Monday, January 31, 2011

On Being...A Pastor's Wife

I'm honored to say the least, to have the pleasure of interviewing Deidra from jumpingtandem.com. After reading her blog for more than two years and getting a chance to meet her and her sweet husband, H, I can without a doubt call her a sister friend.

1) You're a wife, mom and so much more. In your always honest way of expressing yourself...who is Deidra?

I am a dancer, an ocean seeker, a book reader, a writer. I miss the mark every day. I am overwhelmed by grace and thrilled that God keeps loving me in spite of me.

2) How long have you been married to H? How did you meet and was it love at first sight? Do you believe in love at first sight?

Harry and I will celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary in August. I always tell him that he should put being married to me on his resume as an acquired skill.

We met at a Commodores concert. It’s a fun story and I wrote about it on my blog. Neither one of us wanted to go to that concert, but we each had a friend who begged us to go with them. Looking back, I’m sure it was some sort of divine meeting. Who knew God liked the Commodores?

Love at first sight? I don’t think it was love, but there was certainly something special going on.

3) Was H a pastor at the time that you met? Did you dream of being a pastor's wife?

Harry was not a pastor when we met, and it was not my plan or even remote desire to be a pastor’s wife.

When I was growing up, my family went to church every Sunday. We went as a family, and I remember that we sat together as a family. Church was part of our lives. And faith was a big part of my parents’ lives. I played along because it was all I really knew. So, when I started thinking about the type of man I’d want to marry, I knew I wanted a man who would go to church every Sunday. That was all I was asking for. But, I guess since I was open to having a church-going man, God thought he’d do one better and call my man into the ministry.

It was a surprise for both of us.

4) What is the most challenging part of being a pastor's wife?

Early on it was the expectations, and not just the ones that other people put on me. I had my own silly ideas of what a pastor’s wife should do and say, how she should dress, what special privileges she should have, and how perfect her house and hair and children and pets should be. I was my own worst critic.

I was young when Harry became a pastor – just 24, so some of that silliness was a factor of my inexperience. Now I know that all I can really do is be me and that means facing up to the fact that I don’t always want to get all dressed up or play the piano in church. It also means recognizing that we are here for one another and God sees us all the same. My house gets cluttered and dishes go unwashed and sometimes I wait too long to get my hair done. My children are human and my pets are…well…pets. That’s just the way it is.

These days the biggest challenge is balance. I work full-time and find it hard to figure out just how involved I can be at church. I don’t think that’s unique to my situation, though. Women everywhere – single, married, divorced, widowed – are each trying to figure out how to make it all work.

5) Growing up in the church, I've seen pastors and their families looked at as "perfect". Do you ever feel like you're being scrutinized or watched to see if you curse, make mistakes or do something that others would consider, un-Godly?

Well, if people are looking for me to mess up, they won’t have to look too long. I am constantly messing up. Seriously. What I really think people are looking for is to see how we handle our mess-ups. Do we rationalize or do we own up? Do we apologize or do we place blame? Do we try to justify or do we humbly ask for forgiveness?

6) What is the most enjoyable part of your day?

Almost every night, when I lay my head down on the pillow and pull the covers up to my chin, I say to Harry, “You know what?” He obliges and says, “No. What?” And I say, “This is the most comfortable bed.” Sometimes Harry laughs and sometimes he says, “You say that every night.” To which I reply, “I know.” That is my favorite part of the day.

7) What seems to be the most compelling part of your ministry?

Love. It really is that simple.

But love is complicated, isn’t it? Especially when it’s love in action and not just a word on a page. Loving people who won’t love you back. Saying “no” as a form of love. Lovingly releasing people to let them make their own mistakes. Loving people whose politics or lifestyles or hygiene make you uncomfortable. It’s radical, but when love is done right I truly believe it’s a miracle.

8) How do you make time for "you"?

I schedule it in. Truly. If I don’t make a point to take time for me, I will run myself into the ground and wonder how I got there. I have a calendar – an actual book – that I carry around with me. I write down things like “read” or “watch Modern Family” or “go to the gym.” If I don’t write it down and check it off, just like the laundry it won’t get done.

9) Is there a huge difference in being a pastor's wife in 2011 from when you first began? If so, what are those differences?

Well, first of all I’ve changed. I talked a bit about that earlier. Growing older and being able to be more comfortable in my skin has helped me not to take the whole thing too seriously and I think that’s made a difference specifically in how things have changed for me.

Generally speaking, however, I think the role of a pastor’s wife is still a bit mysterious. There was a season when Harry worked as a consultant for a denomination. During that time, he wasn’t the pastor of a church so we joined one and – for the first time in a long time – we had a pastor and a pastor’s wife. It was interesting to watch them navigate their roles. They started the church - first in their home, then in a movie theater (which is where we first met them), and finally in a brand new building. The bigger the church got, the less accessible the pastor and his family became.

10) Is there a book or a special project that you're working on?

Harry and I are really drawn to a life of simplicity and community. For now, that’s our project. We’re trying to figure out how we will downsize and what that will mean for how we live our life together and in the world.

In my head there is a book. One day I may write it down.

11) I have had the pleasure of sitting down and chatting with both you and H, face to face. You are without a doubt, the most beautiful and encouraging person to spend time with. Do you ever had days that you doubt your place in ministry?

A few years back I experienced a journey through depression. It was not good. It was triggered by some setbacks we’d experienced in ministry. These setbacks made me question everything and left me wondering what was the point. It was more than a funk. It was what some theologians call a crisis of faith. I wasn’t sure what I believed anymore. I wasn’t even sure that I believed. I was completely lost and utterly hopeless.

Eventually I made my way to a therapist and then to my medical doctor who prescribed an anti-depressant. And let me just say here - to anyone who may be feeling lost and hopeless – that being depressed does not mean that God doesn’t love you. God loves you so much that God gave people the skill to ask the right questions that help you find your way and to create the medicine that will open the door so that the light can get in. There is help and it’s OK to ask for it.

When I came through that journey, I was stronger and more confident in every way – physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Still the same me, just better for having taken that journey.

And your journeys are also the journeys of your readers and friends. I am inspired by your words of wisdom, inspiration and love. Thank you for sharing straight from your heart to mine. Your words always bring tears to my eyes.

24 comments:

Ash said...

i better go check out her blog :)

Brian Miller said...

ok deidra rocks...love her blog...and some great wisdom here as well...i imaigne my wife would say some similar things from my time in ministry...

Stacy Lynn said...

I really like the attitude and faith that shines through in all of her answers. I definitely need to check out her blog.

Cheryl Smith said...

Of course God likes the Commodores. I mean, come on! :)

I've never thought about how pastor's wives may struggle with their own expectations of what a pastor's wife looks like. That's an interesting, and new insight for me to share as I have opportunity.

Ann Kroeker said...

Great interview--I'm loving getting to know Deidra better (Hi, Deidra!) through these responses. So many stories here...of struggles and joys and creativity and love and depression...all wrapped up in one beautiful, gifted woman of God. I'm so honored to work with her through TheHighCalling.org.

Dena Dyer said...

Thanks for doing this interview with Deidra. She's a wonderful person, an amazing writer (and wife and mom), and I love her wisdom, authenticity and courage. :)

Formerly known as Frau said...

Simone...love this interview! Deidra is an amazing women and she brings tears to my eyes so often. She is the most down to earth,loving and understanding and real person I know...her words lift me and also the fact that she is like us all makes me smile. Always wondered what H name really is ....it's the same as my Dad! :)
Great interview and insight!

spaghettipie said...

Wonderful interview, and I, too, am loving getting to know Deidra.
I especially loved the wisdom here -
"Well, if people are looking for me to mess up, they won’t have to look too long. I am constantly messing up. Seriously. What I really think people are looking for is to see how we handle our mess-ups. Do we rationalize or do we own up? Do we apologize or do we place blame? Do we try to justify or do we humbly ask for forgiveness?"
I think that's good to think on for all of us.

Sam Van Eman said...

Hey, Diedra! #6 is my favorite. I'm an every other nighter with the bed comment.

Deidra said...

Simone - Doing this interview was a blast! Thanks so much for inviting me.

Brian - Note to self: Must do coffee with Brian's wife.

Cheryl - Do you think God prefers the Lionel Ritchie Commodores or the After Lionel version? ;)

Hi Ann!

Dena! Miss you, my friend!

Kathy (AKA Frau) - Yes. The secret is out of the bag. So cool that theses two men share the same name!

Ella said...

Thanks for this wonderful post, I admire her so much and you asked the questions that I have wanted to know since I started to follow her blog. (Have also been reading your beautiful comments there)

Erin MacPherson said...

Wow... what a cool interview. She seems like someone I'd love to know... what a great attitude and faith!

Megan Willome said...

Love the bed comment. There's something so sweet there.

Anna See said...

Great interview!

Teresa @ Grammy Girlfriend said...

Loved this post.....Great interview

Multiple personalities.. said...

So nice to meet such a great friend of yours! I love how you say that LOVE is the most compelling part of your ministry. I think everyone can relate to that. It all comes down to love baby! What a wonderful friendship you two have. :-)

Anita said...

You're very good at interviewing people, Simone. Perhaps a talk show upon the horizons. :)

I'm going over to visit Deidra's blog when I leave yours.

Linda said...

It is a joy to get to know you even better Deidra. I think you are amazing. Being a Pastor's wife is not for the faint of heart I think!
One of the most influential women in both my and my husband's life was the wife of the Pastor of the church we attended as newlyweds.The love and wisdom she poured into our lives just can't be measured. She is in her nineties now and still a cherished friend.
I believe you are just that kind of Pastor's wife.

Life with Kaishon said...

I like what she says about how she has changed through the years. Don't we all. That is the beauty of life.

Also love that Love is the basis of all that they teach. God is love.

Nezzy said...

What a wonderful interview with a special woman of God this was. I just loved the way her spirit and faith shinned through her words.

Now for some silly reason all I want to do is sing..."She's a brick house..." :o)

God bless ya sweetie and have a beautiful day!!!

Belinda said...

It was fun getting to know Deidra better! Thank you Chocolate Covered Daydreams!

Veronica Lee said...

Great interview, Simone. Deidre sounds like an amazing person.

Claire said...

my favourite part is the just before lights out...

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