For the pastor’s wives out there, I hope this is honoring to you.
Even though David and I have been involved in church ministry in the past, this is our first official call, with him as an ordained pastor. I am learning, and perhaps am not mistaken that Mayibusas everywhere get an extra layer of expectations and responsibilities.
Never in my life have I been watched so closely, and judged so severely. Maybe it’s the church we’re serving in, or the formal aspects of the culture—whatever it might be, I’m not sure; but here, appearances are important.
For the women’s guild, I have to wear a uniform that makes me feel like I’m dressed up in a pilgrim costume. One of the earlier meetings I forgot my head covering. So when I showed up to the leader meeting, they said I had to go back to the house and get it. One of the ladies escorted me back to manse #2 to retrieve it. My uniform wouldn’t be complete without it.
A few weeks ago, one of the Masina girls asked me if I had worn a miniskirt to church, which she had heard from someone. Of course I was confused because I hadn’t even brought a skirt that goes above me knees. Rumors tend to spread even among the church. Sad, but true. Here in Malawi, no one will confront one another on important issues, yet gossip about the length of my skirt runs rampant.
One day an elder was at the house. From out of nowhere he started telling Amayi that she should check my clothing before I go to church. He went on to tell me to make sure I am dressed appropriately when I am at the church because there are certain expectations from the Synod for what pastors and their wives need to wear. This guy is old. In this country, it used to be against the law for women to wear pants and for men to have long hair. So I am sure it was coming from that. Still, my only reaction was to throw up my hands, so to speak.
It seems that the longer I am here, when I see members from the church, they often remark that they haven’t seen me in a long time. Or they remind me of something I said I would do for them; alluding to yet another unfulfilled expectation.
I would like to remind the world that pastor’s wives are people too. We are sinners just like every other person out there. We are earnestly seeking after God each day.
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7
For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. Romans 10:10