Introvert. Painfully shy. Bookworm. Dreamer. Pastor’s wife?
God has a sense of humor. Fifteen years ago, I was a college sophomore, English lit major and vegetarian when I fell in love with a pastor who spent his spare time deer hunting. I was the girl who planned to get her master’s degree and date at least a year before getting engaged. Instead, I dropped out of college after my sophomore year when that pastor proposed to me after only three weeks of dating. I’m pretty sure God was laughing the whole time.
I knew my life was about to change, so I tried to prepare. During our engagement, I got to know the members of the church Robby pastored. We went to premarital counseling, including a session with a minister who focused specifically on the stresses of being a pastor’s wife. But no amount of counseling could prepare me for being thrust into the spotlight when our honeymoon was over and my new life began. It didn’t take long for my confidence to shatter.
I’m not your “stereotypical” pastor’s wife. I don’t sing…at least not in public. I don’t play piano, or any other instrument. I’m not comfortable in large groups. I don’t like public speaking, unless I’m talking to children. Being a pastor’s wife was taking me way out of my comfort zone.
One night, as the service in our small country church ended, Robby did the unthinkable – he asked me to close the service in prayer. I panicked. As I fumbled around for words, only one sentence came through loud and clear: “I’ll pass.” I think our congregation got a good laugh out of it, but I couldn’t tell for sure over my heart pounding.
That moment highlighted a struggle that lasted months. I felt so inadequate as a pastor’s wife. I grew up in church. I asked Jesus into my heart at five years old. I loved Him – but I felt like a failure. I couldn’t live up to the expectations others had for me. Other people were so comfortable praying or teaching or being in the limelight. I fumbled over my words and wanted to go hide somewhere. I was a misfit.
It took some time, but God began to show me that I didn’t have to live up to any stereotypes. He didn’t call me to change and be like someone else – He called me to embrace my own gifts and live out the passions He gave me, like children’s ministry and writing. (And my husband learned not to call on me to pray during service. Ever.)
The best part is, God doesn’t quit working. The past few years have brought massive changes – earning my degree (thirteen years after dropping out of college), pursuing writing, and an ever growing passion for children’s ministry. He is showing me how to honor Him by being uniquely who He created me to be.
I’m not a misfit—I’m His.
Amanda Holland is a pastor’s wife, mom of two boys and a Yorkie, and registered dental hygienist. She writes fiction and blogs at Grace In Our Moments (graceinourmoments.blogspot.com). Her writing has appeared in Splickety magazine, Splickety Love, and on various websites, including The MOB Society and Inspired to Action.