I didn’t know much about what it meant to be a pastor’s wife when I first gave my heart away to a man who God was clearly calling into ministry.
There were two things I thought I knew for sure though. If I was going to be a pastor’s wife:
1.) I was going to have to learn to play the piano.
2.) I was going to be poor for the rest of my life.
It turns out I had more than a few things to learn about both ministry and money. I learned right away that just about every preconceived notion I had about what it means to be a pastor’s wife was untrue—or at least not always true.
Contrary to what I first thought, nobody made me wear shoulder pads or broaches when my new husband took on the title of Youth Pastor fresh out of college. And, thankfully, not once over the past 12 years has someone asked me to play the piano.
As far as being poor for the rest of my life? Well, that myth took a little longer to dispel.
We spent the first several years of our marriage on a youth pastor’s salary. I was still in college, and although we’ve always been convicted to live within our means, we struggled to make ends meet each month. We lived a meager lifestyle but bought into the idea that we ought to purchase a home right away and tied up much of our income in our little 912 square foot home.
Then, just six months after I graduated college—just about the time my student loans kicked in—we found ourselves (rather unexpectedly) parents… overnight.
As in literally, overnight. One day it was just the two of us and the next day we had a 16 month-old bundle of joy when a very young mom from our youth group entrusted us to raise her beautiful daughter. Five months later I was pregnant with our son.
While my heart was very full, it turns out it’s a little more difficult to make ends meet with two more mouths to feed.
To make a long story short, we hit our own little financial crisis in 2006, 9 months after our son was born. For the first time in our lives we overdrew our accounts and realized that something needed to change.
We made some necessary adjustments but it would be a few more years before we did anything other than struggle daily to make ends meet. Though we managed to save a little bit of money here and there we were always one car repair or unexpected medical expense away from catastrophe.
During this time I have to say that God was so very faithful to us. We were spared from catastrophe more than once by generous family and church members. We have story after story after story of how God provided for our needs at just the right time, often only hours before we even knew the need was going to exist. He used the generosity of others to bless us time and time again.
This fit perfectly with what I mistakenly thought would be my life’s calling. I thought every good thing we’d ever receive in our lives would be due to someone else’s generosity. After all, I really thought all pastor’s families were supposed to be as poor as church mice. I’m pretty sure I actually believed it was part of the unwritten code of being a pastor’s wife. It turns out that this “truth” is written in 2nd Opinions 3:16 somewhere between the requirements of playing the piano and wearing shoulder pads.
This post is the prequel to a series about Raising Money-Smart Kids that I am writing as part of a Smart Money Smart Kids book launch team. We are often asked what we do to teach our kids about money and good stewardship. In this series I will share our story along with some of our best loved tricks and tips for helping kids win with money in a debt-filled world.