Friday, September 30, 2011

Pastor's Wife

I just want to be me!!

Don’t get me wrong, I love being a pastor’s wife, but sometimes, I would just love to slip in and sit on the pew unnoticed. It would be nice to slide in and slide out without being stopped every few feet with questions or suggestions?

I wonder how it would feel to be the last to arrive at church and be the first to leave. What if we only had to come to church services……….no meetings, no counseling, etc.?

What if we could gain weight without anyone noticing? What if we could loose weight without anyone noticing? Or get a new hair style without EVERYONE noticing or even a new outfit? What if we could purchase a car or boat or something else without anyone truly noticing?

Wouldn't it be nice to go to church and sit on the pew without KNOWING so much? I mean, as a pastor's wife… we KNOW if there are any problems in the church and we KNOW the trouble makers. We KNOW the unfaithful people and the people that are not dependable. We KNOW the ones that are having marital problems. We KNOW the ones that are in financial trouble.

Sometimes, I guess, I feel like we truly do live in a fishbowl (just as Tara spoke about a few posts back) and I am overwhelmed. (Even though, like Tara said, we should embrace it and let the world see Christ through us.)

I am humbled to live in my fishbowl for others to it good or bad. When I am truly honest with myself......I would not have it any other way. I would miss it all; the good and the bad.

God called me to be a pastor's wife and I am honored to serve in that capacity.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Exciting Times Are Coming

*****New Years!

FALL – apples, leaves changing, cooler weather, pumpkins, etc.

FOOTBALL – Alabama (Sorry…we are from Alabama), or Tennessee, or Florida
(Sorry…our son-in-law is a Gator fan), etc.

THANKSGIVING – pies, turkey, dressing, giving thanks, family, friends, etc.

CHRISTMAS – Birth of Christ, baking, decorations, presents, cards, lights, trees, family, friends, etc.

NEW YEARSout with the old and in with the new; a time to wipe the slate clean and start over; the ball dropping; a new beginning…

WEDDING Cody and Melanie’s “Big Day”; the beginning of their lives together; the completion of our children – two girls and two boys (not including future grandchildren. ), etc.

All of these are important events and all deserve all of the careful planning, preparing and anticipating AND there is nothing wrong with it………………however, wouldn’t it be even greater if we got as excited for the second coming of our Lord? We say we are excited. We say we are preparing. We say we are anticipating…..but are we? Sometimes our actions prove differently.

Let’s try to make it our goal to get as EXCITED with ANTICIPATION for our ETERNAL FUTURE as we do when we are making plans for our earthly future.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Monday, September 26, 2011

Empty Your Vessel

We hear all the time that we must fill our vessels.

However, you MUST first empty your vessel of all of “yourself”….to make room for God to fill it with him.

Many times we want to pour out part of ourselves and want God to just work around what remains of us. God wants all or none. He does not like lukewarm.

In order for your walk with Christ to be where you should be you must pour ALL of YOURSELF out and turn EVERYTHING over to HIM.

When our children were growing up, we tried to teach them that God wants control of ALL of our lives and not just the “churchie” part. Until we truly turn it all over to God we can not totally be in his will.

It is easy for us to tell non-Christians to come on and get saved that God will help them to turn away from sin….but, as Christians, we many times tend to just HANG-ON to ourselves, thinking that just a wee little bit won’t make that much difference.

As I stated before…God is a jealous God. He wants ALL of us or NONE of us. So, Ladies…let’s empty our vessels of every last drop so that God can take complete control of our lives.

Friday, September 23, 2011

A "Real" Interesting Position

Ladies, you may find this hard to believe. I am sure it is pretty rare and I am definitely asking for your input and prayers.

As of the close of business meeting Wednesday night, I am officially on the Pastor Search Committee for our church.

I know! How crazy for a minister's wife to be on a pastor search committee?! What a unique opportunity this is!

First, I may need to explain my husband's position. He works for our local association of nearly 50 churches and ministries. Together, he and our Associational Missionary minister to unite and help to individually grow these churches. It is a challenging job, and puts my hubby in a different church nearly every Sunday. Yes, sometimes he preaches but most often ministers to ministers. So, while I am a minister's wife, he just is not a minister at the church we are members of.

A deacon and his sweet wife visited my husband and me. They asked if we would consider my service in this capacity and of course, to pray about it. I have been so humbled and overwhelmed. I have never had an opportunity to serve like this, and, honestly, never expected one.

My husband has never served as a pastor, but has served under several. We have met with personnel committees and student ministry committees, but never a pastor search committee. I really have no idea as to what to expect. So, that is why I am asking for your help.

What kind of questions should I ask? When should I speak up in our meetings? What are the kind of things you think the committee ought to focus on? What kind of things do you wish pastor search committees would do? Wouldn't do?

I truly believe that I will be able to bring some interesting insights to this committee because I have the interesting position of being a minister's wife. Please pray for me, this committee and our church.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A "Real" Fishbowl

One of the valuable nuggets of truth that I am taking from the retreat came from God through Shawna Shingleton.

Honestly, I cannot remember her exact session title, but her heart was evident. When she talked about the fishbowl we ministers' families live in, she gave me a whole new perspective. She challenged us to think about it as a positive instead of the negative. She pointed out that the world has plenty of negative fishbowls to watch. Have you watched much "reality" television lately?! We need to rise to the occasion and be the positive, healthy, godly example that our churches and communities need.

As I thought about this truth I realized that instead of resenting my aquarium status, I need to embrace it. After all, we are called to salt and light! Even Jesus spoke of setting the light on a stand to light the whole house. Ladies, we have the answer in Christ to every problem facing every home in America, shouldn't we want to advertise that? Shouldn't we let our home be the positive influence?

So, instead of trying to figure out how to "hide" in our fishbowl, my prayer is that the Vinson Family will be a "Real" fishbowl where the church and the community can see Christ at work in us. It may not always be pretty, but I am praying that it will always be authentic. Whatcha see is whatcha get!

Thanks for sharing your heart Shawna!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A "Real" Blessing

Like Dana, I was honored to be a part of the East Tennessee Ministers' Wives Retreat at Carson's Springs a couple of weekends ago. I enjoyed sitting under her teaching, making new friends and eating LOTS of chocolate. Our fellow blogger, Vickie, was on the planning team for the event and, if you've followed our blog for long, you know her love for all things chocolate. I can't help but wonder if she had some influence over the weekend's chocolate and friendship theme. Hmmmmm.

It had been a long while since I had been with Dana and Vickie in person and it was nice to reconnect face-to-face at least a little. But it was a "real" blessing to get to meet some of our blog readers for "real."

You see, as I have written in this virtual world of blogging, I have not had a single face to have as a mental image of an audience as I have written. I have thought of various ministers' wives who are friends, but I am not sure how many of them actually read our posts.  While some of you respond to our blogs, it is still sometimes hard to picture who our readers "really" are.  Sometimes I feel like I am writing a diary or in a journal, and it is hard to remember that there are "real" women reading my posts.

As some of you approached me saying you've read my posts, my mind swirled trying to remember all the things I had confided to you in my blogs. Then I felt silly thinking how could I "confide" anything in such a public way!

So, who did I learn that our blog readers are? You are "real" women with "real" hearts and very "real" hurts and needs. You are beautiful daughters of our King, sisters in the faith and co-laborers in our Father's vineyards. We come from various sized churches. We are in various life stages. We are united in a unique sorority, being married to ministers.

Thank you Ladies for your warm welcome and encouraging words. Thank you for being exactly the you that God created you to be and for serving Him in the place that He has ordained for you to serve. Thank you for ministering to me.

If you have a second, whether you attended the weekend or not, could you respond to this post? It would be a great encouragement to all of us that write to know you are reading. It doesn't have to be lengthy or say much at all, maybe just your name and where you live . . .  It is just a good reminder to us that "real" ministers' wives who are "real" women, read our little blog.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Answers to Questions

Below are the responses to two of the questions I asked ministers’ wives.

Question #1 Why do you think it is sometimes hard for ministers’ wives to have friends?

1. People are intimidated by us. (Honestly, that one almost makes me laugh out loud!! Are you kidding?? What in the world?? Me intimidate? I am an idiot!!)

2. They think we are not fun. (Now that one just makes me out right frustrated!! Not fun?? Do they think we just sit around with sour looks on our faces all day?? Hummm….maybe that is how we look?? Yikes!)

3. They think we already have tons of friends. (What they don’t know is that a lot of people are “friendly” but not a lot are “friends”.)

4. We move and they don’t want to get too close to us. (Heartbreaking isn’t it?)

5. We are “not from here”. (I for sure can relate to this one!! After living in a town for 15 years people would still say, “Oh, yea, you are not from here so…..”)

Question #2 What do you need/want in a friend? OR What is a True Friend?

Someone I can…..
1. Shop with
2. Pray with
3. Be accountable to/with
4. Hang out with
5. Be myself with/be real with
6. Share confidences with
7. Be honest with
8. Not be competitive with
9. Laugh with
10. Share my life/self with
11. Get beyond the superficial with
12. Who likes my family

Honestly, even though I have and do have lots of friends, I have only had a few that I could do all 12 of these with....and I am learning that that is OK!! Different people might meet different needs. God is the only one who will meet all of our needs!!

What would you add to these two lists?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Help! I Want A Friend!

Are you sensing a need to develop close relationships? Are you even willing to admit your need for community? Do you even want people to get to know you? Get close to you? Are you fearful that if you drop your masks and walls that they won’t like the “real” you? What if they find out that you are not really very “spiritual”??!!

Once we admit that we definitely do need friendships…then below are a few additional ideas from what I talked about in the last post about how to go about developing Godly friendships.

Ask God to provide. Pray!! (Too often my philosophy is “Why pray when I can do something about it??” How terrible is that??)

Find a mentor—an older woman that walks with God and speaks Truth. These women will be your greatest joy and encouragement and friend!

Find a disciple—a younger woman who needs to know what it means to be a Godly wife or mother or woman. She will become a life-long friend.

Be genuine/real/transparent. Stop trying to be/look perfect!! Make a conscious choice to drop relational barriers and learn to reach below the surface to cultivate deep relationships.

Know when to move on. Unhealthy relationships rob and sap the life out of you! And know when to hold on. Sometimes a friend will pull away from you because she is running from God.

Re-connect. Locate old friends you have lost contact with.

Re-evaluate. If you float from one friend to another or have always had a hard time developing or continuing relationships—maybe (and I hate to say it) the problem is with you. Do you have control issues? Are you smothering? Do you have blind spots? Do you give way too much advice? Perhaps you are just too perfect?

Just a side note--Recognize that you might be in a season of waiting. Don’t just sit and wait it out. It is not a dry wasteland. Seasons of waiting can be a fertile soil where surprising new relationships spring up….or deep changes can happen within us.

During times of loneliness take stock of your life. It is during personal reflection that we often grow the most. We hardly ever reflect when things are going well....when we are full and feeling happy. Often times it is when we are hungry, empty, dry that we sit down and consider our options. Loneliness can be painful—but pain motivates us to evaluate.

I'd love to hear your insights on how you develop friends and/or deal with your seasons of loneliness.

Blessings to you, my friend!!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Loved, loved, LOVED getting to meet many of you last weekend at the ministers’ wives retreat!! Thank you for your willingness to share with me one-on-one your struggles, victories, hurts and insights.

For many of you who were not able to attend, for this week’s blog, I thought I would share a few of the things we talked about…and for those of you who were there…I thought I would also share some of the things we did not get to talk about since I ran out of time!!!

If you want to develop friends then Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone! Look outside the box!! Do not miss the unlikely sources where God would provide rich friendships.

Mrs. Shelton and her sitter

I knew she had moved into her son’s basement next door but I had not met her. One day her son dropped by my house with a beautiful, hand crocheted table runner. He told me his mom made it for me!! What? I had never even met her!! Why did she do that? He began to tell me that every day he would take her on a drive to get her out of the house. Each day as they would drive by my house she would ask him about me. He would tell her that I was a pastor’s wife….and God knit our hearts together and she ministered to me before we even met!

The next day I took a walk to their home to meet and thank her. Right before my eyes sat a beautiful, 90 something year old woman with the clearest and most beautiful eyes I had ever seen. Her silver hair shone like glass and her smile spoke years of love and loving and being loved. She wanted me to come close and kiss me. She took my hands and as she peered into my eyes, she told me how very beautiful I was!! Over and over how beautiful I was!! That began a beautiful friendship!! Who wouldn’t want a friend who told you you were beautiful???!!

Sitting with her was another Godly woman who came every day to take care of her….and she loved Jesus so much!! Over the next several months I would drop by as often as I could and the three of us would sit and visit and share about our God. We looked at pictures of children and grandchildren and great grandchildren. We wept and prayed together over the children and grandchildren who grieved these Godly women because they were far from God.

I will never forget the day when the call came that Mrs. Shelton did not wake up. I called her sitter and we cried together. She taught me how important it is to take the initiative and look outside the box for friends.

Friends don’t usually end up on our door steps all wrapped in a bow! Choose to proactively reach out to others. Come to church early and stay late to visit and get to know people at your church. It might not be easy, but get out of your comfort zone and see how God blesses you and uses you to bless someone!!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


School has started and I imagine that homework is slowing being introduced into the daily lives of those of you who have school-aged children. When my boys were in grade school, it seemed that every night was spent drilling math facts or doing book reports. My sons, even Ricky and I, often bemoaned the mounds of homework. However, as parents, we stressed that homework was a way educators helped you understand the lessons.

Well, I personally have been doing some God homework. It seems God is trying to teach me a lesson or two. To say this summer has been trying is an understatement. It seems a new trial appears daily while I am still trying to understand the last trial which is not resolved. I even found myself just wanting to give up and throw in the towel. This homework God has assigned has left me weary, teary eyed, and sometimes even angry.

You have to understand that learning a lesson has always been difficult for me. Take math for example. One of my earliest memories is of second grade and trying to understand how 2 + 2=4. Then ninth grade comes along and we are expected to grasps the concept of A + B + C=D. Seriously! I was still working on the 2 + 2 issue. Next came Geometry and well, we will not even go into the frustration that course brought me. I was so bad in math that when I went to college I started out in beginner Algebra for no credit. After hours of homework and paying for tutors, I finally understood enough of math to pass the needed courses. Let me just say that when I learned I never had to take another math course again I shouted for joy.

While I am working through God assigned homework, I am learning that no amount of peanut M & Ms will solve the problem. I must be willing to let Him be the teacher and to show me, very slowly, how things will work out for the best. My only lesson book is The Word. There are days when the only prayers I can mutter are scriptures. On some days I feel I have passed homework, but on other days I know I have failed miserably.

I hate homework! Always have and always will. However, God has assigned this homework for me to draw closer to Him and to understand that His plan is much greater than what I can imagine.

So girlfriends, how are you doing on your God homework?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Looking For Some Fun?

This is a big week for Tennessee ministers wives. Our state convention thinks that their ministers wives are important so they are providing a retreat (September 9-10) at their Baptist camp at Carson Springs. As one of the retreat planning team members, I can tell you that if you do not laugh, fellowship, let your hair down, or go home refreshed then it will be your own fault.

The retreat theme is Friendship and Chocolate-The Rich Things in Life. (You should know me by now that chocolate is a daily part of my life). The ladies that have worked on this retreat are all chocoholics, and although we have only met a couple of times, we have developed a friendship. We have laughed, worked, brainstormed, and yes, ate chocolate getting ready for this event.

Girlfriends, I promise that you will be richly blessed at the retreat. First, you get to stay in beautiful east Tennessee. Nature just cries out the glory of God there. Second, you get to fellowship with other ladies who walk in your shoes. No one understands a minister’s wife better than other ministers wives. Third, you DO NOT have to wear a dress, panty hose are a no-no and you CAN have fun. (Makeup and doing your hair are optional as well). Fourth, God has provided this retreat to refresh, renew, and for relaxation. You do not have to prove yourself to anyone and you get to have some alone time with God and girlfriends.

I hope you are able to attend the retreat. To registered, check out the Tennessee Baptist Convention website at or contact Lana Rose, Ministers Wives Ministries for TBC, at 1-800-558-2090, ext. 2008.

See you there!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Tthe Discipline of Endurance

Ministry definitely requires endurance. There are times when it seems all we are doing is enduring. Yet, I do not believe the Lord wanted our service to Him to be about tolerating and making it through. I know He wants to use everything that comes into our lives to prepare us of His Kingdom in eternity.

Hebrews 12:1-2 “Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne.”

Witnesses – We are being watched! Not news to a minister’s wife is it? There are those who are watching that love us and are praying and those who are watching that are not on our side and criticizing. In spite of this, we should be encouraged to endure, for there are those who are watching that are waiting to share eternity with us.

Lay Aside – Sometimes the reason enduring is so difficult is because we are weighed down with the things of this world. Lust, greed, selfishness, laziness, gossip, unforgiveness; the list goes on and can be identified as SIN. Sin is very heavy to carry which is why Paul says, “lay aside.”

Keep Eyes on Jesus - This is definitely the key! Endurance will be there when we need it if our focus is on Jesus. He is our strength and our joy!

– We will not give up if we are looking to Jesus. Instead of trying to get out of our circumstances we need to ask to be “perfected” in our faith. Rejoice in the race because eventually you will be with the Father.

Discipline is not easy and in Hebrews it says that it is painful, but if we endure we are promised that we will yield the fruit of peace and righteousness! I want that, how about you?