Written By: Krista Dunbar
Dear Sweet Friend,
I’m writing you this letter because I wish someone had written these words to me when I was first given the new title, “Pastor’s Wife”. You see, there are so many of us women out there who have been given this same title and sometimes, the very same expectations.
Going into this new journey, you may be excited, scared, worried you’re not good enough, fearful of your story, or just plain mad about it.
You see, I was all of those things. I knew my husband was going to be a pastor, but when we married, he was in the field of construction waiting on a church to respond to our interview journey. At this time, I was just anxious to see my husband doing what we believed he was created to do. So when the wait was over and our ministry was to begin within the church, I finally stopped and thought about what this meant.
I grew up in the Catholic church, so the idea of being a Pastor’s wife never really crossed my mind. When I graduated from college and began getting to know the Lord better, I was set up with a soon-to-be preacher. I became infatuated pretty quickly. I thought that if I was good enough for him to date, then I was good enough in general. You see, I still lived my life out of the work-for-your-grace mentality. We got to know each other well through the magic technology of Skype. As we began to broach the deeper topics, I knew I had to start airing some of my dirty laundry. If I was good enough for him, then I’d be good enough for God. (I want to go back and give myself a kick and a hug for this thought process). But eventually, it didn’t work out. And I assumed it was because I wasn’t the quiet, piano playing, DC Talk loving gal he was looking for. I just wasn’t any of those things and couldn’t be any of those things.
This started my journey of feeling as if I wouldn’t be good enough for church ministry. I wasn’t the pristine and beautiful unbroken jar of clay that could do it all. I had baggage. I had doubts. I didn’t even grow up hearing all of the bible stories. But you know what?! None of that mattered.
I met my husband in a young adult group. He looked like a homeless man (not that there was anything wrong with that) but he wasn’t the typical pastor type with the air of perfection oozing from his polo and khakis. And I liked that. He accepted and pursued me for me and saw me as a forgiven and loved woman of God. No matter what my past looked like.
So going into our ministry, I forgot that God orchestrated the whole thing and tried to put fake expectations on myself. I started worrying about what I would look like if I didn’t raise my hands in worship or if I did. I worried about my lack of Biblical knowledge and Christian bands. I worried that my whole relationship with God had been a hoax up to that point and someone would poke and prod and find me out. Because of all of this, I began to create a really pretty mask for myself. I couldn’t be truly authentic because I didn’t have the answers. Because I wanted to be the best partner to my husband in this new thing with these new people.
Honestly friend, this period of wearing the mask lasted two weeks. It was so, so unbelievably heavy. It wasn’t even a version of me I knew.
I realized that it’s okay to doubt. It’s okay to be imperfect because NO HUMAN can ever be perfect. That thought process is dipping dangerously into a realm where we try to be our own Savior and pretend we don’t need the work on the cross to be perfect. And that’s so far from the truth.
If you are new to this whole “pastor’s wife thing”, I want you to hear this:
God has called you to this ministry because you are you. You have a unique personality, unique set of gifts, and a beautiful message (about him) to share by being yourself. And if you are trying to be anyone but yourself, you are doing Him a disservice. If you’re not you, who is?
While it took me a few years to figure out that I don’t have to be everything for everyone, it’s the best thing I could’ve learned.
Ministry can be such a lonely place if you isolate yourself. So let’s stick together, be ourselves, and live out His command of loving Him and others as best as we can.
Krista Dunbar is loved by God, set free from her failures through Jesus Christ, and is living out her purpose through writing, encouraging, and loving others. She believes the best way to lead is by being open, honest, and authentic. She’s the wife and helper to her Young Adult Pastor husband, Chris. They love doing ministry together, serving side by side in conversation, missional living, and doing CrossFit. Krista loves sharing stories of God’s purpose through others’ over at Woven & Threaded. She also just launched her own communications consulting business and is learning how to be an entrepreneur.