The first panoramic view from the pulpit often gives me a sobering pictorial of my reality. Universal images of gum chewers, crying babies and sleeping congregants are par for the course. My eyes always find their way to the front, where she likes to sit. Her headgear is large enough to balance a small fruit basket. Her smile gleams almost as bright as that diamond ring on her left hand. She’s fresh dressed — like a million bucks; with accessories coordinated with a meticulous level of detail.
Her regal aesthetic is a reflection of the man of God to whom she belongs. If the church were a Christmas tree, then she would be the star. She’s the First Lady.
And I will never have one.
My pastor’s wife is just that…his wife. She is his help meet. His best friend. His lifelong cheerleader, personal chef, co-parent, counselor, road trip partner and motivational speaker. I watch her take care of him with such fervor, even after 35+ years of marriage. She is many things to him, but she is not a First Lady. My pastor doesn’t allow anyone to refer to her as such.
Having a “first” implies a sequential order. There is no second, third or so on when it comes to the love of your life. She is his one and only — her function is to be by his side and not be revered by a congregation. More importantly, she brings so much class and grace to her role as his wife, that being a First Lady would be a demotion.
At first glance, it may seem like an overreaction to semantics; yet the neurolinguistic programming of this moniker makes a difference in the long run. While my pastor’s wife plays an integral role in his ministry, there is no confusion as to her primary role in his life. The only thing greater than her devotion is the reciprocity of love that is displayed whenever I see them together.
It is my prayer than men in ministry — or any man who’s ready to welcome it — finds a wife who transcends social constructs and adheres to high spiritual conduct. First can be any number in any given sequence, but “one” will always be the first number in infinity — the welcome sign towards eternity.
As she waits to be discovered, I believe that miraculous woman should prepare to be worthy of discovery. Meanwhile men should work towards being worthy of her preparation. And when their love for God and individual joy collide — they will jointly discover the labor of love that comes from being more than the first.