Thursday, April 30, 2009

With Age Comes Wisdom

I have the awesome privilege to serve as a youth worker at our church. I just love teenagers because life is always on the move for them. One of the duties that I perform is to work as a small group leader with eighth grade girls. Now, I have to be honest. I prefer juniors and seniors because they are on the verge of jumping into the great big world and they are a bundle of emotions. Although I love them dearly, seventh and eighth graders seem to have had their brains sucked out by aliens. However, God has placed me with the younger girls and it is proving interesting.

First, I have to mention that I have two wonderful, beautiful young ladies who work with me in the small group. Casey and Carla are in their twenties and such a blessing. They are not only my Christian sisters but I love them both like daughters. I am proud to say that both recently recommitted themselves to Christ and followed through in believer’s baptism. They wanted this act to be a testimony to our eighth grade girls as well as the world.

Second, it is amazing what young teenage girls know these days. Unfortunately, they are bombarded with worldly ideas from sex to humanism. In our discussions, we talked about how we can share our faith in a lost world. Sadly, some of my girls are laughed at for their Christianity. A couple have shared that their teachers even make fun of Christians. How very sad. These young teens have so many questions and they are looking for wise answers. Some of the girls are on the brink of doing something big for Christ.

The Bible tells “older women” to mentor and guide the younger ones. We need to share our experiences with them. We need to listen carefully to what they are saying and then offer wise advice. Sometimes they just need to be encouraged and told they are doing the right thing in the midst of a dark world.

As I mentioned earlier I just had a big birthday. However, with age comes wisdom. From my personal stand point I sometimes wonder if I have learned anything besides becoming an expert of good chocolate. Then I realize I do have things I can share with my girls. I can share with them about God’s faithfulness. I can teach them to look for the good in people even those who hurt us. I can teach them to be a servant even when you are not recognized for it. I can let them know that God has a sense of humor and loves for us to laugh. I can encourage them to forget the world’s idea of beauty and seek God’s beauty.

So girlfriends, what has age taught you? What can you share with the younger women of your church that can help them in their spiritual journey?

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Next Fifty Years

The song “If I Could Save Time in a Bottle” plays in my mind today. Just a few years ago I was the young staff pastor’s wife and now I am the senior pastor’s wife. Now all my staff wives are younger than me. My children are adults and one is getting married in May. Some of my dear friends already have grandchildren. You see last week I celebrated a milestone birthday. I reached the “golden” age for life. Yep, that age where bulges appear, hot flashes occur, joints ache, and you get to have all kinds of medical test. Have you guessed my age? I am 50.

As I sat pondering the past 50 years wearing my new tiara and pink boa (another story for another day), I discovered a few things.
*First, life is precious. We get one chance to touch lives, so we need to make good use of our time.
*Second, cherish the time you have with your children. They grow up and leave home all too soon.
*Third, do not regret the goals you have not yet accomplished but keep on grasping for them. No, I have not written the great American novel but I have managed to keep a few journals for my sons.
*Fourth, you are only as old as you feel. Girlfriends, my youngest son, Bryan, recently wrote on his Facebook to another friend “my mom will never grow up.” Yes, I still love to hang out with teenagers, go to youth camps, and play hide and seek in the dark at retreats.
*Last, never, ever pass up a piece of chocolate!

So as I look forward to the next 50 years, here is what I hope God allows for me to accomplish:
*Travel the world.
*Spend time with my family, friends, and someday my grandchildren.
*Encourage ministers wives around the world to be a support to their husbands and not to give up when the times get tough.
*Write a book that makes people laugh.
*Live to be 100 (unless Jesus returns) and live life to its fullest.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

This is the Lord's Day

I just have to be open and honest about an issue I have. You may not be able to related but I believe as a minister’s wife you can stand up and testify with me. Just how many of you wish you could slap the alarm clock on Sunday mornings and go back to sleep? How many of you wish you could say “oh, I have so much to do and tomorrow I have to go back to work? What will it hurt if I stay home today?”

Okay girlfriends, I know at least once in your “staff wife career” that you have had these slightest thoughts and then pushed them out of your mind. I absolutely love being a pastor’s wife but there are some days (especially when I was working part time, had two children at home, and was going to college full time) that I just wanted to turn off the alarm and pull the covers over my head. I mean, some in our congregations do this every week, so why not us or even our husbands?

Well, I just cannot do it. This is the Lord’s Day. It’s the day we get to join in fellowship with believers and worship our Heavenly Father. It’s the day we can get spiritually filled up and renewed in order to face a dark, sinful world. Besides, God, our Lord and Savior, wants us to gather in His presence with fellow believers.

Now, I will be honest. There are days when I have dragged my children and myself into to church with a less than godly attitude. However, before the morning was over, I was blessed. On a day like today with the sun shining and the weather just perfect, I would have loved to spent time walking in the park or working the yard. However, I am truly blessed to have a church family that I love dearly and a Heavenly Father that loves me more than I will fully understand.

So confession time: As a staff wife, have you ever had the desire to stay at home on Sunday? I just need to know that I am not alone in this world.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A New Hat?

Now that Baby Piper is here, I need to begin to actively pray about where I need to be serving at church.. . . I know many of you see so many needs in your church's programs and congregations. You jump in and do whatever it is that needs to be done. . . You are Sunday School Teachers, Choir Singers, Nursery Workers, Secretaries, VBS Coordinators, - the list of the hats you wear in ministry are endless . . . 

  • So my question today is this: How do you determine, especially with so many obvious needs, where it is that God desires you to serve?

I know that my first obligation in serving Christ is to serve my husband, then my daughters. I cannot serve in ministry in any capacity that would hinder my service to them. However, God has given me a spiritual gift that I must be a good steward of. I need to use it as well . . . This is what I am praying about right now. Where can I best use my spiritual gift without hurting my ministry to my family?

  • Seeing, and recognizing a need -or being asked- doesn't necessarily mean that is where I am being "called" to serve. So another thing I need some advice on is: How do you say no?

Just because we are married to a minister doesn't make us capable of performing every task that needs to be done. I would guess that most of us, ministers' wives, are no longer piano players. We were called and ordained by God to be our husband's helpmate . .  not the church's _______ (fill in the blank). So, how do we help our husband in his ministry and faithfully be a good steward of the gifts that He has given us?

  • There are so many things that we are busy doing. There are so many hats that we wear and so many titles that we carry around. Are there hats we need to take off? Is there another hat we need to put on?

What are some of the hats that you wear? How do you discern what God is telling you to do? I am praying and keeping my eyes open. I am waiting on Him. What about you?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Is There A Difference?

Ladies . . . 

I would really appreciate your opinion on something. 

Last night I was at my monthly bunco game with a group of ladies from one of our association's churches. The group was started for and primarily consists of ministers' wives from that church. None of us have ever served as pastor's wives, but all of them were fairly certain that "the rules" for pastor's wives were different than for ministers' wives. 

We all agreed that "the rules" varied on the size of the church, but I wasn't sure that the responsibilities of a minister's wife were all that different than a pastor's wife . . .

What do you think?

Monday, April 20, 2009


It is hard for me to believe that my little baby will be four weeks old this week. Everything about her and our family life still seems so new. Surely four weeks haven't gone by yet?! But, alas, the calendar doesn't lie. Time marches on. 

As if I needed another reminder of that fact, all I have to do is take a moment and watch my oldest daughter. I marvel at the fact that she will turn six next month . . . It seems like yesterday that she was the one I was rocking to sleep. 

There are a lot of things about my life that are very different from the last time I "blogged".  I have a lot more laundry to do. I am going without a lot of sleep. I am adjusting to a lot of change. 

I knew all this "change" was coming . . . but it is quite a different thing to actually adjust to it . . 

I was just thinking that all of us that are writers to this blog are undergoing some sort of change. We have all written about it at least once through the last year. Changing churches, changing families, changing jobs.  . . . 

Change itself is one of those things that never changes. Like death and taxes, change happens to all of us. It can be as simple as the menu dropping our favorite dish at restaurant that we frequent or as life altering as move to another state. 

I am so thankful that God is sovereign. He never changes and we can trust Him not only to be constant through our changes, but to be in control of orchestrating all these changes.  Yes, He changes things and allows these changes to take place for our good, but, dear sisters, He is doing so much more. The changes in our lives are not about us. Yes, God uses them to grow us, challenge us, even to "change" us, but . . . they are not about us. 

Change is all about God and His glory. 

All of us can, in our self-centered perspective, see how God has brought us good through all kinds of changes in our lives. We can cite how He has changed us, made us better people, better Christians, better minister's wives  . . . BUT, do we ever stop to see how we have brought Him glory in that process. . . What can our non-believing world learn about our God through our changes? Can they see that our lives aren't about us, but all about our God?

Maybe I am splitting a hair here. What do you think? Can you share an example of how God has been glorified through the changes in your life? How do you make sure that He gets the glory?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

To be young again....

Our oldest daughter Wendy and her husband Kevin are in Seminary at Southeastern in Wake Forest, North Carolina. We are here visiting them this week. Over the last couple of years we have had several young couples from our church enroll here. So on Tuesday night we took all of them out to supper. As we sat around the table with all these young minds, discussing ministry, it was so much fun hearing their take on life. They are so enthusiastic about what God is doing, and is going to do with them. Some of them have plans to go into International Missions, others are aspiring to become Pastors and Youth Ministers while others would like to teach.

As I sat there listening, my mind went back to what seems like only yesterday, when it was Randy and I sitting around with "older" ministers discussing ministry. I remember vividly some of the conversations we had and how we were so excited about making a difference in the world AND in eternity.

As I do a little survey of what has taken place in our lives so far I realize that we have been involved in a lot of ministry. Just like you, we have seen people come to know the Lord, miracles happen, lives changed. It is still exciting to be a part of "God things".

But I have to say, that after supper the other night, I think God has chosen some really wonderful young people to carry on His work. I can't wait to see what they do....

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Being a Minister's Wife

During the last month I have had the honor of speaking at two Minister's Wives events. As I sat around listening to some of your stories I was fascinated at how God is at work everywhere. It's amazing to see how He uses all of our individual gifts and talents in each of the different churches that we are serving in.

The first event I attended was the Bi-Vocational Minister's and Wives Weekend held in Pigeon Forge. I had a blast!!! You talk about an energetic group of ladies! The theme of one of the workshops was Laughter, and boy did we laugh!!! There is just something about getting away with a group of ladies who all have the same things in common. It gives us an opportunity to share, and laugh and even cry together. The leaders of this particular group have such a sweet outlook on ministry and have so many good ideas to help each other. They also know how to have fun and bring that to the group. Thank you so much for allowing me to be a part of it all.

Not only did we laugh a lot, but we had a chance to see God do some incredible things. During the last session on Saturday morning, a precious pastor's wife decided to nail down her salvation decision. So right there, in the middle of that conference room, she and I, along with another sweet pastor's wife, knelt down and prayed. What a humbling experience!!! God is at work in so many different ways...and I do thank Him for allowing me to see His hand in motion.

I know that there are days that are rough in our churches, and we are stretched to the limits, but then He allows us to experience some really unbelievable things like this, and it is all worth it!!!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Resurrection Power

Tomorrow is ‘Good Friday’ and Resurrection day is just around the corner….let me encourage you to spend some time pondering and reflecting on the purpose and the power of the cross. In fact, what have you done this week to get ready for Resurrection day?? Shopping? Filling Easter baskets? Making grocery lists? Preparing for your church’s Easter egg hunt? Rehearsing Sunday’s music presentation? Deciding what everyone in your family will wear? Determining what to teach in Sunday School? I must confess that much of my time this week has NOT been reflecting on the crucifixion and resurrection and I am broken over it.

This morning as my husband and I were lying in bed he asked me, “How does the resurrection affect you personally?” A very heavy question for someone who has just woken up and whose eyes were still closed and a bit crusty….but I managed to say, “I have the same power available to me that raised Jesus from the dead.” That is truly amazing!! The same power that raised Christ from the dead is available to me too? Yes! Philippians 3:10 says we can “…know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised Him from the dead…”

What does that mean?
That means we have power over fear.
Power over disappointment and discouragement.
Power over strongholds.
Power over death.
Power over anger and bitterness.
Power over the enemy.
Power over oppression and depression.
Resurrection power!

My husband then shared with me that after Jesus’ resurrection He went looking for His disciples. He pursued them. He had much to tell them. It was not over! It is not done!! There is more!! Ladies, He continues to pursue His disciples. He continues to tell us “There is more! This is not over! I am not done yet!” How exciting is that!! Get up! Go to ‘Galilee’ and see all that Jesus has in store for you!! Power! Lots of it!!

Resurrection power……take hold of it. Take advantage of it. Do something only God can do and see His power at work!! He is pursuing you. He wants to have breakfast with you!! (John 21)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Running Away From Home

A few weeks ago I needed to return to our house to pick up some study materials, files, books, etc. that I needed to prepare to speak and teach. I needed to check on the house to be sure it was still in ship-shape for the house hunters. I had many good reasons to go.....but honestly, in hindsight, I think I was running away from home!!

Have you ever done that? Run away from home? I have a couple of times. One time I got in the car and drove for about two hours….not really going anywhere. I prayed, cried, cried out, prayed, complained to God and returned home exhausted, yet cleansed.

This last time I had a destination—our old house. I had a purpose—to gather some much needed and much missed “things”. God had another purpose. He desperately needed to teach me something very, very important. My VALUE must come from God and God alone.

Some of you might have read one of my blogs where I shared I had no joy after a move to a new church. How I discovered my joy was coming from my job, my friends, my house, my ministry, my church, my ‘stuff’, etc. instead of my joy coming from my relationship with God and how thankful I was that this move was different. My joy was intact. However…..

What God needed to show me was that I was getting my VALUE from my job, my ministry, my friends, my church, etc. instead of believing that I am valuable because I am His. My poor husband was just not saying the right things….doing the right things….to make me "feel" valued. It is not his job!!! God does that.

So, I left home feeling unvalued and returned home knowing I am of VALUE. What a precious thing! I never want to lose my joy because it is misplaced or my VALUE because of where I am trying to find it.

You, my friend, are of VALUE!!!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A New Staff Wife

I am so excited that our church has a new staff wife….and she is our daughter!!! God is amazing, surprising, and full of grace and of mercy!! Our church called Josh, our son-in-law, to serve alongside the rest of the staff and the Church to further the Kingdom of God. Can you believe it???

We spent a lot of time in prayer before we even considered approaching the church with the idea. After all, we have a great relationship….why mess it up by working together??? My husband and Josh have always gotten along beautifully. Their strengths and weaknesses complement each other (which means they are quite different) and my daughter and I are very close.

God has led in every decision along the way....and here we are. They have moved in and now live just a few miles from us!! We have never lived in the same town where our grown children live and this is a whole new experience for us. I have shared with you all before that we never lived close to our parents when our children were growing up and how exciting it is for us to be living close to our grandchildren!! What fun it is to be at church and hear “MIMI” as loud as can be, look up and see a three-year-old and a 19 month old running will all smiles straight toward me!!

Girls, you know working together in a church certainly has the potential to mess things up and we are sensitive to the fact that the enemy wants nothing more than to destroy what God has blessed. I am curious….do any of you or have any of you served alongside family? Any advice? Suggestions? Wise council?

We are indeed blessed…..

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Be Still

Psalm 46:10 "Be Still, and Know that He is God"

We all know the above verse. The question is are you applying it?

I have spent this week trying to get ready to leave for Texas. I am speaking at a weekend retreat. As always, I am behind schedule, I have had tons of interruptions and I can feel the stress in the back of my neck.

As I was preparing God reminded me of the need to be still. I was researching and my mind was full. In fact my mind was a jumbled mess!

I lay my head down on my desk in front of my computer and thought - "I cannot get a grip on this weekend, it will not come together." God said, "Be still." I did not have time to be still, I had to write and get ready!

Do you ever feel that your responsibilities keep you from your relationship with God?

Jesus is always our example. I know you remember when it was very popular to wear a bracelet with the letters WWJD. What would Jesus do? Can you imagine the mistakes that could have been avoided if that was truly the way we lived?

As I began to look at the pattern Jesus set for me I found many scriptures.

Matthew 14:22-23 "Jesus went up to the mountain to pray by Himself."
Mark 1:35 "Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, He got up, went out and made His way to a deserted place. And He was praying there."
Luke 4:42 "When it was day, He went out and made His way to a deserted place."

The crowds searched for Him and wanted to be with Him. What did Jesus do? He went alone to be with the Father. He knew the disciples and people would be there when He finished being still with the Father. He also knew the Father would equip Him for the task at hand.

We must spend time with God and get to know Him before we serve the ones around us. It is in the times we are still that we draw wisdom, strength, encouragement and every other thing we need to meet the demands of the day.

I took time to "be still" and God was faithful to give me His message for the weekend. I finished and even had time to have lunch with one of my sons, paint part of our garage and transplant some plants in the flowerbed. God is good!

Sister, take time to "Be Still." God has a plan for you and is waiting to show you how He will accomplish it through you.