Friday, October 30, 2009

"I Wish Someone Had Told Me How Lonely I Would Be"

If you are a Tennessee minister' wife and receive the Baptist Reflector, you already know how today's blog title comes into play. This quote broke many hearts last year at The Good Cup, a new event for ministers wives sponsored by the Tennessee Baptist Convention.

Since I am privilege to work on the TBC team that host The Good Cup, we have taken the statement made by this young pastor's wife and made it our mission. Like her, there are many ladies in Tennessee and across the United States who are lonely. They need a friend and a listening ear.

I want to take this opportunity to personally invite the ministers wives across the state of Tennessee to join us at The Good Cup at the state convention in Jackson. We will meet on November 9 from 1-3:30 p.m. at West Jackson Baptist Church. The event is free (yeah!) and it is held during the pastor's conference. Jennifer Landrith and Rachel Lovingood, both wives of ministers at Long Hollow Baptist Church, Hendersonville, will be our speakers. In addition you will not want to miss the musical talent of Carolyn Reed, a music evangelist and pastor's wife of Scenic View Baptist Church, Nashville.

Also, let me make a plug for the annual TBC Ministers Wives luncheon which will be held on November 10 at Calvary Baptist Church, Jackson. The cost of this event is $15 and you can register through the TBC.

I hope to see you at one or both events! Remember, if you are feeling lonely, there are fellow sisters in the ministry who could use a friend as well.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Other PK Moments

As I promised yesterday I believe God wants me to share another moment in our family where our two PKs entertained the masses. Our PKs are just normal kids with normal parents (my children will question the “normal” parents) who happen to live in a not so normal environment.

At one point in our ministry, a pulpit committee from south Arkansas came to listen to my husband and talk with us as a family. Our sons, Stephen and Bryan, were kindergarten and three years old. We met in a back room of a local restaurant for over two hours. During that time the boys grew restless. Stephen asked to go to the restroom and Bryan wanted to go with him. I had my eye on the door the whole time. Suddenly our youngest son, Bryan, came running out of the restroom and screamed that his brother was “locked in the potty and can’t get out.” Embarrassed my husband had to leave the committee to go rescue the potty prisoner. Once we settled everyone down again we began our conversation with the committee. Our children were playing quietly on the floor with a few toys. Suddenly, I heard our three year barking like a dog from underneath the table at one of the gentlemen. I scrambled to grab my son but before I could reach him two of the committee members reached under table and lifted our son by his feet into the air. Our son, squealing with glee, proceeded to beg the two men to keep swinging him. (At that point I was begging God to rain down on me Hersey’s Kisses!) When the visit was over and we were in our car, my husband said, “Wave good-bye to the nice men because that is the last time we will see them.” Thankfully, the team saw a real family and recommended the church call us as pastor of their church.

Shortly after we were settled at this church, I was sitting in the church auditorium with my children. Services were well underway. When the worship music ended my husband took the pulpit and asked for everyone to pray with him. Suddenly, in the quiet, spiritual moment, a little boy’s voice excitedly yelled, “Hey, Jason!” Laughter rang across the room and I slid under the pew. Yes, my three year old, Bryan, spotted on of his favorite teenagers and wanted to greet him personally.

I know we all have experienced these PK moments with our children. If you haven’t I want to meet you and give you a big hug. Again, I will state that God gave our children to be raised in a Christian home. Sure they get tired of going to church all the time, however, if we are honest, we get a little weary as well.

Let’s just cherish these PK moments. I am using mine moments right now as retaliation for all the moments my children hid in closets and jumped out scaring me. Besides as I said in my last post, if your children do some antics like mind did, chocolate is a great sedative.

I guess I say all this to remind each of us that we should be real with our church family. I do not want to be put on a pedestal. I want the members of our church family to see that we have struggles and joys just like they do. I want them to see that our children can and will cause as much chaos as their children do.

Monday, October 26, 2009

PK Moments

I think my fellow blogger, Karen, and I are being prompted by God to write about preacher’s kids (PK). I had already been seeking what direction God might take me in my blog thoughts and He took me back to some precious memories of our children growing up in the “Glass House.”

Last week my husband and I were able to travel back to Texas and attend worship at our first full-time church out of seminary. I hate to admit it but I could hardly focus on the young pastor and his message as my mind was doing some wandering down memory lane.

As the pastor called the children down for children’s sermon, I vividly recalled my husband doing the same thing. Our son, Stephen, was about two years old. However, Stephen was very use to the church and he had other things on his mind. He climbed under the Remembrance table and began playing. Well, two of his little playmate saw that their buddy was having fun so they decided to join him. The threesome was having a high old time pretending to be in a train. You could hear them making train whistles and chugging sounds. I, along with two other mothers, was dying of complete embarrassment while the church members laughed. When it came time for the pray, my husband asked the children to bow their heads and then he said, “Stephen, that means you and your buddies must pray too.” I watched amazed as three little heads bowed in unison.

Again another memory flashed before my mind. I was expecting our second son, Bryan, and was doing good to be at church. I had to sit on the very back row so that if I had a bout of morning sickness I could make a run for the restroom. Now, as any pastor’s wife knows, if your children sit in church with you, you must keep a bag of “quiet, fun activities” on hand. I had a bag full of items: colors, paper, books, and scotch tape (ladies, tape is a great entertainment for a 2 year old!). Stephen was not interested in any of the items. He was searching the congregation for one of his favorite people, Papa Klein. Papa was a big man of a cowboy with a huge heart who loved kids. (He won Stephen over the first day we were there by giving my ten month old his first sucker!) Once Stephen spotted Papa coming out of the choir loft, he slipped out of my reach and I watched horrified as he proceeded to crawl soldier style under all the pews until he reach the front row. When he reached his destination, Papa picked him up and sat him on the pew beside him. All I could do was sigh and thank the Lord that these people loved my family regardless of my son’s actions.

Ladies, if these couple of stories horrified you, just wait. I plan to share a couple more this week if the Lord prompts me. I think you can understand why chocolate is my sedative at times. However, let me remind you that whatever staff position you hold, our children are God’s gift to us. They get an abundant of love and unfortunately, sometimes grief from our church families. We must train our children to love the Lord first and to see the good in all people.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Preacher's Kids Are the Worst!

Early in our marriage many people gave us advice. One of the most often quoted things we heard was, "Preacher's kids are the worst kids." They often laughed when they said it, but we knew it had some truth in it.

When I discovered I was expecting our first child, I immediately went to the Lord, lifted my Bible in the air and said, "Lord, I am going to start on page 1 of this Book and do my very best to do everything in it you teach about children. Please do not let me have the worst kids!"

I began to study, research and obey. It is amazing how clearly God gives instructions for raising our children. I quickly discovered it was going to be work, take time and everything would start with my own relationship with Christ. God began to work in my heart, so He could then work in the heart of my children.

Ministry is full of blessings and full of demands. God clearly showed me that in order for my husband to be able to fulfill the demands of ministry in our church, I had to pick up the ministry at home. Don't misunderstand, Doug was very involved with our children and we did not feel like we were competing with his ministry, but complimenting his ministry. Still, I was the one who spent the most time and had to turn down some opportunities at church while my children were young.

Ladies, it is worth it! I have three grown sons who love the Lord and love serving Him. I now have many opportunities to travel, speak and serve the Lord in new ways. I do not regret a single minute at home.

It is impossible to share all the things God taught me in this space. I am leading a Children's Seminar in Tennessee this spring. You can catch the details on my website: I apologize for announcing this on the blog, but I have so many of you asking questions via email that I thought this might be helpful. Feel free to contact me and I will be glad to answer questions or talk to you.

Proverbs 54:13 "All your children shall be taught by the Lord, And great shall be the peace of your children."

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

We Saved Him!

One of the ways we included our children in ministry was allowing them to go with Doug on visitation. Each son was allowed a turn to go with their dad to homes, hospitals or even some meetings.

There were many rules and instructions given as they prepared to go with dad. We were careful to explain how important it was for them not to distract so God could speak to the person they were visiting. They were to sit still, pray quietly, listen and not touch anything! Does that sound like some of your rules?

On one visit it was Stephen's turn to go. He was very excited. They were visiting an older man that lived across the street from the church. He had been visited by every minister that ever served at the church. He just was not interested. Like the minister's before him, Doug had visited him early in his new ministry.

This would be Doug's second visit to his home. He had seen him in his yard the previous Sunday and felt he needed to go see him again.

Doug and Stephen had been gone for about an hour when my phone rang. When I answered I heard a very soft, whispering voice saying, "Mom, can you hear me?" My heart went into fast gear and I immediately said, "Stephen, what are you doing, whose phone are you using?" (There were no cell phones in those days) The next thing I heard in a very loud, shouting voice was, "WE SAVED HIM, MOM, WE SAVED HIM!!!"
(He crept away into the man's kitchen to use his phone, while his dad continued to talk)

Of course, Jesus saved that dear man, but my son was able to see God work and participate in his dad's ministry. Stephen's excitement could not wait, he had to share immediately. Help your children get excited about ministry by including them each day as a team member.

Eccl. 3:14a "I know that whatever God does, It shall be forever."

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Serving Together

Serving God comes with blessings, joy, trials and often stretches us beyond what we thought was possible.

As a minister's wife you often have the opportunity to serve the Lord in ways others cannot imagine. A phone call, a drop in, email, text can change your plans for the day completely.

As I served along side my husband, much of the ministry God called me to was raising our three sons. Their dad was often late coming home or our family time interrupted by emergencies. God clearly taught me that He wanted me to support Doug by teaching our children. I had the opportunity to teach them to pray for their dad when he was not there or complain about him for not being there. My sons were quick to pick up on my moods. They knew when I was supportive and they knew when I was resentful.

I did not want our sons to dislike the ministry. The desire of my heart was that they would have God as the desire of their hearts.

Doug was great about making time for each of us, yet there were times that His work called him away from us. As we walked through this journey, God began to teach me how to make Doug's time away our chance for ministry. I thought I would share a few things we did to join Doug as He ministered.

1. Clearly explained where Doug was and what He was doing.

2. We then each put on our Spiritual Armor. We taught the boys that they were soldiers in the army of God and we were Doug's back up.

3. Stopped to pray for the circumstances. (If a meeting, hospital visit, death, conflict)

4. The next time we were together as a family, Doug shared with us what God did during his time of ministering. Always assuring the boys that God heard and answered their prayers for him. Letting them know they made a difference.

5. Stopped to pray and thanked God for His work through us and in others.

This is just one of the ways we brought our sons into the ministry. I will share more with you later. Take time to share the ministry with your children. Become a team and watch God work!

Eccl. 4:9-10 "Two are better than one, Because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion."

Monday, October 19, 2009

God Still Speaks

As I read the blogs of the other women who are sharing in this privilege the reocurring theme seems to be, GOD IS SPEAKING! He is being heard through the changing seasons, memories, everyday chores, friendships, in His church.

I spent a busy week of speaking. I spoke at a Mom to Mom event, a business women's lunch, a funeral and a weekend retreat. It has been a very intense week of studying and going.

Each and every place I went there were women waiting to hear from God. I would love to tell you it was me they wanted to hear from, but I assure you it was not. They all had different stories, circumstances, praises and trials. The common thread at every place was we each wanted God to speak to us.

I am happy to tell you that God did speak. He is always ready to speak if we are willing to listen. He has so much to teach us, mysteries to unveil, plans to lay out.

I know that school is back in session, church programs are in full swing and it is time to prepare for the holidays. None of these things are bad, but they can keep us from hearing God speak.

Psalm 46:10a "Be still, and know that I am God."

As you minister and serve take time to be still. God wants to speak to you. He has a plan, He wants to be your Guide, He wants time with you.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Fall Memory Wrap Up

I hope my posts this week haven't seem too disconnected. Maybe this is just me being transparent and letting you see how my crazy brain works. But, hey, that is the way God created me and I AM a work-in-progress . . . So thank you for bearing with me!

Let me see if I can tie all this together:

Yesterday, I shared a verse out of Psalms that reminds us to tell the next generation of His great works. I encouraged you to remember God's mighty acts of the Old Testament and remember them anew. However, I think we should also remember and retell His works in our own lives and families.

This is part of the reason my grandfather's stories are so precious to me. They show a heritage of faith. As I retell them to my daughters, they show God's provision through five generations. My family stories are just merely a small part of God's much bigger story and plans. I want my girls to know the good, the bad and the sinful pasts that they come from. I want them to see how God redeems and uses ALL for His glory. I want them to know that God is much bigger than just them.

And I think Fall is the perfect time to gather them in, sit by the fireplace, share a mug of hot cocoa and tell them His mighty acts.

Do you have a special way that you pass on God's faithfulness in your family? Do you keep a special journal or scrapbook? Maybe you use family devotions or have a special family tradition dedicated to this purpose? Or maybe you have incorporated it into something else that you already do as a family? Please share your ideas. I would love some new ways to tell the next generation!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Old Testament Memories

Psalm 145:4 (New American Standard Bible)

One generation shall praise Your works to another,
And shall declare Your mighty acts.

Recently, I began working with a group of very talented preschool teachers at church. Shortly there after, I read the above verse in my quiet time and a profound truth really hit home.

We have the honor, the privilege and the responsibility to tell the next generation of all the works that God has done.

I used this verse to encourage these teachers. Most of them have many years of preschool teaching experience. All of them are very familiar with the Bible stories that we share with the children. But I wonder how many of them are still marveled by the miracles that we share with the children.

How about you? Have you become too lax about the amazing stories of the Old Testament? Has the wonder and awe of His mighty acts passed you by?

As I have mentioned, I was raised in church and have been very familiar with the stories of the Bible for all of my life. I can't remember a time when I wasn't aware of God's works. Unfortunately, that familiarity can breed a lack of praise within my worship.

It isn't that I don't worship or that my praise is shallow, but when I worship with the recognition that I am worshiping the same God of Moses and David there is a whole new dimension of adoration to my praise.

Give it a try. The next time you begin to actively engaged in worship remember that you are praising the God that parted the Red Sea. Have you checked out on a map just how big that body of water is? He is pretty amazing, isn't He?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

More Fall Memories

Thinking of my grandfather and his stories yesterday really made me grateful for the heritage of faith that God has graciously given me. His father was a preacher and so I know that a lineage of at least 5 generations of my family has been raised in church. I don't take this for granted and know that it is a true gift of God.

For me there is just something cozy about fall. I relish gathering with those I love whether it is around a roaring bonfire or a Thanksgiving dinner table. The Christmas holidays are right around the corner and with them, the new year. Fall has always been a season of taking stock and giving thanks in my life. When I survey the beauty God displays in the fall colors, I am also reminded of His greatness and goodness. It is easy for me to become overwhelmed with all that I have to be thankful for.

During my last posts, I wrote of the things that I felt God was trying to teach me in regards to my lists and calendars and schedules. The thing I think I will take away from that season is to be intentional to live in the moments that I am in, seeing God's blessings and purposes in ALL aspects of my life.

I say all this to explain that I want to be intentional this fall to make memories to continue to pass on the heritage of faith that I have been given. My prayer is that many of my family's generational sins will end with me, and the seeds of our best faith efforts will produce a mighty harvest in the lives my girls.

So Ladies . . . how do you do it? What are some of the things that you do pass on your faith to the next generation? What are some of things that you do in fall that your family will remember or what is it about fall that you remember from your own past that pointed you to Him?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Happy Fall

I love this time of year. Some people like spring with its singing birds and blooming flowers. Others like snowy white winters. And there are even a few people who love the summer sun and activity. However, Fall is my favorite - the changing foliage, the cooler temps, the smell of a bonfire and taste of s'mores.

I have some great fall memories of my childhood visiting my grandparents and listening to my grandfather tell stories from his childhood in eastern Tennessee. For a girl born and bred in Ohio, the mountains of Jelico and its surrounding area sounded like a pretty exotic place to me. We would gather around a
bonfire and he would begin each with "I remember when . . ." That was our cue to settle in, sit back and listen.

Now, I have another fall memory to add to my list of reasons of why I love this season. On October 1, 2009, Riley, my oldest daughter, accepted Jesus' gift of salvation and made Him Lord of her life!

We had spoken of it for a long time, but she had brought up much more frequently in the days leading up to the 1st. She had come to me while I was sorting laundry during a short thunder bumper of a storm outside. She said it was as if
the thunder was God's way of telling people to believe in Him. When I asked her what He was trying to tell her, she said "I need to believe in Him too." My husband and I spent the next few weeks fielding questions and trying to gently guide her to the point she knew that she knew she needed Jesus as her Savior AND Lord.

At bedtime on that first night of October, she knew. There was such certainty in her voice. She prayed straight from her heart words of her own and when she said "amen" I was crying happy tears. She looked at me and began to cry too, exclaiming, "Momma, you're making my eyes water too!"

My husband and I were careful not to push or pressure Riley's decision. It needed to be her own. We don't ever want her to look back and doubt. Time will tell . . . But from the day we knew she was coming until now, we continue to entrust her to Him, the one who made her, died for her and, now, calls her His own twice over.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Mountain Tops and Valley Floors

We have been looking forward to returning to Vancleave, Mississippi for the happy occasion of the wedding of the daughter of some of our dearest friends. The brides name is Heather and her dad, Don Boone, is pastor of FBC Vancleave. Randy was pastor there from 1979 to 1992 and it remains a very dear place to our family. Not only will we enjoy the beautiful wedding and great reception (LOTS OF SHRIMP!!!), but Don asked Randy to preach on Sunday.

Aren't you glad God gives us days of wonderful reunions where you know the people want to see you as much as you want to see them? It is going to be an incredible time for the Boone family, that church celebrating the marriage of their pastors' daughter, and a homecoming of sorts for us.

Thank you Lord for these mountain peaks!!!!!!!!! BUT........

I was looking forward to staying with my dearest friend and her husband while we were on the Gulf Coast. Judy is the kind of friend that you laugh the most with; talk the longest with: and cry the deepest with. You know....the first one you call with good news or great burdens. Today her sweet mother-in-law passed away. Our agenda has changed. A funeral has been added to the schedule. A long anticipated wedding on Saturday; preaching at a beloved former pastorate on Sunday; the funeral for the mother of a friend on Monday.

In a 48 hour period we are reminded again that Jesus is Lord of the mountain tops of this life and He is Lord of the deep valleys of life. He is Lord of ALL the other days as well. We can trust Him.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Ladies Ministry

Last week we kicked off our Ladies Ministry Year with a Ladies Night Out we entitled "Where are your shoes taking you?" The Committee had such a good time putting this together. The centerpieces on the tables were different shoes showing where we go as ladies. There was one with boots to go hiking, bathroom slippers, heels, slides, flip flops, even Cinderella's glass slipper. It turned out to be a really cute theme.

That night a young girl came that doesn't normally get to attend because of her work. She had just told me the day before that she had been dating a nice guy for about 3 months. She is a single mom with a 3 year old little boy. The father is in prison in Florida. She is trying to get her life in order and is wanting to come to church. However, she is not always able to because she also works on Sunday. Anyway, she was excited about coming to the Ladies event.

At our Ladies Night Out the speaker kept referring back to where God would have us go in our shoes. Ultimately, He wants our shoes to take us to Him. It was a wonderful message.

The next day, the young man this girl was dating broke up with her. She was very hurt but instead of being angry, she was seeking God in it. That night, her mom took her out to eat to get her mind off of things, and the girl told her mom that she wanted to go buy a new pair of shoes. I saw her the next day and she told me what happened about the break up. Then she asked if I had noticed that she was wearing new shoes. I told her how cute they were and she looked at me kind of funny. Then it hit me...God was speaking to her heart through those shoes!!! She said with tears in her eyes, "I wonder where God is going to take me in these shoes?"

My heart broke and rejoiced at the same time. I hate she is having to go through this, but I know that the Lord is using it to pull her closer to Him. I was so excited that God used that night for the very reason we worked so hard to put it speak to the hearts of the women that were there.

Sometimes we don't always know what God is up to when we are being obedient and doing what He has called us to do. But that night, it was a sweet affirmation that God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

What a Day....

I am not the norm...I know many of you have figured that out already, but really I'm not. Most of you I would venture to say do your "Spring" cleaning in the Spring. Not me, I usually wait until the Fall so that I can have everything clean for the holidays.

Well, that is what I have been trying to do now for a couple of weeks. A little at a time. There are always so many interruptions. It seems as if I just get started and have to stop to go somewhere, answer the phone, start dinner... Anyway, this afternoon I had set aside a little time to clean my front room windows. It was actually very pleasant. I had the window open and the breeze was coming in. It was just me and the Lord talking over some things. It was then that I noticed the fly that had gotten caught in the spider web! I looked at it for a while and tried to figure out what happened. I am sure when it got caught it must have tried to get out for quite a while. But it was no use. He couldn't do it by himself and so he died.

As I looked at this, it occurred to me that that was exactly what I had done earlier in the week (not died...but got caught up in a web). You see, I had gotten angry at someone for
n-o-t-h-i-n-g! I had assumed something and it was false, but I acted like it was truth. I was tired and didn't think it through and just reacted. It really hurt someone that I care about dearly. I didn't sleep hardly at all that night and the next morning I felt terrible. I tried to figure out how to get out of the mess (the same way as the fly) but I couldn't figure out what to do. Finally, I went to the only One that could help me. I confessed my anger and saw it for what it was. Then I had to apologize to the one I had hurt. I wasn't sure what to say, so I called and just told them I was sorry. I also told them I was wrong and asked them to forgive me. They were very kind and accepted my apology but I still knew that it hurt them.

Why are we like that? Why do we allow ourselves to get caught in satan's web? One minute we are bowing in worship, praising the Lord, and the next we are sinning without really even thinking about it.

You know the Bible used a story about the ants to teach us a lesson. Today, God used a fly to teach me another!!!