From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. Ephesians 4:16
When I was growing up my pastor was larger than life in my eyes. He wore these special outfits, could fill a whole church with his voice, and just knew so much! Once confirmation hit, he patiently listened to every argument I had about women in the church. And he never once made me feel like I was a heathen (even though my teen years were rocky at best). All of this made a huge impact on my life. I understood forgiveness and mercy and grace because it was extended to me, not just through the booming voice from the pulpit on Sundays, but through the man I knew as Pastor.
All of this matters, but there is a piece of the story that could easily go unnoticed. When I was 17 and trying to pick a college, it was a major ordeal. I was at a crossroads. I visited no less than 20 different schools; state schools, private schools, all girls schools, huge schools, tiny schools. I knew somewhere deep down that whatever I chose had the power to change the course of my life, and I hated that. I was frustrated and scared and too immature to know that God would work in my life no matter what path I took.
One Sunday, after returning from a particularly daunting round of college visits in Chicago-land, my pastor’s wife found me in the giant post-service crowd.
“How did it go?” she asked.
“Ok. Blah. I don’t know.” I replied in my teenage angst.
“Have you ever thought about Concordia?”
Freeze frame…at this point I had never heard of Concordia, and I didn’t know that there were 10 of them. I’m kind of thankful I didn’t know, because it wasn’t Concordia in that moment that mattered.
It was my beautiful pastor’s wife, reaching in.
I was lost and struggling. My parents were awesome, but I needed other people invested in my life, caring, loving, and encouraging me to stay the course. Honestly, I’m 100% positive that life would have looked a whole lot different for me without this conversation. In her Concordia question, Mrs. Sharon Fraker wasn’t just asking me if I wanted to go to a Lutheran school… she was telling me I had value enough to contemplate life with, that whatever path I walked, she’d help me search it all out. And she did. That question opened my eyes to the reality that I mattered to the Church and her people. That God had a plan for me and there were people who would help me discern it. I wasn’t in this alone.
My pastor’s family did other things. They came to the plays I was in, they showed up when invited to our big, loud family celebrations, and they invited me into their home to babysit for their precious children. All of these things made life together real for me, it helped me to understand that the Church isn’t four walls and a steeple, but people invested in one another, in and out of trials.
I went to Concordia, found the deaconess program, met friends for a lifetime, devoured the Word, and married my hilarious husband, who happened to be pre-seminary. I turned out just fine and I am forever grateful to one pastor’s wife who took a little time to invest in me.
How many of us have been impacted by the woman who happens to be married to the pastor? I want them to know, they make a difference. Whether in quiet conversation or overt leadership, these women have an impact, and I, for one, am grateful.
*Orientation week exploring at Concordia Chicago 🙂
Let’s share our stories! Tell me about a pastor’s wife that had an impact on your life. You can share in the comments or contact me for a guest post. Blessings, as you bless those around you, friends!