Similarities For Convenience

Being an information junkie, I constantly search for interesting news stories both online and off. This morning I came across an article comparing and contrasting the first ladies of the presidential nominees. The article painted a rich picture of both Cindy McCain and Michelle Obama, for their style and grace. It attempted balanced reporting by mentioning Michele’s criticism of her husband and her country on the democratic side, while revealing Cindy’s battle with addiction and her reluctance toward full financial disclosure.
Despite being a Arizona resident, I began reading this article knowing very little background about Cindy. This fact could be due to the relentless campaign for the democratic nomination, or it could be the result of Cindy McCain’s aptitude for being the quiet doting wife of a presidential candidate. Certainly, having a wife who is heir to a wealthy beer distributorship would not bolster John McCain’s campaign, especially during our current economic times.
It wasn’t until I read the second half of the article that my writer fury erupted. The context was in reference to the infamous statement Michele Obama made about having pride in her country for the first time. The article reported Cindy’s rebuttal which suggested her staunch unwavering pride in her country.
Pride stems from actions and experience. If you’ve done nothing, then you have nothing to be proud of. If you have not created positive opportunities and experiences despite the obstacles then again you have nothing to be proud of.
Being part of the African American community and being female, I can understand why Michele may not have always been proud of her country. If I were a rich member of society’s majority, I might not ever recall a time I lacked pride for my country. However, any human being who has witnessed prejudice and oppression or even recognizes it as part of American history cannot truly proclaim ever-existing pride in the actions and experiences in which this country participates.

Is Cindy proud of the Iraq war and the lies that caused it?
Is Cindy proud of racially motivated brutality that still happens in America today?

It’s interesting how we can put race aside when it suits our argument. The article made sure to inform us that Cindy is a rich, blond, blue-eyed Rodeo queen who knows when to speak and when to keep quiet. I would have had more respect if Cindy could have sympathized with Michele’s comment since not everyone’s American experience is Cindy’s rich privileged experience. I don’t want a meek first lady who can’t recognize experiences different from her own.

Patriotism is more complicated than being proud or not being proud of your country. Pride is a barometer that adjusts with each act and experience. American patriotism exists in recognizing the flaws and taking action to make a difference, thus creating a country everyone can be proud of regardless of their past experiences.


Meet Author Gayle Woodard

lady-gayles-cover.jpgLady Gayle, you married into a well known ministerial family. What was that like for you?
When I married, it was good, but overwhelming. My husband’s dad was the Pastor and my husband


was the Minister of Music at that time, so he was very active and busy. The fact that my father was a Minister also helped a great deal as well because I already knew what it meant to be very active in ministry.

Considering where you are now, when you look back, did you have any idea that you would be affecting so many people’s lives?
No, I had no idea. But I knew that God had a plan and purpose for my life. I never thought it would be a Pastor’s wife, but, I love seeing the transformation in the lives of people.
I am a PK (preacher’s kid) so I know what it’s like to share your loved one with an entire community. How do you cope with sharining your husband with the world?

I cope very well. I know that it’s all about ministry. I put it all into perspective.
We both love people. I know he’s touching many lives.

Being a First Lady requires that you wear many hats. What do you do to find balance in your life?
I make sure that I always have family time and me time. From that me time, I consecrate and pamper myself and spend time with God so he can refresh me.
In the past, First Ladies have been quiet, demure, pristine role models relegated to working behind the scenes. Give us your thoughts about the new role more public role that First Ladies are taking in the 21st century church.

I think that in the 21st century, women are more confident in who we are and we really have caught the vision of being the rib of our husbands. WE understand that we are to be the helpmeet. We are to stand along side our husbands. I think first ladies are taking it to another dimension in ministry. In the 21st century we are leading out more and more.

When you are a member of a ministerial family, all eyes are on you. What advice would you give other First Ladies dealing with the pressure of being under such scrutiny?
I try to remember that it’s still ministry and that the pressures and the scrutiny are a part of ministry. I would tell any first lady to be yourself, but also remember you are an example to others and all eyes are on you. When people watch you it’s about ministry also.
Many people believe that when you’re married to a pastor, your only choice is to be a First Lady, but your debut book It’ s My Prerogative seems to say that being a First Lady is very much a choice. Explain this outlook.
I believe that you have the choice to reject the call by not supporting your husband. You can choose not to walk in the call, not to be a leader, and not to be in submission to leadership. You can be in wrong character and not work with him as a team. When you accept the call, you both work together as a team and you stand beside your husband in ministry and support the vision that God has given to him.
Also, God gave me the title”It’s My Prerogative”, so I could address some issues in this book from past experiences and from research with other first ladies. I felt I had the right to say what I wanted to in order to encourage other first ladies that walk in the call.
What message do you want readers to gain from It’s My Prerogative?
I want the message of the book to be empowerment for the body of Christ, Pastors and their wives as they accept the call, to walk as an incredible team together. I want every Pastor’s wife to know that it is an honor that God has chosen her to walk alongside her husband in ministry.
What are some of the challenges that are addressed in the book?
Challenges addressed in the book include the secret places of the first lady. There are many places in the lives of first ladies that sometime cause us to have to walk along in the call of ministry. I also address issues such as how to minister to your husband, how to wear the many shoes of a first lady and how to seek guidance and direction when become a first lady. Finally, I address being yourself and praying for directions and coming together with your husband to discover the best ministry for your lives.
What lies ahead for Lady Gayle?
I want to continue to say yes to the call of ministry and support my husband. I think God has placed in me to write more for the body of Christ. I want to make a difference in the lives of first ladies, women and girls. The First Ladies Support Group just kicked off. This is my way of building up the first ladies as we continue to make a difference for so many people. I also plan to continue standing with my husband as we embark on a great endeavor to build a 3500 seat cathedral at our Houston location.
How can one purchase a copy of the book?, and Koininia Christian Bookstore located at the Houston campus. For any first ladies interested in becoming part of the First Ladies Support Group, email us at