Thursday, February 18, 2010

Blessing Four-What about You?

This week God has led me to write about my staff wives. By now you should know I love them dearly and what a blessing they are to me. Now it is your turn.

Do you have a staff wife you serve with who is a blessing to you? Perhaps you admire your fellow staff wife for what she does at church or in the community. If so, tell her. If you are the lone staff wife perhaps there is a staff wife either in your community, association, or state that has been an example for you in some way. Perhaps, your example is from when you were a little girl. No matter whom the person is or where they are now take time to bless them.

Our blog site is a great place to post a comment of encouragement or blessing for another staff wife. You don’t have to use names because God already knows who they. Won’t you take a moment to leave a blessing for someone in your life?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Blessing Part Three-"The Real Deal"

I have stated earlier this week I have felt God leading me to write a blessing for my two staff wives. In blessing them, I have the opportunity to tell them things about them I admire plus thank them for their ministry. Today I would like to share with you about our youth minister’s wife, Angie Millard.

Angie and her husband came to us about two years ago. They came in when our youth ministry was struggling to hang on. This sweet couple could have easily stayed where their ministry was growing both spiritually and in numbers, however, they followed God’s call to come serve here. Although Philip is the youth minister, Angie works right along side of him. She is his support and encourager. She allows their home to be used as a gathering place. I just love to see a minister and his wife working as a team. Having been a minister’s wife for 30 plus years, I have seen my share of wives who do not support their husband call.

Angie is also a mentor to our teen girls. Having been a high school counselor, Angie brings her talents to the church and allows God to use her to touch a young girl’s life. I love the fact that Angie encourages the girls to be their best and to follow what the Lord’s plan is for their lives. Like Susan, Angie is not one to be out in front of the crowd. Instead, she serves quietly but strongly.

In addition to her service at church, Angie is the mother of Jeremiah who is truly a gift from God. Angie and Philip adopted Jeremiah from Guatemala and they are awesome parents. Watching Angie with her little one touches my heart. Not only does she pour her life into the teenagers at our church but Angie’s dedication to her son is amazing. This couple is teaching their son the ways of the Lord. For example, just the other day Jeremiah, with Angie’s help, traced his little hands on paper to create a Valentine for us. Where his thumb and fingers touched on each hand a small heart was seen. Jeremiah colored the heart and Angie added a verse to the card for him. What a teachable moment.

When I asked Angie to share her favorite bible verse, she replied Jeremiah 29:11-13 which says “’For I know the plans I have for you’”, says the Lord, “’plans for welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and hope. You will call to Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.’” She explained that Jeremiah is named for the verse and if God is gracious to bless them one day with a little girl her name will be Hope from this verse as well. What a great way to tell your children how you decided upon a name for them.

Ladies, I dearly love Angie. She has been such a blessing in my life. Her godly example to our teenagers, love and grace with her little boy, and her willingness to serve the Lord with her husband brings a smile to my face. As my grandpa would say, “She’s the real deal.”

As I said earlier I am truly blessed to serve at a church with two awesome staff wives. No matter where God leads in the future, whether we all serve here until retirement or Jesus returns or God moves us to the next place of service, these two ladies will always be my friends. In addition, we truly are sisters because we have a Heavenly Father.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Blessings Part Two-"We are Going to be Friends."

When my husband and I came to our present church in view of a call, there was only one other staff wife. When the morning service ended, this lady came running up to me, grabbed me, and stated with a smile, “Hi, I’m Susan and we are going to be friends.” This is literally how I meant Susan Green our worship leader’s wife. Three years later Susan and I are not only fellow staff wives but we are friends. I love her dearly.

Susan always has a beautiful smile on her face. She speaks with gentleness and kindness. She is full of grace and patience as well. Susan will never seek the center stage. Instead she quietly stands in the background serving her Lord.

However, Susan is a minister’s wife who does play the piano. I am not just talking hymns. This talented lady feels her music and while she is playing one can feel her worshipping the Lord. She also uses her talent to teach piano and she works with our children’s music ministry. She is her husband’s encourager and sounding board in our ministry music. What is really cool about these two servants of God is that they work as a team at church and in their family.

In addition to her service at church, Susan is the mother of a wonderful little girl. I love to watch her with her daughter. She displays patience and grace with her. Even though she is a busy lady, Susan never is too busy to listen and laugh with her daughter. I firmly believe this precious child will grow up to be a wonderful mother and servant of God because of Susan.

Now we all know that our children can challenge us so I had to laugh when I asked Susan to share her favorite bible verse with me for on this day she was having a hard day with her daughter. Susan responded, “Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” Susan added several exclamation points at the end to describe her day. I find it comforting to know that even the most gracious women still face difficult days when raising their children.

On a more serious note Susan loves Ephesians 3:20-21 which states, “Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever.” Let me say that this dear sister truly is used of God to do great things. Susan allows God to flow through her life and through her music in order that those around her may see the glory of God.

Girlfriends, I admire this special lady so much. Although our first Sunday here at our church was a little scary and nerve racking, I had already asked God to place a friend here for me. On that Sunday in view a call to the church, God answered with my dear friend, Susan.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Blessing-Part One

There are so many things that I could write about this week but I feel God is leading me in a totally unique way. No, I will not write about chocolate or the beach, however, I cannot promise that those two words will not make in the blog post. I feel God is prompting me to affirm or bless my two wonderful staff wives with whom I have the privilege to serve. However, before I do, I believe I need to explain why I believe it is important to affirm or bless others around you.

First, the word of God says to “encourage” one another. As you know serving in a ministry role is an overwhelming task. Our husband must juggle church, home, and community plus handle the administrative demands, criticism, and much more. Often, much of the “junk” gets shoveled on to us and we can become weighed down with helping our husband carry those burdens while shouldering our own. Each minister’s wife, no matter what role your husband serves in, deserves to be affirmed and encouraged.

Second, I believe in blessing one another. According to Encarta World Dictionary, to bless is “to express heartfelt thanks to somebody; to declare approval or support for somebody or something.” Trust me, no material gift can compare to a heartfelt thank you or a word of support.

So girlfriends, if God continues to lead this way, I hope you will allow me to bless my two staff wives. In turn I hope it will give you the courage to bless your fellow staff wife or a staff wife that you know elsewhere. (Feel free to post your comment on our blog site too).

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Love is in the Air . . .

Ladies, I am as big of a romantic sap as the next lady. I cry at the same spots in those romantic comedies every time I see them. I am all about date nights and little romantic gestures. I read and re-read, watch and re-watch all Jane Austin novels and movies. I think that Eros love is really something special, I do.

BUT! Is it just me, or are the Valentine's Day commercials just a little too much this year? The are so sappy I feel like I need to go brush my teeth every time one comes on. A diamond necklace or a box of chocolates or dozens of roses are not the true signs of a significant love life. Bless me, but I don't think any of those things can even adequately symbolize that kind of relationship.

The truth is, the only thing that can is the cross. I know you know the difference between our temporary, Valentine "love" versus the love of Christ. You know the Bible is one big love letter to us that God is completing in and through our lives everyday.

I just want to remind you to keep things in perspective.

First, don't make your husband a god and worship him. He makes a lousy god, no matter how wonderfully romantic he is. He can't meet your needs. He wasn't designed to. Only God can complete you. Be careful not to put unrealistic expectations upon your groom.

Second, use this holiday to celebrate the gift God has given you through your marriage. Celebrate God when you celebrate the love you share with your man. Thank God for bringing you and keeping you together.

Finally, especially with Valentine's Day falling on a Sunday this year, (I am sure that happens every-so-often, but I have no memory of it!) take some time to celebrate the one who is love. Don't let this world and our culture cheapen this love, His love. We celebrate a fantasy and fairy tale and often fail to acknowledge the real, eternal love that should put everything else into perspective.

Take a moment and post a praise prayer to God in response to His love for you. Below, you find mine . . .

Dear God,
Thank you for my husband.
Thank you for putting me with him.
Thank you that the deep love we share, is just a poor reflection of the enduring love you have for me.
Thank you for Jesus who demonstrated the greatest love of all through His death for me.
Thank you for your love letter, the Bible. Please forgive me for taking it for granted.
Forgive me for not telling you more often that I do love you.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A True Christian Gentleman

When Wally and I first married, he was serving as a student minister at a wonderful church in Bardstown, Kentucky. God did not keep us there too long, but He did touch our lives with some wonderful people.

Mr. Ken Dennison and his sweet wife, Jill, were two of those people. They were always positive, always encouraging and always willing to serve -whatever the need might be. He relished those behind-the-scenes, get-no-credit jobs. He didn't want any recognition and often shrugged it off when he happened to get it. He loved his family, his church, and his God. You could tell in his smile or his eyes or just how he spoke.

I hope that you have a mental picture of sorts of Mr. Ken. I pray that you have had someone similar to him pop into your mind as you've read my description of this dear saint. I bring him up tonight, because tonight he is with Jesus.

I believe that he has been ill for quite some time, but his passing has seemed sudden to us. When you don't see someone for awhile, you tend to always remember them the way that they were the last time you saw them. Mr. Ken wasn't sick then.

Wishing I still had the opportunity to thank Mr. Ken for allowing God to use him in our lives and the life of the church, I am encouraging you to go ahead and thank the true Christian gentlemen and ladies in your life. You never know when God might call them home to Himself. At the very least, take a moment and at least thank God for how He has used these saints in your life. Pray that you might fill this role for someone else.

I promise to post something more positive before the week's end!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Pulling Weight . . .

It wasn't long ago I witnessed a scene that made me cringe. I listened to a sister pastor's wife ask for a favor simply because she was a pastor's wife. Some of you may be thinking "Wow, a favor for pastor's wives, where do I sign up?" But it was not that kind of favor. She wanted a special allowance to be granted to her, that everyone else who had missed the deadline would be left out of.

This is the same pastor's wife that I have heard complain of the double standard she feels she is judged by and bemoan the scrutiny that her kids face because their daddy is the preacher.

Ladies, we can't have it both ways! My dear sister had just furthered the stereotype that we are all under. Personally, I want to be seen and treated like every other wife and mother in the church. I do not want my girls singled out or labeled by what their daddy does. As a result, you won't hear me call them "P.K.s" or expect special treatment once a deadline is passed.

Everyone lives busy lives. We are all accountable to our Christian brothers and sisters. Let's not heap insult to injury by playing political games within our churches and associations. People are watching, as pastor's wives we know that all too well. It may seem innocent, but there is a lot more on the line here.

Please be careful what you say and how you say it. Check your motivation. Be sure you aren't doing more harm than good. And if you see me blur this line, please let me know.

What do you think? Am I wrong to think we should never use our position as pastor's wives for our advantage? Is there a time when it would be alright?

Thanks for letting me vent a little . . . I will definitely be more upbeat in my next post!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Boy, did God answer a big prayer for our family. For years now, our youngest daughter Beth and her husband Derrick have had to commute every day from Murfreesboro to Brentwood. I know that a lot of people have to do that, and I commend them for it. It was not as difficult until our granddaughter Maddie came along 2 years ago. They were driving about 2 hours everyday and most of the time Beth and Derrick drove separately because they needed their cars for their jobs. After picking Maddie up from preschool around 5:30 or so, she would be hungry and they would have to stop and get supper before the drive. They averaged getting home around 7:30 or 8:00 most evenings.

They had been praying for a long time about selling their house and moving closer, but with the economy, and the way housing was, nothing happened. FINALLY, in December they not only sold their house, but bought another one closer to work. Talk about praising the Lord!!!

They moved in about 2 weeks and have settled in pretty quickly. In the first week they had painted most of the house and had the cabinets redone. The house is smaller than what they had so they downsized considerably...but really seem to be enjoying it.

This is one of those times that you know everything works according to God's plan. He was working out all the details of the house they were going to buy, and when everything was ready, it all fell into place.

Isn't that the way God always works? We get so impatient and want things to work out in our time frame, but He knows what is best. I am just thankful that this chapter of their lives is over!!!!

Monday, February 1, 2010

I'm certainly no Beth Moore....

That is for sure! But at one of her conferences that I attended she talked about her blog and how she asked questions and got ladies to respond. Then she used it in the conference. Well, I need your help in the same way.

I am speaking to a group of bi-vocational wives (and some of you may be reading this!) at the end of the month. I am speaking on forgiveness and I would love to have your feedback. Here is some of the information I would love for you to help with:

*Have you ever had to forgive someone that had hurt you or your family in ministry?
( You don't have to go into a lot of detail, but let me know how you handled it if you don't mind.)

*Did it take you a long time to forgive?

*How did you do it?

*Was there a time you verbally forgave or asked forgiveness?

*How did the person respond?

Let me hear from you...PLEASE. I need to be working on this and I would love this information.

Thank you.


For the last several weeks I have had the wonderful opportunity of going with Randy all over the State. He has been visiting Associations and the Directors of Missions in different areas. I sometimes drive him to where he is going so he can catch up on phone calls, emails, and church related things.

I have always thought that Tennessee was a beautiful state, but I never realized how much of it I had not seen! There is so much variation from one side to the other. However, today there was an added bonus.

I think the majority of the State got some snow over the weekend. And it WAS beautiful. But this morning as we drove out of our driveway, the trees had been completely covered in ice. The weather people called it Ice Fog. As the fog develops, and it is so cold, the water vapor freezes and it forms ice on the trees. It was one of the most gorgeous sights I have ever seen. Absolutely breathtaking. Then we had the opportunity to ride across the Plateau and there was so much more snow there. Icicles were hanging off the cliffs on the side of the road and the landscape looked so clean and pretty.

Another thing I realized was that you notice a lot more when it snows. I have been across the Plateau a lot in the last few weeks, but I saw things for the first time that I had not paid any attention to before. Nothing spectacular and really out of the ordinary, like barns and fields and rolling hills. They had been there all the time....I just never noticed.

I wonder how much more has God placed before me that I never see? The things I take so much for granted. His handiwork! I am very thankful that today looked different so I could take the time to really notice.

The Psalmist sure was right when he said that God was worthy of our praise!!!