Cheryl is a poet, freelance writer, former newspaper columnist, licensed/ordained minister, and founder of two outreach ministries.
Open your eyes to truth
When I first met my husband we found that we both were Christians and had accepted Christ and been baptized at age 8. We both also were baptists and our churches as well as our pastors fellowshipped with each other. Looking back I realize that God was speaking to us both all the time but for some reason people had me pegged as the church lady. My husband died a short time ago and our son eulogized him. I'm thankful that he set the record straight and at least for me dispelled the church lady myth. In his message, our son shared how his faith was shaped by his dad. There should be no more misconceptions, that it was I, alone, as the woman who encouraged our children's faith. If only we open our eyes we will see that truth has been right in front of us all along.
The church lady is often depicted as a woman who is like the character Aunt Esther from the television series Sanford and Son. She is a Bible-toting, scripture-quoting female who considers everyone who thinks differently to be a heathen. Aunt Esther's husband Uncle Woody was an alcoholic which also plays into the stereotype. I did have a great aunt who once chased her son around a tree because he was playing cards on Sunday. She was hitting at him with her apron and I guess you could say in that incident she was similar to Aunt Esther. The myth implies that while the church lady is attending functions in her local congregation, her spouse is being a louse by drinking, drugging, gambling, and or womanizing. If a man later in life decides to give his life to the Lord, the church lady gets the credit. People often say that behind every good man there is a woman but that is not necessarily true. Something that people do not talk about is women who have a strong man of faith behind them.
Men of faith
Pastors are not the only men of faith as there are quite a few men who pray on regular basis and are especially praying for their families. When I met my husband he was already a man of faith. He was not as involved in his church as I was in mine but he would boldly talk about his faith in Christ. About a year after we met, he had walked me to my aunt's house and as we were saying goodbye I told him I loved him. He replied that I should not love him too much because his mother said that if you loved anything too much God might take it away. That was in 1977 and I still ponder that wisdom today to keep God first. I can recall in later years how I might walk into the bedroom to find my spouse praying, reading his Bible, or singing gospel songs along with the recording on his record player and later through the Internet.
Behind the woman is a man of faith
I am sure that many people assumed that my husband and other men were led to faith by their wives, just because the wife was seen as more visible in her church activities but no one knows what goes on behind closed doors. There were times when I might be in pain and my husband would simply lay his hands on me and pray and immediately I would feel better. He would support and encourage me in my faith and yes at times he would offer criticism which is normal. I know women whose husbands criticized the amount of time they spent in church but I am thankful that my husband and I were on the same page. It may have looked like I served the Lord for decades and then suddenly my spouse came along with me but in secret, he always had a relationship with Jesus even when he did not attend church service as much as I did. I'm happy to at one time have been considered a church lady. I am very thankful that I had a praying man behind me or rather beside me.
The real church lady
There was a skit on Saturday Night Live regarding a church lady and it became pretty popular. I am sure somewhere out there are women who fit the stereotype but not all of us do. I grew up watching women clean the church, cook food, serve on committees and attend every Sunday and mid-week service. Those who were married had their husbands right by their side. I actually cannot recall a husband in the community where I grew up who was not in church. These men had active roles as Deacons, trustees, ushers, choir members, etc. There may have been and still might be some church ladies who are Bible thumping, anti-alcohol, and preaching in every sentence. Real church ladies are those who simply love the Lord and enjoy helping to keep up their local house of worship. If they are truly blessed they will have or as in my case, have had a man by their side who shared their faith.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Cheryl E Preston
Cheryl E Preston (author) from Roanoke on April 26, 2021:
Thank you MS Dora, God bless you,
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on April 26, 2021:
Cheryl, I'm happy for you that you had such a godly man as a husband, and enjoyed your life with him. Sorry about his passing. I know you'll continue being a practical woman of faith.Blessings!
Cheryl E Preston (author) from Roanoke on April 25, 2021:
Thank you for reading Pamela
Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on April 25, 2021:
I am glad that your son set the record straight. Your husband sounds like such a good man, and I am sorry he died too young. This is an importynat article, Cheryl, as the chuch lady is a common belief.