I don’t think I’m better than anyone because I’m married to a minister.  When my husband first started seminary I felt so unqualified to be a minister’s wife simply because I was comparing myself to my immediate surroundings.  My immediate surroundings included women that had quit their teaching jobs to stay home with a house full of kids and give me dirty looks every morning as I left for work with no baby in tow.  Someone once called us seminary royalty because we both worked and didn’t have kids; which, in seminary life, is pretty rare.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I’ve been to a lot of churches and conferences and I’ve met my fair share of ministry wives that give everyone else a bad name and have to make me work that much harder at being “normal.”  Here are some things you should probably know about minister wives:

Most of them had a job before they were known as “the minister’s wife.”
We have normal hobbies.
We read the same books.
We watch the same TV shows.
We have trust issues.
We have a tight circle of friends we feel we can trust.
If that tight circle betrays us, trusting another will be difficult.
We have husbands that are on call 24-7.
We plan things around the church calendar.
We won’t talk bad about our husbands around you.
We grocery shop (or have Farmbox deliver our groceries).
We shop at Target.
We use our crockpot.
We do our own laundry.
We have smart-mouth kids.
We have mounds of laundry (usually hidden because we have people coming over).

See, minister’s wives aren’t that different from you.  We are a little more guarded.  I often compare ministry to the mafia because we all look out for each other.  When I find out a ministry wife is hurting, I’m hurting, and because I’m a sinful human I often want to hurt the person that made my friend hurt.  But unlike the mafia I will pray for forgiveness instead of leaving a horse head in their bed.

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