Sunday, October 30, 2011

Pleased To Meet You!

Hello, everyone! My name is Tonya, and I am very pleased to be the new writer for The TN Prime Rib blog. Lana Rose invited me to become a part of the blogging team, and I am very excited about what the Lord will speak through me as I write to each of you. Blogging is new to me, but I feel that this is a calling from the Lord, since I love to write and to encourage others.

Since I am the “new kid on the block”, let me tell you a few things about myself. I live in Chattanooga, TN (born and raised there) with my husband of 18 years, Gerald O’Guinn. We have two daughters, Ashley is 15 and Arianna is 10. Also I have a stepdaughter, Deonna, who is 25 and lives in Flint Michigan, along with our little grandson, Dahnaven, who is 4.

The Lord led me and my husband to bring me out of the workplace in 1998 to be a stay-at-home mom to our daughter Ashley, who was 2 years old at the time. Other than becoming a Christian, and of course marrying my husband, that was one of the best decisions that I have ever made. Prior to that I worked for 13 years as a financial analyst for the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). I can honestly say that I have never had a moment’s regret about that decision; of course, it has meant some sacrifices, but it’s all been worth it. I cannot put a price on being a worker at home and taking care of the needs of my family.

Also, I have been a pastor’s wife for 7 years. My husband was a minister at a church for 7 years before he was called to our current church as the pastor……so I guess you can say I have been a ministry wife for 14 years. I have learned a lot over these years, and I will be sharing some insights of my journey in future blogs.

I really love the Lord, and I love His Word, so in the weeks and months ahead I will share with you some great verses from the Bible (they all are great!) that have touched my heart and hopefully will be an encouragement to you.

Again, I praise God who gave me this opportunity to write to you……… friends, I am pleased to meet you!

1 Timothy 1:12 “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service.” (NIV)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Lots of Blessings

- Opportunities to minister to others.
- Closer, deeper relationship with my husband.
- More intimate relationship with my friends who've experienced similar loss.
- Increased faith in God's provision and presence in my life.
- More appreciation for the precious gifts of both my healthy daughters.
- New and fresh insights into the truth of God's word.

I could go on and on about the many blessings that God has opened my eyes to through this experience.

Many have said that one day I will know "why". That may or may not be true on either side of heaven. I can say "why not me?" as easy as I can say "why me?".

Regardless, our God is sovereign. He is the giver and taker of life. He has given me Jesus and promised to never leave me or forsake me. That is enough.

If there were no lessons for me to learn, if my faith was already Paul-like in its consistency, if I would never be able to minister to another through this experience - His decision to take this baby was His decision. That is all that it needs to be.

Yet, He does teach me, use me and draw me closer to Himself. There I was in all my self-righteousness and pride, feeling like I had it altogether, like I had Him all figured out. I prayed for His way. I prayed for this child to be His. I prayed that His will be done.

It was. He did. He is. He will.

He heard my prayers. He raised my eyes back to Him to look full in His wonderful face. He gave me perspective as the things of this earth grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.

He is so good. He is so good to me.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

More Unexpected Blessings

I am not sure why, although I could make some pretty good theories, but there are more ladies out there who have struggled through miscarriages in silence than I ever would have imagined.

The nurse practitioner at my doctor's office told me that 30% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage. I thought she was lying. That is nearly one third. Sure, a few of my girlfriends had experienced this loss, but 30%!?

As I have tried to be open and transparent about what I am learning/growing in Christ through this, I have had literally countless friends, acquaintances and virtual strangers confide that they too have experienced the pain that comes with miscarriage. The 30% number does not seem so crazy now.

It's these ladies whose words of encouragement have meant so much. They are indeed the ones that know what to and what not to say, when to and when not to say whatever should or should not be said.

An unknown number of our Christian sisters, church members and lost friends and family members have suffered in silence or are even now in pain. My reason for hashing all this out in such a public way is to make my self and my story available for God to use as He sees fit. Wally and I desire "our" story to be used to minister to these that are hurting and for God to be glorified in the process.

We so want others to be able to see that we do really believe all that we have said we believe - that God's promises of His goodness and mercy are just as real in the hard times as they are in the easy ones. So, we are refusing to put on our "church masks" and just "say" the right things, the things that everyone expects us to say. We need to be real, especially now, especially in our loss, in our sadness, in our hurt.

I am now a member of a new sorority, a new sisterhood. Just as I prayed that God would use me in my college sorority chapter, I am praying that God will use me in this one too. I have received many unexpected blessings already in this sisterhood. I am now so much closer to so many ladies- they have been a blessing to me. I pray that God will allow me that same privilege too.

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Different Blessing

In my mind I have started this blog a thousand times and a thousand different ways.

I was so looking forward to sharing my good news with you this week. I was excited about sharing the blessing that God had given us. By now, you've notice my use of past tense verbs, and are assuming that my news is no longer happy and the blessing is, well, different.

Yesterday I would have been nine weeks pregnant. Wally and I were excited to announce that Vinson Baby #3 was on its way. Then, last Monday began one of the longest weeks of my life. At nearly midnight, the OBGYN on call at Gateway Hospital here in Clarksville confirmed what we had spent the previous 24 hours fearing. The baby was gone.

Friends and family have stepped up and ministered to us. The church and the association, (where Wally works) are still patient and understanding. God has shown me numerous verses and has gently reminded me of His presence reassuring me that He is indeed in control.

Thankfully my body is healing, but my heart is still aching.

I walked through Wal-Mart Saturday afternoon and wondered how many other people were hurting on the inside as I was. I wondered how many others were walking around feeling as badly or even worse than me but were able to hide it even better than I could.

I have hope. I have Christ. I know the truth of God's word that makes my loss bearable. But how many are out there that don't have Him for their hope and don't know the truth of His word?

For awhile, I think I will have more patience with that complete stranger who seems so inconsiderate. Only God knows what is going on in her heart or in his life.

This is just one of the different, unexpected blessings I am experiencing this week.

Friday, October 21, 2011

A New Place in Life's Journey

My brother and I are at the age where I will just call us “Tweens.”  No, it is not those couple of years between childhood and teen years, but the years between having families of our own and assisting our aging parents.  Since November of last year our parent’s health has deteriorated and our mom is really struggling.  We are forced to juggle careers, our own family, and meet the needs of our parents.

Some of you may be walking through this time as well or you have already gained your experience.  I can tell you that no one can prepare you for this period in your life.  I struggle daily with being eight hours from my parents.  I wonder if they are eating correctly, hearing the doctor’s correctly, etc.  There are many sleepless nights and even some tears.  I mean, these are the same parents who wiped my snotty nose and made sure I grew into a productive adult who loves Jesus.   Now, my brother and I are the ones making regular trips to our parent’s home and assisting them with simple task like shopping, cooking, cleaning, and caring for themselves.  At this point my parents are refusing to downsize to a smaller place or assisted living.  At least they have agreed to have someone come in once a month to clean.  Honestly, I am just so confused.

However, recently a dear friend who has been like a brother to me since we were three years old shared his heart with me.  He knows I blog for ministers wives and also meet many of you through the various retreats and conferences.  He sent me an email telling me how after much prayer for me in the ministry I have and with the issues with my parents that he feels I have a perfect platform to reach out to others, to share my experience, and to offer hope.  This friend knows what it is like to go through this “tween” stage in life for he lost his only brother, mother, and father just this year.  He and his wife have been giving my brother and me some advice that they learned and it is helping us deal with our particular situation.  What an encouragement my friend has been as my family just begins the next life journey.

And this stage in life is exactly a new journey.  I am learning that God will walk with my family as we handle our parents.  God loves my parents and so do we.  God wants the best for them and so do we.  Girlfriends, I am going to be brutally honest and say that I do not like to see my parents or anyone suffer.  What this journey is teaching me right now is not to take our family (parents) for granted. 

In the meantime, I will continue to make the eight hour drive about once a month to attempt to meet some of their needs.  I will have a supply of Peanut   M & Ms in the car with me.  But more importantly God will be walking with me through this stage of life.  One thing I ask is that you pray for my family through this time, and if you have “been there, done that,” please share encouragement and advice for me and other ministers wives who may be in the middle of this journey.  You never know who you might impact with your comment.

God bless you all,
Vickie Lee

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Duh Moment

"Well duh, Vickie.  Do you think God is trying to tell you something today."  Those were my words as I finished my quiet time today.  I use the Journey guide (Lifeway) and Jesus Calling by Sarah Young as tools for my quiet time. I was surprised how today's passage in both guides was from Luke 12:22-31.  Apparently, God needed to hammer the message in my brain and heart.

I do have a lot on my plate and going on in my life that I am "concerned" about these days.  Here is my list:
-my parent's health and decisions to be made
-upcoming wedding of my youngest son
-a job for my son; praise the Lord, his bride to be landed a good job
-home improvements that need to be done but lacking the funds
-friends who are without jobs
-spiritual revival for our church
-and many other decisions to be made

All of these "concerns" seem to be consuming my mind lately.  Oh yes, I pray about them and will leave them for a bit a God's feet.  However, later Satan slips in the doubt which multiples into worry.  In the end I pick up these concerns again from God and try to handle them myself.  This silly venture only leaves me eating chocolate by the handful, restless, tired, overwhelmed, and stressed.  I am totally useless to anyone and most importantly not trusting God to handle any of them. 

The Father has a plan for all my concerns (or in this case, worries).  He knows my needs and my future.  In the end I just need to rest secure in the fact that God already has everything answered in His will and that He has been working on it since the beginning of time.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


Having some problems posting. This is a test.

Chocolate Lover

It is funny. I have been one of the writers for this blog for several years and I have discovered one thing. When I meet ladies across the state of Tennessee who read our blog postings, I am known not by Vickie but as the chocolate lover.

I find this rather humorous because there is so much more depth to me. I love to have fun. Laughter makes me a much better minister's wife. As you know, I love spending time with my girlfriends and my family. The beach is where I stand in awe of God and can quietly sit for hours on end just listening to His voice in the roar of the waves. However, chocolate is one of my favorite things created by God.

It was interesting one day several months ago that while I was doodling ideas on the page that a chocolate thought spilled across the page. When I finished, I just laughed and said,"Wow, chocolate can be spiritual."

C-Christ Jesus
H-Holy One
O-of the
L-Living God
A-Almighty King
E-Everlasting Life

I love it when the Father takes something I love (chocolate) and creates a beautiful reminder of His love (Jesus) for us.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Fix It

So ladies…admit it. We like to “fix” things. And I don’t mean the kind of fixing that requires tools. I am talking about the kind of fixing that requires manipulation and planning and operating and managing and figuring. You know, when situations and circumstances start to look like they are not going to turn out the way we think they should turn out. We know we can “fix” it!! We are women! “Fixers”!!

Sarai and Abram (later named Abraham and Sarah) went to another country to find food since there was a famine in the land….and Abraham was fearful that the king would want Sarah because she was so beautiful. SO they decided to “fix” it by telling the king that Sarai was Abram’s sister instead of his wife. Now get this—they did this “fixing” two separate times!! Funny how we don’t seem to learn our “fixing” lessons the first time!!

Then….when it looked like God’s promise to Abraham that he would have a son from his own body was not going to happen with Sarah’s body—they decided to “fix” it by giving Hagar to Abraham to produce the son. Now, let me ask you—did that “fix” anything? NO!! It made a HUGE mess that still affects us today. Instead of Sarah and Abraham waiting on God to do what He promised to do His way, they tried to “fix” it.

You and I KNOW that God’s ways are always infinitely better than our ways. We KNOW that His timing is always perfect and we usually get in a rush. We KNOW that He is sovereign and He can be trusted. Why is it then, that what we KNOW to be true—we often do the opposite? Hard question to answer for sure!

Let’s commit to pray for each other—that for today. Or this week. Or this month. Or this year. We will NOT run out of the center of God’s will and try to “fix” things! Stop trying to “fix” things for our church. For our husbands. For our children!! What? Really? We can’t intervene and “fix” everything for our kids???? Seriously?

Remember our God is faithful. His plans will not be thwarted. Let’s step back and watch Him do His thing!!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Way of Plenty by Way of Testing

Have you (or you and your husband) ever made a decision to do what you honestly, sincerely, wholeheartedly felt/knew God was calling/asking/commanding you to do….like Abram and Sarai did when God told them to leave their home and families and friends and go to a place He would show them? (Genesis 12)

Have you ever doubted that decision later when things did not seem to be going very well? Nothing was turning out the way you thought they would/should!! Perhaps you encountered opposition, unrest, difficulty, health issues….honestly the list could go on and on. I had totally forgotten that when Abram and Sarai got to their “promised” land things did not work out too well for them either!!

First of all, the land was already occupied!! (Genesis 12:6) I think about pastors/ministers who go to a church where the previous pastor/minister still attends—for sure, that “land” is occupied!! Or maybe they are not still there physically but they for sure are still there in the minds and hearts of the people!! When Abram and Sarai arrived “in the land” there was no fanfare—no pounding. No huge welcome.

Secondly, not long after they got there, there was a “famine in the land”! (Genesis 12:10). What in the world? We take off in obedience and faith and end up in a place that is already occupied and then a famine?? Perhaps your “famine” is a spiritual famine—for you or your church. There is no growth. There is decay and death. Dryness. Church is not growing. You are not growing. People are mean. Famine.

Do we begin to doubt God now? What do we tell ourselves? This place is terrible! Do we question? Did God mess up? Did we hear him correctly? Did we make a wrong turn? If you ever encounter anything like this let me encourage you to not doubt what God originally told you to do. Do not doubt Him or your calling.

Often times the way of plenty is through the way of testing. Think “God thoughts” during the famines of your life!!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

My Utmost for His Highest

I am sure you recognize the title of this blog. Oswald Chambers is without a doubt one of my favorite saints to read. His book is one that I use along side of my Bible daily. He brings understanding to what God is teaching me and gives me no room for excuses.

I guess what I want to leave with each of you is that we MUST give our Utmost for His Highest! It is not a choice. If we are to do eternity work, kingdom work, it is going to take giving my all to Him and allowing our God to do whatever it takes to bring His purpose for each of us to fulfillment.

There are many commands, but Jesus clearly told us the most important. "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength. And the second is like it, Love your neighbor as yourself."

There it is sisters. This journey we are on is not about us. We have been specifically called by our God to fulfill His purposes. That means He will be removing what is not part of that purpose, He will be requiring obedience without questions, He will be asking for our time, our money, our family, our ALL.

Friends, it is worth it and it is difficult! I look forward to meeting each of you in eternity, but let's begin now preparing, sharing, serving with all our hearts, all our minds, all our strength! See you forever!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Think Like God Thinks

As wives of ministers we often feel set apart from those around us. We sometimes feel we have unrealistic expectations put upon us. What other people think about us can cause us great stress, unhappiness or joy.

As Christians, we are taught in scripture how God wants us to think. He gives us very specific instructions for His expectations for our lives. Most of the battles we fight are in our minds, therefore, we must begin to "Think Like God Thinks"

Philippians 4:9 "Finally brethren (or sisters), whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy, think on these things."

The things listed in the above passage are the very characteristics of our God. As we come to know Him better, spend more time with Him, listen and obey Him, we begin to think like Him. As we think like our God, what those around us think becomes less important and serving them becomes a joy.

Spend time with Him and listen to His thoughts. Allow His thoughts to become your thoughts and watch Him love those around you through you.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Time To Move On

Hi Ladies,

This is my last week to blog for you on this Minister's Wife blog. I have prayed about God's will for me and He has been rearranging my schedule. I am so glad He is in charge and not me!

As God changes His call in my life, I am going to miss sharing with each of you, yet eagerly look forward to those He is bringing into my life in new ways.

Let me remind you that God has the perfect plan for you and your family. It is never hidden or just out of reach, it is just a matter of obedience. Being in ministry often causes us to forget the importance of obedience because we are constantly responding to the most urgent, loudest complaint, biggest hurt or newest problem.

I want to encourage you to stop and listen to His call. It will always be perfect, if you will just obey. I know that it is not always easy, but it is definitely always best.

I pray God will give me wisdom to share with you in these last few blogs this week and we will continue to grow in Him together. Everyday, I love Him more, I pray this for you.