Hello. My name is Bonnie and I’m a pastor’s wife.
But here’s the thing, I’ve been caught up in an unrequited love affair – I’ve always loved church, but church hasn’t always loved me back. Since my youth, I’ve found it difficult to fit into what I now refer to as church culture – the micro world of life inside any single church. Was there room inside the nave for a tall, slightly goofy, drama geek with a tendency to say what was on her mind? The answer, it turned out was, “Meah. Not so much.”
Yet, I loved the church. Loved youth group, and choir, loved visiting shut ins, and adored the months of practice it took to put on the Christmas pageant (Oh Lord, don’t make me be Mary this year. All Mary does is hold a baby and look angelic; she doesn’t get any good lines!) But before I turned eighteen, my life fell apart, and I turned to the church in earnest – A little help, please? My church’s response was to show its cool, solid back. The message seemed to be; you’re too messy for us.
The years following weren’t much better for me. Life continued to disintegrate in many ways. What remained was my faith in God. Shaky, unconventional, inconsistent, yet somehow undying faith in the God who loved me first.
By the time I met my husband Steve, who I knew from the moment I clapped eyes on him was called to be a pastor, I’d lived enough for two lifetimes and was heartily disillusioned with the institution of church. But, I had the hots for Steve (still do), so I had to come to terms with a few things – fast.
Number one: The church would always be a central part of our lives. Fine. Deep breathe. I can do church.
Number two: I would henceforth and forevermore be referred to as The Pastor’s Wife. Uh. Hit the brakes for a second. Why must my identity be defined by what my husband does for a living? I checked with hubby. He had no interest in me losing myself inside of his calling. He married me for me – not for my ability to fulfill a preserved role. Okay, good. Moving on!
Number three: Accept the fact that I cannot play the piano, and I’m lousy at crafts (no kidding – I can turn Paper Mache animals into a contact sport. Someone will get hurt!), and have no particular interest or gifting to lead children’s church. In short, I have zero pastor wife skills. Combine that with the fact that I’m ridiculously honest and have no problem talking about the elephant in room (remember, I’ve lived a few lifetimes filled with some pretty serious loss, pain, disappointment, and failure. I’ve learned life is too short to pretend). What have we got? Well. Just me.
Just me who can’t pretend to be someone I’m not. Just me who is learning that my job as a pastor’s wife is to love my husband, love the people in my church, and not be a jerk who judges people based on what I see on the outside. And the biggest thing I’ve learned as a pastor’s wife? That gossip is murder and it’s my calling as a Christian (never mind pastor’s wife) to love people and keep my big mouth shut. That people matter more than institutions, and it doesn’t matter if there are coffee stains on the carpet as long as the people spilling the coffee know they are loved. And I’ve learned I can be a trailblazer simply by being myself – my authentic, true, real self.
Bonnie Grove married to Reverend Steve Grove, Senior pastor of Louise Street Community Church, in Saskatoon, SK., Canada. They have two young children they are very fond of. Bonnie is an award winning, internationally published author of fiction (Talking to the Dead), and a former program developer and author of the self-help book Your Best You: Discovering and Developing the Strengths God Gave You.
You can connect with her online at her website, www.bonniegrove.com, and blogs, http://novelmatters.blogspot.com and http://fictionmatters.blogspot.com. She’s also on Facebook, and Twitter.
WIN THE BOOKBonnie is giving away a copy of to one of Your Best You: Discovering and Developing the Strengths God Gave You to our readers. To be eligible to win, you just need to:
- have a mailing address in the United States or Canada
- leave a comment to this particular post
- include your email address