My heart is really heavy this morning. It’s making me really irritable and depressed, and I just want to crawl back in bed and wallow in my self-pity for a while.
Being the wife of a pastor can be difficult sometimes. More often than not, it is a blessed life. I enjoy being in ministry with my husband, and I enjoy learning to love the people on our churches. But days like these leave me feeling battered and broken and bruised to the point of wanting to quit. I feel like throwing in the towel, quitting the things I am involved in, removing myself from the community of faith I have tried to become a part of. The truth is that no matter how much you are loved by the church you serve, you are still an outsider. Most of the people in our pews have grown up in the towns where our churches are located. They know all the history and all the people. No matter how hard you try, it’s really hard to become a part of a community like that.
I have watched and listened as people have judged my husband’s performance on everything from visitation to bulletin design. Positive comments get made, but people are so quick to pass on the negative ones. I have heard through the grapevine that comments have been made about things like my attire at church (admittedly on the more casual side, but that’s just me – and my generation!), my hair, my makeup, my jewelry, my attendance habits in the pews, my attendance at UMW meetings, my involvement (or lack thereof) in every little program of the church, etc. It’s as if people expected Matt to show up with a pretty, proper, piano-playing, preschool-teaching, UMW-loving little wife who fit exactly into the mold that had been created for me. Little effort has been made to learn about me and what I’m passionate about. Few people seem to love me for who I am (though there are some – and I am grateful for them!). More effort seems to be made into trying to shape me and suggest that I be who THEY expect me to be. When I have finally felt as though it were time to speak up for my beliefs, I have been shushed in very condescending ways that further infuriate me. On top of all this, a very hurtful comment about my weight was passed on to me last night. It’s like the straw that broke my back…
Come on – I’m not stupid…or blind. I see myself in the mirror. I know what size my clothes are. I know I am overweight. Beyond chubby – I have been the “fat” category for many years now. I could go on and on about what got me to this state, but the real point is that I am trying desperately to learn what it means to feel and be beautiful regardless of my weight, and how to be healthy at the same time. In the past year, Matt and I have changed our eating habits quite a bit to where we’re eating more organic, local, fresh, kind food. We are trying to watch portion sizes, fiber intake, protein, etc. We are getting more active – we joined a gym, and have been learning how to weave workouts into our regular schedules. At this point and size in my life, I am proud to say that I usually feel beautiful. I am married to a man who loves me for who I am on the inside, regardless of how much flesh surrounds my insides. I frequently leave the house feeling pretty. And every day I remind myself that I would rather be this fat, happy person than a thinner, bitter, unhappy person.
So why is it that one comment about possibly breaking someone’s patio furniture sends me into a tailspin of self-pity and loathing?
I have been struggling with what to do next. Right now (with some careful guiding on my husband’s part) I am contemplating moving ahead as if the comment were never made. As though I had no clue that there was worry about me crushing a chair with my fat butt. My gut reaction was to stay away – immediately disconnect. But the wisdom of the Lord and my husband makes me think otherwise. I’m not the first pastor’s wife that has been talked about in such demeaning ways. I’m certainly not going to be the last. If we want to get really spiritual about it, didn’t Jesus carry that cross all the way to death, suffering hateful comments from onlookers every step of the way? This pain and gossip is much less invasive and hurtful. Perhaps I should just suck it up and keep my eyes on the one who really matters…
Katie…..I love you inside and out. You are a beautiful person. I have had a rough month or two the recent year with tears and a good friend was able to move on and let go. It wasn’t easy but worth it. I will be praying for you and for those who say hurtful things.
Oh Katie, you ARE beautiful. Don’t let the hateful comments lead you to believe otherwise. It constantly amazes me how people that like to call themselves Christians behave in such unchristianly ways.
OOOOOh how dare someone talk about MY Friend Katie in any negative way — I could come right over and give them all a piece of my mind… or perhaps I’ll just come up with my sweetest southern drawl (you know the one reserved for those who “Bless their Hearts” just don’t know any better….) and share all the wonderful things I know and love about you!!
In all seriousness though – You know you are God’s perfect creation and keeping your eyes on Him will see you through this!
I love you very much!
People can be so hurtful and mean — they should know better! But I think you’re right — if someone is going to make a comment about you once, they’ll do it again and will make comments about someone else just as quickly. The hardest part (but most necessary) is knowing yourself, deep down, and not letting people devalue who you are.
Sorry that you’re dealing with this, and in a church community no less. I just don’t get people sometimes.
That just goes to show how unhappy THEY are in their life!!
I have to tell you that I’ve been there, done that with the whole wanna just stay at home in my cocoon and shut the world out thing. I’ve even gone as far as writing a sermon about how much a church takes my hubby for granted! Unfortunately, even when you move on in ministry there are always going to be those loud minority of people who, for whatever reason, feel it’s their job in life to make others feel about 1/2 an inch tall – and when it comes to the pastor and family – well, that’s just a bonus in their minds! Roy and I have even gone as far as wondering if these people even know they are (or seem to be) working for the forces of evil!
Please know that you are loved by our devine creator who made you just to be you and nobody else! I love your spirit and have enjoyed getting to know you the past year, my friend! Call or email me if you want to chat on this further, PLEASE! In the meantime, know you are loved just for who you are!!! P.S. I also LOVE that you DON’T fit that little mold of a pastor’s wife! I always say that in that role, I’m here to blow people’s minds and perceptions about that! How BORING would it be if we all fit into that piano playing, sunday school teaching, umw attending, funeral meal making, Bible study leading package? YUCK! 😉
I agree with Lauren, that person is miserable and just trying to make themselves feel better. You are one of the most beautiful people I know, inside and out, and are surrounded by people who love you and would never have any thought like that cross their minds. Filter out those who want to fill your life with disease to make themselves feel better about theirs, and focus on those who realized how blessed their are to have you in their lives. Love you!
*realize, not realized. and they, not their. clearly i was so angered by this event that i can’t even write properly.