I do a lot of categorizing in my life, which is how I explain marrying a preacher type. My mother was a teacher, my father became a preacher, and the majority of my family on my mom’s side does one or the other. When someone new remarks about me being a preacher’s wife, I tell them, “in my family you either teach or preach or you marry someone that does.”
Most of my “preacher’s wife” stage of life, I have felt categorized, classified, and stigmatized. Even though I was married for almost ten years before my husband became a preacher, it seems as though we were never anything else. I am 56 now, and proud of it…I have earned every wrinkle, gray hair, and extra pound I have on me. I have lived with chronic pain and illness issues for nearly twenty years now and continued to work, raise my family, and helped my husband in full-time ministry. Over ten years ago I stopped working because my health and pain levels would not cooperate any longer and now I am, according to the government, disabled. My age and employable status are, however, not all that I am or all that I will ever be. I am me, a woman who was once a child, now a wife, mom, grandma, aunt, sister, niece, cousin, daughter, and most importantly, child of God! I always love, but don’t always show it right. I don’t always say the right thing nor have the right attitude, but I sure do try. I love to speak and write, but I also love to play video games, crochet and go kayaking! I love photography, nature, my dogs and shopping, but all of these things do not define me. I am a great many things and God knits them together to make a whole me and without Him I could not survive. What category would that all fit in? I think the best one to place me in, would be the Mary category…just being who God created me to be.
I love how beautifully a scene in the movie, “The Last Holiday,” describes God’s image of us. In the kitchen of a grand hotel, the chef is explaining about the baby turnips he is going to cook. “Poor baby turnips – nobody likes them. Of course life is easy if you are a truffle or shitake mushroom. But the turnip is to be loved because she is a self-made woman of the vegetables. All the others you can only destroy with cooking…but the turnip, she gets better. It’s not how you start, but how you finish.”
I especially love that last part, “it’s not how you start, but how you finish!” I thank God that He doesn’t label us. He doesn’t put us in a box or a category and leave us there. If we leave ourselves open to a bit of “cooking,” we can only get better! How exciting! I appreciate all that I have been, all that I am and I also look forward to what I will become. Watch out – God isn’t done with me yet! And He isn’t done with you, either!
“I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” Philippians 3:14
Mary is the wife of Dale, mother to Matt, Nate and Maegy, and Mother-in-law to Michael and Amber. She is “Grammy” to Elijah, Asher and Bennett. She lives in the Pacific Northwest and is a full-time pastor’s wife and part time daycare to her 3 year old and 6 month old grandboos. She has a side business called “Leaf It To Me,” making and painting cement leaf castings and speaks for various women’s events around the NW. From time-to-time you can find her sporadic ramblings on Facebook or at http://marylphipps.blogspot.com/