Friday, July 1, 2016

A Man's Role: To Protect

It's an amazing privilege to have been married to a pastor.  That was my husband's role for the last 31 years until three weeks ago, when we said good-bye to our church of 16 years. On the day he was honored, his last Sunday, we witnessed person after person sharing beautiful stories of how he had touched their lives.  It was the best of times.  It was the worst of times.  He and I were a wreck.  It was like being a part of a memorial service without anyone having died.  Both beautiful and heart-wrenching.

We both agreed later we didn't realize our hearts could feel so broken and so full at the same time.

I have watched his pastor's heart grow over the years, until it was sometimes hard to separate the pastor, from the husband, from the father, from the friend. And this has led to some misunderstandings, and sometimes hard feelings.

How do you separate roles when you are pastor to your parents, your wife, your kids, your friends? How do you show them you love them uniquely, yet need to shepherd their souls at the same time?

My kids have taken turns through the years accusing him of not caring.  Through their eyes they could only see that he wanted to be their pastor, not their dad.  Too many rules (in their eyes).  Being asked how their walk with God was going, if they had read their Bibles and prayed.  Why did they have to go to church all the time?

And when you are husband/dad/son/friend and pastor, it makes you prime target for those who love you most to see you at your weakest moments.  Because he was never perfect, and yet never claimed to be, yet he had to stand before us week after week and proclaim from the pulpit a message he had prepared and prayed over for many hours.

And yet, he has truly loved us all with a deep love that isn't always visible at first glance.

Last year we had watched a wonderful video series on marriage, and the speaker talked about differences between husbands and wives, men and women. And even though we had heard many messages on marriage, this one was very eye-opening for us.

He said that a man was very different from a woman in that his deep instinct was to protect his family.  He would give his life for his wife and kids without thinking.

So, I asked my husband if this was true for him.  His reply?  "In a heartbeat."

It's a lot easier to forgive minor trespasses in a husband or dad when you realize that the one who can drive you to the deepest part of crazy in a given minute, would also give his life for you in a heartbeat.