The epic pastor’s wife fail, or God’s grace in my mess

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
                                                                          2 Corinthians 12:9

If there was a test for pastor’s wives, I generally feel like I would fail. Well, maybe not fail, but pass just barely. I have some skills in ministry. I have a degree in ministry, two, after all, and a passion for God and loving His people, but that doesn’t mean I feel like I’d pass the pastor’s wives challenge. Can anyone relate?

There is no challenge, of course. No test. No rules. Just real life and real forgiveness.
So, here is my fail.  

My husband’s grandma died last week. We came back early from vacation and he prepared to perform the funeral. We were sad, thankful that Grandma Gigi was 98, and had been a wonderful blessing in our lives, but sad and missing her smiling face already.

Funeral day came. I dressed my kids and prayed endlessly for my husband. Lord, give him the words. Lord, give him strength. Lord, give him peace.

The family walked in the church and I sat down with my beautiful kiddos in the pew right behind “reserved for family”, because there was no room in the inn evidentially. My three year old found the nifty wooden sign declaring “reserved for family” and promptly threw it to the floor. He loved the clattering noise and was ecstatic when some kind soul in front of us placed it back on the pew in reach. 3 more tries and I found a different home for that sign. 

My 9 year old, nearly refused to go up and sing with the other children in a rendition of Jesus loves me. He pushed his Old Adam shoes into the bright red carpet and walked noticeably and painfully slowly to the front of the church. 

Midway through the sermon my 11 year old began weeping in earnest. She loved her Gigi. She was heart broken and sad, and distraught at her first real reminder that on this earth there is death and sorrow. I put my arm around her and tried to gently comfort her, until my 3 year old simply could not be contained in the quiet anymore and began stomping his feet against the pew in defiance of experiencing one more minute of the service. 

All of this was expanded by the sweet woman behind us who clearly had a hearing difficulty and whispered a loud play-by-play to her fellow worshipper – “He likes that sign!” “He doesn’t want to go up there and sing!” “She misses her Grandma!” “He’s ready for the service to be over!” She meant well, and in her defense was inadvertently supportive, but it was embarrassing to say the least.

I hauled my 3 year old out of church, down the middle aisle, burying my face in his neck, to camouflage the sobs welling up in my throat. This was a disaster with a capital D. I felt spent, sad, and still anxious for my husband preaching his heart out. 

I stood in the hallway of the church, feeling lonelier than I’ve ever felt in 10 years of ministry. Someone quietly walked up behind me and gave me a hug, a member of our church, a friend. Her words were simple and sweet. Gospel in my dark moment…”I’m so sorry. I wish I could make it better.”

The message of the church. The embrace of love in the moment of despair. That’s all I needed. That turned what felt like an epic mom failure and pastor’s wife nightmare into a moment between friends. I am not alone. When I am weak, God gives me strength, often through His people, from someone who simply wanted to help make it better this side of heaven. 

 

1 thought on “The epic pastor’s wife fail, or God’s grace in my mess”

  1. 🙂
    I thought I would share a BAD pastor's wife moment with you so you know that you are not alone.

    I was hanging out in the pasrsonage kitchen with 4 of my age 7 and under kids (#5, the baby, was asleep upstairs) baking birthday brownies for godparents who were arriving soon from 14 hours away.

    One of the kids saw fire in the oven! Sure enough, I opened the oven and smoke pured out and the brownies were on fire!! I am screaming to the kids to run away to the other end of the house – phone rings, I pick it up and say "I can't talk right now!" and continue screaming orders to the kids who can't seem to get out of the kitchen. Phone rings again. Lady on the other end asks to speak to pastor. I yell, "He is not here and I have a fire in my kitchen!" Later find out that it was a member calling about a death in the family! I was positively mortified!
    (Got the kitchen under control, kids all safe – alls well that ends well right?)

    Funnier? I went to the hospital a few weeks later to finish paying the bill for baby being born and the cashier sees my name on the paperwork and asks if my husband is a pastor at St. Paul's. "Yes," I say. (uh oh…) So YOU are the one who had the fire in the kitchen! (WHAT???) Look of shock comes over my face…"Uh yes?" The woman goes on the say that it was her aunt that died and everyone had a really good laugh about that phone call. :/ Thank God!

    It happens. More will too…

    Fast forward 15 years. Those 5 are all teens living home with 5 more youngers. It is 7am on a Sunday morning. Everyone but my husband is asleep because he has early church a half an hour away. He is in the shower. I hear a man's voice at the bottom of the stairway calling, "Yoo hoo time to get up!" It was a member whom my husband had told he'd meet early at church, don't drive down here to ride back up to church with him. I was woken up from a dead sleep by this particular man's voice and was NOT happy.and APPARENTLY I cussed and swore at him worse than a sailor.

    Yeah. SO embarrassing. He still brings it up to me laughing. He thinks it is hilarious. AGAIN -THANK GOD.

    🙂

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