I usually do not go to the church during the week. However, Monday (July 19) I needed to tell Mike (my husband) about a problem in our bank account, so I stopped by his office. Shortly after I entered the church, I found two men who looked lost. I asked if they needed help. They explained that they were electricians and couldn't find the bathroom that needed new light fixtures.
I led them through the maze of halls, while they proceeded to talk about how they found God a few years ago, and the difference that God made in both of their lives. Somehow, I mentioned that my husband was the pastor.
One of the men said, "Oh my. You are the 'first lady.' You are honored among women". I hardly knew what to say. I had heard the term 'first lady' used for the pastor's spouse before, but no one had ever called me by that term. I stumbled for words to reply, and finally said, "No I am Jacquie, Mike's wife."
Then, I recalled a visit two years ago to upstate New York where I was born. Mike and I attended St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, as my heritage is Greek and Russian Orthodox. I smelled incense the minute I entered the church which quickly brought back so many memories of kissing icons (which I did not like) and crossing myself. The spouse of the priest in an orthodox church has a special name, matushka, which the congregation is proud to call her.
Many, many times, when I am introduced by someone in the congregation to a friend or family member, I hear the words, "This is Jacquie Reed our minister's wife." When Mike first began ministry, I did not like being introduced as 'our minister's wife', because I wanted my own identity (I asked Mike, more than once, "What can't I be introduced as Jacquie Reed, person, period?") and I definitely did not being thought of as an appendage of Mike.
Through the years, however, I realized that nothing I could do , politely and respectfully, would prevent people from introducing me as they had from the beginning. So I decided to embrace these moments, thank God for giving me the opportunity to be Mike's wife, and accept the joy which people convey introducing me as "our minister's wife."
How do persons in the congregation introduce you? Would you like to be called "first lady" or "matushka" (meaning mother) or the "pastor's wife"?