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Clergy spouses--check in here! - Page 2

post #21 of 182
Originally Posted by annettemarie View Post
Dang, we peaked too soon. They were all ready and looking presentable... til Michael threw the chalkboard eraser at Katie Grace's back and left a huge mark. Then I noticed he had also wiped his chalky hands all over his front. Sigh.
Oh no!!
Originally Posted by Shantimama View Post
My approach is that I am dh's wife first and foremost, I married him, not the church. The greatest service I can offer the churches he serves is to love their pastor well so he is grounded and happy and growing. My job is to be a loving partner, to support him where I can, to be a place of restoration and encouragement when he has been up all night with a family in the hospital after a tragedy, to keep him going during the weeks with 4 funerals, to help him keep his life balanced so it isn't just church, church and more church.
I need to be more like you! B/c of my depression/frustration I tend to be unsupportive. I don't mean to be! I just get tired of being left alone almost every evening of the week and everytime we go out or have dinner it's interrupted by a phone call about something stupid. Like one time the mother of a kid in our youth group needed DH to talk her son into getting a hair cut b/c she couldn't do it and he'd probably listen to DH. : That's when I made a rule that at dinner/family time, we don't answer the phone. If it's an emergency, they'll leave a message. I need to learn when to pick my battles and when to just shut up and be supportive b/c our marriage is taking a serious beating from it. Today in church, God revealed to me how self centered I've been and how I need to dig in and focus more on Him. It was amazing! I went to Sunday school and realized it and the sermon focused more on it! It was amazing.

I guess I should also add that DH feels as if I don't need to do a thing in the church but be his wife. Of course I need to do my fair share. I just keep hearing my mom's friend who told me, "You're a minister's wife and you need to do a lot more then the average member." Yeah, whatever.

I so glad I found this thread!
post #22 of 182
Originally Posted by Shantimama View Post

Question - how do your children feel about church? Mine are mixed, depending on the day. This morning one of mine really didn't want to go, she said, "Mama, I love God with all my heart but I am just so tired of church!"
I haven't come across this yet. DD asks every day if she can go to church. : She's 3 and I know it will come one day. What I would do is focus on everything that she LOVES about church. Tell her, "If you don't go to church today, you'll miss out on xyz and you won't see Susie, Tommy and Lizzy. Do you really want to miss that?? Just think about how happy you will make God by going!"
post #23 of 182
My daughter is 9 and she has a response to everything. For now we just gently support her in her frustration and find ways to nurture and encourage her spiritual life at home. Her school is great and that helps. I have known too many PK's who grow up to hate the church and it makes me sad. I think she will be okay, she is just going through some growing pans.

We are fourtunate to have almost always been in churches that have a healthy sense of boundaries. dh gets very few phone calls at home except for emergencies. I get tired too of him being out most nights of the week - fortunately he works really hard at creating a healthy balance. The way we look at it is, 25 years from now, how much will it matter in someone's life if their minister wasn't available for every possible thing compared to how much will it matter to our children if Dad was never home because he was always taking care of other people's needs? Now that our kids are in school (we used to homeschool) hemakes a point of being home to greet the school bus if he wil be out for teh evening and he takes time off for special school events as much as possible. I love that about him.

He is amazing with pastoral care and visiting, writing notes, making phone calls, staying in touch. His parishoners know he really cares and he is always there in an emergency. Because of that it seems like they really want him to take care of himself and not burn out. They just recently decided to give him another week of holidays every year becasue someone realized that he 'works' on all of the statutory holidays that everyone else takes off. That kind of thing makes him work more effectively because there issuch mutual respect going on.
post #24 of 182
Thread Starter 
Katie Grace love church, but she's our spiritual child.

Michael likes that there are usually snacks there. Other than that, he's starting to show some resentment about being asked to go and participate. We try very hard to say "this is something you do because you're part of the family of God" rather than "this is something you have to do because your daddy is the pastor."

Can you please keep our family in your thoughts and prayers this week? The senior pastor is off in Chicago for "bishop training" so DH is flying solo. On top of that, he meets with the council Tuesday night, and they're going to question him and decide whether or not to recommend him for senior pastor to the congregation. It's only Sunday, and there's already been a death and a funeral to take care of.
post #25 of 182
Originally Posted by annettemarie View Post
Michael likes that there are usually snacks there.
Originally Posted by annettemarie
Can you please keep our family in your thoughts and prayers this week? The senior pastor is off in Chicago for "bishop training" so DH is flying solo. On top of that, he meets with the council Tuesday night, and they're going to question him and decide whether or not to recommend him for senior pastor to the congregation. It's only Sunday, and there's already been a death and a funeral to take care of.
Sure thing! I'm sure it will all go okay.
post #26 of 182
Oh I can't even tell you how excited I am to find this thread! I've rarely stopped by this board since I joined. I had joined with a very specific need--finding a midwife in my area--and haven't done much else. I'm on some other specifically Christian/AP boards, but a thread specific to Pastor's Spouses . . . woo hoo

My dh is a Presbyterian (USA) pastor. Currently in his third call, first as solo pastor, after two associate for youth and family positions. This September will be 9 years since his ordination, hard to believe. A year after dh completed seminary, I began seminary. I graduated at 37 weeks pregnant with our first child, then worked part time as a director of Christian Education for a year, beginning when our firstborn was 4 months. I've been SAH ever since. In August we'll have been at our current church for 2 years. Hoping and praying to stay here till we retire. We had ten years away from our extended families, from the time dh started seminary till we moved back 2 years ago. Currently up the street from my sister and feel so blessed by that. So, I hear you ladies on the loneliness front. We spent 18 months at a church far far away, then the rest of the ten years about 2 1/2 hours away. At our last church, though, I really found a new family in one of the women there, and I lived 9 minutes from a dear dear friend whom I had met while my dh was in seminary. She too was family for me. So actually, now that we've moved away from those two women, I've been more homesick since we moved back near our natural family than I ever was before. You just never know. Oh, I feel a big ramble coming on, chalk it up to the aforementioned glee at finding this thread.

3 years in a youth pastor position is a good stint. The average stay for a youth pastor these days, so we hear, is 18 months. Not that I'm telling you it's time to move on, but just to give you encouragement in what you've already accomplished. Youth ministry is tough tough work, very prone to burn-out, and it's tough on the whole family. My dh's first call was primarily youth-oriented, it lasted 18 months exactly and left my dh thinking he was going to leave church ministry all together. Don't worry, that thought lasted three whole weeks. I'm feeling for you, being a youth pastor's wife with small children. Summers are brutal. I've been so grateful to have dh as a solo pastor, it has made for far fewer weeks away in the summer. Well, almost no weeks, really.

Too much to respond to. So many issues, so little time. As far as the congregation's expectations, I've tried to start out a new church doing little to nothing, then ease my way in by doing the things I feel gifted and called to do. Really like any other member. Thankfully none of our congregations has had very high expectations of me, but I'm pretty confident in my take on my role as first wife, then mother, then church member that I'm not too concerned about expectations. I think you just have to draw your own boundaries. And actually, since I went to seminary, our church really did get a two-fer, but again, thankfully, they've not expected much from me. It could be because of the three wee ones I'm juggling by myself in the pew.

I've struggled with all sorts of resentment over the draws on dh's time, the unpredictability of our "schedule," my sense of his priorities, his constant accessibility for everyone else. I think I'm starting to get a handle on it, but things still come up.

OH this is toooooo long. I hope this conversation can continue. I just have to add my over:

Dang, we peaked too soon. They were all ready and looking presentable... til Michael threw the chalkboard eraser at Katie Grace's back and left a huge mark. Then I noticed he had also wiped his chalky hands all over his front. Sigh.
Our service is at 9:30; dh leaves at 8:15, but he's been really great about helping me get the kids ready before he leaves. Sometimes we're all ready and can go at the same time he does and hang out at the church for a while, other times, I'm still getting things together and we leave later. Those are the hardest days, cuz inevitably no matter how ready they are at 8:15, a whole lot can go wrong before 9:00 when we aim to walk out the door. Sometimes being ready early is not a good thing.
post #27 of 182
I knew my husband was called to ministry when we got married...heck he was already in ministry when we were dating, just not ordained ministry. However, I don't feel called to be the matriarch or the parish or anything, at least not now. I think ideally, we do see ourselves as a ministry team. But that also is because we feel like the pastor needs to model Christian marriage and parenting for the congregation, and that is one of the reasons why AP and NFL are so important to my husband. He tells every new parent about breastfeeding and co-sleeping. And he presents non-violence as a gospel value whenever possible.

But currently he's an assistant, and our parish is not so great. I try to stay as distant as possible. i am so afraid that people will try to draw me in to the gossip and the politics there that I try to stay as far away from it as I can. I do have one friend in the parish, though. I've mentored her through a difficult nursing relationship with her second child. And though it ended at 7 months, it helped us to form a bond. She knows I'd help her with anything (in fact I took her kids this week so she could go to a doctor's visit when she was running a fever). That is the way I feel called to assist. I am happy to be a person for mothers to turn to for help. But don't ask me to join the choir, or to serve on this committee or that. Not now.

We are exploring the possibility of foreign missions though, that would be a ministry we were called to as a couple, though.
post #28 of 182
Thread Starter 
Hooray! Two more members!

, we've been here five years now. I would say it's only in the past year or so that I've started doing some of the stereotypical pastor's wife stuff. And it's only the stuff I really want to do!

AnyMama, that's neat that you knew about your DH's call when you were married. I thought I was marrying a band director, ! I think we both feel a call to show the AP/NFL side of things as well. I've gotten a lot of grandma's in the church to buy their new grandbabies slings!

Does anyone else homeschool? We are the only homeschoolers in the parish, and it gets hard to deal with sometimes, especially because we have a fairly large population of teachers and school administrators.
post #29 of 182
Annettemarie, we probably won't homeschool, but I totally feel your pain there. My parents usedto go to a church that had a private school. My mom has her masters in education and they kept asking (more like pestering!) her to come to work for the school. They do ACE curriculem, so she wouldn't have exactly been using her degree. I'm totally not knocking that curriculem or people who decide to do something else instead of using their degree...it was just that she didn't feel led to do and they couldn't seem to let it go.
post #30 of 182
Welcome, rylee95! I appreciated your post! I was excited to find the PWs here, too! Never even occurred to me to look for such a tribe....I guess that's the thing I love most about MDC.....no matter how far you are off the beaten path, you still have a good chance of finding another mama who checks all the same boxes you do, LOL!

Annettemarie, we homeschool....just starting out with our eldest, who is 5.5. We have one other homeschooling family in our church, and TONS of teachers, administrators, retired teachers, etc. in our congregation. In fact, my dh's secular job is teaching at the local public school!

Besides the church, dh and I both come from a long line of school teachers in our families....his grandmother, my mom and dad, my grandmothers, my sisters, and many others. And you know what's funny? We've never gotten one bit of opposition or negativity about homeschooling. I had ONE conversation, a few years ago, with my older sister in which she implied that, because I didn't finish my college degree, I wasn't really equipped to homeschool my kids. But that was during a period when our relationship was a bit rocky to begin with, and she took my declaration of homeschooling a bit personally. And I prolly wasn't entirely blameless.

Anyway, my point is, the overall reaction we get from all the teachers in our lives is that we are doing a wonderful thing for the kids. That although teaching is their passion, they realize that there is a lot of decay in the system. One teacher friend of my dh's recently said that this about teaching: "I see so much rottenness and untruth in the schools. Error being taught as fact, discipline being totally forsaken, very little true teaching going on at all. The only thing that keeps me going back to the frontline every day is knowing that I am a *good* teacher. And if ALL the good teachers out there were to quit, there would be no hope left for the kids."

I am thankful for the good teachers out there, and even thankful for the public school system, though it is inarguably in HUGE need of an overhaul. But I would not send my children in that direction if I could at all avoid it. And I am enormously thankful that I do not have to do so at this time.

I am so glad that people around us have been so supportive of our choice...it sounds as if the people in your parish are not so supportive? That's sort of puzzling to me.
post #31 of 182
post #32 of 182
Thread Starter 
Oh, thank you! I kept wanting to bump this and forgot.

Guess what-- my hubby was elected senior pastor!!! 288 to 36.
post #33 of 182
Can I join in, too? DH is still on vicarage, but will be ordained, God willing, in less then a year.
We're waiting to find out where the first call will be- further complicated because we are up for international missions.
We're LCMS, btw.
post #34 of 182
I was coming here tonight to find this thread!! Seems like God sends the support I need just when I need it most!

So.....real quick here (without getting into all the gory graphic details...at least not tonight! ), please tell me that I'm not the only one dealing with the dreaded double standard for Pastor's Families?!?!?

So, what do you do, when you--or especially when your children--are expected to adhere to a higher standard than the rest of the church....a higher standard than is reasonable, given their age, maturity, etc.?

I'm pulling my hair out here, and I'm so ANGRY I could chew concrete.

Sigh....I have to digest things a bit before I explain, but someone please feel free to jump in and make me feel not all alone in this sort of aggravation!
post #35 of 182
Thread Starter 
Sarah, that sounds frustrating. I don't think I'll be much help, since it seems to me like I have the opposite problem--people cut my kids way too much slack and make excuses for them behaving in ways that aren't acceptable for anyone. But I sure can listen if you need to vent!
post #36 of 182
Thanks, annettemarie! I do believe I shall!

Well, here's the situation. Our church puts family-integrated worship as a high priority. We don't have Sunday Schools, or staffed nurseries....we believe that children should be welcomed into the worship service as part of the family, part of the church, and not separated from their families.

So, this is a big thing for me, and I love it about our church (although to be totally honest there are times that I can definitely see an advantage to a staffed nursery so that I can actually HEAR a sermon for once! ). But seriously, I love that we worship as a family. And I love that it has always been that way, so the church members are--FTMP--very understanding and patient with small children....and with the parents of small children!

Many of our sister churches do have "cry rooms" where the parent(s) can take their children to tend to them if they need to leave the main sanctuary....our church does not have any such facility. This was simply a matter of budget issues when the church was built years ago, and for a long time, there weren't many families with small children. Since dh has been pastor, that has changed and there are now LOTS of families with children of all ages, and more growing families coming in! And our expansion plans for the building definitely include a cry room, but for now it's not very convenient.... Right now, the only place I can "escape" with my child is to the foyer (which is only separated from the sanctuary by thin, not-soundproof doors), the ladies' room (Ick! Not. Happening.), or the fellowship hall, which is right off the sanctuary and also offers no sound barrier. Which makes it all the more important that everyone be patient and understanding, right?

Soooooo......it was (needless to say!) a sucker-punch of a shock when 2 deacons pulled dh aside after services Wed. night to tell him that they were "deeply concerned" about our 21mo ds's behavior in church, and that it was a "potentially explosive situation" that has been "going on for such a long time" and that it could very well be offensive to visitors and turn them away, and that "several" members of the congregation had come to these deacons, expressing how frustrating and distracting it was.

Now, let me reiterate: Ds is 21 months old! The church service is, on average, 1.5 hours long. He has, for the last 2 months (max--prolly more like 5 or 6 weeks) gotten very agitated when dh gets up to preach. He is VERY attached to his daddy, much more so than the other two were at that age, and he gets frantic when he sees daddy up there and he can't go to him. And he can be quite loud. So yeah, it's somewhat distracting, and I am certainly trying to gently teach him the appropriate behavior for church, etc. We have family devotions at home and "practice" our church skills, sitting still for a few minutes at a time, talking/playing quietly, etc. And I have been agonizing about this for the last couple months, trying to do everything I can to (first) prevent a meltdown.....with appropriate toys, snacks, sippy cup (he hasn't nursed in several weeks, which I suspect is part of the whole issue, but one thing about child-led weaning--you can't FORCE them to accept that comfort!), etc.....and then, if a meltdown starts, to deal with it in the best way for him, that is also least distracting to the rest of the congregation. It's not a perfect situation by any means, but I'm doing the best I can, and his behavior is TOTALLY AGE-APPROPRIATE!!! That doesn't mean he gets a free pass or that I allow/encourage/condone it.....it simply means that he CANNOT be expected to know or do any better at his age. He doesn't have the maturity, the growth, the mental/physical/spiritual ability to conform is behavior to adult expectations!

And ya know, that being the case, it seems to me that the adults in the situation should refrain from putting unreasonable expectations on the children, not to mention putting such a heavy burden of stress on the parents! Especially since the leaders of the church (including these deacons) like to stress the importance of "family-integrated worship" when they talk about the church, and when they rave about how many families are being drawn to the church....and it is BECAUSE they see this church as being family-friendly!

But they told dh "you know, in your position, you are always going to be under more scrutiny..." Yeah....I know. But does that make it right?? Do my kids deserve no patience, no compassion, no understanding, simply because their father is the pastor? Do I deserve the burden of being blamed for disrupting the entire church, when I am already feeling the stress of mothering a child who is moving into a difficult (but totally normal!) stage of development? And especially when I am simultaneously preparing for a newborn? Is this attitude of rigidity and impatience going to begin to affect the other families in the church, who have/will have small children who will also eventually go through trying stages? Is "family-integrated worship" just something they give lip service to, something that sounds good in theory, but only so long as it doesn't encroach on their comfort zone? Because we have to "look good" to the visitors, you know...

So, at the end of their "reprimand" (well, actually, in the middle, because dh was so peeved that he walked out on them before he said something nasty!), dh said that 1) ds was going through a difficult stage right now, but that it was right on schedule with our other kids, and that we were helping him through it in the best way we knew how, and that 2) we would continue to do the best we could do for our child, and that 3) if that wasn't good enough, we would leave. He also mentioned that he was concerned about these "several" members who allegedly had approached this deacon, because according to Mtt 18, they should have come to dh or me to discuss it, not to a third party. And before walking out, he mentioned something about it would be more Christ-like for people who call themselves brothers and sisters in the church to reach out and offer to help a mother who is struggling, rather than talking behind her back and then offering nothing but reprimand!

Sigh.....I love my husband!

But I'm just so peeved about it. First, I'm truly concerned that this might spread to one of the other families (there is a new family who has just started coming in the last couple months, and they have a one year old who will doubtless be joining my ds before too long, lol! On top of that, they have just this week taken in two 18 month-old twins for foster care....they are definitely going to have their hands full for awhile! And I will be so far beyond LIVID if anyone dares to offer them anything but help, compassion, understanding, patience, and did I mention HELP!!

But at the same time (while I truly don't want anything of this nature to happen to anyone else), I can't help but feel irked that we are not considered worthy of that same sort of understanding. Why do other families get unwavering support in their decisions, but our decisions are looked at as fair game for judgement? Other families' pregnancy announcements are met with unreserved gusto and joy, but ours was met with a slight increase in dh's check, accompanied by this statement (direct quote): "I hope that the church will be able to give your family even more once the baby is born, but you know, it's going to be awfully tight." We don't even care about the money...we certainly didn't ask for a raise! But when did it become their right to judge our family size??

Oh, and as for those "several" members? Well, it turns out that it was the 2 deacons, their 2 wives, and one other member who all had dinner together one day and the topic happened to get around to us. : Hardly a church in uproar, in my opinion!
post #37 of 182
Gosh, sorry that was so long! I really did need to vent about it, because as I'm sure most of you know, there are very few people IRL that I could take this to.

You know, one thing I can't help thinking....if this is the BIGGEST "problem" we are facing as a church--a noisy child--should we not count ourselves as exceedingly blessed?? KWIM? Shouldn't we just be so busy offering up prayers of thankfulness that we have no one sick, no one suffering, no one poverty-stricken, no one arguing, no marital problems, no misunderstandings, no wars.....oh, wait. Gosh, then...maybe there are some things on which our energy as a church could be better spent!

I do have to say though, that I love our church. It is really just this one issue, and that is looking more and more like it was pretty much limited to (mostly) this one deacon who tends to be somewhat grouchy even on his better days. I guess there has to be a few people like that around, I just really hate that he decided to make it seem like a church-wide issue that was on the verge of creating a rift! Some people like to be in charge, I guess, and if they can't manage that, then they like to create drama.
post #38 of 182
Thread Starter 
Dang, I think I love your husband a little, too, LOL!

Seriously, I think they were way out of line. All my littles have had daddy obsessions at that stage. When my oldest was that age, he actually escaped and ran up to the chancel and DH ended up preaching with a toddler on his hip. This was also the stage when he (the oldest) would start shouting "AMEN!" when he felt his daddy's prayers and sermons had gone on long enough. And I have never, ever had one person complain. Most people thought it was cute (even when I felt like curling up under a pew and dieing) and if they didn't, they kept their mouths shut.

I'm sorry I don't have more advice, although I think your husband handled it very well. If you're doing what you can to keep your little guy occupied, and if the church has made a conscious effort to keep children in for worship and teaching, then I don't really see what more you can do. And I would think it would be extremely welcoming to other parents of little ones to see the pastor's wife struggling with the same things they do, toddler behavior issue-wise. At least that's what I keep telling myself, !
post #39 of 182
I think it's incredibly rude.
Everyone I've talked to with small children actually likes that my kids are not perfect in church- it doesn't set the standard impossibly high. Do the complainers have children- and if so, how long has it been since they were toddlers?
It's also sad that they blamed the congregation when it sounds like they are the ones with the issue.
post #40 of 182
Ah! You miss a lot when you mostly lurk and read new posts!

I'm Heather, and I'm married to a pastor. In this area that gets me called "first lady" more than "pastor's wife"--not in our church, but by others in the community at different churches.

Anyway, he's the senior pastor at http://efco.org/templates/System/default.asp?id=21061 (Evangelical Free Church of America) We've been here almost 4 years--he started as an intern for 6 months, then was an associate for a year and a half, and has been the senior pastor for 2 years in January.

I do think sometimes my kids are held to a higher standard--because they are the pastor's kids yes, and also because I'm bold about not spanking them. Many of the other families in the church do spank, and I'm not one to be quiet.

My DH says that while we don't expect our kids to be perfect, we are, Biblically, held to a higher standard. The same is true for our marriage. He says that having a family in turmoil would point to the fact that he needs to get things right with his family before he spends time ministering to others. Now, that's not to say that we expect unreasonable things from our kids. I don't expect them to be silent for the entire church service, or kids who only do what you say, and never disobey. But it does mean that I invest a lot of time, we both do, into parenting well, and finding good solutions for behavior challenges.

SheBear, have you "practiced" church? When my eldest was just over two, he had a hard time in church (and we also have family worship). We would go over several times a week (it helps that we live nextdoor!) and practice. I would get up and sing some songs, then DH would get up and "preach"--all while DS was sitting nicely in the pew. We started out short, and increased the time. We talked about what behavior we were expecting for him. We talked about how when he was really loud or he yelled, it was distracting to the others who were worshiping God. It was a very gentle way to work on solutions to a very age-appropriate response.

If DH wasn't a pastor, we would have taken turns taking him out when it got hard for him to sit. That wasn't an option, though, so we had to find a new solution. And it worked great. In fact, I think we might need to practice again for the sake of my 3 1/2 year old. hmmm.

I don't think you should force your DS to be perfect, but you are in the unique position of being able to influence other families toward positive parenting. If you can find a solution and help your DS through it, you will be able to report back what you did (in a gentle way) to encourage your DS to sit through the service.
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