Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Another job that doesn't pay...monetarily.

In my previous life, I was a 10th grade English teacher at my former high school. That paid me fairly well. In April, I embarked on a most precious journey. My new occupation is Kate's mom. I'm no longer rewarded with a paycheck, but that's definitely okay by me. There remains yet another job that I claim as mine, that also does not come with a paycheck! I am a pastor's wife and have held this position for 5 years now. And that, my friend, is a job in itself! I love being married to a pastor. And most days I love this job. But other days, it can be really tough. I've been working on this post for days (I've been a little distracted), but here are some of the harder things that I have wrestled with this summer:
  • Beyond Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights: MUCH time is spent between services. Pastors don't just show up on Sunday morning and Wednesday night! Hours aren't typically constant because every week looks different. Meetings with staff, meetings with students or other members of the congregation, and planning time consume time during the week. Pastors are on call 24/7... literally. If one of the youth is having a rough night or needs some help, a phone call at an obscene hour is not uncommon!
  • Long hours: It's a beautiful thing when my dear hubby doesn't have to go to work until noon. But, he's going to work at noon because he won't be coming home until 8 or 9 that evening. Sometimes, though, he leaves for work at 9 to make it in time for staff meeting. Then Bible study is that evening. Before I know it, he's been gone for 12 hours and we miss spending any time with him. Or, meetings last well into the evening (he arrived home at 10:30 one evening last week). For two weeks in a row, two separate nights held the 12 hour work days. Baby (kids, for some) is in bed and Mom is ready to crash too. It's not easy.
  • Watch your mouth, young lady: As a pastor's wife, I represent my husband and my family. Of course, I represent the Most High as well and I'm very aware of this. But church life is not perfect. If I disagree with something going on in the church, I have to be extremely careful when/if I open my mouth. Unfortunately, what you say at church can and will be used against you at some point in time. And people talk. Oh, how they talk. You have to know how to play the game. And it can be pretty exhausting at times.
  • People are watching... and talking: Sometimes it feels as though I have to be "on" all the time. Feeling the need to appear perfect will wear you down! And rumors often run rampant. I try to remember that people need to see an example of a healthy marriage. So, I aim to keep my actions and words about (and to!) my hubby as encouraging as possible.
  • Scheduling: By the time we pencil in church events, deacon's meetings/budget meetings/quarterly meetings/youth team meetings, we don't have many evenings left in the week. Throw in a date night (super important) and getting together with a friend, and we're down to one night at home. Not quite as terrible when it's just two of you, but add a child to the mix and it's hard to NOT be home.
  • Did the church hire me, too??: This is a hard concept for some churches (especially in regard to the youth pastor). I am extremely blessed at our current church because no one EXPECTS me to do anything in relation to his job. They are certainly grateful when I do, but no one assumes that my calling is exclusively to the youth. I adore my high school girls and cherish my time with them, and I'm thankful that I was able to choose that for myself! Although it's not in my current plan, my role may change as Kate grows, and as I grow in my relationship with Jesus.
  • Taking it personally: If anyone has anything negative to say about my man or his ministry, LOOK OUT! Just kidding. Well, kinda. If anyone knows the faults of my fella, it's me. I know them better than anyone. (Yes, it does go both ways... He has lots of dirt on me and knows all the ugly things about me!!) But anyway, it's really hard to hear someone talk negatively about your husband. As a woman, my feelings are pretty sensitive. And it hurts my feelings when someone is harsh- even if it's not toward me!!
  • Friends: This one is really tough for me. Unless you are starting a new church (and pretty much chose the staff members with whom you'll be working), it can be difficult to make friends. Especially when going to a new church. For some reason, people aren't jumping at the chance to be friends with a pastor and his wife! ;) It can be hard to be transparent (and I'm all about some honesty and deep conversations) with church members. You have to be guarded in the things you say (for example, prayer requests have to be very vague when related to hubby's job). Plus, people already have their own circles of friends. When your life is engulfed in the church, how can you find solid fellowship with those who don't necessarily GO to your church??
  • Contentment: I'm reading a book with a dear friend right now entitled, "Calm my Anxious Heart." The book starts out addressing contentment, so I've really been focusing on Philippians 4:11-13 lately. Life in ministry is not life in luxury. And I don't think that it should be. It's not about the love of my life being appreciated (although it sure is nice when it happens!). It's not about owning all the things that people around me own (I really have to check myself when I wish for bigger and better). And I will eventually have to learn that it's not about Kate being happy all the time. We live our lives for Jesus and not for ourselves or anyone else.
Being content isn't always easy. But He is the most important aspect of our lives and when we are solely focused on Him, "... the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace." What a joy it is to develop relationships with teenagers and to encourage them and challenge them in their walks with the Lord. How precious it is to stumble through the rocky teenage life alongside our awesome youth. And what a sheer honor and privilege it is to serve them, pray for them, laugh with them, cry with them, and grow closer to our heavenly Father with them!!

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