Wednesday, March 31, 2010

New Beginnings

I just finished giving my new grandson, Luke Douglas his bottle. I have been trying to get time to blog, but his needs keep stopping me. I love this kind of interruption, so I am not complaining.

When I feed Luke, I always talk to him. As he takes that bottle I share scripture verses, sing and of course, tell him many times how much I love him. I continually tell him how God made him and loves him even more than I do.

I believe the most important thing I do during his feedings is pray for him. I look at him in wonder and begin at the top of his head and continue to the bottom of his feet in prayer. I ask for protection for his mind and that he will have the mind of Christ. I ask that his eyes will not look at "worthless things", as King David prayed. I ask his hands to serve God and his feet to be directed by God. Luke Douglas is fully prayed over every time I have him in my arms.

As I think about his beginnings and pray for him to avoid the many pitfalls, I am reminded that God gives me a new beginning everyday. My prayers for Luke remind me of how I should pray for myself each morning.

Spring is here. The flowers are beginning to bloom, trees are budding, the grass is growing. Everything looks fresh and new!

I don't know about you, but I want that. I want to be fresh and new each day for my King's service. He will provide that for you and me, we just have to ask.

II Corinthians 5:17 "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ,, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have come new."

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Listening in Church

I joked yesterday about Sunday being a day of rest. I am fully aware that for a minister's family it can be quite stressful. Because of that, Doug and I made an extra effort to teach our children that Sunday's were very special.

We wanted our boys to understand that God wanted to talk to them and teach them. We began to teach them that the message that came from the pulpit (their dad) was a direct message to each of them, from God, Himself. We taught them that this was the way we get our orders for the coming week.

At a very early age we had special crayons, paper and a carrying case that was only used on Sunday. We instructed the boys (before they could read) to listen for a word in the sermon that they could draw a picture of. Example: fish, house, rain, etc. As they got older, (colored pencils or pens) they were to draw as many pictures for as many words that they could remember. Eventually, they learned to write and would write a word, then an outline, then notes.

Around the table at lunch we all took out our notes and shared. Each boy would show his picture and tell what he heard about that picture. Then we would discuss how God wanted us to practice what we learned in the upcoming week.

This was a good practice for all of us. It was amazing at how much the boys could understand at a very young age. They loved looking for ways that God was using what they learned in the following week. We all were surprised at how each of us at times would learn something completely different.

Take time to teach your children how to worship. Teaching them to listen to the sermons and then apply God's Word to their lives will be one of those "forever" disciplines and blessings you give to them.

Monday, March 29, 2010

His Story

Good Morning Ladies! I pray your Sunday was a day of worship and relaxation, oops, almost are a minister's wife! (kidding, kindof)

As I went to sleep last night I prayed about where to start today. God reminded me of the beautiful yellow flowers that I saw blooming yesterday. This is the time of year that without a doubt the earth proclaims, "He is Risen!"

My question to you is, "Are you making the same proclaimation with your life?"

Let me share with you something I did with the women of my church that opened some opportunities to get to know them better.

One spring, close to Easter, I decided to share with the women what "His Story" was in my life. I sent a church wide letter to each woman of our congregation. In that letter I took time to share a little about me, my upbringing and the first time I heard God calling my name. It was not long or extremely detailed, but it was very personal. I shared where I started with my God, some of the places we had been together and where I was heading or at least my goals in my relationship with Him.

I cannot tell you the amazing things God did with that simple letter. Women who had never spoken to me, sought me out to thank me and share. Women who doubted their salvation came to ask questions. Women who were shy, lonely or thought they should not bother me, felt they knew me well enough to approach me.

We were at a large church and it was difficult to get to know everyone, yet sharing His Story in my life led me to many new relationships and times of ministry.

Psalm 98:4 "Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth; Break forth in song, rejoice and sing praises..."

We have nothing in our life that should cause more reason to "Shout Joyfully" than our salvation story. Gift your women this Easter with His Story in your life and be ready to be blessed!

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Once again I want to take you back to Lulu’s and sit alongside with the fictional pastor’s wives as they discuss another issue-perfection. Grab your cup of coffee or diet soda and your favorite chocolate treat and pull up a chair because you might learn something new.

While reading Desperate Pastor’s Wives I truly found myself relating to specific characters and their issues. One of the problems that arose was the need to be perfect. Let’s face it. Many ministers’ wives are judged on the clothes they wear, their hairstyles, their cooking skills, how they raise their children, how their husband dresses and even ministers. These are just a few areas in which we are judged and that puts a heavy load of us.

However, as you know we are not perfect . . . well, at least I am not perfect. I would love to say that I am dressed daily by stylist who picks the perfect outfits and that my hair is never out of place. Alas, I find myself wondering who designs clothes these days. For instance, I went on a mission to find a simple dress for Easter. After a couple of hours of shopping, I went home frustrated. Either the dresses were cut to low, short, or tight or they were out of my price budget. Right now, I think I will stick with my black slacks and blouse. I guess if I did not eat my daily dose of chocolate my body might conform to the tight dress but as I said I am not perfect.

Another area in which I am imperfect in is my kitchen skills. Our church knows up front that I am not the best cook in the world. I have my few recipes that I can master-chili, roast, Cajun red beans and rice-to name a few. I am not bragging but these few dishes are what my family loves for me to make. Of course, they may just be playing it safe because I have been known to “offer up burnt sacrifices” to my family. I even set the oven on fire one Thanksgiving! Thank heavens my mom, who is an awesome cook, was there and saved the day.

I firmly believe that there many in our congregations who need to see that we are not perfect. I truly believe they want us to be real. According to one character in the book, “We carry such weighty expectations-from other people, from our own families, and even from ourselves. And they’re impossible expectations to meet.” I know there are times when I try so hard to be the best that all I do is stress myself and my family.

Let’s face it, the last time I checked Jesus is the only perfect one. He lived a sinless life. I will not be perfect until I reach eternity. So in the meantime, I will gladly have my bad hair days and try to hide the bumps and rolls of my waist and thighs. I will continue to experiment in the kitchen and will probably still present “burnt sacrifices.” I am so glad my Father loves his imperfect little girl.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I am an Individual

If you read my blog yesterday, you already know about this cute book I acquired called Desperate Pastor’s Wives by Ginger Kolbaba and Christy Scannell. I also mentioned that we were going to travel to our own Lulu’s Café and discuss a couple issues that I believe we all have to deal with if we are married to a staff person. Now we cannot feast of fictional Lulu’s homemade pies so I hope that you have your favorite chocolate snack available. So pull up a chair and let’s touch on the topic of being your own person.

“Oh, this is our pastor’s wife.” “It is so nice to have Bro. So and So’s wife with us today.” I know you have heard those words. Doesn’t it want to make you respond, “My name is . . . .” I love being a minister’s wife and am often referred to as the “pastor’s wife,” however, at times I just want to scream when this happens. After all I am my own person and I do have a name.

I remember when my children were young and I was assisting with a field trip for my youngest son’s class. I was riding in a car with a friend who already knew I was minister’s wife and another mom who I had just met. We carried on a lengthy conversation and laughed about different issues that our kindergarteners had during the year. My friend happened to mention something about church, and I responded by simply stating I would have to check with my husband. My friend in turned giggled and said, “well, aren’t you the pastor’s wife and don’t you know everything that goes on at church?” The other mom turned around, faced me with huge eyes and her face white as a sheet and asked, “You’re a pastor’s wife?” I laughed and said, “yes and my name is Vickie. Also, I’m a mom, a student, and love being with good friends.” My friend driving the car almost had a wreck because she was laughing so hard. She added, “Don’t worry. Vickie is just a regular person who just happens to be married to a pastor.”

Yes, I have a name and I am a regular person. I am not stuffy or boring. I love laughing and having a good time. I am more comfortable in a pair of jeans or shorts and shirt because I love to be outdoors. I love going barefoot. I love Jesus, my church, and I have a servant’s heart. I am thankful for those people who introduce me by name and leave off the minister’s wife title until the other party gets to know me.
Girlfriends, you have a name and are a regular person too. God knows our name and He created us with talents and interests that make us unique. He also gifted us with spiritual gifts that fit our personality. When in doubt of just who you are, remember what our Heavenly Father says in Jeremiah 1:5, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I set you apart.”

Monday, March 22, 2010

Lulu's Cafe

A few weeks ago my husband took me to a great used bookstore here in Nashville. The minute I walked in I knew I was in big trouble because I love to read. The first words from my mouth were, “Oh my! This is like heaven.” My husband promptly reminded me that we only had about thirty minutes before we had to be somewhere else.

Needless to say, I made a mad dash through the store. I found the classic section then discovered a whole section for literary anthologies! Yes, girlfriends, I am somewhat of a nerd when it comes to books and if I had had some chocolate, I could have camped out in the store for a week. Instead, I decided I better use my few reminding minutes scanning the rest of the store. I finally decided to glance through the inspirational books selection and I see what treasures I could find.

Oh did I ever discover a jewel of a book! What caught my eye was the title Desperate Pastor’s Wives. It is from the Secrets from Lulu’s Café series by Ginger Kolbaba and Christy Scannell. Now we have all heard of the Desperate Housewives from television; however, I have not seen it. However, I wonder just what secrets these pastor’s wives reveal in the book.

Simply stated four pastor’s wives who live in the fishbowl of a small town escape to the safe haven of Lulu’s Café to just unload their burdens and encourage one another in their journey. Throughout the book there are tears and laughter. I even found myself relating to a couple of the wives and wishing I could go to Lulu’s Café where no one knew who I was.

Girlfriends, I think each of us face situations where we just wish we could escape the chaos and run to a Lulu’s. We are all in some ways just like the characters of this book. We struggle with insecurity, fear, worry, failures, convictions, an array of emotions, and sometimes in our faith. Often we have to paste a smile on our face and hide what really is going on inside us.

Well girlfriends, not this week. I think we need to run to Lulu’s and share our burdens with one another. Stay tuned because I am asking God to speak through me to you in specific ways. I hope you will pray for me too because I plan to share a couple of things that I share in common with the characters from the book. Since we cannot have a piece of Lulu’s delicious homemade pies, run get you a bag of M & Ms and your bible and let’s discover what God has in store for us.

Broken and Shining

Every time I look at the calendar and see it is my turn to share with you, I begin to pray for God's message. I actually missed my week last month, so I have been checking the calendar daily. I have been going to bed asking God, "What is Your message?" and waking up asking, "What is Your message?"

I recently spoke in Little Rock, Arkansas. After I came home I received a letter from a dear pastor friend of mine. He was encouraging me about going through trials. I thought I would share some of his thoughts with you.

In Acts 9:15 the Lord said of Saul of Tarsus following his conversion that "he was a chosen vessel unto me." The thought came to me that all of us are vessels, most of us are self contained which will not allow the brightness and brilliance of the indwelling Christ to shine forth. Only with a broken vessel is that possible. The Lord has never used anything without first of all breaking it. The bread in the upper room, the bread on the occasion of feeding the 5000 are examples.. When Gideon marched his men around the camp of the Midianites, he commanded one of his company to carry pitchers with a flame inside. (Judges 7:16) He then commanded them to break the pitchers so the light would shine forth on the camp. Inside each of us is the "light of the world" but the light will not shine forth until we, the vessel is broken.

I pray you will find this encouraging. I know that there are always needs, trials, hurts and disappointments in the lives of ministers and their families. Yet, God is so able to use each circumstance in our life to shine Him into someone elses life.

Are you broken? Shine His Light!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Childlike Need

Recently, I heard a pod cast that totally transformed the way I view childlike faith. I always assumed that kind of faith was up to me. I needed to believe the way a child did. Afterwards, I realize that kind of faith is more of childlike need.

My baby, Piper, cannot do a thing for herself. She NEEDS me to do everything for her. I feed her. I change her. I dress her. I even put her to sleep because there are times she is so tired that she can't figure out how. She needs me desperately. She cannot survive without me.

This is what a childlike faith is. It is a realization of our desperate, extreme need for our Heavenly Father. According to Romans 8:15, we've been made His children and we CRY "Abba." Another preacher recently pointed out that "abba" is easy for a baby to say, much like Piper says "Dada." A baby cries to communicate. They have no other way to make their needs known.

Is this how you relate to God? Do you know this kind of need? Remember that any faith we have is a gift of grace from God. He is happy to give us good gifts. Ask Him for this kind of faith and let Him hold you. Let Him take care of you. Let Him be your "Abba."

In case you were interested, the podcast I listen regularly to is from Matt Chandler at the Village Church out of Denton, TX. The other preacher I was privileged to hear recently was Dr. Russell Moore of Southern Seminary and Highview Baptist in Louisville. I highly recommend both if you are looking for a preacher other than your husband to listen to! ;)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Growing in Grace

One thing about working with (and parenting) preschoolers is the amazing rate at which they grow and change. They are constantly developing mentally, physically and emotionally. It is really mind boggling how fast they grow.

Personally, I am really in denial that my Piper will be a year old next week. It just doesn't seem possible. Yet, as I look at pictures the changes are obvious. Growth has definitely taken place.

Recently, I reminded the parents and the staff of the Parents' Day Out Program to use the obvious growth of the little ones to remind us of Peter's words. As he closes out his second letter, he tells us in verse 18 of chapter 3 to " . . . grow in grace . . . "

As Christians, we are never to stop developing. We have to keep growing. It is all part of the sanctification process to become more like Jesus. So while we might not be adding inches to our height, our heart should not look like it did last year at this time.

Yes, there will be growing pains along the way. Babies cutting teeth know how painful reaching developmental milestones can be! But we press on. We press on into Jesus and keep striving to grow in grace.

So, the next time you see a youngster you haven't seen in awhile and comment on how much he has grown, let it serve as a reminder that your spiritual growth should be evident too.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A Child-Like Faith

This year I have been blessed to serve First Baptist Church Clarksville as the director of their Parents' Day Out program. I work with an incredible and dedicated staff, and have the best families to serve, but I think my favorite aspect of this job is getting to be around the preschoolers.

I love going into their classrooms. I get to play, snack, read or just join in on whatever activity their teacher is leading them in. While I am not in the classrooms as much as I would like, I am never sorry that I took the time to drop in.

Over the next couple of posts, I will be sharing a few ideas and little lessons that God has shown me through the children I see through this ministry.

I used to think that a child's faith was basically an ignorant faith. I mean you can get a kid to believe just about anything right? I am not so sure about that anymore. Even preschoolers are smart. They understand more than most people give them credit for. They are inquisitive. They want to know "why." They love to discover.

God wants us to seek Him, to press into Him, to discover Him. Yes, we much obey because God tells us things - just as preschoolers are disciplined, we too are corrected by God. But, we just need to make sure we are TRUSTING Him as a child does.

My daughter knows her daddy will catch her as she jumps to him off the top stair step. She has complete trust in her daddy because she knows her daddy. As we learn more about our heavenly Father, we trust Him all the more. We then have something to base our relationship on.

Faith and Trust go together. Each one leads to more of the other. That is what a child-like faith is all about.

What does it look like to you?

I will post some more thoughts on this later this week.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Manequin in the Baptistry???

This past weekend I had an opportunity to speak on the Gulf Coast. A group of ladies from the church Randy pastored for 13 years were having a retreat. We had a great time, but God confirmed again to me why we had to move 12 hours away from this beloved place.

You see, I have a tendency to get in trouble. One of my dearest friends, Judy Lott, was also one of the leaders during the retreat. She and I have been in the center of so much commotion concerning church functions for years. Not long before God made us move to Tennessee Judy found a manequin. We had such fun with that lady!!! She showed up in the strangest places...
like on the toilet in a bathroom at a bridal shower (boy were those ladies surprised!!) and at the desk of Randy's secretary, who just happened to be one of my closest friends. Her name was Pam, and to this day, she is the only lady I have ever sent roses to---after scaring her half to death with our little friend. Anyway, the clincher was going to be when we floated the manequin in the baptistry during the week (never on a Sunday!!) for the staff to find. However, I guess God thought that was going a little too far, and he moved us before I could ruin Randy's ministry.

But this weekend, another manequin surfaced. We were staying at this huge house that had a small bathroom downstairs near where we were meeting. There was a glass shower kind of tucked in behind the door so you didn't really see it until you sat on the potty. We stood the manequin up in the corner of the shower and just left it there. It was hysterical to hear the reaction from different ones when they saw it. All the ladies were talking out in the room and you couldn't really hear the screams unless you were standing outside the bathroom door. So the ladies were unaware of what was going on until they went in to the bathroom. So over and over, one by one, we surprised them. I laughed until my side hurt.

Aren't you glad that God gives us good friends and laughter and the ability to have a good time?
I am thankful that He has allowed us to enjoy the "abundant life" He gave us.

Sunday, March 7, 2010


Sometimes, life is just bittersweet!

There was a young teacher in our community that was expecting her first child. Week before last they ordered all the furniture and finished fixing up the nursery. However, while teaching last week she started experiencing severe cramps. She was taken by ambulance to the hospital, where she delivered several months early. Her precious little boy lived about an hour.

That same week, another couple in my Sunday School class found out they were expecting. They were so excited and they wanted to tell the class today...but they didn't. You see the couple whose little boy didn't make it came to our class as well. The couple that had just found out they were expecting didn't want to do anything to upset them.

You see, the ones grieving had never been to our class before. But last Sunday, three days after this happened, our class took up money and signed a card and took it to them along with supper on Monday night. We had talked about being the Lord's hands and feet, and this was a perfect example. It made such an impact on them, they wanted to come to class today AND then joined the church during the 2nd service.

What a blessing and what an example of how God intends His church to behave! We don't always get it right, but I am so thankful we did this time.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Heed the Warning

A few weeks ago I was in a hotel room all alone. I had just gotten out of the shower, standing there soaking wet, when the fire alarm sounded. Loud. Screechy. Unending. Is there a fire? Is this a false alarm? What should I do?

I have some options. One, I can wrap up in a towel and run out of the room as fast as I can into the cold February air soaking wet and unclothed. Definitely not a pretty sight! Two, I can quickly throw on the jammies that are right there on the counter and then run out of the room. Still not a pretty sight and besides, I need my moisturizer on! Three, I can get dressed and then go out. Forth, I could ignore it totally and hope it goes away. I am sure there were other options but these were the ones that flashed through my mind quickly. What to do?

There are obvious drawbacks to all options. Total embarrassment if I ventured out of my room in my jammies, or worse, nothing but a towel. If I wait until I am "presentable" and there really is a fire, I could be burned up.

So, I did what any prideful woman would do. I ignored the alarm and told myself I needed to get my moisturizer on, my lotion on, and my clothes on, THEN I would heed the warning.

Eventually, the alarm stopped and I never did find out what it was sounded for but here's what the Lord spoke to me while all of this was going on.

There are warnings, alarms (from the Holy Spirit) that go off all of the time....and we have a choice to make each time we "hear" those alarms. Do we heed or do we ignore? When we are about to say something or do something and we hear the "alarm", we must heed it. There is danger in what we are about to say or do and we must run from it.

Heed the warnings my friends. Listen to the alarms that go off in your heart or mind or spirit. God is warning you and believe me, He does not give off false alarms!!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A Prepared Heart

How is it that half way through the second song I realized I was going through the motions in worship? The words were coming out of my mouth....but my mind was thinking about anything and everything other than God. Why is that? How sad that I can come to corporate worship on Sunday with the local Body of Christ and be distracted.

How is it that I can read an entire chapter in Acts and have no idea what I just read? How does that happen?

I think we all know. It is called being distracted. It is called not having a prepared heart.

I have been encouraged by Mark 4, the story of the farmer scattering seed. At any given time my heart can be hard or rocky or crowded....just like the soil that did not produce fruit. OR it can be fertile and productive and produce lots and lots of fruit.

We all know that we MUST prepare our hearts for worship. There is no way we can sit at the feet of Jesus and expect to hear from Him or know Him or even worship Him if our hearts are not prepared. Words will just bounce off like seeds do on hard or rocky soil.

The sad thing is this is nothing new. Not a unknown Truth or new is something I have known for years. Why do I forget? Why do I think I can come before the throne of the God of the Universe without first preparing my heart?

Each time I open the Word or go to worship or desire to walk in Truth or long to speak Godly words or have pure thoughts or even try to write this blog....I must, we must, go to the Lord and ask for His mind to understand what we read, ask to see His face as we worship, ask for His words when we speak, etc.

Fruitful. Fruitful worship, Fruitful speech, Fruitful thoughts. All comes from a prepared heart. A focused heart. Tomorrow before you begin to read your Bible....first ask God to speak to you. Sunday when you go to worship (and for some of you....before you lead in worship) be sure to focus your heart and mind on Him....not the "things" around you.

Then, expect much fruit!