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The January we moved into our first parsonage, it was one of the coldest winters in years. Elderly deacons that we didn’t yet know unloaded all of our mismatched furniture into our frigid house and hurried back to their own warm homes.  Outdated baseboard heaters lined the walls and an enormous Texas chocolate sheet cake sprawled across the counter.

New home, new church, new city, new baby arriving, and new role: pastor’s wife.  I was a wreck on the inside, terrified of failure, especially in this tricky new role.

What you might not know about your pastor’s wife is that she’s scared to death.

When Tim and I married, we were headed to the mission field.  In his second year of seminary, Tim picked up a couple theology classes. He lit up like a neon sign when he shared his gleanings from class with me and I felt an uneasy foreboding in my heart that proved to be prophetic.  He switched his degree from Missiology to Mastor of Divinity that year.  Ironically, I was ready to go to Africa at a moment’s notice if God called, but I wasn’t ready to become a pastor’s wife in America.

My dad once attended a church business meeting in which the pastor was not only voted out of his position, but physically carried and thrown out from the sanctuary.   A church is more of a living organism than a stable business and job security is not a perk in this calling.  This particular church gave me no reason to fear, but fear doesn’t always need reason. It has its own artistic power of imagination, painting vivid portraits of frightening futures.

To an extrovert, this next statement will be unthinkable, but greeting the congregation on a Sunday morning was one of my biggest challenges.  An in introvert, I thrive in one-on-one time with people, but crowds overwhelm me. I can’t work a crowd to save my life.

If you have an introverted pastor’s wife, don’t be offended if she doesn’t come greet you on a Sunday morning. Don’t assume it’s because she doesn’t care.  She might be shy, so go say hello to her first.  If she’s anything like me, she’ll grasp your hand with gratitude and talk your ear off.  Keep in mind, she  might have had a crazy morning, too.  She might have single-handedly hauled three kids, three bags, and a coffee cup to church in high heels. She might have forgotten to eat breakfast.

What you might not know about your pastor’s wife is that she’s painfully human, fragile as the next female (or more so), and is most likely doing the best she can in her role.  If you’ve got some to spare (and we all do), show her some grace this Sunday.