Thursday, September 10, 2009

Question for the day...

I need your help. In a little over a month, I will be serving on a panel that will discuss the practical aspects of spending time with God. Yesterday, I had a great conversation with the seminar director about this session. We chatted about daily time with God and the barriers women tend to raise that cause the relationship side of devotions to fall victim to the "shoulda, woulda, coulda side of things. This is where you come in. I would love to hear from you. Specifically, how has your devotional life changed through different life stages? What elements of personal devotion and worship are the most meaningful/life changing for you (for example: time spent in nature, relaxing in a cozy chair while reading, personal musical worship, etc)? What resources (books, devotional guides, etc.) have been the most beneficial to you? Have you ever had an "aha" moment where you realized what you were doing was entirely out of duty? If so, what idea/element opened your eyes to putting the relational aspect back into your time with God? Any other tips, ideas, etc for enhancing and strengthening your personal time with God?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Greatest Sin

I've always been a "good" person. I was a "good" child, a "good" teenager and a "good" adult. My parents spent exactly zero sleepless nights during my teen years and actually often suggested I should stay out with my friends later than I thought was prudent. They spent a good many sleepless nights after I left home, but that was mostly fighting off the worry that someone might do something truly awful to me, like call me names and hurt my feelings or something. I live with an eye for the future. As such, the momentary pleasures of sin typically hold little attraction in light of the life I easily see them leading to. As I already stated, I'm a "good" person.

My better half and I have spent nearly a year now reading through the Bible. The reading program we're enjoying will find us having read through the Old Testament once and the New Testament twice come the beginning of October. I'm loving the perspective and journey that comes with a broader overview and sense of context. It doesn't hurt that this particular program groups readings more or less chronologically, giving and even greater sense of flow. I'm noticing a pattern.

The nations of Judah and Israel--especially Israel--were rampant with sin. They built shrines and altars to pagan gods in the heart of the Temple. They sacrificed their children to the same gods. They cheated anyone they could, especially the poor and needy. They engaged in wanton orgies and committed every kind of detestable sin imaginable. Vegas had nothing on them. The Pharisees of Jesus' day stood in sharp contrast. Not only did they honor God's law, they built a system of laws around the law to ensure they didn't even come close. They had no tolerance for sinful acts and harshly punished anyone caught in such an abomination. They walked little old ladies across the street, they attended synagogue faithfully, they tithed AND donated to the building fund, they were, well, "good" people.

What is shocking, however, is that when the day is over and all comes to account, these two groups shared the same sin. They suffered the same malady that separated them from God and blinded their eyes to His power and beauty. What was it? Pure and simple pride. Both were entirely self-sufficient and darn proud of it. Both loved having others admire and praise them. Ouch! In the end, what impresses God is a heart in overwhelming love with Him. He longs for people who will humble themselves enough to put themselves in His complete care. Can I trust Him and His plans when they lead to obscurity and disdain? Can I trust Him to take care of my family and our future? Can I trust His leading when it doesn't look like the smartest path to take? Will I listen for the praise of Heaven above all other voices? Does anyone else relate?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


The running journey with my oldest continues. I'm so proud of him. He is very committed to finishing the entire course of this program even though it has gotten harder for him. We're over half-way through the nine weeks, which means we're walking less and running more. Today we hit the first extended run. We were to run for 20 minutes non-stop. In an effort to make it as good an experience as possible, I orchestrated running before it got hot, with just me and him on a nice cushy track. One lap into the run, he reminded me we forgot to stretch and informed me that he really needed to use the bathroom. So much for my careful planning...

Fortunately, there was an open (if dirty) bathroom on the premises. After he got back, we stretched and set out for the 20 minute run...this time for real. He amazed me at how fast he was as I watched his back and ate his dust most of the run. When we finished this first long run together, he kept saying, "Mom, I'm perishable." Of course, he meant he isn't superman and he was feeling the effects of pushing himself physically, but my mind kept mulling through the passage in I Corinthians 15 where Paul uses the same word in describing our earthly bodies.

"50Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed,52in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.53For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality.54But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, 'DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory.'"

My body is perishable. I have limits. I fight the earthly desire to do the easy, convenient, pleasant, comfortable, etc thing. Daily, I must CHOOSE the eternal over the temporary. I must CHOOSE to run the race, to push the perishable in honor of the One who gave me the joy of being able to put on the imperishable and immortal.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Run the Race

Summertime, and the livin' is easy. Actually, summertime tends to be a little more chaotic around our house in some ways. With summer comes a laid back attitude and more spur of the moment fun activities with the boys (who are out of school for a couple of months). Laid back also means routine pretty well flies out the window. As the years march by and my boys age much more rapidly than I expected, I've learned to relish times of chaos, lack of routine and spur of the moment trips to the park. My oldest decided to take advantage of the summer months by trying to reach a goal. I'm proud of him.

Michael and I started a running program a little over a year ago. In the months since we started, we've both gotten stronger and have had a fun time (especially lately) challenging each other. My oldest has watched us banter back and forth over who has run the most miles in a given week. He's also heard us compare notes as to how the day went and whether it was a "good" or "bad" running day. About five weeks ago, he told me he really wanted to work up to running three miles by the end of the summer. I was thrilled to hear it. I was even more thrilled when he said he wanted to run with me, not his dad. He's always been a daddy's boy, so the opportunity to spend time reaching a goal just the two of us was an exciting prospect. He does tend to bite off more than he can chew and tends to taper off quickly when the going gets hard, but I figured we'd give it a go. We are now in the middle of week four and I'm very proud of his commitment and drive. Though running has been fun, the best part of this joint effort is one I couldn't have predicted. When you get a boy out running and moving, they talk more. My oldest is far from introverted. He's my social butterfly, but even the most talkative of boys like to answer questions about school and their thoughts and feelings with monosyllables like "fine, good, yep, okay, ick," etc. When we're out walking and running, the rules change. I'm connecting with my son in huge ways in the short twenty to twenty-five minutes we're out together. Plus, I think tackling this goal together has forged a greater bond even when we aren't out running.

This week I've been thinking about how often the Bible parallels our spiritual lives to running a race. The comparison is fairly easy to spot. The more we excercise our spiritual muscles, the stronger we become. It's not always easy to do and at times we may hit walls when we feel we're struggling and getting nowhere. Having a goal and the extra push of reaching that goal pushes us toward greater discipline and helps us reach depths and levels we could only dream of at one point. Running with my son is giving me new perspectives about running a spiritual race. It's more fun to run with someone else, even in those times when you're held back because your partner can't run as fast or as long. It's a great discipline for me to have to think about someone else and encourage them as I run, and I run better when I have the accountability of someone else watching me and expecting me to reach the same goals they are. I have also discovered there's greater joy and benefits in the relationships you forge as you work with someone you love, striving for the same end goal.

Summer has definitely been more laid back for me and the boys (sorry, sweetie), but I think with the change in pace and routine come greater opportunities for introspection and observation. Maybe I won't let the boys start school until September...

Monday, May 25, 2009

Clean House

Okay, so I admit it...I'm a bit neurotic when it comes to my house. It's certainly not spotless most of the time, but I sure wish it were. I also have certain ways of doing things that boggle my poor husband's mind and limit the help I get. It's the "Grandma Margaret" family curse coming through. As in, "the silver container holds the wipes for the dishwasher, microwave and fridge. The white container holds the wipes for the counter and bathroom sink. The yellow spray is for the sink and stove...I know it's mostly the same surface as the microwave and dishwasher-humor me...unless, and this is vitally important, the sink has stains in it, in which case you use the stuff in the gold can." Is it any wonder my poor husband asks if it's safe just to vacuum and dust and then slinks off for the vacuum cleaner muttering to himself? God has been talking to me lately-something about the outside of the cup being clean while the inside is a filthy mess.

I've always loved having people in my home. I really enjoy making them feel comfortable and welcomed. I revel in setting the stage and watching life altering conversation happen...the kind that draws people closer together. In recent days, God's been showing me that by trying to set a perfect stage, I lose sight of the greater picture. If I'm worried about having everything absolutely perfect, I sabotage people feeling at home and comfortable. For instance, a couple of weeks ago my sister-in-law dropped in with a good friend of hers who was in town. Our house had the normal mess that accumulates when I don't expect company. There were toys strewn about the living room, dishes in the sink, crumbs all over the counter and table, etc. However, I noticed the primary discomfort my guests felt was caused by my embarrassment over the "mess." If I had been okay with it, they certainly were. It made me think, and I believe I've wandered into Martha territory. If I'm projecting June Cleaver all over the place, hiding my unmade beds, dusty shelves, nasty looking microwave and such, are other moms going to feel as comfortable sharing the real hurts and dirt in their own lives? Probably not.

God, help me let my life shine clearly...warts and all. Help me focus more on the people you place in my life than in the cobwebs hanging off the chandelier.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Give Me a Heart for People

Today I am a single mother with a single child. No, we had no tragedy--actually, quite the opposite. Brendon is now big enough to enjoy his first "rite of passage" and join his dad on an intensely exciting business trip to exotic Indianapolis. It's amazing how even the Honda Accord they rented is the coolest car EVER!...but I digress...

Given my suddenly light position in life for these two days, I decided my youngest and I would play after I picked him up from school. We motored to Ikea to play in the children's section and finish up with ice cream cones. While he was navigating one of the many tunnels in the room display section (if you've never been to Ikea, this sentence probably makes no sense and by the way, I feel truly sorry for your sad station in life), he ran across a new friend, Braden. Braden came with his grandpa, who was a brilliantly charming Scottish gentleman, brouge and all. I love Scottish accents. We had a wonderful conversation for several minutes while the boys played with each other. It certainly didn't hurt how much I enjoyed the conversation when he commented on how beautiful (in a normal, non-child predator way) my son is and that he obviously "has a very pleasant disposition." Mothers love to hear those things. After we bade "goodbye" to these new-found friends and slowly enjoyed our ice cream, we headed home to get ready for T-ball practice.

My sons are amazingly good car riders. From day one, they've both loved riding in the car so much and are so quiet I sometimes forget they're even with me. This bit of trivia is pertinent to this story--really, it is. Since he amazingly good car rider, I found myself reflecting on the conversation I had at Ikea. The Scottish gentleman was quite obviously "un-churched." At one point during our conversation he used some rather colorful language (colorful enough to still be banned from prime time TV, in case you were wondering), thrown out in a quite tasteful way. That's what caught me. I didn't instantly bristle in hidden and controlled condemnation. Five or ten years ago, I probably would have thought, "How sad that such a lovely conversation had to be ruined by a bad choice of language, even though he was careful to be quiet enough that the boys didn't overhear." Today I thought, "How sad this gentleman and his family don't live in Natomas so I could get to know them better. They seem just like the kind of people God's been throwing in my life lately." The shift is subtle, but clear to me. While I still don't condone or participate in "questionable" activities, I'm falling more in love with people who do. I'm seeing people who are far from God, feeling the tragedy of that and begging to help be the bridge to bring them to a point where they make an informed decision about whether they want to believe in Jesus or not. Besides, it just makes me laugh when I hear a friend who won't darken the door of a church tell someone else, "If you're going to go to church, pick my friends' church. They put on one hell of an Easter egg hunt!"

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Maybe you were one of those tiny girls who giggled and flitted through jr. high, loving every unstable minute of the drama that is puberty. I was not. As a child I was outgoing, happy-go-lucky and generally uninhibited. As a pre-adolescent, I was gigantic (5 foot 3 and 125 lbs is massive for an eleven year old) and clumsy. I wished I could either shine as the life of the party or fade into oblivion. I rarely enjoyed either luxury. Ages ten to fourteen were painful years I've mostly managed to block from my memory.

Why, then, am I drudging them up? This past week I had an opportunity to re-visit jr. high with the maturity (no laughing, please) and wisdom age is supposed to bring. Michael and I were able to enjoy a minister's and spouses staff retreat. It was an actual retreat with a beautiful hotel room, meals out and the chance to play with our church staff, instead of the normal working "vacation/retreats" most churches like to host :). The challenge hit when we moved into the fun activities portion of the retreat. The first activity was go carts on a slick track, which was really fun...even for an anal driver like me. After that, we headed over to a great driving range located on the edge of a man made lake. The holes were on islands adrift in the lake, which is pretty darn cool, if you ask me. I love watching the guys hit a few golf balls. The weather was beautiful, the conversation stimulating, until someone happened to remember I was there and decided we ALL needed to hit a few balls. All of the sudden I found myself in jr high again. I had never even held a stupid golf club before...unless you call a mini golf putter a club--I don't. I painfully managed to swing a few times. I missed the ball more than I hit but eventually plopped a couple in the brink about 50 yards in front of us. With great relief, I handed the club off to someone else. For the final activity of the day, we ended up in a bowling alley and the torture that is jr high continued. I had only "bowled" one game about ten years ago (it wasn't pretty). Once again, I had no idea what type of equipment to use, how to hold it, etc. Seriously people, I do know how to do some things that involve active participation. I can skate (both ice and roller), ride horses, mini-golf, ski and hike to name a few.

I definitely handled the whole situation and feelings that accompany being that awkward and obvious much better than I did when I was eleven. It's nice to know I've managed to mature some through the years. This brief relapse gave pause for introspection that evening. It all comes back to security and trust. Can I rest in God's love? Is His love good enough, or do I have to be talented, smart and witty too? It's a good lesson for me. After all, isn't trust about following Him even if you look (or feel) awkward, scared and inadequate through the process? I seemed to hear His words break through. "Do you truly love Me more than these...?"

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Ministry Challenges

I was given a very interesting task this past Sunday. As we were chatting at an open house, the pastor of a large church overseas asked me what the most challenging aspects of being a pastor's wife are. After I threw out a couple of my own personal challenges, he said one of the ministry schools he has contact with is trying to form a few classes to help the wives of men studying for the ministry. Now THAT'S a capital idea! I wish they'd organize a few week long intensives for pastors' wives over here :). In order to give him more varied feedback (and probably more accurate, since I tend to be a little off the path of what is "normal" comments, please), I sent out a quick message to several pastors' wives I know asking about their challenges. The responses have been wonderful and I'm grateful to be able to read them. Not only are these women sharing from their hearts, I'm noticing many of the more seasoned pastors' wives are reaching out to shepherd some of the shared hurts and challenges. THIS is the church, and I love it!

Three key struggles have repeatedly made their way to the forefront. They are, in no particular order:
1. Expectations of both the pastor's wife and her family/children (both real and imagined)
2. People leaving the church
3. Criticism of their husband

Do these resonate with you? What do YOU feel are the biggest challenges of being a pastor's wife?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Still Here

Between rocking a fussy baby, entertaining a 2 yr old, cooking for 6 to 8 people and cleaning up for said people in between, I've neglected posting lately and felt I should let you know I'm alive. Just for the record, we didn't adopt a bunch of kids all of the sudden :). I've spent the last couple of weeks in Nebraska helping my sister. So, here's the mother of all stories about ministry challenges...

Three weeks ago yesterday my newest niece was born. She's perfectly formed-everything where it should be and a head FULL of blond hair to boot (blond newborns don't happen in my family). Blondie is baby #4 to move into the Gospel Wesleyan Chapel's parsonage (which is a modest size house to start with), so I knew my sister would need some extra help adjusting to life with four kids as a solo pastor's wife in a small town. The kicker came when baby was one day old. My sister hadn't even been released from the hospital yet when my brother-in-law broke his ankle--the RIGHT ankle! The new daddy can't drive, new baby can't seem to sleep at night and new mommy is trying to survive. Fortunately, my parents are parked next door (they have a house sized RV) and I flew out when baby was a week old. Between my brother-in-law and sister pastoring two churches 45 miles apart, giving music lessons and accompanying a high school musical next weekend-all with a broken ankle and newborn-it's been a zoo around here.

Today the weather is mimicking life. It's downright violent out there. As I sit here listening to the rumbling thunder and pounding rain, I'm reminded of the story in Mark 4. Jesus and His disciples were crossing the lake in a horrid storm. Jesus was sound asleep in the boat when His disciples woke him asking, "Teacher, don't you care if we drown?" Jesus seemed amazed at their fear and complete lack of faith.

Lately, I've fought a storm in my own heart. As in most of the rest of the country these days, life is uncertain in our neck of the woods. I feel the sense that God may soon ask more of our family than I'm comfortable with. I believe He's on the move...HE'S on the move and I'm in a holding pattern waiting for His timing to move with Him. I'm not sure what that will look like, which can be unnerving at best. I think I needed to see the physical storm today and read Mark 4 to better understand the spiritual storm. I don't want to hear the words the disciples had to hear. "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?" Let me rest along side the God of the storm.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Choices, choices

I'll admit it...while I love and value people, when it comes to the choice between checking stuff off my "to-do" list or spending time with people, I naturally gravitate towards getting the job done. I think it has something to do with my parent's great job of raising me to "eat the veggies in life before diving into the cake." If someone has something significant happen such as a trip to the hospital, a death in the family or a car accident, I'll drop the "to-do" list every contest. However, when the choice becomes clean house/pick up groceries or have a spontaneous play date at the park, I'm naturally drawn to finish the dreary responsibilities first. While it takes maturity to choose house cleaning or taking care of laundry over surfing the web or watching crime shows, I'm becoming increasingly aware that choosing "responsibilities" over the stuff of eternity falls far short of maturity.

Today, I had a couple of errands to run...a quick trip to the store and working through homework and writing birthday thank yous with the boys. As the boys and I were walking back to the van after school, we bumped into a new friend picking up her son from 4th R. As we chatted, she started dropping subtle questions/hints about the possibility of a impromptu park play date with our four boys. Habit suggested I should beg off and make my vitally important trip to Raley's. Let see, spending time with someone I love and God is actively pursuing or price checking vanilla wafers? Honestly, how could I EVER think vanilla wafers are more important? We didn't discuss the fate of the universe or even how deep/wide/great is the Father's love this afternoon. Still, I think maybe tonight my friend knows I'm willing to interrupt my life for her. Today it was a simple little play date and discussions about picky eaters and sibling rivalry. Some day it might include how Jesus has made me different.

"God, help me interrupt my life for the 'unimportant' stuff. Help me keep a view towards people more than piles of laundry, shopping lists or projects."

Friday, February 27, 2009


Probably one of the hardest things pastor's wives face is watching those in our churches face loss. I would guess if you've spent any time in ministry, you've experienced the heart rending feeling of standing in a hospital room/funeral home/family home/etc. seeing someone you love and shepherd in a place of total vulnerability. As I write, memories flood my mind...sitting with a bereaved couple looking at baby names that won't be used, crying with another couple as we watch their 2 lb twins struggle for life, trying to help a friend make sense of the anger he experiences over losing his mom to cancer, rushing to the emergency room to feed and comfort children so their mom can make sure their dad is getting the care he needs.

A good friend of mine has had a month of dealing with hell (quite literally). He's a pk who works in the wide open mission field known as the work force. Recently, one of his co-workers lost a 9 month old granddaughter to cancer. His words touched me so deeply, I asked if I could share them with you. He agreed. I'll warn you ahead of's long, but well worth the time to read.

I'm not sure why February has been this way, but it has. What the month has lacked in dreary weather it has made up for in sadness. First it was the lost of a coworker and then, this week, the 9 month old granddaughter of a fellow co-worker, past away after a sudden discovery of cancer, an attempted surgery and many attempts to keep her, Alli, alive. Babies die every day. This fact doesn't make it any easier to deal with but when we have the advantage of space and distance and we can shield ourselves from the pain.

On Thursday night Konnie and I went to visit the family at 'the viewing'. Upon entering the building we immediately saw a video playing, showing slides of little Alli that had been taken in her short 9 months of life. There were flowers, cookies and music playing. It was hard not to tear up even though I had never met little Alli in person. I could feel that space and distance closing in. We then started reading some poems that family members, including the father, had written for Alli. They were all very moving and brought even more tears to our eyes.

Once my friend, Alli's grandpa, came in we hugged and visited with them for a little while. Then we were taken into the room where the body was; where the baby was. This is when the distanced closed and the space around us seemed so close and tight that breathing became difficult. I noticed the photos, the memorabilia and more flowers that were lovingly placed in the small room. There was a bassinet with pillows, blankets and stuffed animals. The bassinet was empty in regards to a body though. At first I was somewhat thankful because I really have a hard time with the death of children. That fact doesn't make me special, it simply makes me human. But as I turned to the right, there was a couch with some people on there. And there they were. The mom was holding what almost looked to be a doll, but it wasn't a doll... it was Alli. She was stroking the babies hair and smiling at her. She then realized people were coming in and said, 'time to lay you down sweetie... I love you so much'. She smiled, she wept... she loved. She loved her little girl.

Writing about this doesn't make any of it easier. It wasn't my child; I had never even met her. But the overwhelming sadness I felt at that moment was undeniable. And it wasn't just me. My sweet wife began crying and I know she was thinking back to when our little Kaden was born and in intensive care for the first week of his life. How close we came to being where this family was.... the space we had and the distance we shared closed.

I spoke to my friend, again, of why I had to believe what i believe about God. I can't believe that this life has no meaning and that there is nothing beyond this life that isn't wonderful. Because if there is no reason that a 9 month old little girl gets cancer and dies, then I'm not sure I can be on board with that sort of cold, brutal universe. When my cousin's 2 year old died in a drowning accident I wrote a blog about Jesus saying 'Let the little children come to me'. It's with a heavy heart that I really need to hear Jesus say 'Let Geoffrey come to me'. I think we all need to hear him say that; to hear our name come from his mouth. I know I hope the family of Alli can hear Jesus calling them to Him. He's ready to hold them. When there is distance and space between you and God you can hide from emotion; you can hide from pain. But you also miss the comfort and love that only He can offer. We need to close the space and distance sometimes because we need to feel. We need to feel hope. We need to feel love. Because we surely feel the pain don't we?

There's nothing more powerful than when these little angels are born. There's nothing more painful than when these little angels die. "Jesus, you mind if we climb on your lap for just a bit and be held?" 'Come to me......'

Thoughts? Anyone, anyone...

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Special Boys

My husband posted a great blog on our personal site today. It affected me enough that I've got to paste it here as well. Let me say, I spent most of my early years begging God to save me from the horror of having boys. I prayed many a prayer and dreamt many a dream which involved pink cribs and lots of lace, ruffles and bows. God has a great sense of humor. I still remember the stunned shock I felt when we discovered Brendon was a boy. I mean, I knew it was a possibility, but come on! Nearly 10 years later, I thank God most days for giving me two boys. They have changed, softened and shaped me...hopefully, for the better. Apparently, their dad agrees with me. Here's the post address

What has God taught you through your children? How have your "mom" experiences stacked up in light of your pre-conceived (how's that for a nice pun?) notions of parenting?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Valentine's Day

With Valentine's Day just around the corner, I realized today I haven't bought my sweetheart (or my children) anything yet! Creative juices, PLEASE start flowing! I try not to get too much candy for the boys...for pity's sake, we still have Christmas candy in the pantry. In a great stroke of genius, I've bought stuffed animals for the boys the past several years. The problem with that is we are now in danger of moving furniture out to better house the mountains of stuffed animals in the boys' rooms. Maybe I'll opt for Nerf guns? It just seems wrong to celebrate love by buying toys that will start the "Die, infidel!" chants around our house. Of course, that IS how the boys and their dad show their love most, so maybe...

My sweetheart and I generally celebrate Valentine's Day on a different day so we don't have to fight the crowds at restaurants and such. This year we're celebrating on Friday night and the boys are going to stay overnight with Auntie. Gotta love those serious date nights! 

Anybody have any great ideas to pass on? What are some of your best gifts and/or activity ideas from past Valentine's Days (at least the ones I WANT to hear about...censor, please). 

Friday, February 6, 2009

Salt and Light

God has been working in my life in many, many ways the past few months. In October, Michael and I started a Bible reading program that is taking us once through the Old Testament and twice through the New Testament in a year. We've also adjusted our reading schedules so they coincide and we're able to chat about what we're reading and learning (rather, Michael changed his reading schedule from 5 AM when he's awake to 9 PM when I'm awake). Following a planned schedule and then talking through it as well as journalling has made me much more aware of people around me and has opened my eyes to opportunities I believe have always been there, but I missed before. The largest change is that all of the sudden non-Christian parents of children who go to school with the boys are practically begging me for one on one time. Many of these ladies aren't ones I would naturally seek out. I've had to try to acquire a taste for sushi (which really isn't going so well), coffee (hot chocolate or tea are good substitutes) and tennis (I'm still horrid at it, but Ian's getting better). My "top 10" list of people I'm trying to influence for Christ has gone from 4 to over 10 in a few short months. I find my heart breaking for people who think, vote, act and spend money MUCH differently than I do. So far, none have come running to me breathlessly asking to pray the sinner's prayer; however, my view and my world are changing. Looking back, God has often used me as a seed planter. I've seen many on my top 10 lists eventually come to know Christ, though unfortunately, it is rare for me to be there when it happens. Still, I know Christ has gifted me specifically to pray for and love on people who are far from Him. I pray daily that He'll give me the words I need and help me see opportunities for what they are. In the meantime, he's softening me--breaking and changing me.

Tag, you're it! How is Christ changing you these days? How are you being stretched?

Saturday, January 31, 2009


Okay, confession time. You know you've been a pastor's wife too long when...

Here's mine, hot off the press. Today I needed to make a quick phone call. In the realm of phone calls this one was very simple...a quick "Do you need me to bring X to church tomorrow?" I called, got voicemail and had just started leaving my message when mayhem broke out in the living room. Something happened, my youngest was crying, voices were raising. In true mommy form without thinking my brain did that split thing it does. I was trying to sort through what was going on with the boys while finishing up my phone message. I hit the end of the message and came to in time to hear myself say " Jesus' name, Amen" instead of "Goodbye." Sheesh! Can I play the spiritual card and try to point out it's more natural for me to end a conversation with "Amen" than "Goodbye?" 

Anyone else have a fun faux pas to share?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


One of the more challenging aspects of the ministry has to do with holidays. I'm not talking so much about which ones to celebrate, but rather HOW to make sure you form meaningful family traditions when so many holidays fall on Sunday and/or are key ministry seasons. Sadly, I must admit I've had times when I've chosen to pout and grouse about how intrusive ministry is, instead of modeling servant-hood (which is quite counterproductive when I'm trying to grow my boys into men who love God and see people as He does). Truth be told, the times I've struggled with a bad attitude it's been more about laziness and my own comfort than any actual infringement into my family's life. With a little creativity and sense of adventure, new traditions forged around service can be MORE meaningful and draw us closer to each other.

Here's how Jerolyn Bogear (a friend of mine) and her family celebrate Christmas.

"Christmas Eve dinner has always been a tough one for our family to work out. Every church we’ve been in has had a Christmas Eve service with, of course, the pastoral families in charge. After setting up in the late afternoon and tearing down after the service, how do you have a special supper? We solved that problem completely by accident a few years ago. Here’s the story. We came home from the Christmas Eve service to find a stack of four pretty boxes in graduated sizes, tied with ribbon sitting on our front porch. While we were at church serving others, one of my mother’s Christmas gifts--edible goodies—had arrived. There were sausages, cheeses, crackers, cookies and petit fours – a complete feast. We ripped into the boxes and started chowing down. I’m usually a stickler about table manners, but that night was a free-for-all.
And so the tradition continues. We’ve modified it a bit over the years, adding peel and eat shrimp, a crock-pot of BBQ mini sausages, and cheese squeezed from a can. We also watch a Christmas movie while we pig out. One thing hasn’t changed; the annual manner-less, plate-less munch fest tradition lives on. We learned a valuable lesson that Christmas Eve a few years ago. We can serve others and have holiday family fun at the same time."

Your turn--Does any one else have any great ideas or stories to share?

Monday, January 26, 2009

You Might be a Pastor's Wife If...

-You've ever used communion cups to give your children juice
-You've ever been tempted to hang a "Bed and Breakfast" sign in front of your house
-You've ever lived in a home with a tunnel to the church basement
-You've ever lived in a home that had curtains donated "in special memory" of a loved one
-You've ever invited people to your children's birthday parties as a ministry outreach
-You attend three or more baby showers and/or birthday parties a month
-You've ever been the alternate pianist whether you can play piano or not
-You've ever been home alone until midnight because of a board meeting
-You've ever baked cookies, cinnamon rolls or other food items for more than 100 people
-You've ever had someone you don't know tell you what a good speaker your husband is
-You've ever had someone you don't know tell you how insensitive your husband is
-The hospital waiting room was full of church people when one or all of your children were born
-You've ever had a church board hand you a job description with no attached salary package
-You've ever had someone angry with you because you sent a card, but didn't come to see them
-You've ever had someone angry with you because you came to see them, but didn't send a card
-You've ever thought of yourself as highly called and grossly under-qualified
-You've ever taken a 48 hour bus ride across the country with children who were not your own
-The church phone line rings directly into your home

Got any to add?

Here we go!

As you may well know, being a pastor's wife has it's own special challenges. You face the struggle of balancing your own active personal ministry as well as what comes with trying to support your husband in a very difficult (albeit rewarding) ministry position of his own. I think we've all felt the struggle of the dance to be a vibrant, supportive catalyst for his ministry, being obedient to our own calling and trying to raise children who follow passionately after God--the whole time living in somewhat of a glass house. It's easy to feel a little “Barbie dollish” (is that a word?) and glossed over. In spite of all that, this world needs pastor's wives who are real and vulnerable.

A few years ago now I had an instant flash of “what if.” What if there was something out there for the special stresses pastor’s wives face? What if there was some way to connect women who feel so very alone and disconnected. What if pastor's wives could get advice and encouragement from women who are where they are, facing what they face? Those very thoughts gave birth to the idea of having "ordinary" pastor's wives contribute to a practical book. Unfortunately, after untold hours spent writing, editing, pitching the idea, ect. it still sits in a lovely and very large folder in my hard drive. With the marvels of modern technology, however, there's no reason the issues, comments and insight myself and four other pastor's wives tossed around can't be out where some women will possibly feel encouraged and strengthened. In fact, the exciting thing about a blog is that there is wonderful opportunity for much more interaction and comments from women who have been in the ministry trenches many more years than the five of us. 

With that in mind, I believe the first (or I guess it would be second) post will be a fun one to contribute to...