Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Peace

Tonight is the big night, the last night of 2011 and the dawn of 2012. Facebook is full of New Year's wishes and promises that the next year will be even better than the last.

No doubt you have given at least a thought or two about the new year, what you want to do differently, what you want to be better about, an old habit that you desire to abandon. Maybe you even have some great God-centered resolutions for the new year, to read your Bible through, to begin a new study, to be more missions minded.

The truth is, we have no control over anything in the new year. We don't know what 2012 holds for us. We can't dictate what will happen and we really can't even predict how we will respond to whatever 2012 holds. We never focus on the negative of what could happen, we just assume it is all good.

Even those things we think we can control- our attitudes and actions, are subject to a power beyond ourselves. John 15:5 is very clear, apart of Christ we can do nothing, no thing, nothing.

Personally, I have great peace that in the new year that God will supply all my needs in His riches through Christ. I have great peace in the truth that He will equip me to do whatever He may ask me to do in 2012. I have great peace that God is God, sovereign in all and over all. I have great peace as I submit my plans to His.

He is already in 2012. He has control over whatever He already knows will happen. He is prepared to help us handle whatever He has ordained for us in 2012.

We can trust our good God. We can face the new year in His perfect peace.

Friday, December 30, 2011

End Of Year Peace

The morning news shows are all wrapping up the week with year-end reviews of trends and news stories that define 2011. People use this time of year to reflect on the happenings and the lessons of the past 12 months. There is more than just a nostalgia about this time of remembering. The introspection can be educational and therapeutic. After all, didn't someone smart and famous say that if we do not learn from the past then we are destined to repeat it?

I have been so busy this fall and into the holiday season I had not had much time for this kind of thinking. Then someone close to me pointed out that my year had been really hard. I hadn't thought of it that way. I guess the puzzled look across my face gave my thoughts away and she began to recount some of the events of the last year.

Even now I could list the trials that God ordained for my life in 2011, but my motivation would not be to lament over the year's difficulties, but rather to praise my Savior for bringing me through each one. I want to look back and see Him glorified, not me as some martyr who survived.

The truth is that I do not have to look far to find someone who has been brought through so much worse. Actually, I am blessed to see many of my trials finished, while there are others still bearing harder, heavier burdens.

My year-end peace is not in the completion of a "hard" year or the resolution to some hard times. My peace is in the One who orchestrated each step of the journey I can label 2011. My peace is in the fact that this year, this life isn't at all about me.

Yes, I will spend some time looking back this weekend, but it won't be about my year -what I did or didn't do. I want to spend the time reflecting about what God has done this year. I want to rest in the peace that He has been intimately involved in my life and the truth that He isn't finished with me yet.

Please feel free to post a reflection on how God has shown Himself to you in 2011.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Post Christmas Peace

Oh Wow!

I wish you could see my house right now. Talk about transparency! It is 11:00 at night and we have just returned from our final Christmas celebration with my Ohio family. The carnage is everywhere. There is not a room untouched by the wreckage that was our celebrating, packing and returning.

The living room has piles of clean laundry waiting to be put away. The hall is piled with opened gifts awaiting a new home. There is still a pile of empty action figure wrappings in the den beside an obviously played with dollhouse. The dishes in the dishwasher are clean, but there remains a pile to take their place once the clean ones have vacated the machine.

I checked. I have 48 unread, unanswered emails. There are work issues that wouldn't go away over the holiday. I did buy some things for better organization in the new year, but there is a big difference between having them bought and having put them to use. And I am two days behind in my Bible reading plan.

The girls fell asleep in the car and easily made the transition to pajamas and bed. Wally is resting his weary, interstate blurred eyes. The house is a wreck, but wonderfully quiet. Despite the turmoil and upheaval all around me. There is peace.

This peace is more than my babies sleeping or the lack of noise. It is obviously not from a completed to-do list and an orderly, well-put-together house. Yes, there are all kinds of church political issues and sticky situations, so it isn't about the perfect ministry position. Those things would all be nice, but this peace is not found in any of those wonderful things.

I am at peace with my Creator. The God of the Universe and I are on good terms. His Son has made it so.

The important things are in order. There is peace.

Now, I am going to bed! Night!

Friday, December 23, 2011


What inspires you? Exhilarates you? Motivates you? Invigorates you? A fun shopping spree? Eating yummy food? Hanging out with friends? A long nap? A good book? A funny movie? A good workout?

Who inspires, exhilarates, motivates, invigorates you? A good friend? Your sister? Husband? Children? Famous movie star or celebrity? Godly mentor? Biblical teacher or speaker?

Where do you go to for inspiration?

I am working at Pier 1 Imports and so many people come into the store saying “I am looking for some inspiration” or “I need to be inspired”. I know what they meant…for sure they were not looking for spiritual inspiration….they were looking for ideas for decorating their Christmas tree or setting their tables or their Christmas gift-giving. However, every time I hear a customer say they want “inspiration” I could not help pondering the thought of people everywhere craving inspiration.

What we all need is not just inspiration but Godly inspiration. Unfortunately, I often find that instead of looking to be inspired by God and His Word….I look everywhere else for that inspiration.

AND…..since we are on the topic of inspiring…..Who do you inspire? Who do I inspire? Do we realize and/or remember that there are people all over the place looking and needing to be inspired? Oh, how I want to be one who inspires! One who inspires others for godliness.

Lord, I long to be inspired by You and for You. May Your Word be our inspiration and may we use Your Word to inspire others. You are Emanuel, God with us!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Monkey Bread

If you could see me now!! I am propped up in the bed….under covers with pillows behind me. Notebook, pen, recipe cards, books, magazines, coupons and lists all around me. What to make this week? What to eat? Cook? Decisions, decisions!!

There is one decision I for sure do NOT have to make—we are having Monkey Bread (see recipe below) Christmas morning!! It is a tradition! We always have Monkey Bread for Christmas!! Even when we were in a third world country last Christmas we figured out a way to have Monkey Bread even without a normal oven and dishes and ingredients!!

I wonder….if our family had Monkey Bread more often…..say every week or month…..would we love it as much? Would we grow tired of it? Not anticipate it? Not be excited about it? If it became a daily or weekly or monthly fare would we become ho-hum about it?

This got me thinking….thank God that we can eat of the Bread of Life daily, hourly and never grow tired of it! Or do we? We can sit at His banquet table and feast and never grow weary of it. Or can we?

Thank God that His mercies are new every day!! Every day!! We will never get tired of new things about Him!! Or do we? Perhaps that is why the persecuted church is thriving? They would LOVE to be able to “eat” whenever they wanted to….where the American Church takes it for granted?

Let’s take a quick evaluation and see if we are guilty of becoming “used” to the menu, or think we are “full” enough or just tired of it and seek His forgiveness! Then EAT!! Feast on His Word!

Here’s the recipe for Monkey Bread!
4 cans biscuits, quartered—regular kind, not flaky, etc.
2 sticks butter, melted
2 tsp cinnamon
1 ½ cup brown sugar
Mixture of cinnamon and sugar--to taste--maybe a tsp of cinnamon 1 or 1/2 cup sugar

Grease Bundt pan (or spray with Pam). Preheat oven to 325. Cut can of biscuits into quarters. Shake in zip lock bag with cinnamon sugar mixture to coat. Continue with other cans of biscuits. Put biscuits into Bundt pan. Mix butter, cinnamon and brown sugar. Pour over biscuits. Bake 35 to 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for a few minutes. Turn over on to dish and serve warm! Yummy!

Saturday, December 17, 2011


Well, I am still doing some packing in preparation for moving.  Yesterday was just an awful day.  My husband and I decided to walk through each room and make sure we had "depersonalized" it.  Then, we started trying to decide what items we would need to take with us for the next few weeks.  I admit up front I was not a happy person and did a little crying.  Everytime I walked by the kitchen I grabbed a handful of chocolate.  Seriously, this is Christmas and my house should be decorated.  I should be preparing for friends and family.  Instead, I am preparing to move.

Christmas is my favorite time of the year.  I love decorating and choosing gifts for people.  I love the parties and having family and friends into our home.  However, this year our house depersonalized and honestly, a little depressing. 

However, one precious thing happened.  My husband portrayed Joseph last week at our church's Parent Night Out.  I decided to stop "decluttering" and packing and go with him.  Seeing the children laughing and their excitement helped my spirits.  Before we left, the children made a presentation to us-a handcrafted Christmas tree of their handprints on posterboard. 

Girlfriends, this Christmas tree proudly sits in the corner of our house.  It reminds me that Christmas is not about the parties and gifts.  It is about the birth of our Savior and Lord who personally thought of us on that first Christmas Day.

Merry Christmas to all of you!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

As I mentioned the other day in my post, God is moving us to a new church back in Arkansas.  We just returned last night from setting up his new office and checking out our temporary housing.  Two things I already know:  my husband has too many books and even though I know the Little Rock area, I will get lost trying to find the house where we will be living for a while.  I think I am just going to check with my doctor to see if they have a chocolate IV available.

Speaking of chocolate . . . I had so much fun last week.  Lana, at the TBC, provided a chocolate brunch for me.  It was so special to see some of you.  As I said I do not like goodbyes but this time allowed me to have some closure to my time in Tennessee.  Girlfriends, you will never know how much you mean to me.

Anyway, I want to keep on the subject of moving.  The packing of material possessions and getting paperwork in order can be so stressful.  Personally, I have so much to do to get ready for our house to be staged and up on the market.  Thankfully, it is just the two of us now, but at one time we also had to deal with our two sons and their emotional needs during a move.

If you do have children, you know that change can be difficult.  You need to keep a schedule of some kind.  You have to prepare their little hearts for the big move.  I am no expert on the subject children or moving but I can share some tips I learned over the years.

*Depending on your children's ages, talk to them.  Let them be part of the discussion and allow them to pray with you about the move. 
*Let them know it is okay to be sad.  My boys saw me cry with each move and sometimes we all cried together.
*Show excitement about the "new" journey ahead.  If possible make a trip ahead of time to just look at new area.  Find things that will be fun to explore like parks, zoos, etc.  For instance, one small town we lived in had a local wildlife zoo, a nature walk, and huge children's playground. 
*If possible when visiting the church, let your children meet kids their age.  When our boys were in second and fifth grades, we were able to go to one weekend to a church we were in the early stage of talking with.  A wonderful man in the church set up a pizza party for my boys and invited boys from the church to come too.  When we were leaving town, my oldest son said, "Even if we do not move here, I have new friends in my life."  (We did move to this church and on the first day, my boys were off running around with their new friends).
*If your children are small, read them Berestein Bears Moving Day
*If you are having to sell a house and live in temporary housing, allow your children to select some of their favorite items to pack in a special box to carry with them.  Even parents may want to do the same.  As I said we will be living in furnished temporary housing and really do not need to take anything with us.  However, I am packing a few of a favorite books, photos, pictures, and blanket because I need those items to help me feel more settled.
*If you are going straight to a new house or parsonage, allow your children to walk through the home and show them where their rooms will be.  Create excitement by allowing your child to suggest where they would like to put their bed and toys.

As I said these suggestion are what worked for us over the years.  My sons are now married adults and function fairly normal (considering who their mom is).  If you have children and have moved from one church to another, maybe you have some suggestions that might help some of our cyber sisters.  Please take time to share them by leaving a comment.

Monday, December 12, 2011

That Four Letter Word

I'm homeless at the moment.  Well, maybe I am not literally homeless.  Okay, I am in transition.  In other words, God has called my husband and I to a new ministry back in Arkansas.  Yep girlfriends, I am experiencing that four letter word that every minister's wife has a love/hate relationship with-MOVE.

When that four letter word was first uttered early in the fall, my first reaction was to tell God and my husband "absolutely not!" We were slowing getting our house refloored, my parents were not well, and I just did not want to move again.  However, over the next few months, God worked on my heart and started revealing that this move was part of His plan for us. 

Girlfriends, moving is a tough experience.  No amount of chocolate in the world can soothe the heartbreak of leaving people who become your "family".  When you see congregations through births, baptisms, a natural disaster, and deaths, you become connected.  However, I do not want to end this post on a down note.  As much as I hate that four letter word, a move can be an exciting time as well.

First, a move is God's way of stretching your faith.  When the pulpit committee makes first contact, you really have to listen to what God is saying.  You have to put aside your own selfishness and seek His desires.  In other words, a move draws you closer to the Father.

Second, a move opens doors to a new part of your ministry.  Think back on some of your own moves.  Can you connect the dots of how a move opened a doorway to a new path that you might have missed if you did not follow God's will?  For example, if I had not moved to Nashville, I would never have met Lana Rose at the state convention office, been able to work on some of the ministry teams through the state convention, or be honored to be a Prime Rib blogger.  I would have never met many of you across the state who are chocoholics like me!  Oh, my life would be so empty if God had not moved us to Tennesee.

Third (and don't laugh), a move allows you to clear out the junk.  It is the one time when we go through closets, drawers, boxes, shelves, the garage and dejunk.  Goodwill, Salvation Army, and the garbage collector become our best friends during the moving process. 

So you see, girlfriends, a move does not always have to be a dreaded four lettered word.  We do not have to like it but we should welcome it.  Besides, Christians never really should say goodbye because this is just our temporary home. 


Friday, December 9, 2011

There's Something About That Name

One of the joys of expecting a newborn baby is the fun we have in choosing just the right name to call our bundle of love. It’s always interesting to see what the “Top Ten” boy and girl names are for any given year. Popular baby names come and go; one year a certain name may be well liked by moms and dads, and the next year it may at the bottom of the list.

I remember when my husband and I were trying to decide on names for our girls. We named our oldest daughter Ashley; I had always loved that name, which incidentally means “meadow”. Our youngest daughter we named Arianna, which means “very holy one”. At that time, I never really researched what their names meant, we just knew what we wanted to call our little princesses.

While it was insignificant to us what our children’s names meant, the many names of Jesus have great significance. During this season of advent, we often reflect on some of the names of our Savior, and what glorious names they are. In Isaiah 7:14, He is referred to as "Immanuel", which means “God is with us”. Wow! God did come to be with us, born as a tiny baby to Mary and Joseph. And God is still with us in the presence of the Holy Spirit who lives inside of our hearts.

I love the roll call of awesome names in Isaiah 9:6. He is a “Wonderful Counselor” who counsels and comforts our souls. He is a “Mighty God” who is pictured as being strong, victorious, and sovereign over all. He is the “Everlasting Father” who is and was and is to come, the eternal One who has no end or beginning. He is the “Prince of Peace” who is the only One who gives us perfect peace when we draw near to Him. It brings me great joy to know that He embodies all these attributes and so many more!

Bill and Gloria Gaither wrote a song a few years ago titled “There’s Something About That Name”; it is a beautiful song expressing the reverence, yet loveliness of the name of Jesus. Ladies, as we think about the birth of Christ during this time of year, take some time to reflect on some of His names in the Scriptures, and just worship Him for all that He is.

YES, . . .There Is Something About That Name!

“She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Special Night

Have you ever imagined what it must have been like, the night that our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ was born? In that small, smelly little stable in Bethlehem some 2000 years ago, the world’s greatest birth took place. The King of all Creation made His entrance into this dark, sin-cursed world, fulfilling the prophecy of Micah who said, “But you Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” (Micah 5:2)

To a humble clan of shepherds watching over their sheep that night, it may have started out like any ordinary night. Little did they know that they were about to receive some news that would literally change the world. An angel from heaven appeared to them in the still, dark sky and the glory of God surrounded them as the angel proclaimed, “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11)

Yes, on that glorious night we received our precious Savior who had come to save us, to redeem us, to bring us back to God! What a night that must have been, and perhaps before the shepherds could fully process what was being said to them , the angel was joined by a great company of angels who praised and gave glory to the Lord saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests.” (Luke 2:13-14)

There have been many wonderful hymns written about that night, such as “Silent Night”, “O Holy Night”, “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”, and “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear”. All of these classic songs pay tribute to a night that was like no other. Have you ever stopped to think about the night that Jesus was born? Have you pondered what it must have been like, and how you would have felt if you were one of the shepherds receiving the glorious news?

During this Christmas season, maybe you might like to read the account of Jesus’ birth in Luke Chapter 2, and then close your eyes and imagine that you were there. As you meditate on this passage, may the Holy Spirit give you a new found joy and appreciation for that most sacred night when God manifested His love to us by sending His only begotten Son.

"And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent His Son to be the Savior of the world."
1 John 4:14

Monday, December 5, 2011

Lord, What Am I Suppose To Do?

This is for all you dear precious ladies who are new to the role of minister’s/pastor’s wife.........

I remember those early days fourteen years ago when my husband was first called to be a minister. I remember feeling excited for him; now that I was a minister’s wife I wondered, “Lord, what am I suppose to do?” It was a new world for both of us, but the one thing I did know at that time was that no matter what, I would be a support for my husband as he did the work of the Lord.

As I mentioned in my introductory blog a few weeks ago, before my husband was called to be a senior pastor, he served as a minister in another church for seven years. He had various duties that he performed, and he became a leader in several capacities. I remember assisting with baptisms and helping to prepare for communion, but I had no “formal” duties. Yet during those years I began to spend more time in God’s Word, participating in Bible studies, and striving to grow as a Christian.

When my husband was called to be a senior pastor at a different church, I was excited then too, but still feeling to an even greater degree, “Lord, what am I suppose to do?” Now that I was a pastor’s wife, I wondered if I should get involved in as many church activities as possible and do all I could to be a “good pastor’s wife”. That would have been a formula for becoming burned out very quickly. Thankfully, a seasoned pastor gave me some advice a few months after I began my journey in this role. He told me to allow the Holy Spirit to lead and guide me regarding which ministries to participate in, because no one can do it all. That wise counsel has been a blessing to me ever since. Over these last seven years I have prayed and ask the Lord to lead me where He wants me to serve. It’s amazing to see that as we are lead by Him, He shows us that some things we do for a season, and some things may be life-long commitments.

If you are a student of the Word, you probably already know that the Scriptures are silent when it comes to spelling out the duties of a minister’s/pastor’s wife. So my dear friends who are new to the ministry, allow the Holy Spirit to be your counselor and let him show you where you are to serve Him and His people. In my blog in November titled “Can We Talk About Gifts”, I expounded on spiritual gifts; serve based on how He has gifted you. Then you will not have to wonder. . ."Lord, what am I suppose to do?” The Holy Spirit will show you where to go to work.

“For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13

Friday, December 2, 2011

Pouring Rain

What a week! When it rains it pours……literally!!! Sunday morning I got up to take a shower and there was no hot water and four people in the house had to take showers to go to church. We all took lukewarm showers and survived.

Our church is 32 miles from church so usually on Sundays we stay at church and do not come home. That was the case this Sunday also. Later that night as we were driving home, we were dreading having to deal with no hot water.

We got home and found our bathroom wet. Apparently there was a leak in the roof and water was dripping from the ceiling. I might also mention that a couple of weeks ago, we were having drain problems, so my husband went under the floor to fix it and discovered that our spare bathroom had had a leak and had major problems. To make a long story short, all of the flooring and the sheet rock had to be torn out and everything totally re-done. The spare bathroom is about half-way finished since Roger and our neighbor are working on it at night, after work. That being said, this meant that BOTH bathrooms had issues.

On top of all of that, my husband has a history of kidney stones that usually do not pass on their own without the aide of some type of surgery. His kidney has been hurting since Sunday.

The ceiling probably decided to leak because it is FLOODING in East Tennessee. The rain began Sunday and by Monday, the schools were let out early because the creeks had risen. (Also, let it be noted that once again I took a not-so-fun COLD SHOWER.)

We have Christmas in a few weeks and the wedding a couple of weeks after that and it is CRAZY at the Britton House. All I could do was just sit down and laugh. Welcome to our world! I know that God has a sense of humor and sometimes I think he loves putting us on the end of the yo-yo and watching us go up and down just to see how we handle it all. Smile.

Praise the Lord….my husband called Whirlpool and they were able to talk him through it and I had hot water by the time I got home on Monday. I left Wednesday morning to go to Nashville for a Technology Conference and will return today (Friday) hopefully the spare bathroom will be finished when I return.

Like I said at the beginning of this blog...when it rains, it pours...LITERALLY.

And you thought you had problems!!! Smile. Seriously, all of these things are JUST THAT…THINGS and FIXABLE THINGS at that. We still have so many blessings and praises. It could have been a lot worse. It’s easy to praise God on the Mountain Top….but what we need to strive to do is praise God in the Valley.

Thursday, December 1, 2011