I grew up knowing exactly whom I did not want to marry. Well, okay, maybe not exactly whom, but I knew I didn't want to marry anyone who wanted to be a minister, of any kind. I was very adamant about this all through my childhood and teens.
I saw very clearly the toll being a minister's family took on the wife and kids. I mean, every time you meet someone new and tell them what your husband/dad does, they inevitably say, "Oh wow, that is a tough life." So who in their right mind signs up for that? Because they are right.
My dad pastored several churches but was at one church long enough for me to feel like it was home. We moved there when I was in third grade and left after I graduated high school. I need to first say that my dad has a thick skin, and very little of this really bothered him. I mean, sure some of it did, but he is an incredibly forgiving man. As a child, I had a hard time understanding why people were being mean to my dad. I overheard friends' parents talk bad about my dad when they thought we couldn't hear. (we were in the back of the pickup sitting underneath the OPEN little window????) My Sunday school teacher made a point of telling me how much she loved me, just not my dad so much. All of this was incredibly confusing to me. On top of that, my dad was never home. He was the kind of minister that his flock came first. So the phone would ring, off he would go. We had a vacation planned? Too bad. Special dinner? Sorry. And I mean who were we to get in the way of God? Someone's child is dying and I want my dad home for dinner? Someone's husband just left them and I want to go on vacation?
What sealed the deal for me though was when I was in Jr. high. I slipped into the sanctuary, not supposed to be there, and saw my daddy in front on the platform with a microphone in front of him and a giant screen beside him. Up on the screen was a list of all the problems the church had with my dad. That list was LONG! The head deacon, a friend of ours I thought, was reading them off and asking my daddy to answer to each one. I was floored. Only one of the items still stands out in my memory. My daddy wore a white suit to a funeral. Why? Because the father/husband who had just lost his entire family in a plane crash bought my daddy that suit and asked him to have a praise service because just that year they had all been saved. The only other memory is seeing the back of my mom, sitting tall, but her shoulders shaking just so slightly. I knew this was killing her.
That was the final straw for me. As I look back that was also the beginning of my questioning God and the church. (but that is another post all together) I made a firm decision that I would not live that life. I just wasn't as good as my mom. I would have been jumping up and telling them all to go to hell. I just wouldn't be able to handle the pain.
When it came time to go to college, I went to the same small Baptist (Southern) college my parents attended and my older brother. Now, my dad and my brother were both ministers....you would have thought I would have caught that, but NO! I just wanted to go to college in a different state than my parents lived. But alas, my dad decided to move the summer before college to a church only 45 minutes away from my school!
My first roommate and I had so much in common. We became very close in just a few short weeks. But there was one huge difference, she was there with the intent to find a husband who was going to be a minister. I was floored! I tried to warn her. I told her all the bad stories, but she was just as adamant as I. In the end she married the son of a minister. I wonder if she now realizes what she was saved from. (maybe she'll read and comment....hint hint)
I was extremely open about my not wanting to marry a minister. In fact, I would not date anyone who wanted to be a minister, which I must say limited my options!!! Then along came Jack. He was not intimidated by my strong proclamations. And for some reason, the wall dropped and well, you know the rest.
Now, though, Jack is not a minister or studying to be a minister. He is a pastoral counselor. We do not go to church on Sunday and Wednesday. He is home every night. Saturday he is actually present with us and not writing a sermon in his head, or mulling over some other issue related to church. I have to say, I had no idea really what we were missing until now.
So, am I glad I married a minister? The jury is still out on that, but I know one thing. I am glad I married Jack McKinney.