My Real Struggle
Do you know what a “Stepford Wife” is? Apparently, the term comes from an old novel and made-for-TV movie. I haven’t read the book or seen the movie, but Google told me a little about it. The story is about a suburb, filled with women who have been turned into submissive, mindless robots by their husbands. The reason I went online to learn the definition of a Stepford Wife is that a lovely person posted on Facebook that, “Martha Fouts was nothing more than a Stepford Wife.”
Her post actually made me laugh. I suppose she thought that I blindly obey my husband and have no brain of my own. If only she knew the struggles I have had with learning to be a submissive wife. If only she knew the struggles I have had with envy, self-centeredness, and feelings of inferiority. Of course, she knew nothing about my struggles. She had only seen me from afar and made a judgement about me.
The idea that the ministry wife lives an idyllic life is a common myth. When we shatter that myth by being transparent about our struggles, it can encourage others by showing them that they are not alone in their frailty and that God offers hope for all of us. None of us are picture perfect.
The idea that the ministry wife lives an idyllic life is a common myth.
A few months ago, my family and I went to a restaurant after church with some friends. My three teenage sons sat at the other end of the table with the rest of the kids. We adults were having our conversation on one end of the table and really weren’t paying attention to what the kids were doing. It so happened that our waitress that evening was a sweet girl who occasionally attended our church. The next day, the manager of the restaurant called me to tell me that one of my sons had carved his initials into the table and had broken a fork. I was mortified! My husband and I let our son have it! He had to go to the restaurant and apologize to the manager and pay for the damages with his own money.
(As a side note, who is that stupid, anyway?!? I mean, vandalize a table with your own initials??? We obviously knew who did it!)
The girl who occasionally attended our church and was our waitress that evening got to see first hand that the pastor’s family is far from perfect. In fact, she told me that some of her co-workers were being unkind talking about our family, saying things like that’s why they don’t go to church, etc., and she had an opportunity to talk to them about all of us needing God’s grace, even the pastor’s family.
That was an embarrassing incident for me. I knew it made me look bad, but God has used that incident for His glory. Since then, I’ve had several conversations with the waitress about grace and repentance and the struggles of parenting, and she has become much more faithful in her church attendance, and even went to a recent women’s conference with us. God actually made something good out of a crazy, embarrassing mistake my boys made, and I learned the valuable lesson that God can use even my weaknesses for His purposes!
Martha Fouts and her husband, Kevin, of 23 years have three boys, ages 17, 16 and 14. Her primary passion in ministry at Discovery Church (Yukon, OK), where the couple are lead pastors, is to serve wherever she is needed, from women's ministry to hospitality. But her personal passion is to write. With four books to her credit, as well as a blog, Martha has a wide variety of offerings for the female reader. When she manages to find free time between her taxi services to three active boys, Martha loves to go shopping or snuggle up with a good book. Looking for a new book to read? Martha has recently published a new book! You can find her works at Amazon or your favorite e-book retailer.