I was reminded tonight of how--before I was a parent--I used to know how to parent. I could give a solid, logical, sensible (and correct!) suggestion of how to handle almost any situation the kids could present. I could also logically and directly (and correctly!) explain how parenting contributed to the issue at hand. Basically, I was educated and aware but cocky and over-confident. Unfortunately I didn't really know this was my posture (about many subjects, if I'm honest). Even after we'd had kids for a while. A long while.
There may have been truth to what I saw and what I had to stay about it. But I was wrong in my approach and judgement of the people and circumstances involved.
Tonight I had a fresh and kind awareness about myself. Fresh because it's a new topic. Kind because the Lord has opened my eyes to my pride and arrogance. Because I'm in danger of adopting that awful posture again, this time regarding being a pastor's wife. Not so much in judging others but feeling I've got the answers.
I'm in a class this semester where seasoned pastor's wives discuss topics unique to our calling. Brian and I have also been researchers for a group of pastors and their wives for the last 18 months, listening to their stories of what it's like to be a pastor (or his wife) and to be a man who is a pastor (or woman who is his wife). Part of our training for the research job is to hear of others' stories too. And of course Brian has been taught so much about this in his classes at the seminary. We have been privileged to hear many, many wonderful and awful stories; what a blessing to feel so well prepared, so eager to GO do the work.
But the bottom line is I've never been a pastor's wife. Until it IS my role, I really have no idea what it's going to be like for me. And I can't think I know what I'll do until I'm actually there, until I have a real grasp of all the factors playing in to my life. I'm left needy. Prepared, but needy.
It is good to be reminded of sin patterns. To see God's work in changing me. To fight against cycling back into old habits. Reminded that I've been broken, humbled to the dust. Because only then can I offer the mercy I have received.