Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Standard

Our niece, Michaella, is visiting us this week from Louisiana. It is a special visit because she wanted to come spend time with us before she starts college this fall. She also mentioned that I was her favorite aunt (girlfriends, I'm her only aunt) and that I like to have fun. Let me just say that aunt and niece had a blast making No Bake Chocolate Drop Cookies and licking the pan on Friday night. Yep, she is a chocoholic like me!

Well, last night Michaella and her Uncle Ricky began discussing the family tradition. You see, my husband is a Louisiana Tech University graduate and Michaella will begin her freshman year there this fall. The Bulldog tradition carries further in the family because Michaella's dad, my brother, and our oldest son and his wife are all Tech grads.

In a true preacher voice, Ricky advice to Michaella went something like this: "Michaella, the standard has been set. You must keep the Tech tradition pure and holy. You must excel to be your best. You must rise to the level of a true Bulldog. Michaella, are you ready and able to be a Bulldog?" Michaella was giggling and I was just rolling my eyes. Funny how my blonde brain works. As Ricky and Michaella were bantering back and forth the qualilites of being a Louisiana Tech Bulldog, I was thinking on the standard set by Jesus.

Our Savior calls for us to rise to His standards. No, we will never be perfect, but we are to live our lives in such a way that is pure and holy. We are to strive to live our lives in a way that calls men, women, and children to the saving grace of our Lord. Jesus cheers us on to walk the narrow road and stay with the tradition of God's family.

I hope that one day when Michaella walks across the stage to receive her college diploma we are sitting in the stands cheering her on. More importantly I hope that when I walk through the gates of heaven and bow before the throne of God that He is cheering, "Well done my child!"

Friday, July 29, 2011

Trust In God Alone

I am very grateful for the mentors, teachers, family members that have taught me about my God. I have been give opportunities for me to grow and learn from His Word in the ministry than most people. What a blessing!

As I read some of the past blogs of my sisters, the reoccurring theme was difficult situations. This life we are living here and now is a constant classroom of preparation for eternity. No one is surprised to hear of tragedy or disasters in the news. We expect it, we even get a little harden to it.

This week a sweet young minister's wife shared with me the hurt she was experiencing in her church. As I listened, I was hurt with her, angry, judgmental (of the church) and disappointed in some church leaders. (had to spend some time repenting and forgiving)

When these emotions, feelings and thoughts come into my life, I have learned to RUN to God's Word. Listen to what God said - I love Him!!!

Psalm 62 - vs 1-2"I am at rest in GOD ALONE; my salvation comes from Him. He ALONE is my rock and my salvation, my strong hold; I will never be shaken. vs 5 Rest in God ALONE, my soul, for my hope comes from Him. He ALONE is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I will not be shaken. vs. 8 Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour our your hearts before Him. God is our refuge."

When people let us down ( and they will) remember God will never let us down - Trust in Him ALONE and do not be shaken!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Forget About Seeking God's Will for Your Life

I read the words in the title of this blog in the book, "Forgotten God" by Frances Chan. That statement definitely caught my attention.

As I have journeyed with the Lord these past 50 or so years, I have often asked God what He wanted me to do. As a pastor's wife, the church had many ideas for God's will in my life. Many times I just let them lead me along and sometimes fell flat on my face trying to please them.

I don't think it is wrong to listen to ideas from friends and church members, it is good to hear about needs and places to serve, but God definitely has a plan and we will only suceed when we are in the middle of His plan. If that is true, how do we know His plan, particularly if I just told you to stop seeking His will for your life.

We have God's Word, Godly people, prayer, circumstances and God living in us (Holy Spirit)to give us direction. Yet as you study His Word, you will find, that He called people to go without much detail.

Abraham packed his bags and began to walk - he had no idea where. Noah built a boat when he had never seen a flood or even rain. Peter went to a deserted road to wait for someone for some reason.

The list goes on and I believe each example is there to remind us we are to walk in faith, guided by the Holy Spirit.

I recommend this book, "Forgotten God". He teaches us to seek the Spirit's leading in our life not God's will for my life. Is there a difference? Yes, we will never make a mistake when the Spirit is leading because His job is to reveal the Father's will to us. When I am personally seeking God's will ( on my own), it is easy to rationalize, compromise, people please or even disobey.

The Holy Spirit will never lead you contrary to God's will. Begin to ask Him to lead you today.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Ministers Wives Retreat--East TN

Ministers Wives, it is time to register for our East TN Ministers Wives Retreat at CarsonSprings Conference Center, September 9-10. You can find the registration information and lodging information at You can register online but you must call CarsonSprings for your lodging.

Our theme is "Friendship and Chocolate--The Rich Things in Life." Breakouts include "Finding the Joy in Ministry," "Penny Pinching," "Count Your Hugs & Kisses of Ministry," and "The Richness of Being Real."

Our main speaker will be Dana James from Greenwood IN with "Voice of Mercy" leading us in Worship. Registration will begin at 1:00 on Friday with the first breakout at 2:00 and will conclude on Saturday with lunch. Many fun things are planned for Friday night so make your plans now to join us at CarsonSprings, September 9-10. And of course there will be plenty of chocolate!!

Boasting and Pleasure

I was reading in 2 Corinthians 12 this week. I came to the passage where Paul began to list the things he had experienced as he shared Christ. I am sure you are familiar with this passage, but take time to read this list with me again.

Many more imprisonments - far worse beatings - near death many times - five times I received 39 lashes - three times I was beaten with rods - once I was stoned by my enemies - three times I was shipwrecked - I spent a night and a day in open sea - dangers from rivers - dangers from robbers - dangers from my own people - dangers from Gentiles - dangers in the city - dangers in the open country - dangers on the sea - dangers among false brothers - labor and hardship - many sleepless nights - hunger and thirst - often without food - cold - lacking clothing -daily pressure on me - my care for all the churches -thorn in the flesh - a messenger of Satan to torment me

Let me ask you a question? Have you experienced trials lately? Are you discouraged? Is the battle making you weary, stealing your joy, challenging your faith?

As I read Paul's description of the things he had and was experiencing, I had to stop and thank God for His great mercy in my own life. There have been difficult situations, hard times, disappointments, loses and conflicts, yet I cannot relate to Paul's life.

Let's now read what Paul decided to do with all these experiences.

But He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Therefore, I will most gladly BOAST all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may reside in me. So I take PLEASURE in weaknesses, insults, catastrophes, persecutions, and in pressures, because of Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Dear Sisters in Christ, I am not diminishing the fact that you may be suffering, but I challenge you to BOAST in Christ - take PLEASURE in His strength and make His Name Famous as those around you watch!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Lost Sheep

"Oh, where oh where have our church members gone? Oh, what, oh, what are they doing?"

Maybe our church is unique, but I do not think so. I fear this is a wide-spread trend. During the Winter our attendance suffers because of the cold, bad weather. During the Summer it suffers because of vacations, the lake and just over-all laziness. Our attendance is always much better in the Spring and Fall.

Why is it that some folks feel they only need church two seasons a year? I love all of the excuses!!! All of the church members are important. Anytime anyone misses, there is a missing link to the puzzle. I wonder what they would do if the pastor and pastor’s wife decided they would just like to sleep in one Sunday???

We have tried planning “special activities” to bring them in especially during the summer, but that still does not work.

Do not get me wrong….our faithful members are their year round for most if not all of the services. However, we have a large chunk of members that are part-time members.

Maybe they are stronger than me and maybe they do not get as hungry as I do. I could not survive without being fed every Sundays and every Wednesday. I can not imagine going weeks without food.

The little town that we live in still has the snow cone trucks that go around the neighborhoods playing their music and drawing folks out to the truck to buy snow cones in the hot weather. Maybe we need to get us a truck with a large billboard and drive it around the neighborhood of the church, while playing the music of “Oh, where, oh, where have our church member gone….”

Smile. <

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Well this is only our 15th year to pastor, but our 32nd year in the Ministry. This weekend was our FIRST Infant Funeral. How sad!!! The baby was a beautiful, perfect little boy, weighing 5 lbs. 7 oz. and was a week early. The pregnancy went uneventful and then suddenly mom went into Preeclampsia, without the usual warning signs. They rushed her to the hospital and did an emergency c-section, but it was too late for the boy. His blood supply had been cut off and he was born dead. They almost lost mom too. It was a touch and go for five days.

I had never even attended an infant funeral. The hospital had a photographer that came in and made lots of beautiful photos of baby Bo Thomas and gave the CD to the parents. Since mom had a very hard time and almost lost her life, she never got to see her son, so the pictures were extra special. The CD was playing at the funeral home.

The family had picked out the songs that were played but they broke my heart. They played Rock-a-Bye-Baby, Jesus Love Me and a couple of others. It was so sad.

My heart just goes out to this couple. I can not think of anything worse than losing a child that you have planned for, loved and nurtured for nine months.

I know that God has a purpose for everything and we are not to question, but it is hard, humanly, to make sense of this. As a pastor’s wife, it was hard for me to know how to give comfort to the parents, so all I did was hug them and hold them and tell them I was praying. You can not say, “at least he is not hurting anymore” or “he sure lived a long life…”

Okay…..for future reference….all of you “more experienced pastor’s wives”….PLEASE give me some advice on dealing with infant death. Thanks Bunches!!!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Summer Time is V.B.S. Time!!!

When God called Roger and I to Whites Creek Baptist Church going on 15 years ago, I was told that I was the VBS Director because I was the Pastor’s Wife. Soooo for 15 summers I have directed VBS.

Every year I get really, really scared that I will not have enough help and every year, I always have more than enough help. Our entire church gets involved….the young and old; male and female. I was asked by our Associational VBS Crew how I managed to recruit so many workers and my reply was…”Well the same year I was told I was the director by default I was also told that I would have to reach out to other churches and the Association for help because all of the members of Whites Creek Baptist Church had served their time in VBS and had since retired from working in VBS. I prayed about it and then stood up and told them that as long as they were breathing, God had a place for them in VBS. When God got ready for them to retire, he would just take them on home.”

For some reason ever since that year, I always have lots of workers. (I guess they are afraid to say “No”……..afraid that God will call them home. Smile.) If you can’t get them to willingly volunteer and can not shame them into help…just do as I do and scare them into working. Smile.

My oldest VBS worker was almost 90 years old. I do not turn ANY worker away…..even non-Christians. (Of course I do not allow them to teach or be a leader, but I have let them guide a group of students around to the different areas or be a helper somewhere. I figured that by allowing them to do that, they were hearing the Word too.) I have had to even create positions………the almost 90 year old sat in a soft chair and passed out candy to the kids when they told him their memory verse.

Anyway…I have directed our VBS for 15 summers and every year I learn something or experience something new. This year we had a unique situation. One of my Craft helpers was very pregnant and due in a month. She worked in VBS Monday and Tuesday nights and then mentioned on Tuesday night that she was leaking. To shorten the story, her and her mother-in-law left VBS thirty minutes early, called her doctor and went to the ER where they determined her water had broken during VBS so they admitted her to the hospital and induced labor. Cayden was born at 6:00 the next morning, weighing 5 lbs. 3 oz. which was not bad considering he was 5 ½ weeks early. His lungs were not fully developed so he did have to stay in Children’s ICU for a little over a week, but he is now home and doing very well.

So…this year in VBS, we truly had a VBS Baby. On Friday Nights, we have our Family Night and at the end we show a slide show of the kids participating in different activities during the week. Candice, the mom, was shown in her very pregnant state and then later there was a picture of Cayden in ICU and mom sitting beside him. A true VBS Baby.

On Sunday, we had two folks to join our church by salvation and baptism as a result of VBS.

I say all of this to say…..VBS is hard. It takes a lot hard work and takes lots of people working together. BUT….it is oh, so worth it. There has never been a year that I did not receive a blessing from the week. It is a blessing just to watch all of our adults working together every night.

I am sure most of you have a VBS Story to tell. I would love to hear it.

Friday, July 15, 2011

What Would You Say?

Church politics make me sad.

No doubt, if you and/or your husband has had much to do with ministry for ANY amount of time, you have seen more than your fair share. Committees, deacons, chairpersons, deacon wives - there are a whole list of titles and positions within our churches to make ministry more challenging than it should be.

In one church I know of, I am watching a minister be eaten alive by the people he has spent the last six plus years ministering to. It breaks my heart. Numbers are down, both in attendance and giving. They are looking for someone to hold responsible, yet they have been the ones making so many of the decisions that have put this church in this position. This minister's sweet family is paying the toll.

It is in times like these that I have to be reminded that Christ died for His Bride, the Church, and gave Himself up for her. With all her blemishes and obvious flaws He loved her so much. I have to pray for strength to do the same.

My husband and I are longing to reach out to this family. I desire some great words of encouragement to pass on to this dear minister's wife. She has such a strong faith, a servant's heart and a quiet resolve, so many traits I want to immulate.

If you were in her shoes, and I pray you are not, what would you like to hear? Is there something in particular you would like to be reminded of? Maybe you have been in her high heels. What scripture, what truth, helped you through those dark, hard days?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

What Do You Think?

I just got off the phone with one of the minister's wives from my church. She and I are contemplating and praying over whether or not God is calling one or both of us to lead a particular discipleship study for women next month.

Recently, her husband's ministry responsibilities changed. He is no longer a youth minister, but more of a young adult minister now. This study could be considered very much in-line with his new responsibilities.

Here is my question:

Should your husband's ministry and calling be an influence or a deciding factor in how you discern what God is calling you to do?

I am pretty sure that there isn't a black/white answer to this, nor a specific scripture that speaks directly to this issue. I was just wondering what you thought.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

" . . . By The Lord . . ."

"All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children." - Isaiah 54:13

This verse has new meaning to me this week. Notice the verse says that our children will be taught BY the Lord, not "OF" the Lord.

I have prayed since Riley, my 8 year old, was in the womb that God would reveal Himself to her. I have longed that He would teach her and have trusted that He would answer those prayers.

Yesterday, I was not the teacher. He was. I was just another pupil in His classroom of our lives.

Riley had an out-patient surgery performed at The Vanderbilt Children's Hospital to correct her "lazy" eye. She was put under general anesthesia and had two muscles on her left eye operated upon.

She was nervous. She has been for weeks. She was unsure of what to expect. She was scared.

Her daddy and I had spoken to her about faith. We had talked of His faithfulness to us. We had prayed for and with her.

But, this wasn't about us. Yes, God ministered to us and we both grew in our faith but it was really all about Riley's faith becoming her own.

He was writing her testimony. He was stretching her young faith. He was revealing His character to her.

It is hard to watch. I know that there will be many lessons she has to learn the hard way. There will be pain in her life - physical, and emotional, that He will use so she can truly experience God's peace.

A family friend made us a beautiful wooden plaque with the above verse printed on it. I had loved it because it was from him and for the uniqueness of the verse used. I began praying it. Yesterday I saw the peace it speaks of on my daughter's face as they wheeled her back for her first surgery.

Yes, God is teaching my children and yes, their peace shall be great. Thank You Lord.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Married to Minister Living in Sin

My heart has been heavy and I have known for a while that I needed to address this issue….but I did not want to….I kept putting it off. After meeting with the friend I mentioned in my last post, I knew I could put it off no longer...yet even knowing this week I must bring it up, it is now Saturday and I have procrastinated all week. It is uncomfortable. It is easier to talk about things that are funny, encouraging, and light.

There have been so many times where a minister’s wife has pulled me aside to share with me how her husband is living, walking in sin. He stands to preach or teach the Word before a group of spiritually hungry people who take in every word while at the same time has dark secrets. He is doing exactly the opposite of what he is teaching/preaching. Please be sure you are hearing me correctly….I am NOT talking about your husband who sins…because we are all sinners!! I am referring to the one who is living, walking, abiding in sin.

Here are just a few examples:
My pastor husband encouraged me to have an affair….and I am.
My pastor husband and I are divorced….living together….and no one in the church knows.
My pastor husband is addicted to pornography.
My pastor husband is consistently harsh and cruel and mean to me and our children.
My pastor husband emotionally and verbally abuses me.
My pastor husband has swindled thousands of dollars from our friends and now bankrupted our family.
My pastor husband is having an affair.

The list could go on and on and it is something we don’t like or want to talk about. And to be honest, there is not the time or space to deal with it here. But one thing I have learned is that often times the enemy will get our husbands to think they are invincible. They can get to the place where they are not willing to hear the truth about their lives.

Sweet ladies, perhaps you are dealing with a husband who is walking in sin….and if you are not, please realize that we and/or our husbands are all one decision away from making these same mistakes or worse. One decision. No one wakes up one day and says, “I think I will have an affair!!” It happens gradually, little by little, and before we know it we have crossed the line.

We must do two important things. Confront and expose. Confront him with your concerns. Speak with love and truth and pure motives. If he does not listen to you (which honestly, might be the case) bring someone with you. This is Biblical. This must happen. It is embarrassing because we like to keep it all in the dark. BUT darkness is where the sin grows!! Expose it! Get it into the light so that it can be dealt with!!

I wish that as ministers’ families we did not have to deal with this pain and hurt….but trust me, the enemy wants to destroy the Body of Christ and one of the best ways he does it is to attack the leaders!!

Be courageous. Confront. Expose.

I am praying…..I wish we had more time/space to really talk about this…..maybe later. Oh Father I ask that You would put a hedge of protection around those who are leading the Body of Christ. That You would give that woman the insight and courage to confront her sinning spouse. That he would listen to her. Father raise up a people who will be trustworthy that we can turn to who will go with us to expose any life of sin. We desire pure marriages, families, churches. Surround our sisters who are hurting as a result of sinful decisions their husbands have made. In Jesus’ name…..amen.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

An Idol from an Unexpected Source

I had not seen her in decades, (how is that possible when I know I am still in my 20’s!!) yet it was surprisingly easy to spot her in the crowd waiting at the Tex Mex restaurant in Dallas. Her looks had not changed a bit…but her life certainly had. After talking and crying and eating enchiladas, chips and salsa for three hours we decided we should let the poor waiter have something and someone different to serve instead of us!! After leaving a very large tip for his patience and tolerance, we picked up our discussion where we left off at Starbucks….and talked several more hours.

Last week was the first time I had “face time” with this dear college roommate since our weddings in the 70’s, and even though we have had little contact over the years, nothing had changed between us. We were able to cut through all of the mundane, unimportant topics right to the core of what was on our hearts. Isn’t it beautiful to have relationships like that?

As sorority sisters, we would laugh so hard together! I will never forget the evening we danced all around the apartment singing songs from “Funny Girl”!! (Well, I suppose THAT dates me!!) She was about to marry the love of her life and I wanted to find the love of my life. She was beautiful and funny and put together…she knew what she wanted and was going for it. And she got it. The love of her life.

The love of her life was in the ministry. He was large as life. Funny. Intelligent (not just smart—but intelligent!!) Seminary graduate. Amazing “platform” presence. Everyone loved him. Everyone was drawn to him. You knew when he was in the room….everyone was either laughing or learning or listening. God was going to do amazing things with and through this young man. We all knew it.

Fast forward to 2011. Their lives and marriage are a mess. A disaster. In ruins. There is much hurt and pain and heartache. How did this happen? It turned out that the “love of her life” was, in actuality, an idol.

Oh, as I look back on those days, I could see that she idolized him...but I said nothing. Did I even know it then? Was I so clueless that I neglected the warning signs? My dear friend...beware! The devil roars like a lion seeking to destroy YOU! Your marriage, Your ministry, Your relationships. One way he does it is to cause something very good to become very idol.

Anything we put in the center of our lives....a spouse, a CHILD!!!, a job, WHATEVER is our idol. Stop right now. Take a serious look. What is at the center of your life? Mind? Even a trial can become an idol!!

Oh, how I love you...even though I do not even know you. Lord, please reveal to each one of us where we have made anything an idol. Help us to identify them and then to break them up!! Put YOU at the center. In Jesus name....amen!

Friday, July 1, 2011


Can you believe that we have completed the first half of 2011 and July 4th is Monday? If you are like me this year has been a race against time to see what else can be put on my plate. Usually, 4th of July means added tensions because we always have family or friends visiting or we are on a trip.

Although I love having people in our home, I get myself so stressed out at times planning that I forget to just enjoy my company. Usually, we have the entire family here so that means planning the menu for several days and deciding where everyone will sleep (who gets the two beds, who gets the sleeper sofa, and who gets the air mattresses and couches). When everyone arrives it is interesting to see where the luggage goes and a fight for bathroom time. By the end of the extend family time, there are a few "discussions" that have taken place. However, this weekend is unusual for the Lee family. We have no one coming to visit and we have no 4th of July plans. It feels really odd.

As I was having my quiet time this morning, I ran across Psalm 133:1 which says, "How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity." I began to think about the sweet times that our family has had over the years celebrating our nations freedom. Then I thought about the times when I was so stressed by the time everyone arrived that I had to force myself to focus because I was zapped of energy.

I believe this verse also applies to our church families. It is awesome when the church family is in one accord. God is able to do some mighty works for His glory when our energies and thoughts are centered on Him. However, when disunity rears its ugly head in the church, our focus is taken off the Lord and placed on the problem at hand. When issues arrive in the church it robs us of our Christian example we have in our communities and robs God of the ministry He wants to do through us. We become so bogged down on the situation that our spirits are defeated and often we give up.

I am a firm believer that our biological families as well as our Christian brothers and sisters should strive to get along. We should enjoy one another's company and fellowship. We should seek to find the good in all people and be peacemakers if necessary. I, like many of you, have family members who are not Christians. When they see me stressed and arguing with my own family I wonder what they are thinking of me as a Christian. Likewise, our church family and our community should see the best in us and we should strive to live in unity for the glory of God's kingdom.

As this national holiday approaches, I pray that you enjoy your time with your families and there is no disharmony over the sleeping arrangements. I also pray that your church is unified in serving Jesus and furthering His kingdom.

P.S. Below is one of my favorite, easy, stressful desserts that I always serve on the 4th of July. I hope you enjoy it even though it is not chocolate.

Lemonaid Pie

1/2 carton of Cool Whip
2 cups of frozen yogart (I use Kroger brand)
1 small package of Crystal Light Rasberry Lemonaid mix

Blend all ingredients and pour into graham cracker crust. Place in freeze. Remove a few minutes before serving and top with remainer of Cool Whip.