What many people don’t realize about the ministry is that it takes a tremendous support network for a pastor to be able to do his/her job well. The emotional, physical, and time demands placed on ministers are hard to quantify, but probably exceed most people’s estimates. While it’s an incredibly rewarding and fulfilling job, it’s not an easy one.
But this post isn’t about me. It’s about my wife, Leigh. Pastors’ wives (I realize there are pastors’ husbands, as well, but I’m going to speak from my own experience) have an thankless position. They are looked upon as the First Lady of the church and often expected to stand right alongside their husband in doing ministry and providing services to the church (thankfully, our church is very good about not doing this to Leigh, but the unspoken expectations are always there).
That’s only what the deal with in the public eye. Behind the scenes, Leigh has to deal with my ever-changing schedule, frequent evening meetings and counseling sessions, middle-of-the-night emergencies, and a sometimes grumpy husband who’s had a difficult day at work, all while taking care of our two amazing and beautiful daughters (they get that from her!), keeping the house presentable, shopping for food, making our meals, and doing some mindless, time-consuming work on the side (transcription) to help pay the bills. If you ask me, only God can accomplish more in six days than my wife!
Here’s an interesting tidbit: Leigh never signed on to be a pastor’s wife. When we met, I was a journalist, and when we got engaged, I was going to be a college professor. When the idea of ministry came up, she was unreserved in her enthusiasm and support of me, even though she wasn’t quite sure what that would mean for her.
From that point, she has made countless sacrifices so that I could complete school and start my career. It’s only in hindsight that I can begin to understand all that she has put aside for my sake. I know I haven’t always been very grateful for that, and I am ashamed of that, because she deserves a big “thank you” every single day for what she does. While she may not direct the choir or lead Sunday School, we are very much a team in ministry.
What some people may not know about Leigh is just how creative and talented she is. The church has had the pleasure of learning about her incredible desserts first-hand (I love my job as taste-tester!). But along with her culinary skills, she’s also a talented artist. Over the years she has dabbled in a number of art forms, and is talented in all of them. You should see the mosaic she created around our fireplace! She is simply one of the most creative people I know.
After years of trying her hand at a bunch of different things, I believe she’s finally found her true gift and calling: photography. She has a natural eye for taking pictures, and she’s produced some of the most beautiful shots of our girls and some of the kids in the church. Her pictures are able to capture a scene that goes beyond what the eye sees. She continues to amaze me with the depth of her talent.
So here’s the brag (as if I haven’t done that yet!): She is moving forward with starting a photography business called Little Feet Photography. It’s a decision that takes so much courage and initiative to do. It would be easy to think of 100 reasons not to do it. But she’s doing it, and I am so proud of her. I just know she’s going to be incredibly successful; she’s already starting to get more referrals than she can handle! You can check out some of her work here.
After years of putting her own ambitions on the back burner for my sake, I’m so thrilled to see her moving forward with something she really loves doing. Leigh is such a patient, loving, kind person. She has a great sense of humor and the ability to make me feel good even when I’ve had the worst of days. I smile every time she walks in the room! She continues to walk beside me as I deal with my MS without a word of complaint or regret. She is simply an amazing woman, and I have to be the luckiest man in the world to have her as my wife. I love her more each day, and I thank God every day for bring her into my life.