Friday, October 21, 2016

Words of Faith: Shannon's story about dating and marrying her husband

The View from the Second Pew
A Words of Faith story by Shannon Taylor Vannatter

When I was a child, I went to church sporadically. We’d followed the housing booms far from my parents’ rural Arkansas home. My mother taught me about God and Jesus, while my dad worked from dusk to well after dawn as a carpenter. When I was twelve, we returned to rural Arkansas and the Methodist church they’d grown up in. We attended church regularly, but somehow I got the idea that if I went to church and was a good person, I’d go to heaven.

Until I started dating my future husband—a Baptist preacher’s kid. He mentioned being saved and I had no clue what that was until he explained that I had to put my faith and trust in Jesus and ask him to be my savior. This was totally crazy, because at the time, my husband was a pothead – I just didn’t know it yet. He’d been saved at nine years old but went wild after his parents ended up divorcing. While we dated, he went to church with me sporadically. But after a while, I figured out that all the rumors I heard about him were true. We broke up.

Finally, the salvation sermons I heard began to sink in and I committed my life to Christ in my bedroom. A few months later, my future husband told me he was quitting all his meanness and I could tell he was different. He started going to church with me regularly and recommitted to Jesus. Our relationship completely changed for the better, we dated the rest of high school and married a year after graduation.

About fourteen years later, he dipped his toe into ministry and became a youth director at my parents’ church which had changed to nondenominational. We had about thirty unchurched, unruly teens. It was difficult for me. While Grant was just glad they were coming to church, I’d get frustrated because I could tell they were only coming to get out of the house and they took advantage of his generosity with them. Out of those thirty – only one is still in church that we know of, and one is in prison for murder.

Three years later, the wonderful, loving, Godly man I’d married morphed into a preacher on me. Yes, I’d been in church consistently since the age of twelve. Yes, I accepted Christ at fifteen. Yes, I had that deer in the headlights look when he told me he’d answered the call to preach. Me? A preacher’s wife? I wasn’t qualified.

My thoughts and deeds weren’t holy and pure enough. My actions weren’t selfless enough. I couldn’t play the piano and had no desire to teach a Sunday school class. I didn’t have a pedestal to stand on and I’d stunk as a youth director’s wife. I searched the scriptures. There were no verses giving guidelines for a preacher’s wife. I knew that before I searched, but I checked just to make sure. There were guidelines for the preacher, the deacons, even the deacons’ wives, but nothing specifically for the preacher’s wife.

So what did I do? I supported my husband. I baked a horrible cake and had a nice reception after his ordination. The cake was an inch thick and tasted hideous because I used my aunt’s recipe for carrot cake from scratch, which I’d never attempted before. It said to use self-rising flour and mine had been in the canister long enough I’d forgotten it was all purpose. Let’s just say I don’t cook many things from scratch, another reason I wasn’t a good candidate for a preacher’s wife. The Proverbs 31 woman just isn’t me when it comes to housewifey stuff.


Though I felt completely unqualified and slightly overwhelmed at the sudden preacher’s wife title, I adjusted with help from my husband. At each church he’s pastored, he’s made a point to tell members that I’m for him. Not the church. I’m his wife and I’m there to support him. Talk about taking the pressure off.

For the last fifteen years, I’ve fumbled my way through three Baptist churches as the pastor’s wife. I’m much better and more patient than I was as a youth director’s wife. He’s been pastoring our current church for ten years and I’m there every time the doors are open, unless our son is sick or I’m really sick.

I don’t play the piano, teach Sunday school class, head up any ministries, or work in the nursery. Once a year, during VBS, I’m the craft lady. Once a year, I help pack shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. When we have a death and feed the grieving family, I bring food, help serve, and clean up afterward.

The rest of the time, I sit on the second pew, smile at my husband while he preaches, keep him pumped up, listen to his concerns, and tell everyone he’s the best preacher in town.

~*~
Author bio: Shannon Taylor Vannatter is a stay-at-home mom/pastor’s wife/award winning author. She once climbed a mountain wearing gold wedge-heeled sandals which became known as her hiking boots. Shannon writes inspirational contemporary romance and it took her nine years to get published in the traditional market. 

Shannon and her husband, Pastor Grant
Shannon hopes to entertain Christian women and plant seeds in the non-believer’s heart as her characters struggle with real-life issues. Their journeys, from ordinary lives to extraordinary romance through Christ-centered relationships, demonstrate that love doesn’t conquer all—Jesus does. In her spare time, she loves hanging out with her family, flea marketing, and doing craft projects. 

~*~

2 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. You're welcome, Shannon! :) Thanks for sending in your story. God bless you, your family and your writing ministry! :)

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