A Response to Becoming a Clergy Wife
I am posting a response to the blog post So You Think You Want to Be A Priest’s Wife. Let it be known I commend the Presvetera for posting such an extensive list of items to consider! I know well the rosy-view some girls and parishioners place upon the vocation.
Firstly, I believe that I share a number of similarities with many of my fellow Presveteras-to-be:
We are a unique generation of future presveteras
We have grown up in a solid church with extensive youth programs and support all the way through college. These supports have made us women of strong faith.
We know and recognize we did not choose this life we are about to lead. God chose it for us and we accept it or learn to accept it.
Personally I grew up with a father who took a decade and a half to convert to the Orthodox faith. Looking at my father as an outstanding example of faith, I felt it a slap in the face to ever say that I could only marry an Orthodox man. Someone who shared my exact views and beliefs would be ideal, but perhaps not feasible. In my dating life I left the door open for the gentlemen who was passionate about his morals and could respect my Orthodox traditions. This lead me into an early relationship that taught me more about my faith in a year than I had learned in 18. Although the relationship was not one to last, it was one God had intended for my spiritual growth.
We have immense support of our fellow parisoners and presveteras before us.
If it were not for the generation before us, we would not have OCF, the OCF Student Advisory Board, Real Break, GOYA, SOYO, OYO, CrossRoad, Orthodox college housing, Clergy Wives Retreats, you name it, we have it! All of these things were built by the previous generation and we have benefited greatly from it.
I am awestruck each time I consider the number of my childhood friends who have fallen into relationships with seminarians in both extraordinary and ordinary ways. None of us sought this out, and some of us were trying to flee it! But God has a way of suggesting which path He has set up for you. Additionally the three women who stick out in my mind are ALL children of clergy! They know the life they are choosing! Already we have a strong network of friends in what, I have been told, can be a very lonely vocation.
There can be no “right” way of beginning and preparing the path to Presvetera-hood outside of constant prayer and hope in God. There is only God’s way for each individual. During my engagement we were able to develop our relationship over a number of years both while he was outside and in seminary. We have been permitted to live out our lives and work on our formation to a life together. He lives the complete seminary experience with this brother seminarians, undistracted by a home and family life. When I returned from college I began to learn what it meant to be an adult in parish life, rather than a child. I have been able to devote my time to the church, without it being an expectation of others. We are each, in our own way, developing as individuals spiritually while being able to share those experiences to develop together.
God help us as we continue in this life and path together.