Tuesday, January 17, 2012

10 years on ...


Ten years ago my husband started his first job as a church minister.  Which means that for ten years I've been given the title of a minister's wife.  So, ten years on, what have have I learnt?

Frankly, ten years ago, I was a bit of a judgemental cow.  As we were finishing Bible college, I would sometimes look at older minister's wives and wonder why they weren't doing more.  Why weren't they doing more hospitality?  Running more women's groups?  Looking after their staff wives more?  Why didn't they seem keen to be involved anymore?

Oh dear.  If only I had, like, a small, tiny clue.  But I had very little.

In the past ten years my girlfriends who are minister's wives have dealt with the following:
Parents dying, babies dying, miscarriages, depression, their children's mental health issues, children with significant/long term disabilities, husband's health issues, broken friendships, their own chronic health issues, hurtful/ unresolved conflict with church members, moving suburb/city/country repeatedly, infertility, loneliness, and more.

So when  I look at these friends, I now think, wow.  You keep going.  You are still married.  You are still a Christian.  You still let your husband out the front door to do his job.

What I hadn't allowed for in my young assessment of productivity was LIFE.  Life is messy and painful and hard.   Life leaves scars.  Life teaches lessons.  On how to cope.  How to stay sane.  On limitations.  I had no idea what those women had been through and what they had learnt about the best way to stay faithful to their marriage, their family and God.

Ten years on I've learnt - well, you never really know what is going on for another person. Be slow to judge and quick to love.

8 comments:

Gordon Cheng said...

Good on you Jenny!

Nice catching up with Rowan at Summer School for about 30 seconds in the car park. Hope you had a great week too.

simone r said...

Yeah. Me too.

2002 me would also have looked down on 2012 me for working. And I'm not sure what she would have thought of our kids, but 2012 me is quite pleased with them.

Rosie Holland said...

friendship with you in 'life' Jenny has been such a 'ministry' to me dear friend! What a blessing your honesty and faithfulness is !

Sara Gray said...

Really great post Jenny. It is this kind of approach you have to life that makes me contact you "out of the blue" for all sorts of life questions. You're a gem.

Sarah said...

Wow Jenny! That is a really great post. So encouraging to any woman - ministers' wives or otherwise. Keep running the race!

Kath O said...

Thanks for putting these complicated things into words. I keep wanting to get 'life' out of the way so that I can get on with the 'real' ministry - even though i thoroughly believe all of life is ministry to someone and I give my own family priority. My drive to be a successful and 'professional' woman keeps popping out and showing me up!

Deb L said...

Minister's daughter here... just standing up and cheering! Thank you.

heather said...

Clergy wife and mother here...cheering too!
Maybe you should be producing the sensible version of the book "Successful Clergy Wife-ing"...