Thursday, July 31, 2008

Presence and Direction

"And give me a sense of Your continual presence and direction"
I Chronicles 4:10

In this part of our study, I believe the most meaningful teachings came directly from scripture. Today, I want to share God's Word with you. There is nothing more powerful, helpful, or life-changing.

These are some passages that remind me that I have God's continual presence and direction in my life.

Matthew 1:23 "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel - which means, "God with us."

His very name is a reminder that our God is always with us. Are you surrounded in awareness of His presence as you walk through the day? He has promised He will be with us so if you don't sense Him in your life, it is not because He is not there. Ask Him to permeate your life today with His presence.

Matthew 28:20 "And surely I am with you always to the very end of the age."

Hebrew 15:5b "I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you."

When my husband died, I found this verse on a bookmark in my Bible. I carried it every where I went as a reminder that I was not alone, even though I had never been more lonely.

Jeremiah 23:23-24 "Am I only a God nearby," declares the Lord, "and not a God far away? Can anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot see him?" "Do not I fill heaven and earth?" declares the Lord.

Psalm 46:1-2 "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea."

What a wonderful fact to know about our God! When we heard the word 'cancer' from the doctors for my son, Stephen, fear gripped our hearts. Truly we felt as though the earth had given way and the mountains were falling. As we sought God, He reminded us that He promises to be our help in trouble. God began to call us to a faith walk with Him. The rewards are countless and the joy was abundant. You can be sure that whatever is happening in your life, it does not go unnoticed by your Father in Heaven.

Psalm 32:8-9 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you. Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you."

God has each and every detail of your day planned. He wants to show you the way to go. Let Him lead you and give direction, don't force Him to bridle you. The joy is in obedience! Joy comes from a walk of faith.

I need God to show me the way to go as do you. God wants to point me in the right direction. Let's take time to get out the map and follow His directions!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Increase My Opportunities

"Increase my influence and opportunities for you"
I Chronicles 4:10

As a minister's wife the thought of expanding opportunities may be the last thing you want to pray. You may be thinking, I don't need any more opportunities, I need less!

The other side of that situation may be that you want different opportunities. Maybe you would like to do something that seems more important or meaningful.

The first time I prayed this prayer, about eight years ago, my husband had just gone to live with Jesus. I did not think there was anything left for me to do here on earth as my life was completely tied up in being a 'pastor's wife'. Yet, God answered, and I ended up in Russia speaking at one of the first women's conferences they were able to have. Wow! That is expanding and increasing!

When my friend and I began to pray this again, I was excited to see where God was going to send me this time. What country or city would I be visiting?

This past thirty days my territory has expanded, but not like I expected. I have been in New Mexico and Idaho speaking to minister's wives, but that was already scheduled before we began this prayer journey. What new thing was God going to do?

My dear sisters, God began to open my eyes to the many opportunities that were in my everyday life. It has been amazing to recognize His hand in my daily walk as expanded territory. Not more work and less time, but more time in His presence doing His plan- not my plan.

  • I have been emailing two women with cancer that I have never met. I am not sure where they got my name. Are you?

  • A man and his son came to stay in our home. They just lost their wife and mother to cancer and wanted to talk, hurt, cry. I never even had to leave the house and my territory was expanded.

  • A young man addicted to prescription drugs came to dig holes for bushes in our yard. He went to church with us this past Sunday.

  • My son called and said, "I am afraid". He is having symptoms of the cancer that was treated three years ago. God is allowing me to pray and "hold up his arms" as we all walk this path together.

These are only a few open opportunities. I could share more about neighbors, phone calls, talks with my family. Each day an adventure and opportunity to influence our world for our Savior. What an incredible privilege!

God wants to "increase and expand". Are you looking for the opportunities? They are right in front of you. Ask and answer. He is Faithful!!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Something So Big

"Do something so big in my life that it is obviously from you."
I Chronicles 4:10

When was the last time that people around you recognized God's work in your life? Has He done something so big that only He could do it for you recently?

If I were to share the things that were too big for me, I could start making an endless list. My list would go something like this:
  • Salvation
  • School
  • Marriage
  • Minister's wife
  • Three sons
  • Write, teach, speak
  • Death of husband
  • Son with cancer
  • New marriage
  • My cancer

All the above were things that were too big for me to handle, yet they were handled! How? You know the answer to that question, as do I. My God - The Lord God Almighty. The same God who helped David slay Goliath, Peter walk on the waves and Paul rejoice in prison, is the same God who brings you and me to victory day in and day out.

The above things are also things God did in my past. What about today? Is He still doing 'big things"? Yes! Be assured our God is still at work. Everyday He waits for us to ask, "Father, do something so big that it can only be from you".

Why does He want us to pray that particular request? He does not want us to settle for average. He does not want us to forget He is on His throne. He does not want us to miss the honor of giving Him glory.

As I studied this passage, a question was asked that I want to ask you today.

"Are you willing to be a platform for God to do something only He can do?"

He is waiting for you to ask. Stop now and ask. As He answers this request, share it with me and those who are reading this blog. Give Him the glory!

Much, much, more

Monday, July 28, 2008

Bless Me

"Bless Me, Indeed"
I Chronicles 4:10

Recently, a friend that I went through this study with, called and said, "Let's do it again!" We have spent the last 30 days walking through this passage in the Bible together. It has been quite a journey. We used a book called, "The Jabez Prayer Experiement". This is a lab manuel with 30 personal devotions.

About nine years ago I studied "The Prayer of Jabez". I am sure many of you also did the same study. As a result of that study, the Lord taught me many things and showed me His Hand in many ways. If we could share with each other, I believe the praises of how God used this prayer in our lives would be endless.

I want to spend this week highlighting some of the things God has done in my life these past 30 days. This was a new walk through this scripture with new understanding and new calls to obedience.

As I pray for God to 'bless me', I often feel it is somewhat selfish. When we began this study together I was reminded that I ask for God's blessings in order that I can bless others. As I began to pray for blessings and opportunities to bless, God opened the doors and began to pour.

My family met an older retired minister and his wife. They recently moved into a very small trailer. We learned that they retired from ministry with virtually nothing. After giving theirs lives serving our Lord, they were eating out of cans with plastic forks and spoons.

We talked as a family and began to search our homes for things to give them. My mother came to visit and as I shared the need with her she said, "Why not buy them new things?" As I stopped and thought about how God has blessed me, I realized that His blessings were always the best!

As we went to the store to shop, I cannot tell you how much joy we experienced. We picked out dishes, glasses, silverware, dish towels, etc. They all matched! It was not alot of money and did not take alot of time, yet the blessings are not even countable!

Since then, we have shared things from each of our homes. My daughter-in-laws have shared towels, rugs, pots and pans and more. Each time we have dropped these things off, we have been more blessed than this sweet couple will ever be blessed.

I have just shared one event in many. These past 30 days I have been so blessed and so exicted about looking for the opportunity to pass that blessing on to God's people.

Ask God to "Bless You, Indeed", today. Ask God to show you who needs His blessing passed on to them, through you.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Brazil: Part Three

All week long I have been asked the same question over and over? What is the food like in Brazil? Well, let me just say that you do not travel to Brazil and plan to loose weight.

The fruit is delicious. Fruit like fresh bananas, pineapples, mangos, lemons, and oranges tickle your taste buds. I can honestly say my favorite Brazilian fruit is pineapple. One bite and you are hooked. It is sweet and juicy. Trust me, it is not like what we have in our grocery stores here.

In addition to the fruit, each day the church members fed us a meal. We had chicken and beef dishes that melt in your mouth. We also ate a tomato relish with the meals that was wonderful. Of course, each meal had rice and beans which is a staple to their meals.

Next comes the desserts. Well, there is no words to describe them. They were sweet but not too sweet. They were creamy with some type of carmel sauce. Plus there was chocolate! Oh yes, my dear sisters, you know this chocolate addict was in heaven. (If you want to sample some Brazilian chocolate you only need to call me. I have several different varieties in my cabinet.)

When I think about the wonderful food of Brazil, I am drawn back to the word of God. It is our food for spiritual life. It provides strength for our battles against evil, courage for our souls, and hope for eternity. Each time we read in God's word it melts into our spirits and makes us stronger.

Do you have a favorite Bible verse that speaks to you? Do you have a favorite passage that provides nourishment to your soul? Maybe God has given you a word that would encourage someone in our unique sisterhood. Would you be willing to share it on our post today? God bless you all.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Brazil: Part Two

As I posted the other day, we have just returned from a ten mission day trip to Brazil. My brain is still in a fog. (My family would say that I live with permanent brain fog.) However, my heart overflows.
This mission trip was the first out of country trip for me. Sure, I've been to different locations in our country and experience the cultural differences here in the USA. However, this trip was an eye opener in many ways.

One item that sticks out for me is the way the Christians of Brazil worship our Heavenly Father. It is not unusal for a worship service to last two or more hours! They come for the purpose of meeting God. They are not worried that dinner might burn or where they have to be later in the day. So what if the preaching goes past noon. They are just happy to be with other Christians and praising God. I immediately feel a saddness in my heart for our churches here in America. We (and girls I am talking about me as well) fidget after fifteen minutes in the service. We all glance at our watches and wonder about lunch. I get antsy when my husband goes a couple of minutes over because I know someone in the congregation is going to chew preacher at their dinner table. Oh, how I wish we could be so consumed with true worship of our Father that we put aside our worries of the day.

Second, the Brazilians worship with soul stirring music. I love our music program at our church. I think it is truly awesome. However, we like many other churches lack something. We complain about the style of music and we are also afraid we might be off key. Well my dear sisters, we need to take lessons from Brazilian Christians. I have never heard such beautiful voices joining together in true worship! It does not matter that style of music-hymns, choruses, soft, or pulsing-they just sing with all their hearts. It does not matter if they are off key (I never heard an off pitch). They lift their voices to their Heavenly King. As for the Brazilian men, they sing with such emotion and force that you feel you are being lifted to heaven. For me it was a humbling experience because I am so concerned about hitting the right note and not being "too loud."

Last, I truly discovered that our Father is the Father in all nations. It does not matter our cultural diffences, our language barriers, or race. Our God is the one true God. Sure, we may not understand each others differences but God is the common demoninator. Just think of all the voices lifting praise and prayers before the throne each day. Our Heavenly Father hears each plea and praise. I imagine when we all get to heaven we will be able to understand every word spoken and song sung. I am humbled to think I will have Brazilian brothers and sisters as well as all Christians from all over the world standing beside me worshipping our Heavenly Father for eternity.
I know I have gone on about this trip but I am just full of God's goodness. I pray you do not find this boring. I hope that you will discover some tidbit that opens your eyes more to what God is doing in our world. I am just so grateful for my experience. I just want to encourage each of you to find an opportunity whether in state, in country or in another part of the world to experience Jesus as I did.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

God At Work

Well girls I have so much to tell you but I do not even know where to begin. God has done some amazing things these past ten days in my life. I have seen God working in ways that are totally unbelievable.

My hushand and I along with nineteen other mission hearted church members just return this morning at 8:00 a.m. from a mission trip to Brazil. We are so weary from the work and from the lack of sleep. Most of us have had very little sleep in the past 30 hours! So if my post sounds a little goofy just forgive me.

First, I just want to tell you that God amazingly allow me to go on this trip. The financial cost was high. We had to make cut backs in the household expenses and at times I did not feel like the trip would be possible for me. However, our church graciously paid my husband's way so this allowed me to put money toward my part of the trip. About three weeks before the trip I still owed $700. Now that may not sound like alot to some of you but to us it is. My plan was to make two big payments on the 1st and 15th. However, God had other plans. He placed an angel in our church who paid the balance for me. I still do not know who this person is but I can tell you that this was an unexpected blessing.
Secondly, our trip was to do construction for a new church start, medical/dentistry, and door to door evangelism. Of course, on any mission trip the key word is flexibility. Our first day of work went without a problem. However, the second day our medical team was told to stop all work. Although the team had done all the proper paperwork ahead of time, the medical inspectors did not approve the work and did not sign off on in country paperwork. The need for medical and dentistry work in the area we were in is great. It broke our heart that there was nothing we could do. However, God used it.
Third, because the medical/dentistry team could not work, they were able to assist in the construction and door to door evangelism. As a result a new church plant with only bricks on the street and dirt to be spread ended up having almost all four walls completed, electrical work done, and dirt and concrete spread for the floor. We began construction on Monday morning and Saturday night we had a dedication service in the church! It was just unbelievable. The building was packed to capacity and the grounds outside the church was full. God has great things in store for this new plant.

Fourth, as I said flexibility is key on a mission trip. The pastor of the mother church decided was needed to have a three mornings of children's activities. Now understand we did not assess to a lot of supplies. However, there were four of us who discovered we are great scavengers. We were able to get on the internet and print a couple of bible stories and coloring sheets. After searching many stores we located a few boxes of colors and chalk. You just have to use your imagination and trust God to supply.

Last, our door to door evangelism was something to behold. We went into homes that basically had nothing. One I went into had a bedroom for four people, a small kitch and bathroom, and a small sitting area. These people have nothing and I suddenly realized I complain too much. Very rarely were we turned away. God is doing a great work in Brazil. They are seeking hope. One lady who asked Jesus to be her Savior went from dull eyes to bright eyes filled with hope. It was amazing to see the physical change immediately. The good news is that the new church plant will be following up with all the new Christians.

Well ladies, I told you my heart was full and there is much more to tell. However, I'll save it for another day. I do ask that you pray for my husband and I as we much travel to Arkansas this afternoon. My husband's aunt passed away and she wanted him to preach her service. As tired as we are we cannot turned down this wonderful Christian woman's last request. I'll chat with again on Thursday so buckled your seatbelts for more tales from Brazil.
What are some of your amazing mission trip tales? I would love to hear about them.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Supporting Him In Transition

My husband has often joked that I am the best job security that he has. I don't know how true that is, but I really do look at us as a ministry team. He is definitely the captain of that team,  and I guess, I am striving to be the MVP.

One thing is true, a minister's wife can either help make the minister or totally break him. I have seen wives do both. I think this can't be more clearly displayed in how the couple handles times of transition. Whether it is a child graduating from school, or God calling you to a church out-of-state, transition can really serve as a microscope to see what your relationship is really all about.

Recently, I have seen God call two different ministers to two different states. There wives had two very different reactions. One is totally behind her husband, knowing with her whole heart and confirming that this is God's will for their young family. The other, loving God and her husband, isn't so sure that this is God's will, but is doing her best to trust both of them. These ladies are both up for some crazy stressful times and are both seeking prayer support for their marriages in the days ahead. There have been tears and fears. There have been dreams and even a scheme or two. But they are both prayerfully in their attitudes and actions supporting their husbands. 

I have been there myself. There have been times I have doubted what we were doing was God's will. Honestly, I am quite thankful that God doesn't place us ladies in the hot seat of being the leader of the home. There have been other times I have known without a doubt, though it is hard to discern what is ahead, that we were moving in the direction that God had ordained. 

Through it all, I know He has brought us closer to each other, but more importantly, closer to Him. My prayer is that in these inevitable times of transition, that He uses our marriage to glorify Himself. That is the reminder that I need so often; it isn't about me or even us. It is all about Him.

On a Lighter Note . . .

I hope everyone is having a great summer . . . 

I was so impressed with Dana's pictures. I love seeing the people we talk about! Anyway I thought I would add a pic or two myself!

The first pic is of me and my sweetie, Wally, at his seminary graduation this spring. It was outside at The Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville, KY. I have his jacket on because it was downright cold for a May day.

The second is my five-year-old daughter, Riley, on the Fourth with a couple of her favorite toys. For some reason that baby monkey has gone far too many places with us!


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Supporting Him In Conflict

You may have been reading my last few posts and be thinking, "Well, Tara that is all and good, but right now I don't feel like supporting my husband." Let me assure you, dear reader, that I don't just assume that because you are married to a minister, that you have the perfect marriage that everyone in your congregation expects you to have. I know that it is hard to listen to your husband preach on family and marriage when you know that the picture he may be painting from the pulpit, doesn't match your reality at home.

Personally, there have been times in my life when I felt like the biggest hypocrite walking into church on a Sunday morning. I have plastered the smile on my face and done my best to act like everything is okay, but I am really fuming or hurt or frustrated or I-don't-know-what on the inside. Especially that first year of marriage, boy it was rough!

None of us like those feelings or situations, but I am pretty sure we can all relate. So how do we handle conflict within our marriages? This is yet another topic that is not exclusive to us as ministers' wives. 

From personal experience, like yesterday's post, I would begin with prayer. Then I thought my pastor had some great ideas in his sermon this past Sunday. (Thanks Chris!) He called his sermon "Rules of the Rings". I thought I would pass on his points to you:
  1. Listen twice as much as you speak - I should understand before I expect to be understood, Proverbs 10:19
  2. Choose your battleground - Location: Private, Timing: Immediately, Ephesians 4:25-27 & Acts 27:41
  3. Don't attack the person, attack the problem - Ephesians 4:29-31
  4. Always Forgive - Ephesians 4:32 & 1 Corinthians 13:5
I'd like to say that my husband and I never have issues, but hey we each married another sinner! We are bound to have problems. I just pray that we handle them in a way that honors and glorifies God.

What about you? I am sure there are ladies reading this post who have been married way longer than my nine and a half years. Any suggestions on how to handle conflict? 

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Supporting Him At Home

I don't think this topic is exclusive only to minister's wives. Every wife needs to be supportive of her husband in the home, yet this may be the hardest place to treat our husbands with the respect and love he needs. 

After a long day of housework, errand running and disciplining our preschooler, it can be down right hard to shift gears into "adult mode" and be able to become that soft place my husband needs to fall back on. It is hard for me to give him the time to decompress, when I know that my first opportunity to relax won't come for another 3-5 hours. I try to greet him with a smile and some assurance that dinner will be ready in no more than 45 minutes. This may or may not happen, but I really try to have the house straightened too. I want him to want to come home. 

I know that there are days when he feels like he is living for the church. I know he has dozens of people with various demands upon his time. I know that there are weekends that turn into weeks where he feels like he hasn't been home at all. So if he is able to be here for bedtime or not, I want him to know that he was missed, without making him feel guilty for missing it,  whatever "it" was. 

Yes, there are times when our husbands may neglect some of their responsibilities around the house. The grass may need mowed and the oil may need changing in the car. That project on the "Honey Do List" may have lived on that list for far too long. You may be frustrated that he is THE spiritual leader at church, but has trouble filling that role with you and the kids. You may feel like he is always there for everyone else, but never for you . . . 

Dear Friend, take heart! Let me remind you that our "duties" at home are incredibly noble and very important, no matter what our culture may say. Do everything as for the Lord, and trust that He will be your fulfillment - not scrubbing the toilet, or wiping running noses, but that He is being glorified in how you run your house. 

One sin that I so easily still fall prey to, is trying to put my husband in the place in my life that God belongs. My sweetie, while he does many things amazing well, cannot meet the needs in my life that only God can fill. Yet, time and time again I want him to "complete me".  I expect him to read my mind and make me happy. Ladies, our husbands are not responsible for our happiness!

So, how do I suggest supporting our husbands at home? 


It shouldn't amaze me, but it always does. When I seek God first, all these things are added. I set my clock and get up early so I can begin my day in prayer. I journal my prayers for myself, my husband and my daughter being sure to include all those things that they do that I think will drive me crazy loca! After all, I have learned that only God can change those circumstances or behaviors that seem so permanent.

So what is it you do to support your husband when he comes home? Maybe the business meetings at your church aren't stressful for him, but what advice would you offer the minister's wife that isn't so blessed?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Supporting Him At Church

When we first married, being involved in my husband's student ministry was easy. For me, it just flowed with the gifts and experiences that God had given me. Later, after our daughter was born,  it became more challenging. Then God called my husband out of youth ministry and I was left wondering where and how I would fit into my husband's associational ministry.

I know some of you didn't have any idea that you were even marrying a minister when you and your husband exchanged vows. God hadn't called him into the ministry yet. But, here you are and you are so sure that you can in no way fit whatever stereotype your congregation wants you to be as a minister's wife. You don't play piano. You can't sing. You really do not want to organize the WMU. But all these things are expected of you, because the minister's wife that preceded you, did all of this while homeschooling her kids and volunteering at the local soup kitchen.

The best way you can support your husband in his ministry is to be true to your Creator. He designed you for a purpose, for your husband and for your church. Please don't try to be, or allow yourself to feel pressured to be something that you know God didn't design you to be. Find those things that God did equip you to do and then plug yourself into your husband's ministry.

I have a good friend Susan who has displayed this kind of support for her husband's ministry. He is the Minister to Young Families and is responsible for ministering to young families through a contemporary worship service and other programs. Susan didn't try to join the praise band. She didn't lead a discipleship class or become a small group leader for single women. While, I think she would do great in these capacities, that isn't what God gifted her for in this season. However, she is a fantastic hostess and a huge encourager. Susan has opened her home weekly, sometimes daily to various groups. She encourages her husband by attending his mid-week Bible study. She uplifts those around her with her positive words and attitude.

Now, don't get me wrong. I don't have this completely figured out in my own life yet. My husband ministers to over 40 churches and other ministries. At his encouragement, I don't go to every church he preaches in. In most meetings, I have no place. So supporting him in his ministry can be a little more challenging. One way that I have learned to encourage him is by doing just that. His love language is "encouraging words" (Thank you Dr. Smalley!). I support him in the way I know my husband as an individual best receives support -  I try to be intentional in verbalizing, in writing, in letting him know, I believe in what God has him doing. Sometimes I am better at this than others. It is definitely something the Holy Spirit will gently prompt me to do when I can't seem to make it a priority on my own. 

Yes, there are some very tangible ways we can support our husbands at church. We can serve on or lead a committee. We could bake bread for the visitors or send a meal with our man as he visits a shut-in. We may sing in the choir. Hopefully, we are all watching our own lives to make sure we are setting a God-honoring example for the younger women in our churches. (Titus 2)

But, there are some other ways that we can support our husband's ministry. Because we have such an insider's view on our husband, his personality and his life, God can use us to encourage and support our husbands in ways that no one else in the church can. It is both a responsibility and a privilege.

So, ladies, how do you do it? How do you support your minister husband at church? What is your God-given role in his ministry? Please post your ideas here. Your posting might just be what one of our dear sisters need to read . . . 

Monday, July 14, 2008

Your Husband is Your Pastor

I don't exactly remember her words, but I do remember her tone. I was sitting in on a women's ministry meeting being run by the pastor's wife. As the student's minister's wife, I knew my role in the planning process. I felt like my input was politely listened to, but that my invitation to the meeting had been given out of obligation. It wasn't based on my gifts, but to whom I was married. I was fully expected to be there. I had accepted this and was eagerly looking forward to being apart of the event that we were planning. Until, the pastor's wife totally degraded her husband and the deacon body in front of the whole committee.
Technically, my husband has never been the lead pastor at any church, but of the three previous churches we have served at, I have seen a variety of "styles" that various women have brought to their roles as ministers' wives. I have experienced a pastor's wife that has been totally disconnected with anything and everything that has to do with the church. And another that exercised her position to see her own agenda accomplished within the life of the church.  
I question whether or not God calls women to be ministers' wives, but I believe with my whole heart that He has equipped each us for the role that He has currently placed us in.  None of us are "accidentally" a minister's wife. God has made and chosen each of us for this position of support and leadership within the church. The challenge is: What do we do with it?

I lost a ton of respect for the pastor's wife in that meeting. She had the opportunity to show support and love for her husband and her pastor. I think her sharp words identify a unique position and challenge that every pastor's wife finds herself in. Your husband is your pastor. No believing wife, should have degraded her husband like that in any setting. I am sure that had this dear woman looked at her husband the way she does other pastors she respects, she never would have used that tone of voice either. 

Ladies, we must at all cost, support our husbands. If we can't support our husbands, then how can we expect the deacons to? I am not at all advocating that we sit silently, idly by or become some over-compensating, phony cheerleader either. What I am trying to say is that God has placed us where we are and who we are for a reason. We can totally support our husbands in an authentic manner without sacrificing our individuality. As the Spirit shows us just how to do that, we will know we are where we should be. Honoring our husbands/pastors and glorifying our Heavenly Father. 

 No pastor (or husband) should be sat on some pedestal to be worshiped like an idol. I mean, we know his faults better than anyone, and we are at times desperate to relate to someone in the church as a real woman, with the same angers, frustrations and complaints about our husband that she has with hers. Just be careful. Remember that the man you are talking about is her pastor and yours too. The Bible says a lot about controlling the tongue.

God has led me this week to spend some time focusing on how we can support our husbands/pastors. PLEASE, feel free to respond and share some of your experiences and observations . . . Let us spur each other on to good deeds . . . .

Thursday, July 10, 2008


I don't know about you but all I seem to hear on the news lately is gloom and doom. I know that there are bad things happening in the world, but it is a constant bombardment on my mind, spirit and heart. It is so discouraging!!! My son-in-law Derrick and I were talking about how nice it would be to have a radio station that all they reported on was the good happening around us. We would name it "Good News Network".

After giving this a lot of thought, it occurred to me that that is exactly what God wants us to do. Declare the "Good News". Jesus is the One that makes the bad news bearable. We realize that without Him there is nothing good.

What about you? Do you get disheartened by all the bad news? Why don't you make a difference? Try talking about all the good things that are happening around you. I received an email today from a lady in my Bible Study Class. She wrote that a dear friend who had only been given a very short amount of time to live because of cancer had been healed. The doctor couldn't believe that the scan showed nothing, so he ran another series of tests. Again, everything came back clean. This is a modern day miracle!!! And yet, few people will talk about this and see it for what it is - that God is still working miracles today!!! I think that is some really good news!

Oh please be one of the positive people in the world today. See the good around you and report it. See the blessings in your life and thank God for them. See the miracles that the Lord is performing, not just physically - but spiritually - and declare the Good News!!!!


I don't get a chance to read very much, except on vacation. This year I got a book from my sister entitled "Amish Country Crossroads". It is a 3 book series in one volume and I have read about half of it already. It is a fascinating book about the Amish people and how they live. What has struck me most is how simple their lives seem to be. They don't rush here and there and try to cram more than is possible into a day. Since they don't have televisions their time is not wasted just sitting and doing nothing. They seem to love the Lord and try to serve Him by serving their families and others.

Isn't that what God has called all of us to do? Satan is sly and wants to distract us from the things that are the most important by placing in our lives "activities". We are so busy doing good things that we don't have time for the best things.

Today I hope I slow down enough to see the people that God puts in my path and enjoy the simple things in life. You know, the things we are too busy to see. Hope you get a chance to do the same...

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


Just the word "vacation" conjures up all kinds of emotions - excitement, anticipation, enthusiasm...There is just something wonderful about getting away. As a family we have had some great times, probably like you have, connecting some time either before or after the Southern Baptist Convention. We would take our girls with us to the Pastor's Conference and the Convention and they loved it. Actually, their favorite times were the Pastor's Conference with the preaching and singing... go figure!!! Anyway, now that they are grown and are on their own they don't get to go with us anymore to the SBC.

So this year we decided to take the 4th of July week for our time together. There were so many possibilities that we could have done. We could have gone to the beach or maybe to Disney World or maybe to New England... we chose Arkansas though. Why Arkansas of all places? Well, my sister who is married to my husband's brother and is also a pastor lives there. They have a beautiful home and great pool and they are our dearest friends. Our oldest daughter came in the weekend before with her husband. He stayed until Sunday and then had to go back to NC where he is in Seminary at Southeastern. He was having to work and couldn't take time off. So on Monday, Wendy and Randy and I drove to Murfreesboro to pick up our youngest daughter Beth, her husband Derrick and our one-year old granddaughter Maddie and headed to Arkansas. All of us were piled into the van and had a great time. It was so nice just being together with all of them.

When we got to Arkansas some of our other family members had arrived from South Alabama and we had a blast together. We had talked about some of the things we would like to do, but in the end we didn't do much of anything. We floated in the pool, grilled hamburgers, had a fireworks display, played cards and visited. What a vacation!!!

I am sure that the reason Jesus mentioned rest so often in His Word is because He knew that we would need times of refreshing. What an awesome God He is!!! Time away is time well spent - hope you can get away soon!!!

Friday, July 4, 2008

A Few Good Books

Our week with Ashleigh, Ella (2) and Jackson (almost 1) is over. The car had been loaded, hugs and kisses given, reminders to call when they reached her in-law's, and then the tears fell!! I cried as I picked up, put away, and put the house back to order.....then my husband and I fell into bed and took a nap!!

As I finish this week of "resources", I would like to mention just a couple of books. There are so many great ones out there it is hard to just mention a few.....
  • When Life and Beliefs Collide, by Carolyn Custis James. This great expository account of Mary and Martha taught me much about theology.....theology was always a word I stayed away was way too intimidating! BUT Carolyn helped me to understand how important it was that we know theology....because in its simplest form, theology is what you believe about God! Her book focuses on how knowing God does make a difference! Carolyn is married to Frank James who lived across the street from me growing up in Dallas....he was instrumental in me becoming a Christ follower.

  • Hinds' Feet on High Places, by Hannah Hurnard. This allegory seems to be my story!! I am "much afraid" way too many times and God used this book to teach me many things about fear and the enemy and the love of my Father.

  • Don't Waste Your Life, by John Piper. The title caught my eye because I do desire to make my life count. I do not want to waste one second of allow God to use me to make a lasting difference in the world.

  • The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, both by Khaled Hosseini. I rarely read non-Christian fiction because the books are not "rated" and I am not sure what I am getting. If I am going to read fiction, I will usually read Christian fiction and there are a lot of great authors to choose from BUT my mom asked me to read The Kite Runner....and then listened to A Thousand Splendid Suns when it came out. (I really have little time to read, and so will use my travel time to listed to books on CD, check out your library.) Both of these books opened my eyes to the plight of the people in present day Afghanistan. Oh, ladies, how it reminded me to pray for those people....and how grateful I am for our country!!

It is the 4th of July today.....pray for our country, its leaders and our future. For God to rain down His power and presence and mercy!! We are indeed blessed!!


Thursday, July 3, 2008

More Resources

I teach college-level computer courses and my computer has given me FITS this week and I cannot get it to work!!! It is as if "someone" did not want me posting!! In fact, today it won't even turn on!! Do ever want to scream at your computer??? So, I asked my husband to bring his home....and sure enough, it has a "be safe" blocker on it and would NOT let me log on to the blog!!

BUT....Praise God.....I am on!!! So, here are some more "random" suggestions.....

I was asked about a book on catechism and Ashleigh suggested Teaching Truths, Training Hearts: The Study of Catechism, by J. Nettles.

If you want to disciple one person or a small group I would HIGHLY recommend One on One With God, by Jerry and Marilyn Fine. I was first introduced to this while working with the college students at Union University and appreciate its strategy for making disciples. I believe that the materials can only be purchased at Go and take a look at the materials and get additional information. I have used this several times and it is designed for the chain of discipleship to those I have taken through it have taken others through it.

I recently discovered the magazine Real Simple and LOVE the practical, helpful ideas for the home and self.....and the paper the pages are made of even feel good!!

For financial helps and how to get out of debt....go to Please, please do all you can to be debt free!! It is so freeing and you will be able to give more to the kingdom's work.

For cooking....try Simply in Season, by Mary Hockman-wert which has "recipes that celebrate fresh, local foods in the spirit of more-with-less".

Carolyn Maheney wrote a book called Feminine Appeal that discusses seven virtues of a Godly wife and mother. Oh, how we need God to raise up a generation of married women who understand their Biblical role!

More tomorrow (IF I can get a computer to work!!). Ashleigh and the kids will leave in the morning....what a blessing it has been for them to be here. Those of you with young children....YOU are blessed!! Enjoy each day...."do not loose heart..." and KNOW your toil is not in vain!!


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Resources for Parents/Children

As parents raising children in the late 70's and 80's my husband and I depended on the teachings from James Dobson's books and tapes. Decades later, Focus on the Family's resources are still relevant and practical. Some of our favorites:

  • Preparing for Adolescence. A series of CD's are also available for you to listen to with your pre-teen. When Ashleigh was about 12 or 13 I took her off for the weekend and we did "girl" things. During the time we spent together we listened to these tapes and discussed the issues raised. I believe it laid a very important foundation for her as she entered her teenage years. Ernie (my husband) did the same for our son Brandon when he was around that same age.

  • Dare to Discipline. Taught us to be consistent and never discipline in anger or in public.
  • The Strong Willed Child. This is also good for those of you who teach school.

Check out their web site for other great resources. (

Some recommendations from Ashleigh, a mom of young children...

  • When Ashleigh was pregnant, she and Josh told Ernie and I that we had "required reading" before we could be grandparents!! They wanted us to read Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp and we highly recommend it.
  • Don't Make Me Count to Three, by Ginger Plowman
  • The Heart of Anger, by Lou Priolo
  • The Jesus Storybook Bible, Sally Lloyd-Jones. God's great story of salvation....Every story throughout the entire Bible whispers His name. Our granddaughter LOVES to read this every night before she goes to bed.

For Girls:

Traveling last month I talked to a lady sitting next to me on the airplane who worked for the company who distributes the Life of Faith books and dolls. Take a look at their web site and see the amazing products they have for girls. The books consist of "fictional characters from the past whose captivating life stories can help you live a life of faith."

For Boys:

The Dangerous Book for Boys by Conn Iggulden and Hal Iggulden. Winner of the Best Books of 2007: Editors' and Customers' Top 100 Pick. There are some things that every boy should know how to making paper hats and airplanes.

Please feel free to share any great resources you have for parents or children. There are a lot of great ones out there....but we must also be wise....because there are also a lot of worldly, unbiblical information. We need each other to hlep find the ones that are trustworthy!!

I'd also be interested in any wonderful grandparent resources!!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Let's Get Practical!! Breakfast

Our daughter, Ashleigh, and grandchildren are here for the week (which is one reason it is Tuesday and I am just now posting!) and what fun we are having!! It is awesome watching her teach and discipline her children and seeing them being raised in the Truth of who God is.

I thought it would be fun this week to give some practical resources....some will come from Ashleigh, a young minister's wife, and some will come from me, a more "seasoned" wife!!

If you are having lots of people for know, like when you get to "house" tons of teenagers who are traveling and doing concerts and make a stop over at your church...or family is all home or you just want to have a fun, easy breakfast!! We did it Christmas and was a blast and really works!!

Egg Omelets in a Bag!!

This works great! Good for when you want to make more than one omelet so that no one has to wait for their special omelet and you can all sit down and eat together!!

Have guests write their names on a quart size freezer bag with permanent marker. (Be sure it is permanent!! The first time I did this I thought I was using a Sharpe.....turns out it was not and every one's name was GONE!!)

Crack 2 eggs (large or extra large) into the bag. (No more than 2). Shake to combine them.

Put out a variety of ingredients such as: cheeses, ham, onion, green pepper, tomato, mushrooms, salsa, jalapeno, sausage, salt and pepper, etc.

Each guest adds prepared ingredients of choice to their bag and shake. Make sure to get the air out of the bag and zip it up.

Place all the bags into rolling, boiling water for 10 minutes. You can usually cook 6-8 omelets in a large pot. For more, make another pot of boiling water. (The timer should start after water returns to boil after putting bags in)

Open the bags and the omelet will roll out easily. Be prepared for everyone to be amazed!! Everyone is involved in the process and is such fun!!

So, let me know how you like it. Maybe even invite some ladies over for brunch (or even lunch or supper!!) and share the Gospel with them if they do not know our Jesus....or perhaps have believers over for accountability!!