‘You should learn how to play the piano or something… since you’ll be a minister’s wife someday.’
An older gentleman said this to me as we were walking along toward the Sunday school class where my husband Sam and I were to share about our missionary experiences. When we were single, Sam and I had both individually heard God’s call and confirmation to be long-term missionaries, and both of us had taken steps of faith on short-term trips to answer that call. And, though they had invited my husband to be the speaker that morning, as equal partners in all things Sam of course wanted me to share my story as well. Sadly, the assumption was that Sam was the minister and I was the minister’s wife!
The gentleman’s comment left me dumbfounded and speechless. I wanted to laugh because it was so absurd and cry because I knew he wasn’t joking. It was assumed that because I was a married female, I was no longer a missionary (I was a missionary’s wife), and furthermore, there was no way I would be the minister – but the minister’s wife.
But God is not gender-biased. He gives spiritual gifts according to his sovereign prerogative. To me, he gave the gifts of teaching and shepherding. To Sam, he gave the gifts of service and music. So… in our family, if anybody was to be the piano player, it would be Sam (who plays the guitar wonderfully while I can’t keep a beat or carry a tune for the life of me), and if anybody were to be a minister’s spouse, it would be him. But a ‘minister’s husband’ – whoever’s heard of that? As we move forward in proclaiming the message of biblical equality, may a woman’s call to ministry be as readily accepted as a man’s.
I was completely speechless in this situation, but what should I have said? Please share if you have had any similar experiences and how you responded – or suggestions of what kind of response would be best in stereotyping situations like this.