A Typical or Atypical Pastor's Wife-whichever one you come to believe

Welcome to the barnyard. Watch your step! The things written here are raw and unedited. Just my thoughts thrown on a page as they flow from my heart.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

In Every Fishbowl, There's A LIttle Poop

I was at a prayer meeting with some ladies and the subject of "fishbowl living" came up. (Just let me say how much I LOVE the ladies in my prayer group!  They are the best!)   Fishbowl living is a term used mostly by Pastor's wives.  It describes the scrutiny they get from congregation members, neighbors, and unfortunately other Pastor's wives. 

Some of the ladies asked me (or maybe I just told them) how I felt about living in a fishbowl.  I replied "I love living in a fishbowl!"  This wasn't what they were expecting.

I have a living, wonderful relationship with Jesus Christ.  Being loved and accepted by Jesus Christ has removed any need for me to cover any aspects of my life.  I am free to be who Christ has made me to be.  I rest in the knowledge that Christ is making me more and more like himself everyday and I want people to see Christ.  I invite people to come and see what Christ has done in me, in my marriage and in my family.  Come and observe the kind of life I have because of him!

Am I perfect?  FAR FROM IT!  I have faults, shortcomings, and times of weakness both in living and in character.  I go through the same things everyone else does.  I don't care if people see that I'm not perfect.  That's what makes me human.  What I do want them to see is that I am in a process of being perfected. 

One of the ladies put it perfectly when she said, "I guess in every fishbowl, there's a little poop."  I can look in  a fishbowl and appreciate the beauty of the fish even if I see a little poop floating around in there.  Poop happens!  To everyone!  And usually when it does, someone is watching! 

At some point, I'm going to disappoint or offend someone-just by being me, in all my imperfection.  Even those things already perfected in me will offend some.  I know this because it happened to Christ.  This means that not everyone at church is going to like me.  I may not be invited to some things that others are invited to.  I may be looked down on because I'm a Pastor's wife.  I may be patronized because I'm the Pastor's wife.  You know what?  I don't care!  I can love everyone at my church, even if I don't particularly like them.  Even Jesus had his favorites.

God didn't call me to be liked by everyone.  Good heavens, His son is perfect and he was put to death by church people!  At the end of it all, he only had 120 followers.  But those 120 had his back.  The older I get, the more I realize that at the end of life if you can say that you had a couple "true" friends, you can consider yourself very blessed.  Hey, it was Christ's experience!

And evidently, in reality, that little bit of poop in the Pastor's fishbowl must  not be all that bad.  Where do people go when there's so much poop in their own life that they don't know how to handle it?  To the Pastor's fishbowl!  And what do they expect from the Pastor?  To be loved, encouraged, helped and accepted, regardless of how much or how stinky their fishbowl poop may be.  I think I made my point.

For the most part, my fishbowl may be clean and spotless.  (probably not my house, but my fishbowl!) LOL!  But the longer you stand and stare into that fishbowl, the more probable it is that you are going to see some poop.  Does that mean that the fishbowl was neglected.  NO!  Does it mean that there is something wrong with the fish?  NO!  In fact, it means that the fish are alive!  If there was never any poop, it would most certainly mean that the fish were dead. 

So just because I may not be all that everyone perceives a Pastor's wife should be--an impossible feat even for the most qualified of Pastor's wives--it doesn't mean that I am a failure.  Truly, a Pastor's wife is just that--the wife of a Pastor.  His helpmate.  His wife.  The mother of his children.  So if I am succeeding in just doing that, then I am successful. 

In my case, I wasn't the one called to ministry.  I just happened to be married to the one who was.  God knew this before we were even married.  My only responsibility is to my husband, to the giftings in my life and to the commandments of God to the Body of Christ.  Do I always meet those responsibilities perfectly?  NO!  When I fail, His grace is sufficient.  When I triumph, His grace is sufficient.  When I'm discouraged, His grace is sufficient.  When I am hurt or angry, His grace is sufficient.  Suffice it to say HIS GRACE IS SUFFICIENT!

I've heard people say that ministers are held to a higher moral standard than lay people.  That is bunk!  Most of the time it is just an excuse to justify their own poopy behavior or to feed their unsanctified desires to criticize and judge so that they can be elevated in their own minds. 

We are all held to the same standards in the body of Christ and will be judged by them.  With whatever judgement people judge, they will be held to that same judgement themselves.  I wish people realized that!  I fear for some of them.  Yes, there are certain qualifications that should be found in a person that serves in leadership but those qualifications are only fruit that the person is spiritually mature enough and capable enough to be a Godly leader. 

So, if you are living in a fishbowl, get up and dance!  Be all that Christ has made you to be-whatever that looks like!  Don't be afraid to swim in your fishbowl.  Explore every corner of it!  His grace is sufficient!  Take advantage of the position in which you find yourself and live out all that He has done in your life!  Make others desire to live in your fishbowl.  And if when there is poop, don't sweat it.  His grace is sufficient.  And when there are naysayers, his grace is sufficient.  And when others come knocking on the door of your fishbowl, his grace is sufficient!  God knew what He was doing when He dropped you in that fishbowl.  Don't doubt His wisdom, embrace it!  And swim, swim, swim!


  1. Thank you for such a blessing post. I think God is calling me to be a pastor's wife and i have been feeling i can't do it.But after reading your message am saying; May God's will be done in my life.Its true God knew when He dropped me in that fishbowl.
    May God bless you.
    Karen from Finland

  2. Karen, thank you for reading. If you knew what I went through when I found out that the dairy farmer I married was going to be a minister, you would laugh your socks off! I actually thought that God would kill me off and bring a suitable woman into my husband's life for ministry--thus the title "atypical pastor's wife". God made you the way you are because that is how He will use you in ministry, even if you don't look like everyone else. And people will appreciate all the qualities that He put in you because God will send just the ones who need you to your church. So, swim, swim, swim!

  3. Wow, this is great. Having two fish tanks, I was laughing about the poop. We have alot in those two tanks. But, I love my fish! ;) I am going to share this with some pw friends. We all are dealing with more poop than usual and need to get things into perspective. I love your positive attitude! ;)

  4. Thanks for sharing! You have made some great points--I am encouraged. :)