Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Truly, I love that my husband is in ministry. Truth be told, the majority of you that are reading this probably feel the same. It is an honor to know that what they are involved in pertains to eternity, and how great is that? Not very many people can say that about their professions.

But to me there is a downside...especially this time of year. I miss my family. I miss being around them for not just the big things, but for the little things as well. Like having them just pop in for no reason at all, or everyone getting together for Sunday afternoon lunch, or going to the sporting events that they are involved in, or... the list goes on and on.

Now don't get me wrong, I trust God and I would not want to be out of His will. But there is a part of me that longs for family. As I talk to some of our church members I can tell they don't understand. They have always lived where their family is and take for granted having them around. Often, they don't get it when I talk about wanting to go home to visit.

I was just wondering if any of you feel this way. I have learned to adapt, and 98% of the time I'm good with it, but there are times like now when I am "home" visiting family and realizing just how much I missed this past year.

At least I know that I get to spend eternity in Heaven with them....and I choose to believe our mansions will be next door!!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


I love the holidays...all the commotion and excitement. There are so many things that bring joy to my soul this time of the year. But this year there has been one more added....AN ENGAGEMENT! My nephew who lives in Arkansas proposed to his girlfriend the week before Christmas. She LOVES Christmas and he thought that would be the perfect time of the year to "pop" the question.

Supposedly, they were stopping by church to pick something up. There she found a poem that lead her to another poem, that led her to another poem....finally she entered the Sanctuary which had tiny white lights lining the aisle that led her to the altar where there was a beautifully decorated tree. The last poem told her to look in the tree and read the ornament hanging there. It read "Will you marry me?" When she turned around, Bryant was on his knee with the ring!!!! I thought how special that ornament will be for the rest of their lives. Every year as they decorate their tree they will remember that special day.

To me that it is one of the delights of the season. That as we decorate our trees and homes, spend time with loved ones and friends and enjoy the festivities, we will remember once again what the true meaning of the season is all about--that Jesus came to earth to redeem us. Now that truly was a special day to remember!!!

Monday, December 29, 2008


I have always felt a pull to the verse that says, "Mary treasured all these things in her heart." I have read many interpretations and insights into these words. I have heard several sermons preached off of this text. And yet, I never feel that I reach the full meaning...that is until now.

This Christmas, this verse took on added significance. This holiday was very was the first holiday without my mother, but I also had both my girls, their husbands and my granddaughter home (which I did not have last year). After attending the beautifully elegant candlelight service at church, we sat around the dinner table and ate on Christmas Eve. I just soaked it all in. I took a ton of pictures and with every laugh, every smile, every joke, I whispered both a prayer of thanksgiving as well as a request to always hold these memories close.

I am finally understanding the verse with which I have somehow always identified. Treasuring my relationship with Christ, my relationship with family, these precious moments in life is not necessarily some deep, theological idea. Maybe treasuring things in my heart is simply taking the time to thank God for special times and putting forth effort to really remember them.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Incarnation Day!

Every Christmas I ask God to give me a new insight or truth into the all too familiar Christmas story. (Some of the other ladies have touched on this through our December posts.) In years past I have found new revelations through the various people who were there and intimately witnessed the birth of our Savior. As a teen, I thought about how Mary and I were close to the same age and how overwhelmed I would be if I placed myself in her shoes. The first Christmas I was pregnant, I again began to relate to Jesus' mother in whole new ways. On other years it has been the shepherds or the wise men. I have even found meaning at how the angels must have wondered what God was up to, sending His Son in this way.

This Christmas, again God has been faithful to show me fresh insights to the Christmas story. In my personal Bible study in the book of Matthew I have been reading of Christ's Crucifixion. For my "pleasure" reading I found myself rereading Francine River's novella, Unafraid, based on the life of Mary. Both of these resources and every Christmas hymn I hear all seem to be reminding me of the incarnation.

The incarnation is God coming to earth, to be among His creation in the form of His creation. And He did so in the form of a tiny baby. Jesus being fully God and fully man. I cannot begin to wrap my mind around it, but I know that without it, I would be lost, without hope, without meaning, without life . . .

My Christmas season has been hectic too. I am blogging from my mom's in Ohio even now. But I just want to encourage you, like the other ladies before me, to take a few minutes to pause and really reflect on "the reason for the season." Christmas IS a religious holiday. Treat it as such.

From all of us ladies, to all of you and yours . . . Merry Incarnation Day!

P.S. Check back with us next week for more posts!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Peace on Earth

Well, it is Friday before Christmas and I am exhausted. I have resorted to eating my nerve pills-Peanut M & Ms-by the handfuls. I have rushed around for the past two weeks finishing the shopping, sending Christmas cards, attending Christmas parties, fellowshipping with my staff wives, and having lunch with a friend. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to help with our senior adult Christmas lunch and had a wonderful time. However, I now need to take a breath and relax before the getting together with family.

As I read my devotional and Bible today, God opened my eyes once again that this season is about peace and not rushing about in a panic. Clearly, the songs of Christmas sing out “Peace on earth, good will to men.” When Christmas hits I get so excited. I love giving gifts to family and friends, but then I worry if it is the perfect gift. I love sending Christmas cards but get overwhelmed with a busy schedule and end up mailing them at the last minute. I love attending Christmas parties with the various classes at church. However, my husband and I cannot possibility make it to all of them and we worry about hurting people’s feelings. In the end my Christmas is not much about peace at all.

So today I believe I am going to have a little peace on earth. Sure I have a couple of small things to do but I plan to relax. There are plenty of chores I can put off until tomorrow. In my devotional book entitled Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, today’s word said “Instead of trying to do all your chores at once, choose the ones that need to be done today. Let the rest slip not the background of your mind, so that I can be in the forefront of your awareness.” That statement slapped me in the face. I need to just focus on what the true meaning for Christmas is and let God’s amazing peace wash over me. The closing statement of todays devotional said “Let My Presence bring order to your thoughts, infusing Peace into your entire being.”

Dear Sisters, I invited you to join me today in enjoying some peace on earth. Take time to breathe. If the weather is nice, take a walk and talk to God. If you have baking to do, then sing a praise song or listen to Christmas music. If you’re a movie buff like me, watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” or “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and discover that love is one of the reasons for the season.

Merry Christmas! May God bring much joy and peace to you in 2009.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas Miracles

I absolutely love Christmas! When else can you legally have a piece of homemade fudge on a daily basis? Well, you understand what I mean. However, I truly love Christmas. I love the smell of cookies baking, the feel of the cold winter air on my face, and singing the songs of the season. I especially love the miracle of Jesus' birth.

As we enter this season, I am remembering the days when our sons were toddlers. Putting the Christmas tree up and decorating it was an event. Each son had his favorite ornament and all the ornaments hung at the base of the tree. There was the cookie baking and letters to write to Santa. However, Christmas of 1986 plays vividly in my mind each year as it was the year God performed two miracles right before our eyes.

In early December of 1986 our youngest son, then only two months old, entered the hospital acute pneumonia. The doctor did not fully tell us just how sick our little one was. Instead, being the Christian man that he was, the doctor put our son on his church prayer list. Bryan spent 8 days in the hospital and required major lung therapy and a round the clock care.

Because our eldest son could not come to the hospital, my husband and I along with our parents took shifts staying with both boys. On one visit home my husband and I took our eldest son who was three at the time to see the movie “Fievel.” Afterwards, we treated Stephen to supper at Burger King. There Stephen spotted a huge stuffed Fievel mouse and told us that he wanted Santa to bring him one. Since Bryan was still in the hospital I had to resort to making phone calls to retailers in attempt to find this beloved mouse. However, all the phone calls were in vain. I told myself that since money was tight and the hospital bill was going to be enormous, it was best that I had not found one to purchase.

Amazingly, Bryan took a turn for the better and began to recover from his illness. A few days before Christmas we were able to bring him home. It was then that our doctor told us how close we came to loosing Bryan. What a wonderful Christmas miracle! Little did we know that God had another miracle in store for our family.

The very next day I received a call from the Sears catalogue store. I had ordered one gift from there earlier in the year. Apparently while there I had registered for a drawing. The manager was calling to tell me I had won. “What is the prize,” I asked. “You’ve won a large stuff Fievel mouse,” replied the gentleman. Honestly, I broke down and cried. When I arrive to pick up the item, I told the man our story and explained that God provided a second miracle for our Christmas season.

I tell you all this because God still provides us a miracle each year. He reminds us that even those the days may be tough, the economy is bleak, and illnesses happen God’s precious son still came to save us from our sins. Yes dear ones, there really are miracles happening today.

Monday, December 15, 2008

I'll Be Home for Christmas

“I’ll be home for Christmas; you can count on this.
Please have snow and mistletoe and presents under the tree. . .
I'll be home for Christmas
If only in my dreams.”

This year the song brings a few tears to my eyes. Oh, I love the song but it’s the message. You see, our Air Force son will be alone in North Dakota for the Christmas season. Since Stephen is single and new at his position, he is working around the clock covering for other men who have families. Unfortunately, we cannot get to the great frozen north to see him, so we are going to in each other’s thoughts.

As I dab my eyes with a tissue, I am trying to figure out a way to make this season bright for my eldest child. Oh, we have purchased a couple of little things that we always have for the Christmas season-white chocolate Oreos and the Christmas movie “The Christmas Story.” Another tradition we have is to read Twas the Night Before Christmas. I created a little book with this story and put cute little Santas throughout the book. I'm quite sure my son will laugh and roll his eyes at my humor but at the same time I'm sure he will understand my message.
We are also sending him a couple of New Testaments-one for him and one for someone who may need a Bible. You see, another family tradition we have is to read the true Christmas story on Christmas morning. Knowing our son, I'm am sure he will find time to take a break from patroling in the blizzard north to read the story of Jesus' birth.

So this Christmas will be slightly different. We will be with our families back in Arkansas. However, in our minds we will be remembering our soldier boy who willingly is sacrificing his Christmas leave so other military personnel can spend time with their families. We will also remember our missionaries who give up spending the holiday with their families in order that the lost around the world may hear the Good News.

Do you know of a military person, missionary, or someone who is far from home? Let me encourage you to send a card. You might even send a care package. I assure you that it will brighten their day and will be a witness to others who are not Christians.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Tomorrow morning we will attend our son's graduation from seminary. One year ago our son-in-law graduated from the same seminary. How grateful and blessed we are for our Godly children and we know it is only because of God's grace and His mercy that they are following hard after Him.

As parents, we longed for and desired for our children to be Godly....not religious, but Godly. As I have shared before, I did not know how to do wonderful as my mom and dad are/were, they did not teach me Godliness.

There were many decisions we had to make as parents while our children were growing up and one important one was what to tell them about Santa Claus. As a little girl I totally believed in Santa....and was devastated when I discovered he was not real. I was disillusioned and felt that my parents had lied to me. As a result, it was clear to me that we would not "do" Santa Claus. We did not want to lie to them, and more importantly, when they discovered he was not real, we did not want them to also think that Jesus was not real. That He was just another "pretend" person.

Sadly, even though our convictions were strong concerning this, we discovered after our children were grown, that we had not done enough. You see, being the person who worries about what other people think, I hated to tell them there was NOT a Santa when they were little....we just did not tell them there was a Santa. I did not want my small children running to their friends and telling them the truth!!!! Fearful their parents would be mad at us!!! Spoiling Christmas for their children!!

All of that to say, we made many mistakes over the years, and I am sure you did too (and still are!!) but God is faithful. Prayerfully consider how you can impart the Truth of Christmas in your home and your family. Enjoy the blessings of the lights and know you are being prayed for.

"Mary" Christmas sisters!!

Loosing Focus

The car is packed to the brim. The goodbyes have been said. The tears have come. The last load of sheets and towels are in the dryer. The phone has been turned off. The address changed. And I am filled with an overwhelming sense of God's presence as I sit and reflect before I get into the car and drive away.

"And then there are the sailors sailing the seven seas, plying the trade routes of the world. They, too, observe the power of God in action. He calls to the storm winds; the waves rise high. Their ships are tossed to the heavens and sink again to the depths; the sailors cringe in terror. They reel and stagger like drunkards and are at their wit's end. Then they cry to the Lord in their trouble, and He saves them. He calms the storm and stills the waves. What a blessing is that stillness, as He brings them safely into harbor! Oh, that these men would praise the Lord for His lovingkindness and for all of His wonderful deeds! Let them praise Him publicly before the congregation, and before the leaders of the nation." Psalm 107:23-32

As we "ply the trade routes of the world" during this awesome Christmas season, may we continually observe the power of our God in action!! May we publicly praise Him as He brings us safely into harbor!

Usually this time of year my list above of things done or yet to do would have included lots of tasks like decorating the tree, writing Christmas cards, purchasing gifts, baking, going to parties, etc. I have done none of the those. And it is OK. I certainly do not want to 'miss' Christmas.....but this year will be different. I long to not focus on the things that 'make' Christmas special....traditions, decorations, etc.....I long to focus on the Christ. The One who has been born in me.

Unfortunately, it can be easy for me loose focus during this season.....getting caught up in it all.....and even though I am not 'doing' the 'normal' seasonal things, I still found myself loosing focus because of all that is happening in our life right now. How sad!! Forgive me, Lord for loosing focus. Fill my heart and my mind and my eyes on You! Remove all the distractions from each of us, Lord....whatever that is. The enemy does NOT want us to focus on You. We praise You for Your lovingkindness and Your wonderful deeds!! In Jesus' name....amen.

Blessings sisters!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

"Mary" Christmas

'I pray that you and your family will have a very “Mary” Christmas—that Jesus will enlarge Himself in you as He did in Mary, that He will express Himself in you as He did in Mary when she met her cousin Elizabeth while carrying The Baby, that He will exit Himself through you into the world around you as He did through Mary, and that He will extend Himself and His interests through you and far beyond you as He did through Mary—for His highest possible glory!'

Oh, how this prayer from a dear disciple-er permeates my heart!!

Jesus, ENLARGE Yourself in us.....would you be so visible that others notice You....would you change the way we look and the way we walk?

Jesus, EXPRESS Yourself in us....would you move in us in a wondrous way to let us and others know you are present?

Jesus, EXIT Yourself through us....would you come forth from us into the places You have us walk and into the lives of those we encounter?

Jesus, EXTEND Yourself through us....We long for Your desires and interests and passions to extend to the ends of the earth until the end of time for Your glory and Your honor.

Blessings sisters! And "Mary" Christmas!!

Called to Himself

It is always amazing to me the things that are going on in my life during the weeks it is my "turn" to write this blog….and this week is no exception!! Right now as I sit down to write this I am exhausted, emotional, overwhelmed, stressed, sad, fearful and very prayerful!! This week I am:
  1. Finishing my last days at the college giving and grading finals, turning in grades and leaving an institution for the final time after over 14 years.

  2. Loading up my car with whatever it can hold and moving to a new state leaving dear friends and co-laborers in the ministry. Saying goodbyes, emptying refrigerator, cleaning and readying the house for the buyer God has for us.

  3. Attending and celebrating my son's graduation from seminary.

  4. Hosting a precious lady from our new church who is traveling through our area.

  5. Needing to cry and needing to hear from God.

A question was raised a couple of weeks ago concerning whether or not we, as minister's wives, were "called" to the role. Perhaps there are as many answers as there are minister's wives. For me, and I almost dread saying this, I never heard/felt/sensed that call. For me, that night, years ago in my bedroom, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that God was calling me to Himself....but never to a man or a position or a place.

Honestly, I am envious of those who know God called them to this "position". Makes me wonder if I should even be in this "position".....but then I know who the author of doubt is.....and I choose to look to Jesus. Remembering He called me to Himself!!

It is during weeks like this one that I desperately need to remember that I am His....and that He has called me to Himself....and it does not matter where I am, or how I get there, or who is there when I get there....

Blessings sisters....

Friday, December 5, 2008

Seeking Jesus

This is the season we talk about decorating, buying gifts, we attend programs and it is all because of Jesus.

I attended a program for minister's wives this week. It was fun meeting some new women, the decorations were pretty and the food was great. The program was very simple because it was to be a night to pamper these wives.

One of the minister's wives read the Christmas story. As she read that familiar passage out of Luke, I wondered how many times I have heard that scripture read in my lifetime. I tried to really focus and listen as though it was the first time I had ever heard this passage read.

The shepherds caught my attention. These were men who had a difficult and sometimes lonely job. They slept outside in the elements, protected their sheep and provided for their sheep. It was very important to them because it was their livelihood.

When the angels came to the shepherds and announced the birth of our Savior, it must have been a glorious sight! After the angels left, what did the shepherds do? They could have spent the evening retelling what they heard and saw. They could have gone home and shared with their families this unusual event. Maybe they did both of these things, but we do know that they began to seek Jesus.

When you hear a message about our Lord, what do you do with it? Do you review it or criticize it or time it? When was the last time you took time to seek Jesus?

What about the effort it took for the shepherds to find Jesus? There was major travel time and energy required for this trip. Yet, they thought it was worth it.

This season would be a great time to check up on your daily time in the Word. How much time are you giving to seeking Jesus? Are you willing to get up a little early, turn the TV off at night or change your plans in order to spend time with Him?

The shepherds focus was completely on seeing Jesus. They traveled for months or maybe years to see and meet Jesus. We only have to speak, reach for our Bibles, listen.

Receive the "Tidings of great joy" this season and seek Jesus.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Joy To The World!

Psalm 98

Joy to the World is a familiar carol that we have been singing as long as I can remember.
As I listen to it being sung in different churches, hear it on the radio - I wonder - do I have joy? Do you have joy?

We often hear during this season things like, keep Christ in Christmas or Jesus is the reason for the season - so, I wonder -

Is there a way we can gauge whether or not we have omitted Christ from Christmas? I believe there is a guage and that guage is joy! A believer who has joy during the holiday season is the one who still has Christ in Christmas. Likewise, the believer who has lost joy is the one who has removed or replaced Christ with all the other things that have become part of Christmas.

Take time to read Psalm 98 today. In this passage we hear about joy. The people of Israel believed that when God came near, it was a time filled with joy. This is the message of Christmas. God came to earth in the form of a tiny baby named Jesus. Psalm 98 was written to describe what the Israelites believed. They knew that there was a direct connection between God's nearness and joy.

Let's look at what happened when God came near. In verses 7-9 it says nature responded to God's nearness. Have you seen nature respond? Have you taken time to listen to the birds sing, watch the trees dance, observe our Tennessee mountains pointing to God?

In verses 4-6 we are told the nations rejoiced in God's nearness. That seems like something far from our world today, yet we know that every single person will worship our God and rejoice at His nearness someday. When He returns, "every knee will bow."

In verses 1-2 Israel remembered God's nearness in the past and acknowledge that God had been merciful to them, and as a result, they rejoiced! Are you remembering all God has done for you?

As we apply these three elements to the birth of Christ, we see each of these things happening.

Matthew 2:1-2 Nature respondedto God's nearness with a beautiful star shining more brightly than all the others.

Matthew 2:2 Wise men representing the nations came to worship the newborn King.

Matthew 2:5-6 Israel's prophets acknowledged Christ's birthplace.

Presents, parties and plans often steal the joy of Christmas. Why? They actually take the focas off Christ. How can we implement joy to the world this season?

J -Jesus/joy comes through God's nearness to us. Stay close to Jesus. Focas on Him, spend time with Him, praise Him, thank Him.

O -Others/ look to the needs of those around us. We tend to be wrapped up in our plans instead of the people God has given us to serve. God reminds us that what we do for those in need, we do for Him.

Y -Yield to Him/true joy can only come when we yield our lives to Jesus Christ. Whatever He plans for us will always be best. Part of Psalm 98 talks about righteousness and judgment.. Whenever we read of God's righteousness and judgment it is a call for us to yield our lives to Him through Jesus Christ.

It is still early in the season - take time to check your joy. It is not too late to be filled with joy, supernatural, unexplainable, God-given happiness, no matter what the circumstances, deep inside peace and joy!

Monday, December 1, 2008

God, Bring Me a Godzilla!

"Do not be deceived my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father of lights." (James 1:16-17)

As we raised our boys we faced the same question that many Christian parents face. What about Santa Claus? What were we going to teach and tell our boys?

We decided to treat Santa Claus like any of their favorite cartoon characters. We had Santa salt shakers and ornaments. We also took time to read to them a book called, "Santa, Are You for Real?" It was helpful in teaching about St. Nicholas and how he helped people.

One of the things my husband and I decided, was not to tell the boys that things under the tree came from Santa. We wanted them to know, that "every good gift and every perfect gift comes from above." As a result, even though they sat on Santa's lap at the mall, we would continually remind them, that everything we received came from God.

When my oldest son, Mark, was three his new baby brother was born. It was around Christmas and we celebrated his new brother as a wonderful gift. As always, with a newborn, I was kept very busy. Mark was helpful, but our one on one time was definitely rare.

One day while taking care of Stephen, I realized that Mark had disappeared into another room of the house. He was very quiet and that could mean trouble! I quickly went into the hall and noticed the door to his room was almost shut. I quietly went to the door and looked in. There was my three year old son on his knees in the middle of his room. His head was down in his hands and I heard the words, "Dear God, would you please bring me a Godzilla for Christmas? My mom says you can do anything. Thank you.

It was the sweetest moment for me, as it was the first time I had ever heard Mark pray alone, on his own. It was also a terrifying moment, because I did not know what a Godzilla was, but knew I had to find it!

After searching, I found it was a two foot tall, plastic, green monster. Not the kind of thing I wanted to buy my three year old son. Yet, I did.

On Christmas, we took Godzilla out of the box and set him unwrapped under the tree. A very ugly toy under a beautiful Christmas tree. Mark was up early and came to get us. We picked up Stephen and headed for the living room, Mark leading the way.

When Mark reached the tree he came to a dead stop. He stood very still and just stared at the tree. Then he looked back at us with big eyes and said, "Dad, mom, God heard me! God gave me a Godzilla!" He ran to the tree, hugged that ugly, plastic toy, looked to heaven and said, "Oh thank You God, I love You!"

This Christmas remember where every good and perfect gift comes from. Stop and tell God - Thank You, I love You.

Of course, the most precious, good and perfect gift, is Jesus! Thank You God, I love You!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

What a blessing...

When we moved to Morristown, Tennesee 16 years ago Randy and I had the most unbelievable experience as a new pastor and his wife. We had the joy of meeting a man on the Pulpit Committee that was truly a giant of a man, both physically and spiritually. And he LOVED his Pastors.

All of us as minister's wives have known people who have loved us and we have certainly loved them, but this man was different. He went out of his way to do extraordinary things for us that we never could have experienced without him. Like the Christmas he flew us to Memphis to see Bellevue's Living Christmas Tree. What an incredible experience that was!!! He also served on several different committees, not just in the State, but in the SBC. Through his involvement with these people he introduced us to so many wonderful people

Mr. John Wallace had a remarkable amount of wisdom. When there was a difficult situation in the church we knew we could ask him his opinion and it would be filled with that wisdom. He trusted the Lord with every situation and that spilled out as a blessing on hundreds of people. It truly was a privilege to know this dear man.

Well, just as God had planned, Mr. John went home to Heaven on Thanksgiving morning. How appropriate that seemed. He will surely be missed. Not just by us, but by the church. You don't have many men like that as members. If we did our churches would be radically different. What a difference he made in our lives and in Kingdom work. He made ministry a pleasure!!!

Saturday, November 29, 2008


I am so excited!!! It is finally here. I had to wait all year, but at last.... I did think it would come a little earlier than it did though.

We got up today and decided that the whole family would go to Dollywood. This had also been a tradition for years. So we loaded up, got our hats and gloves and mitts and strollers and everything else you could think of and took off. But that meant that I still had to wait....

We went to the shows, rode the rides, enjoyed the lights, laughed and had such a wonderful time. We watched the parade through the eyes of our granddaughter who was intrigued by everything. But still, I had to wait.

The anticipation had been growing all day. I knew it would soon be time and I was getting so excited. The time was drawing near...

We stayed until the park closed, loaded everyone back up and headed to the house. Just a few more minutes!!!!

We got to the house and it was FINALLY time. We took out all the leftovers and arranged them on the counter. And now, THE TIME WAS HERE....

I opened a fresh bag of soft white bread (you know, the unhealthy kind), put the mayonnaise on the bread (not low fat, but the real deal), added a little dressing, cranberry sauce and turkey.
I poured me a great big glass of ice tea and sat down to enjoy one of the greatest moments in life...a "Thanksgiving sandwich". Nothing tastes any better than that.

Thank you God for all the wonderful blessings you give us day in and day out. This time of the year we are so mindful of all You do for us. But tonight, I especially thank you for one of my favorites.....


I am sitting at my computer very early this morning and for the first time in a week the house is quiet. Everyone is still asleep and I have a few minutes to myself. Since last Saturday we have had a house full of family and things have been very lively to say the least. Some people may think this would be a nightmare, but I absolutely love it. I wait all year for it.

We moved to Tennessee in 1992 from the coast in Mississippi. All of our family lived an hour away in south Alabama. The families had always gotten together for Thanksgiving there, but that first year everyone thought it would be fun to spend the holiday in the mountains. Well, it has now become a tradition.

There are people literally all over the house. I have single beds set up in our garage that we make into a "dorm" complete with a television for the video games that everyone brings and tables and chairs for games and snacks. Every regular bed is full, of course, along with blow up mattresses put just about anywhere there is floor space.

I have cooked for months and put things in the freezer. I also feel like I have stood at my sink for an eternity washing dishes and preparing more food. You see, 5 of the people are college students and they can literally eat you out of house and home!!!

Last night during our Thanksgiving meal though, I stood back and looked at this family of mine. They were all talking and laughing while they were fixing their plates. You could hear comments about how they couldn't wait for their "favorite" dish. I also heard some of them talking about how they enjoyed the tradition of being here and doing the same thing every year.

Aren't we funny people the way we love our traditions? They are so very important in shaping our lives. There is just something about knowing that certain things remain the same, year after year after year,

My prayer is that we can continue doing this with our family until God takes us home. Then we can enjoy a banquet together like we have never known!!!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Sister, Beware

One last comment on the issue of relationships. Be wise and discerning. You might have heard it said before that "people are like elevators....they will either bring you up or take you down....surround yourself with people who will bring you up."

There are people who might seek us out with impure or ungodly motives and we must seek the Lord's guidance. Many of you have been hurt by such women and know exactly what I am talking about. Seek out those women who will do as Romans 1:12 exhorts...."that is that I might encourage you while among you each by the other's faith, both yours and mine." Oh, that we would be as "iron that sharpens iron" and not get caught up in the trap of talking about people or complaining or judging or gossipping.

It is much better to have no friendships than the wrong ones....I know....I have been in both places....where I had no one....which is painful....but not nearly as painful as having the wrong ones. Please do not misunderstand me, God might have us befriend someone who is deep in sin and who is difficult to be around....but we are not to become like them or to share our most intimate issues with them. Share with those who are trustworthy....and only share what is happening in your life and in your heart....not the lives or hearts of anyone else. More minister's wives get into more sin (and trouble) with our mouths!!

Father, I want to lift up my sister who is struggling in the area of loneliness and who is in need of a Godly friend. Would You provide her, in your timing, just the woman You want her to have....women who she can encourage and who will encourage her? In the meantime, draw her close to You....may You be her dearest Friend. May she be content in her relationship with You and during this season may she get to know You in a way she has never known You before. Thank you, In Jesus' name, amen.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Not Just Like Me

I posed the question last time “what are we to do if we are in a ‘season’ or in a church where we do not have friends?” Let’s address that question.

For many years I would look for friends who were just like me. Growing up all my friends were my age, we all went to the same school, lived in the same area, we looked alike, acted alike, even talked alike. I have moved many states away from those Dallas roots, but I continue close friendships with those six special girlfriends.

As an adult, I still long for friends. Desperate for someone I can hang out with. A friend I could call or drop by for no reason. And for years I would continue to look for friends who were just like me. I wasted a lot of time and was quite lonely until I finally went before the Lord and asked Him to bring to me friends. And, in His timing, He has. He is Faithful. He is Provider. He knows what we need when we need it. And He is full of surprises!!

What I discovered is I did have friends but that they were NOT just like me. In fact, the Lord has brought me ladies who are:
· 20 to 30 years older than me.
· 20 to 30 years younger than me.
· Have a different color skin than mine.
· Homeless.
· Divorced.
· In other denominations.
· Single.
· Dying.
· Frumpy
· In style
· Lost

Let me encourage you to ask God to bring you to the ladies He wants in your life. Let Him surprise you!! Perhaps you will find you really do have friends….only they are not just like you.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Do You Have Friends?

As I have said before, my husband has begun a new ministry in another church in another state and I remain in Tennessee to finish out the semester at the college where I teach.

Last weekend I was at our new church and had the privilege of speaking to the ladies at the yearly “Once Upon a Holiday” women’s event. I have spoken many times to groups of women that I did not know….and I have spoken many times to women in my own church….but I had never spoken to women I did not know who were my own church!!

I was quite apprehensive and fearful and would have backed out of it if I could have! Speaking has never been easy for me and I have a tendency to get diarrhea whenever I speak!! These ladies were so gracious and teachable and open as I shared my heart with them. I so look forward to serving our God alongside them.

A sweet lady came up to me after it was over and told me that after their previous pastor left, she felt compelled to be a friend to the new pastor’s wife. Wow!! She wants to be my friend? I am in awe that God began working behind the scenes months ago to provide someone for me! This woman did not have a name or a face but she had been given instructions—befriend your new pastor’s wife. I look forward to getting to know her and to seeing what all God is up to.

This has never happened to me before. Many times it has been a struggle finding women who want to be my friend.

Do you find that some churches are more “relational” than others? My husband has been invited out to eat and/or over to people’s homes more times in the last three months than in the last 15 years. Why is that?

At some churches where we have served we have had couples who both my husband and I loved being around. We could be ourselves with them, drop in anytime, share meals, and share our hearts with them. On the other hand, we were also in a church where not one couple fit that description.

There have been seasons where I had lots of friends and seasons where there was not one. Why is that? Why are some churches full of people who want to befriend us and others who act as if we have the plague? And what are we to do about it?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Share Sister, Share!!

I want to hear all about it!!

Since my husband no longer serves a church in Tennessee, I did not get to attend the TBC last week and the two minister’s wives events…so, I would LOVE for lots of you who were at the luncheon or The Good Cup to let us know all about it!! Please take a few minutes of your time to share some of the amazing things that God did….let’s make the event last longer than just a day.

What was special to you?
What encouraged you?
What ministered to you?
What enlightened you?
What made you laugh?
What made you cry?
What have you pondered?

Our advocate, Lana Rose, works tirelessly and courageously and purposely to build up our ministries, our homes and our lives. I know she would welcome any feedback or suggestions or attaboys you might want to pass on!!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Disciplined Woman

Yesterday I shared with you the importance of being a wise woman. We all need to check the heart of our home and make sure that we are building it, not tearing it down.

Today I would like to briefly talk about being a disciplined woman. Of course, you know who our example is when we think of discipline in the life of a woman. The Proverbs 31 woman - Super Woman - The Impossible Dream !

The thing we have to remember is that if God put it in His Word, it is not impossible. He will help us accomplish all He has for us to do. Our problem tends to be that we want to accomplish all everyone else has for us to do. It is at times a definite conflict of interests.

The role model in Proverbs was a woman who was disciplined with her time and energy. I believe the discipline was her strength, but her success was her obedience to God's plan as a wife, mother, homemaker, business woman.

Personal discipline is a must, but will only be fruitful when we are spiritually disciplined. We cannot become so busy in God's work that we work without God. Each step is ordered by Him, don't you want to know which direction to go?

Time listening to God, through His Word, is a must. As we look at this remarkable woman in Proverbs we need not be defeated, but encouraged. It is possible to be this wonderful, disciplined woman. The secret is in verse 30 of the chapter. "Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised."

The fear of the Lord comes from time in His presence. It is prioritizing your life around His plan. Stop - Listen - He is ready to give you every ability you need to serve Him, your church and family.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Wise Woman

What do you think of when you hear the words, 'a wise woman'? My thought is usually - I want that - I want to be wise.

Proverbs 14:1 tells us, The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish pulls it down with her hands."

To be wise, I believe we must learn obedience to God. We must be students of the word and actively apply that Word to our own life. As we grow in the knowledge of God through His Word, we begin to learn how to build our homes.

As a pastor, my husband, Doug spent long hours at church. I am sure you can relate to that as you serve with your husband in ministry. Even though we loved our call by God, it could at times be stressful, time consuming and exhausting. Satan loved those times. He was always waiting for us to let our guard down in our home.

When Doug came home, I looked for ways to make a place of peace, joy and rest for him. I knew he would have lots on his mind and needed a place he could let go for awhile.

The boys and I played a game called "king of the castle". About 15 minutes before it was time for dad to arrive, we began to prepare. We first got ourselves ready - clean faces, hands and clothes. I freshened my makeup and combed my hair. Preparation for our 'earthly king'.

As Doug entered the door we would all greet him. The boys and I would clap and yell, "Yea, the king is home - welcome home dad!" We would each hug him, tell him he was missed and give him our best smiles.

This was fun for the boys and a joy for me to see my husband's tired face turn into smiles. It was really a simple thing, but had great rewards. Doug loved to come home! He looked forward to his time with us.

There were many times that my day had been a disaster and I could easily have met him with all my problems. Taking those first few moments to celebrate Doug being home, set the tone for the evening. As a result, he was ready and willing to help each of us with any problem we were facing, later in the evening.

Greet your husband today with love and joy. Be a Wise Woman.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

God's Grace is Sufficient

I am asking God each month to show me what He wants to teach us. Each of the women writing for this blog feel a sense of responsibility to you. We have a love for that special woman known as "our minister's wife."

I know we each travel similar paths, yet at the same time, we have very individual and specific needs. How is it possible to touch each of those places in your individual hearts?

God tells us in II Corinthians 12:9 "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness."

If you are like me, the thought just crossed your mind, "I should be the Incredible Hulk by now, if power is perfected in weakness!

What we learn from those words is that our God is completely adequate. There is nothing that you or I experience outside of God's hand. God's grace is truly sufficient. He will walk with us through difficult decisions, impossible relationships, physical distress, heart disappointments and family hurts. He tells us each of those situations can give us power to serve Him more completely, more perfectly.

I Corinthians 10:13 promises us "No temptation (trial or testing) has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it."

As we serve our Lord, we are able to claim God's grace for every situation. We are never alone. We are not the first to have a particular problem or painful hurt.

Our God is ABLE. He promises us His grace for everyday, every moment, everything that comes our way.

Take time today to thank Him. Give God that special struggle and trust Him for grace to walk through to victory. His power will be perfected in you.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Special Announcement

Don’t forget to make reservations to attend the Ministers Wives Luncheon on November 11 at Long Hollow Baptist Church in Hendersonville. The event begins at noon. The featured speaker will be Kay DeKalb Smith who will make you laugh yourself silly. The cool thing is that there will be plenty of door prizes (girlfriend, they’re giving away a cruise!) and everyone receives a goody bag full of girly stuff. The cost is $15 and you can register online at

In addition I’d like to make a plug for a brand new event-The Good Cup. This event will be held on Monday, November 10 from 1:00-3:30 p.m. in the Youth Pit at First Baptist Church Henderson. The cost is FREE and you do not even have to register! All you have to do is just show up! You can come enjoy a cup of coffee and munch on delicious treats. (I know for a fact that there will be some type of chocolate there because I serve on the team putting this special event together). Among the special guest are Holly Thompson, anchorwoman from Channel 4; Kay DeKalb Smith, comedian; and Bill Choate, Collegiate Specialist.

Both events will give you a chance to meet and fellowship other ministers wives from across our state. Who knows . . . you might just walk away with a brand new friend who is part of our unique sisterhood. I know I am looking for a buddy who loves to laugh, loves the beach, and loves chocolate! Oh, by the way, if you come to one or both of the events, give Lana Rose, from the TBC, a big hug and thank you for her hard work. She is the convention person who ministers to our sisterhood. Love ya, Lana.

Okay girlfriends, I’ll see you there. Just look for me. I’ll be the one with a piece of chocolate stuffed in my mouth!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Kindergarten Education

When we first started our blog several months ago, I gave a brief overview of myself. One of the issues I touched on was the fact that preschoolers give me hives. Now do not get me wrong. These little people are precious and adorable; however, I just do not understand them. Give me a roomful of teenagers and I can play all day but lock me in a roomful of preschoolers and I will just cry. On that note I must mention that for next three days I will be subbing in kindergarten with older four year olds and young five year olds.

Now these children are not quite preschoolers who can not potty by themselves. Also, unlike true preschoolers, I do not make me cry. However, these precious ones still stress me out. If you do not have total control of the room, chaos will erupt. Most cannot tie their shoes or zip their coats. Of course, there is the issue of standard school attire and having to tuck shirts in and manipulate belts. Then you have those kindergarteners who know their ABCs and 123s and who love to learn. But there are always those few who lag behind and cry because they do not understand. By noon, I am ready for a hunk of chocolate and a nap!

However, with all the stress of handling preschoolers/kindergarteners, the Lord is teaching me a few things. First, these little ones love you unconditionally. One minute you may have to pull their behavior card for something they did and the next minute they are running to hug you. Second, all of the children want the safety of their teacher within eye shot. Third, they are learning to help one another if the other classmate does not understand.

If you think about it each of the points relate to our relationship to our Heavenly Father. First, He loves us unconditionally. He may have to get our attention when we sin but we can always go running back into His loving arms. Second, true believers know that they are nothing without the safety of the Father. We should keep our focus on our Heavenly Father at all times. Third, as we grow in Christ we should share that knowledge with others who do not understand.

I guess subbing in the kindergarten area is okay. At least they are teaching me a few things about our Father. The Bible tells us that Jesus asked the disciples to allow the children to come to him and that we should learn from these little ones. Oh yeah, I guess they are making me look forward to the day when I have a grandbaby. Maybe by then I will have gotten over my fear of preschoolers and no longer break out in hives

Monday, November 3, 2008

Sergeant Sally

A few weeks ago friends from Texas came to stay overnight with us. It was a wonderful time to catch up on what had been going on in our lives and remember the good times we shared. Our home was filled with laughter as we recalled some of the fun times we had.

As our husbands played golf on Saturday, I treated my friend to lunch and a short sightseeing trip. Later, we enjoyed a leisurely walk through my neighborhood. It was a sweet time. It gave me a chance to tell my friend just how much she meant to me. It was a time for me just to say thank you for rescuing me at a point of need.

You see several years ago in our ministry I was at a very low point. I was not only a pastor's wife and raising two sons but I was also finishing my college degree. To make matters worse there were a few families in our church who were fighting among themselves. This dispute was spilling out into the life of the church and hampering God's work. As a result, I was stressed out and did not want to leave the safety of my home.

Well, my dear friend, who is a pastor's daughter and has the gift of discernment and prayer, saw me spiraling into the abyss. One morning after I had returned from dropping my boys off at school I heard a knock at my back door. Now I had not showered, had no makeup on, my hair was a mess, my teeth were unbrushed, and I was wearing an old pair of sweat pants and a stained sweat shirt. I think you get the picture. I started not to answer the door but I heard my friend calling to me so I opened the door.

In bounced my sweet friend and laughingly commanded, "Get your purse and come with me!" I argued and said I could not go. I had housework and homework to do plus I was not dressed for going out in public. However, my friend would not take no for an answer. (By the way, that is why we call her Sergeant Sally). With her literally pullling me out the door, I grabbed my purse and prayed I would not see anyone I knew. However, I did take come comfort in the fact that Sergeant Sally looked as bad as me!

We drove an hour to another town and spent time in a coffee shop. She made me talk through some of the issues on my heart. She even let me cry which is normally not in her nature. After I arrived home, I felt renewed and loved. I knew that God was in control of the whole situation-from church to my education. For the first time in a long time, I actually could think past the next crisis. I believe that is the first time I realized God sends people into our lives to be His physical touch on earth.

Dear sisters, maybe you are in a downward spiral right now. I pray that you will experience God's touch today. Look around you. You might see His touch through a friend or the miracle of His creation. Perhaps you know someone who is going through a difficult time. Take time to touch that person's life today through a card, phone call, or even dragging them out of the house for a diet coke and a piece of chocolate. Trust me, if Sergeant Sally had not been there for me years ago I probably would not be where God has me today.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Future Holiday Memories

As I wrap up this week talking about memories, I wanted to take a second and look to some future memories, memories that we haven't made yet. With the holidays upon us, (Can you believe that it is already November?!) our attentions turn to list making and preparations for the coming get-togethers and celebrations ahead. 

This year, with lots of help from the family, we are hosting the Vinson Family Thanksgiving. My mind is already awash in the things I want to do and need to do to get ready for the big meal. As usual though, I am afraid I am allowing my expectations to get the better of me, and, as a result, that line between what I want to do and what I need to do is already a bit blurry. I need to sit down and evaluate the kind of memories that I want to have from the event. Then I can go ahead and make my plans. 

For example, I know I want to remember enjoying my day. I want to remember making my family feel special and comfortable in my home. I don't want my husband or daughter remembering me going crazy or getting impatient or becoming stressed out in all the preparations. Ultimately, I want to honor God and keep Him as the central focus, because everything we have to be thankful for comes from Him to begin with. So with these goals in mind, if the hallway goes unpainted and the new recipe I want to try for cranberry-orange sauce flops, I will still remember the day as a success, if I place my effort and priority in making the memories I want to keep. 

Last summer I read Treasuring God in Our Traditions by Noel Piper. The book was a fantastic help in showing me how I could continue to strive to make God the most central aspect of our home. In it, Noel shows how to take the everyday things we do, as well as the holidays and keep our eyes on Jesus. She shows the Biblical principles for this and challenges the reader to be intentional about making sure Jesus is really the reason for the season -ANY season.

So, dear sister, my "encouragement" to you is to begin thinking of the memories you want to create with your family and your church this holiday season. Read Noel's book, (Your local Lifeway should have it, or it can be ordered at More importantly, begin praying about your focus. As the wives, mothers, grandmothers, and ministers' wives of our homes and churches we have the ability and responsibility to set the tone. We have to be intentional and purposeful or it just won't happen.

Post your ideas for this holiday season: Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's. Share something that made some really wonderful memories in the past. Share a goal or a question about memories you want to be intentional to make this year. We will see if someone else has an idea about how to make your memories happen . . . 

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Facebook Memories

I don't know if you have discovered Facebook yet, but I finally succumbed to the pressure and joined the online networking community last week. A bunch of our friends had and everyone kept saying that "you really ought to." So in an effort to stay connected to a friend that recently moved out-of-state, I signed up. It was quick and easy. No pain involved and it was surprisingly fast. 

Literally, within a matter of minutes I was in touch with friends and acquaintances that I had known 20+ years ago. High school buddies, youth group friends, sorority sisters were all easily and quickly reconnected with. Everyone lists as much or as little information about themselves as they want and I was quickly able to ascertain who was married, who had kids, and other general information. The pictures many of them included were the best. I could see how much, or how little people had changed. I could see pictures of their kiddos and have a way to instantly be back in touch with them. 

Before I knew it, an hour and half had slipped by. I had learned that my former pastor's son had married a Rockette, my college roommate still had her wacky sense of humor and that my prom date was now a married engineer living on the west coast. Many people had placed old photos online and I found myself remembering nights and events and places and people that I had once thought I would never need to be reminded of.

I have to wonder what people have thought when they have clicked on my "wall." Do they think that I've changed? Am I the same old Tara? How do they remember me? Am I what they expected?

Some of my old friends are exactly as I would have expected. Many are not. There are a few of my college friends that I never imagined would be the stay-at-home moms that they are. There are a few people that I thought would have been married with kids by now and they aren't. There are various political views expressed. There are various religious affiliations. There are differences in all of us from the people that we once were. 

It has been great to reconnect with many of these people. There have been a couple renewed friendships that I intend to keep up with. The computer (and Facebook) make it so easy, I don't see how I can blow it this time. . . . I also want to be sure and pray for these old friends that God has brought into my life again. He has dealt with each of us differently and we have all responded to Him in our own ways. I am so thankful that my journey has been what it has been and that God has brought me to the place He has today. 

Any of you out there have accounts on Facebook? What have your experiences been? Thinking about signing up? It has been a blessing so far for me. If you're on, look me up! Here is my profile picture, and let me know you are from this blog when you send me your friend request!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pregnancy Memories

I can honestly admit that I was genuinely surprised during my ultrasound. I thought for sure the technician would tell me that this little baby inside of me was going to be a boy. Why was I so sure? Because this pregnancy has been nothing like my first one when I carried our daughter. 

Now, I know my body is six years older and that time, in addition to falling madly in love with a newborn, does funny things to a momma's memory. But, I can honestly say that I do not remember my first pregnancy being as, um, uh, as "challenging" as this one.  Yes, I had morning sickness and I felt tired. I craved salty foods. But, nothing in my memories prepared me for pregnancy #2!

I am so thankful to be out of my first trimester now . . . I feel like those weeks are really a blur. I remember a variety of bathrooms and I had definitely claimed a place on the corner of the couch . . . I had no idea what was in the fridge, as I left all the food prep to my very patient, very understanding, very wonderful husband. 

So I took my memories of pregnancy #1 and compared them to pregnancy #2 and just assumed that I "knew" this baby had to be different . . . It had to be a boy . . . You know I think that sometimes, I just make God chuckle at me . . .

Nope, Baby #2 is most definitely a girl. 

As I reflected on this, I thought about how one-sided my memories of being pregnant before are. Yes, I know my husband agrees that this pregnancy has been different, but all my memories are of my perspective alone. They are merely from my own point of view and none of them very objective. And here I was making all these suppositions and expectations from them. Have you ever done that?

God has been so good to be my portion and my strength through even the worst of the morning sickness. But He has also been there for me in other ways . . . I honestly know that He is preparing me for this second daughter. Yes, she is a girl like my oldest. BUT, God is already letting me know that she is her own person and will be nothing like her sister. Maybe that is why He has made this pregnancy so very different from my memories of being pregnant the first time around . . . God definitely teaches me things through memories.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Fall Memories

I love Fall. It is my favorite season- the cooling temps after summer's heat and humidity, the return to routine with the start of school, the smell of fall on a cool crisp breeze that sends leaves of various rich colors cascading to the ground. Apples, pumpkins, bonfires, hayrides, sweaters, football .  .  . As I allow myself to think about the season, I can easily get carried away with a variety of memories all encompassing the season.

Memories are what I want to focus on this week in the blog. This fall I am finding myself remembering quite a bit. As I am expecting our second daughter (That's right, we found out baby #2 is a girl!), I am remembering what it was like to be pregnant the first time around. I am a new member of the Facebook community and spending a lot of time reminiscing with old friends from college, and various youth groups. Then with the holidays rapidly approaching I am beginning to focus on old traditions I want to make sure we continue another year. 

In the midst of all this "thinking" I am doing . . . I am reminded that God calls us, as He repeatedly called His people, to remember Him. Remember His faithfulness. Remember the things He has done. Remember Him.

Friday, October 24, 2008


I believe that we should give credit where credit is due. So often we don't take the time to say thank you to people who have gone out of their way to help us. I would like to take this opportunity to tell Lana Rose how very much we as Ministers' Wives appreciate all that she does for us. You only have to scroll down a little way on this blog to see some of the things that she has put together for us. All during the year she is working on project after project helping us with our calling as Ministers' Wives. She performs her ministry with excellence; genuine compassion and simply makes our lives more enjoyable. Lana makes us feel less isolated and affirms us all.

Lana, thanks for being a great portrait of Jesus to us.

We love you.


Next week we will be homeless. It is my fault. I didn't pay close attention to things like I should have. Here is what happened....

Last summer we went to Destin with our youth group. On the way home we stopped at several places to see about renting a house for next summer for our family. We looked and looked and everything was much higher than we wanted to spend. When we got home, I was talking to my sister. One of her best friends parents live on the Gulf of Mexico. They love to vacation up here in the mountains during the fall. She suggested we contact them to see if they wanted to do a house exchange. We thought that would be great since Randy usually takes a "study week" in the fall. He packs up his computer and his books and goes to a hotel somewhere where he can spread out his things and not be disturbed. (I am sure all of you know what I am talking about since none of our husbands are able to get a lot a time to themselves while at church. Kind of like when you are in the hospital and can never get any sleep....)Well, sure enough, they thought that was a great idea. So we made our plans. They were to arrive here the last week in October. But, all these plans were made BEFORE I broke my back.

Life has not been normal for some time now. We have had to improvise in a lot of areas. We have had to let some thing slide that normally would have taken center stage. Anyway, with all the different things going on, I didn't realize that the week they were going to be in our house
was also a very busy week for us here in the area. We have several meetings that we need to attend, luncheons, speaking engagements and to top it all off....FALL FESTIVAL at church Friday night. That in and of itself is a big deal, but this year our only granddaughter, who is 17 months old, is coming in for the night. So both of our daughters, sons-in-law and granddaughter
are coming to stay the weekend...and we don't have a house!!

God is so good though. Thankfully, there is a sweet couple in our church that has a house a little ways out of town and they have offered it to us. Life really is an adventure!!!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Two great events coming for Ministers Wives

The Good Cup is a brand new event for ministers wives being held on Monday, November 10 at FBC, Hendersonville during the Pastors Conference from 1:00-3:30 in the youth area. This is a free event hosted by the Ministers Wives Affinity Team at the Tennessee Baptist Convention. Holly Thompson, anchor at Channel 4 in Nashville will open the session using the theme: "Sisterhood, We Need Each Other." Bill Choate, TBC Collegiate Specialist, will faciliate discussion groups around Holly's theme. To close out the session, Kay DeKalb Smith, Christian comedian will share laughter with us using the theme, "Sisters, Sisters, Never were there such devoted Sisters!” Our dream is that this will become an annual event. Come join us at The Good Cup at FBC, Hendersonville.

The second event is our annual Ministers Wives Luncheon held on Tuesday, November 11 at Long Hollow Baptist Church in Hendersonville. The cost of this event is $15. Reservations can be purchased online at You can mail your reservations to Joyce Harvey, TBC, PO Box 728, Brentwood, TN 37024. Kay DeKalb Smith will also be with us at Long Hollow. Our theme is: "Help! I Need a Lift." There are several door prizes and everyone who attends will receive a full gift bag.

Come to Hendersonville and meet other "sisters" across Tennessee. See you in Hendersonville.

Friday, October 17, 2008

"I Used to Be"

A few years ago I went to visit a pastor’s wife who was in jail….she eventually went to trial for murdering her pastor-husband. I did not want to go see her….God made me go!! I had a burning in my heart for her. Why was life so terrible for her? Did she want “out” of the whole minister’s wife role so desperately?

While I was there, another lady came in to see the same woman. Why was she there, I wondered? I looked deep into her eyes and asked “Are you a pastor’s wife?” She said, “I used to be”. God had compelled both of us to drive from two different parts of the state to go and see this minister’s wife. Why? Because we know what it is like to be a minister’s wife? Because we know that it can be challenging?

Before we left the jail that day, my new friend and I sat down and she began to share with me her story of abuse and pain and betrayal at the hand of her minister husband, and then, eventually, death.

A few months later I received a phone call from another woman that I had never met, who through tears and torment, began to share with me her devastating story. She was divorced from her minister husband….but no one at the church knew they were divorced...they were still living together. She was having an affair with a man from another state….and her minister husband not only approved of it, but encouraged it. Ladies, I am just touching the tip of the iceberg of her story of sin and destruction and pain.

We must realize that not all minister’s families have these perfect, Godly marriages and homes. Not all homes are wrapped up and tied with the perfect matching ribbon. That underneath the wrappings and ribbons, there is much pain and hurt and sin in our homes. We carefully, meticulously put on our happy faces and make sure the church thinks that all is well….when all is not well!!

I could share with you many other stories of adultery, thievery, pride, divorce, homosexuality, etc....all going on in the minister’s family. And I am sure you can too. Am I talking to you? Are you suffering? How can we help you? How can I help you?

Many of you “used to be” a minister’s wife. You have experienced the pain of divorce or the ache of death or the challenge of retirement or the confusion and fear of changing careers. Many of us who are now minister’s wives might one day say I “used to be” a minister’s wife.

Ladies, if we are not careful, our identity and worth can be wrapped up in what we do or who our children are or being married to a minister. I exhort you, sister, do NOT get caught in that trap. You are a precious, beloved, gifted woman….created for a purpose to bring glory to God. And praise Him….once we are His we will NEVER be able to say “I used to be His!!!"

Father, I pray for my sister who is suffering now. Who desperately needs help. I ask that You would provide her with Godly council. I pray for her husband and their marriage. That they would repent of their sin, that they enemy would be defeated and that restoration would come. Bring them to You....anoint them with Your power and forgiveness and strength. I also pray for Shari and any others who are searching for a Church to serve You and be served. Lead them, Lord. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Left Behind

My husband has been gone 51 days.

  • Yes, I am counting!!
  • No, I did not get to go with him.
  • Yes, I will eventually get to go.

I have been “left behind” because of commitments I needed to fulfill here before I could make the move. This separation has provided many challenges, vacancies and opportunities.

For instance:

  • A typical week of laundry consists of a handful of panties instead of several loads.
  • The remote control is always where I left it and never lost in the cushion of the recliner.
  • I never wake up to the sweet sound of snoring.

And I miss all of it! I miss my husband. We have been married over 33 years and we are best friends. He has begun his new ministry in our new church and God is using him. He is meeting people and talks about names I am not familiar with. He goes places I cannot envision.

Another challenge that I struggle with is, where do I go to church? Many weekends I am not able to travel the eight hours to be with my husband and our new church because of speaking engagements and I have been told it would be best if I did not go back to our church here. So, what am I to do? Do I drive for 45 minutes to an hour to go to church in another town? Do I go to another church in our small town? Do I stay home and go to the church on the TV? Others have told me I should return to our church. So I am open to suggestions. What has worked for you? What am I to do? (So far I have done all of the above!!)

What a strange place to be. A pastor’s wife visiting other churches!! Honestly, at times, it has been freeing! To be anonymous.! To be able to worship and not know anyone, talk to anyone! To be able to focus on the Lord and not on anyone else. What freedom!!

I am so ready to be reunited with my husband….and in the meantime, I long to use this time to get to know my God. To sit at His feet. To not waste a second of this “season”. To do as Paul says in Philippians, to “Know Him and the Power of his resurrection…”. To learn how to love and serve my husband from a distance. To pray and seek wisdom as to how God might use me at our new church. To understand that this sense of loneliness and feeling disconnected from the old church and the new church will be used for His glory and my good.

The truth is….I have not been "left behind"!! Jeremiah 20:11 says “the Lord stands beside my like a great warrior!!”

Monday, October 13, 2008

Live Life Loved

I did not say anything in my last postings about our move….and I am not sure why. Perhaps it was because it has all been quite overwhelming and for some strange reason, not “talking” about it makes it not seem real.

These past few months have been challenging, encouraging, exciting, reflective, fearful, busy, and exhausting. We were so encouraged as our church sent us off with words of exhortation and reflection and love. I weep as I reflect on our last Sunday as the people shared with us how God had used us, and, for the very first time in 15 years…I realized how loved we really were. How sad to have to wait until we leave to grasp the truth of the love the people had for us.

Oh ladies, how often I struggle with not knowing if I am loved. I long for people to love me. To accept me. BUT how wrong it is for me to long for the love of people….to get my fulfillment and joy from their love. I MUST live my life knowing that my Father in heaven loves me so fully and unconditionally….Oh, Lord, I want to know how loved I am by You….I don’t want to wait until I leave this earth and see Your accepting eyes and fall at Your feet before I grasp this Truth.

My sweet “70-something” friend wrote to me saying she was praying for me to “live life loved”. When I first read it, I thought she was talking about living life loved by people….WRONG! I am to live life loved by HIM.

You, my friend, are precious. You are loved! Isaiah 43:4 says, “Others died that you might live. I traded their lives for yours because you are precious to me. You are honored, and I love you.”

Let me warn you as well....In the words of Denver Moore in Same Kind of Different as Me, “what is precious to God becomes important to satan.” (I would HIGHLY recommend this book!!! It is life-changing).

Allow yourselves to be loved….by God and by the people in your church.

Oh, Father, I thank you for the amazing, perfect love You have for us. I ask that You would speak Your love to this precious woman reading this and that she would KNOW how loved she is by You! I stand against the enemy who would want her to ignore that love or reject that love or not believe in that love. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Friday, October 10, 2008

God's Orders

I have shared with you the orders of 'shelter and stay' and 'mandatory evacuation'. Both of these were used during hurricane Ike in Houston. They were completely opposite orders for different people in different places. Each order was given in the best interest of the people. The officials in Houston were trying to keep people safe and provide for their needs.

We receive these same orders in ministry at different times.

At times we are serving in a church with many trials. The longer we serve the more frustrated we become. The normal response is, "God let me out of here!" At times He may say yes, but more often He says, "shelter and stay". These are the times we learn to love like He loves us, we learn to trust He is in control, we allow the fire to refine.

The more difficult time for our family was when our church was growing and we loved our people, we felt loved by them and God said, "evacuate". It just did not make sense to us. Why now? "We are getting Your work done, Lord." I could give God many reasons why we needed to be in that place, yet He gave the evacuation orders.

We have choices to make when God gives His orders. We can obey, obey with joy, obey with resentment, obey with trust, obey kicking and screaming all the way. Of course, we can also disobey.

Ladies, wherever you are in your journey with God, I know you already understand the importance of obeying. I so want you to go further and receive the blessings of obeying in trust and joy. Let me allow God to give you His assurance as you obey His orders.

Jeremiah 1:5a, 7b "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you ... For you shall go to all to whom I send you, And whatever I command you, you shall speak."

Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Mandatory Evacuation

I shared with you our order to shelter and stay during hurricane Ike. Today I want to share with you the order of "mandatory evacuation".

As we watched the tracking of the hurricane on the news, we heard that Galveston was ordered to evacuate. The people of Galveston were told there would be no power, no water, no police, no fireman, no nurses, no doctors, No Help! Repeatedly they were told they must leave and warned of impending death. The roads going into Galveston were closed and all roads were opened to go out of Galveston.

I was amazed at how many warnings were given to these people. It seemed all day and night for days they were told to evacuate, yet some did not want to leave behind their homes, cars, stuff. Mandatory evacuation, not optional, not a request, but an order. A giant storm was coming, they needed to leave, wasn't that enough information?

Through the years in ministry, we at times received the call to evacuate. God would tell us it was time to pick up and move. There were times we did not want to move. We were happy serving where we were at that time. Our children were in school and we had more to do at the church, yet God said, "Evacuate". Leave your stuff and go.

When we obey God's mandatory evacuation call, we can be sure He will open the roads to go. When we refuse we can be sure we will be without Power and Help!

Genesis 12:1-2 "Get out of your country, from your family and from your father's house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you."

I pray you will always be willing to evacuate when God gives the order. He will bless you.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Hurricane Ike

I went to Houston for my cancer check up a few weeks ago. It was the normal round of all day testing and visiting doctors. As we were finishing the day, a nurse said, "we will try to get you out of here before the hurricane hits."

Well, the hurricane hit and we were ordered to "shelter and stay". That means, don't leave, stay put, remain where you are, STOP! We obeyed those orders and went through our first hurricane. It was not something I can explain or describe. The rain was like a waterfall, falling horizontally and the wind was so loud that we could hardly hear ourselves talk.

As we went through the next six to eight hours of unending rain and wind, I was amazed at the power and destruction going on around me. We had to stay away from the windows, but we could hear many things being destroyed, moved and uprooted throughout the night.

I am telling you this because I thought about the many times in ministry when it seemed that destruction was going on around me. Families being torn apart, jobs being lost, loved ones leaving this earthly home. Even when we could not see what was going on in the people's lives we were serving, the sounds of hurt, confusion and anger were there.

We were not hurt during the hurricane because we followed the orders of "shelter and stay". God has the same orders for us at special times in our lives. He tell us in Psalm 46:10, "Be still and know that I am God." As we serve, there are times when we must stop and shelter and stay, under the shelter of His wings, safe and secure. Wait on Him, trust His Word, listen to His instructions and obey. He will give you the direction you need in the middle of the worst storms.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Hugs and Kisses

I believe I have mentioned that there are a few of things on this planet that I just cannot live without-Jesus, my family, chocolate and girlfriends. Now, Jesus and my family are extremely important to me and nothing will ever replace them. However, a healthy dose of dark chocolate and gabbing with girlfriends keep my heart healthy. Well, face it. It has been stated that chocolate can be good for you plus add in the laughter of great girlfriends and you have it made!

Today, I lunched with four precious girlfriends. The ironic part of this lunch is that four of us are staff wives at my church and the other is a member of the church. However, we have a common bond-Jesus and a desire to know one another.

Since this is clergy/staff appreciation month, I would like to say that each staff person whether a pastor or youth leader deserves a standing ovation from their churches. They carry the burden of so many people and must be a servant for Christ. I know in our church each staff person is vital to the body of Christ. However, I will say that we staff wives deserve our pat on the back too.

No matter whether your church is small or large a staff wife is vital to the ministry. We are partners in the work whether we like it or not. I personally love being a pastor's wife. Now, it is a big responsibility and there are times when I would like to stay home in my PJs and relax. In addition, there are times when I would like to yell at the people who are critical of our church. Often because of my humaness, I fell at my ministry role. However, I feel the call of Christ to be a supportive wife. a fellow servant, and a Christian witness. I also feel a deep desire to mentor other staff wives.

I am so blessed that the staff wives I serve with are open and friendly. I cherish them. We are all unique and vary in age. Our children range in age from young adult to two years old. We all have various areas of interest as well. However, the common bond we share is our love for Christ and our experiences in this sisterhood of ministry. What is even better and unique is that these ladies are truly my girlfriends. I just love and appreciate them so much.

Let me encourage you to find a way to tell your fellow staff wives thank you for serving with you at your church. If you are the only staff wife, then find another staff wife from another church and spend time with her. Our unique sisterhood can only be understood by a fellow sister. There are plenty of staff wives out there who are so lonely and just need an encouraging word or hug. Ask the Lord to place a staff wife on your heart today and do something special for her. Here are a couple of suggestions:
*Send a note of encouragement
*Place a few Hershey Hugs and Kisses in a bag and write a note.
*Go lunch together
*Make a phone call
*Go to Sonic for a coke
To all the ministers wives who read our blog, I would like to say thank you for all your hard work. May the Lord shower His blessings on you today in a very special way. Since I do not have any Hershey chocolate on me at the moment, I'll close by saying "Hugs and Kisses from a fellow sister."

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Lessons of Faith Part 2

I actually had a few moments in my hurried day yesterday to sit on my deck and enjoy the weather. I felt the slight breeze on my face and I believe I could smell a hint of fall in the air. During this quiet time I asked God direction for my blog time. Again, faith was the answer.

Personally, there are several people in my life who are living examples of faith. They are my heroes. Their "super power" is their faith. I would like to share briefly about a hero couple.

Recently, a sweet couple in my Bible study class received devastating news-Steve has lung cancer. Here is a man who seems in perfect health, whose family is a Christian witness and very loving. They have a great sense of humor and are servants. Ginger is a true classic Southern woman with a huge heart. This couple has two beautiful children as well. When I heard their news I truly was heart sickened. I wondered why God would allow such a terrible thing to happen to my friends. However, God is using this family to teach me yet another lesson in faith.

Instead of crying and feeling sorry for themselves, this dear couple is allowing God to use them. Each day is a gift and they do not waste it. They have shared that through Steve's illness God is opening doors for them to share Christ with other cancer patients who have no hope. They personally do not know whether God will provide an earthly healing or not but both Steve and Giner know that their Heavenly Father has a plan for their lives.

As I write this blog and think on this couple tears spring into my eyes. These are not tears of sorrow for what my friends are going through but of how our Heavenly Father is using Steve and Ginger. When I see them each week there are smiles on their faces and I truly see God at work in their lives.

Just as Abraham and Moses did not see the final product of their obedience, they stepped out in faith in order for God to be gloried. Steve and Giner do not know what their future holds but they are willing to step out in faith and be used of their Heavenly Faither. Because of their actions and faith, Steve and Giner are at the top of my hero list. I firmly believe they were placed in my life in order to teach me another faith lesson and I thank God for them.

Romans 8:28: "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."
Do you have a hero in the faith? Please share with me what your hero's example means to you. Better yet, tell that person.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Lessons of Faith

Hello Girlfriends! I sure have missed you. There has been much taking place in my life over the past few weeks and many lessons God is teaching me. I can also tell you that I have needed my daily dose of chocolate to get through some of the hurdles. As I pondered what to share with you today, I believe God is leading me to talk about faith.

My busy life gets so bogged down in the junk of the day that I often become overwhelmed and frazzled. I find myself muttering under my breath of why life has to be so crazy. Oh but that is when God gets my attention. He whispers, "Oh, yea of little faith." In the midst of the craziness, I respond, "Yes Lord, I should have faith that you know what is best and how to work it all out for your glory."

Well, I am going to need to trust and have faith that the Father will take care of all situations. Right now, I have been praying hard from my youngest son, Bryan aka Moose. He is in his senior year of college and is struggling in one class. Can you believe that it is a news writing class? Bryan is an excellent writer but news writing is not his calling. However, this class is a requirement for his major. It broke my heart to hear him so discouraged after receiving a low grade on a story plus not finishing a very difficult test in this class. I wanted to do what any good mama would do--drive all day and just hug my little boy.

Since time, distance, and gas prices made it impossible to go hug my son, I sat down with God and prayed. I had offered my son much advice but the true answer would come from the Lord. I placed this situation in the Father's capable hands. I asked the Lord to take care of the situation and let Bryan see Him at work in his life. All my motherly advice cannot compare to the simple act placing my faith in the Lord so that His glory may be revealed.

It is my prayer that God will allow Bryan to pass this course. It is also my prayer that the professor will see Jesus through my son. Whatever the outcome I am placing this situtation in the Father's hands and trusting Him to do what is best.

How have you seen the Father faithfully working in your life?

Friday, September 26, 2008

Ruts & Routines

Okay, MY plan was to post this yesterday, but in line with my theme for the week, my routine for the day was interrupted. So, here I am today sharing my thoughts with the God-given illustration of yesterday. I knew what I wanted to say, but was really unsure how to start it, when God interrupted.

Yesterday morning I prayed that God would control and lead me through my day. I dropped my daughter off at school and ran to Wal-Mart to grab a few items I needed. I thought I had time and was browsing through the toy section to get ideas for my nephew's birthday gift when my cell phone rang. I knew from my caller id it was a good friend and eagerly answered the call. I was surprised to hear the tears and pain in her voice and we agreed to meet immediately back at my house. 

She sat on my couch and began to unload her heart. She had issues with her husband. She had issues with her oldest son. She had issues with herself. And she had issues with God. Her life had become so busy -filled with schedules and routines- that she had scheduled God right out of everything that she was doing. I mean she was still going to church, trying to witness to her neighbors and serve her family, but she was starving her own personal pursuit of Christ. She runs her home like a well-oiled machine. She follows a strict budget. She has her family planner color coded by family member and always by her side. Yet, her routine no longer contained any opportunity for her to be still and know that He is God. It was unintentional, yet she found herself in a rut of a routine, that allowed no room for God to grow in her life. As a result, she found that every other aspect of her life was suffering. 

I find myself in a different kind of rut this week . . . I am still getting up early every morning to have my Bible study and prayer time, but I have to confess that it has gotten pretty stale. I find myself going though the motions just to check it off my list and say that I have done it for the day. I am not stretching myself. I am not really growing. I am just going. I am just doing and all the while my rut just gets deeper. 

As I prayed with my friend, I realized how alike our situations really were. I am not that far from finding myself in her shoes. I need to really pursue God passionately. I need help reorganizing my routine too. I need to be fed and I need to grow. I need more and more of Him. 

What have you done to get out of a rut? I don't think I need to ditch my whole routine, but I do know that it definitely needs to be tweaked. A different Bible study perhaps, or maybe a little less television in the evening may help. You know, I think I am going to ask my husband. Not only would it be a "real" conversation, but it gives me the opportunity to turn to him for some leadership. Hey, isn't that where I started my week?