I had mentioned several months ago that my church’s Spanish congregation had been dissolved in this particular town i am in.
Today we formally began to meet here, although for now it is only to visit those who were previously interested.
We are sent off in pairs but when there is an odd number of us, i get assigned to my husband and his pair.
I’m a third wheel of sorts.
Or the other brother is.
Depends on how you look at it.
I wait in the car while my husband and the third wheel visit a man who invites them to sit and chat.
Earlier, this elderly brother accompanying us complained that we’re just visiting popsicles, since most in this area are apathetic toward biblical topics.
He himself reasoned that we must still preach.
“So where are we going?” he asked.
My husband directed him toward said Popsicles.
This is the third home we visit.
I see my husband greet the man of the house like an old friend, though they’ve never met.
He takes personal interest in every word the man says.
After a couple minutes, the edges of the Popsicle-Man have melted and they are invited to sit.
I had gotten out of the car while writing the above introduction because of the heat.
My husband saw me leave and texted me to come join them.
They were speaking with a Catholic counselor (not sure what his formal title is).
The man was seemingly polite but he got agitated when i read him a text from his Bible.
He said i was showing-off and i had failed his psychological test.
I said i wasn’t sharing anything of my own but that it was out of his own Bible i had read the text.
He called me a show-off again and i perceived that he was not accustomed to a woman teaching him.
My husband told him we do not visit people to psycho-analyze them and God doesn’t test anyone, for it would be unkind of him to do so.
The man said, “One needs to be very humble to talk about these things.”
I assume he was saying that in regards to himself, since we all know i am as humble as they come.
I restrained from adding carbon to the fire and tried to shut up.
The man said he’s seen some from our church drinking a beer, and the elderly brother told him the Bible does not condemn drinking moderately.
That reminded me it was almost lunchtime, so on that note we left.
My husband said he was not satisfied with the way the conversation went.
I wonder if i made things worse when i joined them.
But i tried not to dominate the conversation.
The man was criticizing us for preaching to the population at large, while saying he focuses on alcoholics and drug addicts- “those who really need it.”
I praised him for helping “those who really need it” before asking him for permission to use his Bible.
The text i read him lists nine sins that prevent people from inheriting God’s kingdom, not just one or two.
And i reiterated that some of our members had participated in those sins before becoming Christians, so it’s not like we’re not helping anyone.
He said he carries the Bible with him but doesn’t go around using it.
“That would be showing off.”
We meet different people everyday and i’ve been doing this for quite some time.
First time ever someone tells me i’m showing off.
I don’t think handling a Bible well is showing off, much like i don’t think people who are not familiar with the Bible are ignorant.
“I’m a nobody,” i had replied, “what could i possibly share as far as wisdom? All i can give comes from God’s knowledge, not mine.”
But when he told me again that i was showing off, i decided, again, to shut up.
It is not uncommon for our visits to leave a bitter taste in our mouths.
My husband’s demeanor throughout never seizes to impress me.
The way he discreetly but very effectively teaches about God leaves me in awe, like when he explained that God doesn’t test anyone.
This was, of course, in response to the man telling me i had failed his psychological test.
The same thing happens when i accompany my mother in the ministry.
Her calm demeanor when people are being flat out rude is just beyond me.
And her compassion tape runs three times longer than mine.
I am the opposite.
Sometimes i wonder if i do more harm than good.
I may not talk back but my personality can be somewhat transparent.
It’s easy for people to tell when they’ve exhausted my patience.
Especially if they follow me on Twitter.
As a minister, i am most effective with people who have low self-esteem.
Awesome people, like me.
Patience is not my thing.
The man asked me twice if i would go give a 3-hour sermon at his church and i replied that men head the congregation under Christ, not women, but that i minister by giving home Bible studies.
His wife had passed by twice without acknowledging our presence in any way.
It is not difficult to be Christian.
What God asks of us is straightforward and doable.
Yet, it is very difficult for me to be a minister’s wife.
It is very difficult to dominate my own wants and passions and subject them to the priorities of an imperfect human.
A Christian shepherd should always have serving God as his priority, and a large part of that is serving the congregation.
My husband does an amazing job at that but our own shortcomings can create frictions at home.
It is very difficult to not walk out and look for someone who makes me his priority instead of a large group of people.
It seemed unrealistic of me to maintain “platonic” friendships with guys who subtly or openly hit on me from time to time.
Almost half of the married friends i had ten years ago have ended up getting cheated on, having affairs or getting divorced.
I’m not so different.
I’m only human.
Close guy friends who never hit on me have come to ignore me all together.
So i cut off the ones that were left last November.
(I’m referring to local men i was friends with over several years, not people who live far away and i occasionally talk to online).
It is easy to get lost in my husband’s shadow.
For instance, a sister who has been in our congregation since January was surprised a couple weeks ago when i told her i worked.
“I thought only your husband worked,” she said.
Which would make perfect sense… if i was ill, had a baby or a zoo… or living off a rich uncle’s inheritance…
Anyway, what i’m trying to convey is that as a minister’s wife, much of my role in the congregation, which is also hard work, goes unnoticed and i just have to bite the bullet.
Or perhaps she thought i am so supportive, she just assumed i had all the time in the world.
My husband, who is a minister in two capacities, both in the preaching work and within the congregation, sometimes forgets to acknowledge my relevance.
Then i have to remind him that i exist and i need him around too.
He usually takes to it but sometimes he puts up a fight.
(That’s when i try to kick him.)
It is not easy being a minister’s wife.
I would recommend a life of self-sacrifice and social service to hardly anyone.
But when i look back at what i wanted from life when i was a teenager, i know this is it.
This is what i wanted.
This is what i got.
But there are people out there who make it worthwhile.
Now and then i’ll meet someone who reminds me of me, and they just melt my own popsicle heart away.