The Power of Loose Change


At Eighteen, I announced to my then roommates that someday I would marry a pastor.  My proclamation had less to do with a divine calling and more to do with the fact that I was attending a very conservative Bible College where all potential suitors pursued missions, music, or Ministry.   I don’t drink goats milk and am 100% tone def, leaving married to a minister my assured destiny.

Twelve years ago, and still naïve to my own flaws, I thought I’d make a pretty good Pastor’s wife.  A Spiritual Wonderwoman . . . only with more clothes on.

Ironically, I didn’t meet my husband at that Bible College,  but I somehow still wound up married to a Pastor.  A prophesy fulfilled, I guess.  Minus the whole wonderwoman thing.

In reality I am pretty much the worst Pastor’s wife. Ever.  I’m not up at 6 am on Sunday mornings pressing my husbands pants for the service. Most Sunday mornings I’m lost in the woods somewhere, showing up to church five minutes late and with dirt between my toes.  I don’t host luncheons for women at my house on Wednesdays.  Most weekdays the pile of laundry I haven’t yet folded covers the majority of the seating  in my living room.  The dog is usually asleep in the other chair.  Worst of all,  I don’t even scrapbook.  For the record, I don’t do anything that requires an “ing” to even be a verb.

Once, a woman who frequents my spin classes, confronted me.  She heard that my husband was a minister, and I (in my spandex, yelling at her to pedal faster while Katy Perry blared in the background) did not fit her profile of a Pastor’s wife.  “You pastor’s wife,”  she accused in a thick accent and with finger wagging.  “You no pastor’s wife,  you should be home drinking tea.”

Her sentiments ring in my ears daily.

I certainly fall short of what others expect, and I never live up to what I require of myself.  I am more full of holes than holy,  more often hypocritical than hyper-spiritual, and certainly more wandering than wonderwoman.

The whole role of Pastor’s wife is not at all what I imagined from the top bunk of my dorm room.  Some days I even resent it.  And in all of my disillusionment  I start to go to church begrudgingly,  I pick up the doughnuts with a chip on my shoulder, I even “praise the Lord” with sarcasm instead of sacrament. 

Yesterday,  in my very pew and three people down, sat a single woman with a plastic coffee container.  When the offering tray passed,  she emptied the contents of the container into the bowl.  A steady stream of silver and copper poured out.  The clang of the pennies disrupted the prayer,  the click of the quarters overpowered the duet on stage, and the ding of the dimes and nickels changed my heart.

She offered her pennies, the little she had, and added it to the church’s pot.  My husband will get a check from the church this month, he will take it to the bank  and pay our mortgage.  Included in that check will be some loose change.

In my very pew and three people down, sat a woman who believes in my husband, who provide for my family, who has never once asked me for a single thing in return.  And I want nothing more now than to give her everything I’ve got. 

It is easy to resent our roles in life.  To begrudge the positions we possess, even when we have asked for them.  Even when we kind of enjoy them.  (Just ask my daughter who stomped down the hall exclaiming “why do I always have to do it,”  when I told her to feed the dog tonight.  Why? . . . because  You said you wanted to . . . five minutes ago.)

We may desire to be boss, but not want to parent our employees.  Sometimes it is part of the job.  We may want to parent, but not clean up vomit.  Sometimes kids puke.  We may desire to be married to our spouse, but not vowed to the job they love.  Sometimes loving them is engaging in the things they love too. 

Zipporah was the coolest pastor’s wife ever.  When Moses told her to circumcise their sons she had so had it with Mo and his ministry, she threw the foreskin at him. 

There are days that I’d like to throw some foreskin around while stomping down the hall and yelling “why do I have to do it.”  Those are the days I need a little loose change.

We may begrudge our role, but only when we forget what a privilege it is.  Whatever your calling,  divine or otherwise, it is a privilege.  You may define yourself as parent, employer,  sibling,  child . . .you may struggle with the expectations of that definition . . . but look past the expectations and you will see the people in your life who are pouring their coffee cans into your pot. The part you play may not at all be what you expected, but it is still a privilege.  Embrace  your role: love and serve.  Let your life be poured out like loose change. 

I may never wear a cape, but I could probably humble myself and scrapbook.