I remember when we lived here about two years, I talked to a former pastor of one of the congregations here. I was introduced to him as the current pastor's wife. In front of the whole church he asked me, "Do you like it here?" I had to think quickly on how to answer that. At that point I really did not like living here. It had been too much of a change to leave a big city and come here. My answer (which was the best I could do under pressure) was that we loved the people here and the church members and locals were so kind to us. I completely avoided the rest of the question.
I think if I was asked the same question today, I would still answer about the people being kind to us, but I would have a few more blessings to talk about after living here 8 years. If my husband were to get a Call to another church tomorrow, it would be difficult to leave living here, especially the people but other things about living here have grown on me. All of our Lambs were born while we lived here. It really is a nice to place to raise the Lambs even though I didn't see that when we first moved here. I have adapted to living here. There is more to life than what is offered in big cities. I know now that I can be happy no matter where we live.
If you are a rural pastor's wife struggling with where you live, I want to leave you with these 3 pieces of advice.
1. Don't feel guilty-not if you don't like living where you live; if you can't get fresh produce for your kids; if you spend way more on groceries than you should; if there aren't any kids to invite to your child's birthday party; and the list could go on and on. Do the best you can do in your rural area.
2. Pray and then pray some more. Confess your sins if you have been a poor miserable sinner about the situation you are in. (I acted terrible when we first moved here-complaining to ANYONE that would listen about our situation of living 1 1/2 hours away from Walmart.) Ask God to help you "adapt" to the situation you are in. Thank God for the blessings you have where you live. (Yes, every place has blessings, you may just have to think longer to figure out what the blessings are!) Ask God to show you the blessings for where you live if you don't see them. Ask God to help you solve the "problems" that you have where you live-provide friends; money to buy things that cost more; or whatever problems rural living makes for your family. Pray for strength to not complain to your husband all the time, but instead to help him be the best pastor for the congregation(s) he has been placed at as their shepherd. Pray for strength to be the best in all your roles as wife, mother, church member, etc. Ask God for help for all the situations that come up with living far from family-vacations, holidays, birth of your children, etc. Pray for the things specific to your situation that I can't list here.
3. Read your Bible. Go to receive the Sacrament of Holy Communion whenever it is offered (even if your rural church only offers it once a month!) to get strength to continue living where God has placed you.
May the Lord bless and keep us rural pastor's wives and our families!