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**Imbedded within this post is an important update as to how we are…read on.**

Somebody asked Rachel recently, “So, what’s it like to be a Pastor’s wife?”  What a blessing that question turned out to be!  How was that a blessing?  We’ll get to that.  First off, the question at hand.

Rachel answered openly, honestly, and quite succinctly.  She basically dismissed it altogether.  The question was far too foreign to her.  She just doesn’t even know what that means.  To her, she’s not a “Pastor’s wife.”  She’s just…Rachel (if you know her you know there is not anything “just” about Rachel.  Perhaps a better way to put it is that she is VERY much Rachel).  Oh, she talked with them about the stereotypical “Pastor’s wife” roles, women’s ministries, etc and that she respected all roles within the church and embraces the ones with which she is called and gifted.

Look, we get it, I pride myself (humbly of course) in my stance that I’m “a different kind of Pastor.”  Perhaps more so than that, Rachel is quite the different kind of Pastor’s wife.  We are just not what one comes to think about when one thinks of the stereotypical examples of our roles.

Rachel and I spent some time talking about this the other day.  What happened during that conversation was a huge blessing to me/us.

You see, I have been struggling lately with the fact that we haven’t been…well, struggling more.  Are we sad at the loss of Trey?  Absolutely.  Do we miss him?  My goodness yes.  Have we cried/do we cry?  Of course.  Are we done mourning?  No.  Are there physical/emotional hurdles (mountains) before us (like going through ALL of his belongings and having some of the more vivid events surrounding his death comforted)?  Yes.  However, we have noticed one thing that we haven’t been.

Debilitated.  We see examples of grief through social media, books, personal observations, and pop culture (tv, movies, etc.).  There are examples we have noticed in all of those where those mourning are just incapacitated (we are not judging anyone that has found themselves in that situation…AT ALL!!!).  We have simply not been there.  I instigated a previous conversation with Rachel in this regard and we came up with this.  We know that Trey was given (called if you will) six years to live here on earth (we didn’t know the six part ahead of time, it just turns out that way).  We know that he is in heaven.  We know that we miss him.  We know that some things are easier now that he is gone and do not feel shame about that (in now way shape or form are we glad that he’s gone).  So, we shrugged and moved on in the conversation.

Fast forward to our conversation about Rachel being a Pastor’s wife.  In her mind, she is not a “Pastor’s wife.”  She is Rachel.  She is, if anything “Jay Mitlo’s wife” but more so than that she is Rachel.  She is absolutely and wonderfully Rachel.  She is not defined by her association with me nor my occupation/calling.

That’s when it hit me.  We, Rachel and I, are not defined by our tragic loss.  We are very well known for it and a lot of that is of our own doing through our open, honest, and vulnerable way of communicating it.  However, it does not define us.  It is something that has happened to us but it is not us.  Why?  Well, because we know who we are.  We are Jay and Rachel.  We are children of God bought by the sacrifice of the death of His son Jesus.  We are called to love and serve Him through loving those He puts in our path.  We are the mother and father of Joe, Bella…AND Trey.  We are each others spouse, called to love one anther, meet each others needs and keep each other from being alone.

It was such a blessing for us to have this conversation.  It occurred to me that this was the reason why I don’t like the term “Pastor Jay.”  That’s not WHO I am, that’s the role I have to those who call me that.  Don’t get me wrong, that is very important and I take it seriously, I just know that I am not defined by that role.

Lastly but oh so importantly God showed His face once again to us today.  After having all of those conversations we received a booklet from our funeral director today.  It was titled, “A Time to Grieve.”  I was almost hesitant to read it fearing that it would show me that we were in some deep denial and detached from our pain and trying to analyze more than feel.  However, I read it and was overwhelmed with relief, peace, and gratitude.  It was very confirming as to where we are and what we’re feeling.

I would be remiss if I did not give you at least a quick update on Joe and Bella.  They are doing just fine as well.  We talk about Trey with them…some.  We reference Him in front of them…some.  We make jokes that involve him…some.  We celebrate, parent, and love them…tons.  They are not crying through the night or having nightmares, their school work is fine, and there doesn’t seem to be any emotional outbursts more than usual…more  than usual.  In all honesty, they are Joe and Bella.  If I were to be overly concerned with a theme or the theme of this post, I would say that they are not defined by the loss of their brother.  However, more than that, they are who they are…not just NOT defined by anything else.

Thank you all for being so concerned with our well being and for all of the prayers, cards, and love.  You very much help us be as ok as we are.

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