Friday, January 31, 2014

Thursday, January 30, 2014

I Miss You!!!

 
Well, all you bi-vocational ladies are either on your way to Pigeon Forge, or drove up a day early.  It really seems strange not to be going.....and I already miss you. 
 
I will miss the "time away".  I will miss the fellowship.  I will miss the laughs.  I will miss the great preaching.  I will miss the wonderful ladies times.  I will miss giving Jeanne her "special gift".
 
But....this time, grandkids get first priority.  I will remain here and spend time with "Little Man" while we anxiously awake the birth of his "Baby Sister."
 
I will be thinking of you.........and praying for you.  Please pray for "Mom and Baby Girl." 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Make the 2015 Retreat a Priority

Remember.....I do not like change.  Normally, I would be anxiously waiting for school to be out today, so Roger and I could slip off early and spend an extra night at the Music Road Hotel..........for the Bi-Vocational Ministers & Wives Retreat.

Sixteen years ago, our deacons sent Roger and I to Fall Creek Falls to the Bi-Vocational Ministers Conference..............and we I have not missed one since.  That first year I did not want to go.  I even tried to weasel out of it, but Roger said since the deacons were sending us, we had to go.  Don't get me wrong.  I was ready for a break...........but NOT with a bunch of preachers and their wives.  In fact, I was so burned out that I wasn't even sure I wanted to be with Christians........(I wanted to be alone.)  However, we went........and the rest is history.

We got there and EVERYONE there was in the same boat as us.  We shared, we laughed, we prayed, we studied.............and we developed friendships that have survived over the years.

We make the conference, which has now been changed to a Retreat a priority each year.  Our church, our kids and our families all know this comes FIRST.

I would like to encourage any of you that have never attended the Bi-Vocational Conference to make plans to attend next year.  We would love to see you.

Sadly, this year will be our first year to miss in 16 years.  We did not register to attend because Kinley Grace was suppose to be here around that time.  They have now re-scheduled her due date, but, me being a teacher, I need to save my days and also, we are helping mom some with her 14 month old son....and it is still too close to baby date.  It just did not work out this year.  Normally, NOTHING would cause us to not attend.............and I am a little sad to not be going this year.  I will miss the uplifting of the conference.....will miss the fellowship.....and will miss the time away..................

BUT, Ladies, as we all know.......Grandbabies TRUMPS everything!!!!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Anticipation

It’s Snowing….It’s Snowing!!!

We are at school today….all waiting and anticipating getting out early. The bus drivers told the students that they were on stand-by in case the weather got bad. As you can imagine, very little work is getting done. The students AND the teachers are all anticipating…………

We are anxious. We are excited. We keep looking out. The teachers keep checking their computers or their phones (if they happen to have the smart phones instead of the dinosaur phones like I currently own.) We are anticipating…….

Wouldn’t it be awesome if we were as anxious; if we were as excited and if we were as eager for the coming of our Lord?

We need to be in awe…..anticipating the second coming of Christ...


P.S. We JUST got the CALL. School is dismissing at 12:00. Smile

Monday, January 27, 2014

The Schedule CHANGED

As I write this blog, I am sitting here thinking........just last Thursday, I thought I might get to share pictures of our granddaughter this week, but I guess that is not in the plan.  AND....if she is not ready, I am perfectly content to wait and give her time.  Mom has been having lots of contractions and the doctor wanted her to go to the hospital Thursday so they could check her.  She was 37 1/2 weeks.  Strong contractions....but false labor.  Friday, they even changed moved her due date, so now it looks like it could be closer to Valentines Day.

Initially, I was disappointed because we have been thinking for months that IF she did not make an early appearance, they would take her no later than February 3rd.  Her scheduled C-section is now February 13th, which is ten days longer than we expected.  I know....with most things, ten days is no biggie, but when you have waited and waited..................it seems like an eternity, especially since Mom is very big and miserable.  BUT....like I said earlier, if she is not ready, we want her to stay safe inside Mom.

Please pray for Mom and baby Kinley Grace.  Pray for a healthy next few weeks and a healthy delivery and healthy baby girl. 

You know, we women many times get caught up with schedules.  I know I do.  I like to PLAN out and MAP out EVERYTHING I do not like surprises.  That is why this change of plans threw me off at first.  I also might mention that I do not like CHANGE.

However, being in the ministry, I have had to LEARN to go with the flow because it seems as if NOTHING goes as scheduled.  Someone always gets sick......dies......or really, really needs us and THE SCHEDULE has to be changed. 

We went to Alabama to visit with out families during Thanksgiving.  Thank goodness we made it through the Thanksgiving Meal on Thursday and we also made it through the Thanksgiving Meal on Friday.  (We have to see both moms...so two days.)  However, while we were sitting around enjoying the fellowship Friday, Roger got THE CALL.  It was from Hospice telling him that one of our church members had been taken to the hospital by ambulance and the family NEEDED us because he probably only had a few hours before death.  We shortened our visit and headed back to Tennessee.

I say all of this to say.....in a minister's home, schedules have to be made so we know which way we are going, BUT, many times they are broken.  We must e flexible and go with the flow.  Until you learn to be flexible, change will tear you apart.  This is an area I really have to pray about.  Do you get "caught up with a schedule?"

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Accepting My Calling

Whether you ever felt called to be a minister's wife or not, whether you or not you can find contentment in the unending cycle of maintaining a home, or if you have ever struggled with feeling alone and disconnected - where you are is not an accident or an oversight.

Sweet Sister, God has placed you where He has for His purposes and He does not make mistakes.

I have found in my walk with Him, those times that I feel discouraged, discontent and/or dejected is when I have taken my focus off of Him.

As long as I seek Jesus, the Spirit is free to move and remake me into His image. When I place Jesus above all else in my life -even when I'm not "feeling" it, then I open myself up to the plans He has for me. If I keep my eyes on Him, like Peter, I find myself doing His will filled with the full life He died to give me.

Then I can accept my calling.

How do I keep my eyes on Him?

Prayer, Keeping a Prayer Journal, Bible Study, Bible Reading, Devotionals, Listening to Christian Music, Singing Worship Music, Meeting with Christian Sisters (who speak truth into my life), Mission Projects, Using my Spiritual Gifts, Teaching Sunday School, Engaging my Husband in Theological Discussions, Looking for Opportunities to Speak Truth into my Daughters, Praying Biblical Promises, Attending Conferences, etc...

I don't do all of these things well, nor do I do them all of the time. Please don't read my list and think highly of me in the least. I began and wrote the list to give an idea of some practical things ANYONE can do.

I fully believe and have experienced for myself the truth of this passage:

"You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:13 (ESV)

Notice that this promise comes right after the verse that promises us that God has good plans for us. 

Embrace your calling right NOW by fixing your eyes on Jesus. 

Seek Him with all your heart. 

What are some things that you do to keep your eyes and heart fixed on Him?

Friday, January 24, 2014

"My" Calling?

There have been times I haven't been quite so content in my roles of wife, mother and minister's wife. I haven't been so accepting of my "calling."

It wasn't so glamorous as I had imagined. It wasn't as exciting as I had hoped. It didn't seem to compare with having my own identity in a career or a part from being Wally's wife or Riley's mom, or the church's expected first volunteer. Wasn't there something, anything more?

I am not saying I won't struggle with these issues again, but I was convicted of my own self-centered  attitude and sin. I had taken my focus off Christ and began to look within my self.

Jesus was clear.

"If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it." Mark 8:34-35 (ESV emphasis mine)

"My" calling is all about giving up my rights to myself. 

As I've come to accept this truth about "my" calling, I have actually saved my life. Instead of just running through my day and checking things off a list -even spiritual things, I am living "my" calling. I am experiencing God's peace and contentment as I realize through experience that what He has for me, including laundry and church committee meetings, really is far better than what I have for myself. 

Ladies, how do you deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Him?

Thursday, January 23, 2014

"For to This You Have Been Called"

What has God called YOU to?

"For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps." 1 Peter 2:21 (ESV, emphasis mine)

In the ministry, we make a big deal of being "called." God "called" our husbands into ministry. He "called" our family to serve and lead such-n-such church. He "called" our church into a specific mission or building project. But what is it that He has called YOU to?

Whether or not you've ever felt "called" to anything, the above verse is pretty clear. We have been "called" to "this." In context Peter is extolling us to do what we do as Jesus would. 

Sometimes I am overwhelmed with the idea that dishes and laundry are only cleaned to be dirtied again. I am annoyed that my four year old likes to drag out ALL of her toys and frustrated that the church we serve is still so resistant to needed changes. 

Yet, I find contentment in knowing that "this" is what God has "called" me to. 

How did He do this? 
      -He suffered for me to be able to do the laundry, prepare meals and wash dishes. 
Why did He do this?
     -Because He wanted to leave me an example, so I can love my children the way He loves me.
What does He want me to accomplish in this "calling"?
     -To follow in His steps. By fulfilling my "calling" and being the new creation He placed in me, I will follow His steps. I will glorify God as I patiently and prayerfully watch Him purify His bride, transforming her into His image. 

So ladies, no matter what, where or who God has "called" you to, He has put you where you are by suffering "for you, leaving you an example so that you might follow in his steps."

What is the "this" that you have been called to? You may have never felt called to be a minister's wife, but yet, here you are. And here is a New Testament passage to point to that proves God has a plan for your life. 

So I ask again: "What has God called you to?"

Friday, January 17, 2014

11 Things Learned From Pastors' Wives

Here is a link to Thom S Rainer's blog where he shares 11 things he learned from pastors' wives.  I would be super interested in your comments and if you have experienced the same 11 things...or would you add to the list! 

http://thomrainer.com/2014/01/15/11-things-i-learned-from-pastors-wives/

Blessings to you!  Make it a great day!

Ministry Assistants

Thirty nine years married.  Thirty nine years in the ministry.  Five churches served.  Ministry assistants made it possible!!   I am so very grateful for the fabulous ladies, and young man, who over the years have supported my husband, loved our family, and served the Lord behind the scenes in ways no one ever knew about.

Ministry Assistants—sometimes known as church secretaries, or work wife (I really, really dislike that title for many reasons), or, perhaps in your situation—YOU! 

Some churches have paid ministry assistants—and we have been so super blessed to have always served in churches that did….but not all do.  Perhaps you serve a church where your husband takes care of all of the office work, or maybe even you do it!!  Yikes!  I am in awe of you right now!!

Lana Rose at the TBC serves ministry wives in so many beautiful, encouraging ways and I am grateful for her love for us.  She also does the same thing for ministry assistants!!  Let me encourage you to encourage the ministry assistants you know (especially if you are a ministry assistant!!) to go to this link http://www.tnbaptist.org/CalendarEvent.asp?eventid=2402&cat=admin&subcat=events06 and sign up for the conference just for ministry assistants!!  You will be glad you did!!

Father, I lift up the many people who serve You faithfully as ministry assistants.  Pour out Your Power and love and peace upon them now.  May they know how loved they are!  Enable them to continue to serve You faithfully....encourage them today!  In Jesus' name....amen!!

Difference Between Religious and Godly

I cannot get the words of 2 Timothy 3 out of my mind!  The fact that women can be religious but reject the power to be Godly because we can be (1) burdened with the guilt of sin, (2) controlled by many desires and (3) always learning but never understanding the truth plays over and over in my mind.

I am not sure which one causes me the most concern…1, 2 or 3.  And, to be honest, I find myself struggling with all three.  At first, I confess I thought surely Paul wasn’t talking about me….that he was talking about ‘other’ women.  After all, I am not ‘religious’….I am Godly.  Aren't I? 

What is the difference between being religious and being Godly?  How would you answer that question?  What does it look like?  I really, really, REALLY would LOVE your feedback on that!!

Another reason this is heavy on my mind/heart is because this week in our ladies bible study someone asked the question, ”What is the purpose of life…..my life?”  We are studying Ecclesiastes where over and over we read how meaningless life is...so, in light of the fact that our life is just a vapor, someone asked it!  Great question!!  Deep question!  Yes!!  Could not wait to talk about it!! 
 
Most of the time I will allow the group to answer questions that come up before I do….so I waited in anticipation to hear their Godly, Biblical responses!!  After all….this was the cream of the crop!!  The ladies who come to Bible studies….faithfully.  Year after year.  They studied the Word.  I have taught them the Word for years now.  so…come on ladies….”what is the purpose of your life?”

Silence.  Nothing.  Notta.   What?  Really?  No one knows?  The words of Paul rang in my heart…."they will always be learning but not understand the truth."  Guess what their assignment for next week is???  FIND OUT!!  Find out what the Word says the purpose of life is.  Not what you think it is, but what God says it is.

How would you answer that question?  How would the women in your bible studies answer that question?  Why were my ladies silent?  Did they know but just didn’t know what to say?  Oh Father, I ask that You would raise up women who are Godly….not religious!  Who are free from sin—not burdened down with it.  Women who are controlled by the Holy Spirit not by our many desires and that women would always be learning and understanding Truth!!  In Jesus’ name…amen!!!

(Please don't forget to share with me the difference between being religious and being Godly....I'd really appreciate your insight.)

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Religious Women or Godly Women?


A passage of scripture that has been on my heart for the past few years (which, by the way, is an indictment specifically against women) is found in 2 Timothy 3.  Verse five talks about people “who will act as if they are religious but they will reject the power that could make them Godly!!” 
 
Verse six says that there are vulnerable, weak willed, silly women!!!  Women!  It does not say men….it says women!!  My heart has been burdened and heavy over the fact that many of the women in our churches—or maybe even us—are vulnerable or weak willed or silly and rejecting the power to be Godly and settling for being religious!!!

The passage tells us why these women are weak and silly and vulnerable and why they reject the power to be Godly….it is because they are:

1.      “Burdened with the guilt of sin

2.      Controlled by many desires

3.      Forever following new teachings but never understand the Truth!!”

Yikes!  Take a look at the women in your church.  What do you see?  Do you see women who are religious but not Godly?  Not powerful?  Who are burdened with the guilt of sin….not appropriating the forgiveness and freedom Jesus offers? 

Do you see women who are controlled by the desire to look younger or cuter or thinner?  Or women who are controlled by the desire to be liked and popular and accepted?  Or women who are swayed by what the world thinks more than what God thinks? 

Do the women in your church go to all of the women’s Bible studies but never come to understand the truth?  Do they fill in all of the blanks and say the right things but reject Truth?  Do they continue thinking the same way?  Doing the same things?  Are they fearful to walk with the Lord?  Do they understand the Truth about what it means to be a Godly woman?  Wife?  Mom?

Let’s come together as pastor’s wives and pray specifically for God to move mightily in and through our women.  That we would have churches full of Godly women…not simply religious women.
 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Different Denomination/Same Struggle


Yesterday I ran into one of our former staff’s grown daughter who also happened to be one of my former youth girls.  I had a wonderful time catching up with her, seeing her precious children, and slowly realizing that I am getting older because I still view all my former youth as still teenagers.  What was more amazing for me is to see this beautiful young woman serving the Lord alongside her pastor husband. 

 

As we talked she openly shared how truly blessed she and her husband are to be serving in their small church.  However, they face some struggles.  It is an older congregation with very few young couples or children.  Being an older congregation, they are pretty set in their ways.  When a suggestion on “updating” something arises, the statement is “we’ve never done it that way before.”  (Boy, I believe we have all heard that statement.)

 

As this precious minister’s wife shared, she made another statement that stuck out to me.  She stated, “We don’t have any friends close by and I am so lonely because I am a people person.”  I just wanted to wrap my precious girl in my arms and hug her.  It literally broke my heart. 

 

Girlfriends, here is the point I want to make this morning and I want you to hear me on this important point.  This young lady was raised Southern Baptist but her husband is of another Baptist denomination.  Sisters, it does not matter what denomination, Christ following church you are part of.  If you are a minister’s wife, you still face the same struggles as any other minister’s wife. 

 

Look around your community and see the different Christ following denominations.  Do you know their ministers’ wives?  I have been fortunate to share with fellow sisters in ministry in several denominations-Assemblies of God, Methodist, Baptist, etc.  Our doctrine may be a little different from each other but we still serve the same Lord and face the same issues.

 

Since our association has a ministers’ wives fellowship each month, I have invited this young lady to join us next week as we kick off the year with a chili supper fellowship.  No, she may not be Southern Baptist but she is one of God’s servants (plus she eats  chocolate I might add).

 

Sisters, take time to meet the other ministers’ wives in your area.  Maybe you can be an encouragement to one another.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Prepackaged


“You were born prepacked.  God looked at your entire life, determined your assignment, and gave you the tools to do the job.”

                --“Grace for the Moment” Devotion Vol. II by Max Lucado

 Many of my friends and family know that this chick does not cook.  Well, I do manage to throw a few dinners together that pass inspection of those individuals who must eat them.  Cooking from scratch like my mom or grandmothers did drives me crazy.  Just what is “a pinch of this and a dash of that?”  Personally, I like prepackage foods.  The flour, sugar, baking soda, etc are all included in the package.    All I have to do is just open the box or bag, mix with water or milk and cook. 

While I was having my quiet time the other day, I ran across the quote above by Max Lucado.  I almost laughed out loud until I let the thought sink in.  I never thought about being “prepacked” for ministry.

Hmm, what is in my package that makes me uniquely designed for the role of a minister’s wife?  I came up with four items.

 

A.       Salvation

I cannot do anything for Christ without His saving grace. 

 

B.       Compassion

I ooze with compassion.  This is one of my spiritual gifts.  If you cry, I cry.  If you are happy, so do I.  If a missionary tells their story at church, I cry and am ready to go on the mission field.  My family even laughs at me because I cry at dog food commercials.

 

C.       Mercy

I tend to give mercy (another spiritual give that goes hand and hand with compassion) to people who really do not deserve it.  Let’s face it.  In ministry there are many people who are just plain mean.  Human nature would lash back at these people.  However, Jesus “turned the other cheek.”  I may not like the other person but I do try to find one thing to like about them and work from there to show mercy.

 

D.      Service

I believe this is my strongest ingredient for making me geared toward ministry.  I am not one who likes to be in front of people working.  I like the behind the scenes, dirty work.  For example, when we are cleaning up after a church fellowship, look for me at the kitchen sink washing dishes.  Since I am not a great cook, I can at least wash the dishes.  (Many times a person will come up to me and tell me that I should not be washing dishes because I am the pastor’s wife.  My response – I should be washing the dishes because I am the pastor’s wife.

Jesus taught that we should follow His example in ministering to the hurting, the poor, etc.  How can we expect our congregations to do the work of the Lord if we are not willing to get our hands dirty (or wet).  When you tell a person with the gift of service that they should not do such and such, you are killing their God given gift.

 

If I take these four ingredients and mix them with God’s leading, I am quite prepared for His work in ministry.

 

So ladies, what is in your package to make you prepared for God’s work in ministry?

Monday, January 6, 2014

Note to Self


With the New Year here, I have resolved that I will not make any New Year resolutions.  Why do you ask?  Well, I always fail to end the year with having completed the resolutions.  That’s right girlfriends.  I am a failure-at dieting, exercise, doing random acts of kindness, being the best friend anyone has ever had, being an organized person (that will never happen), etc.  Oh I have great intentions but alas I rarely succeed.  Since I am always making notes on Post It Notes (thank goodness for these little jewels), I am making “Notes to Self” this year. 

 NOTE TO SELF: 

Christmas cookies and chocolate are yummy.  Boot Camp at 6 a.m. is bad for your health if you eat all the Christmas cookies and chocolate.

The statement above is a remark I made to myself regarding my overindulging during the month of December.  I tried hard to avoid putting too much on my plate or nibbling while I cooked.  However, for a couple of days I just completely failed and now I am paying for it.

NOTE TO SELF:
Ministry is tough yet we must keep going forward.

Ministry is just hard.  You trudge along trying to follow where God is leading you and your church only to have someone stand in the way with their agenda.  Jesus faced  people who tried to stop His purpose on earth.  Even today there are still people attempting to stop the spread of Christianity.  Oh but sisters, the battle in the past, present,  and in the future is in vain.  Stay focused because God wins!

 NOTE TO SELF:
Let God know how thankful you are daily.

 Everyday God gives you is a gift to serve him.  Take time to express in a prayer, a journal, or just voice it while you take a walk how thankful you are for allowing you to exist at this place and time in history.  God does have a purpose for us to accomplish each day He gives us.

 These are just a few of my “Notes to Self.”  They are not resolutions at which I will fail.  Instead, these are just reminders for me personally.  So girlfriends, what are your “Notes to Self?”

 

 

 

 

 

Friday, January 3, 2014

A New Beginning

Happy New Beginning!

I know that the usual greeting is “Happy New Year” (as I posted a few days ago), but we all have a brand new year to start over, to make things different, to fix things that may have been broken in 2013: broken promises, broken relationships, broken finances, and anything else that may have been broken along the way.

A new year is great time to make a determination to let go of things of the past, and reach forward to things of the future, as Paul said in Philippians 3:13, “…..forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead.”

As I pondered what to write in this blog, I thought about three areas where we can all make a change and be pleasing to the Lord and be a blessing to others in 2014. I call them the “Be mores” and they are:

(1)Be more obedient to what God has called us to do, (2) Be more forgiving of those who have hurt and misused us, and (3) Be more loving to those who are in our world, whether in our families, our neighborhoods, our churches, and our communities at large.

Be more obedient: Many of us (I know that I am guilty) have a lot more Bible knowledge in our heads than we practically try to live out and apply to our lives. The Lord tells us many times in His Word that we are to obey Him, and our obedience is an indication of our love for Him. May we all strive to live out what we already know to do, remembering these verses for encouragement, "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” John 14:15 and “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.” I John 5:3

Be more forgiving: This is an area that, over the years, I have gotten better in, but I still have to be careful that resentment and bitterness are not allowed to get a foothold in my heart. When we reflect on the Cross, we come face to face with our own sin and how much it cost our precious Savior in order that we might be forgiven. So who are we not to forgive when others treat us badly? Sometimes it is not easy, but we must remember that we hinder our own intimate fellowship with God when we don’t forgive. Also, when we welcome the sin of unforgiveness , “The Lord will not hear” (Psalm 66:18) when we pray to Him. When it comes to forgiving, this verse is a wonderful reminder of what Jesus has done and why we must forgive, “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:32)

Be more loving: If we strive to do all things right, yet do not have love in our hearts, it means nothing as Paul taught in 1 Corinthians 13. The summation of all that we do involves loving the Lord with all our being, and loving others as ourselves, as our Savior said (Matthew 22:34-40). Loving this way is a choice, and by the power of the Holy Spirit we can do it! After all, love is part of that nine-fold fruit we are to bear in Galatians 5:22-23. Some people are not easy to love, and those we found difficult to love in 2013, may we vow to see them as Christ sees them, because truthfully all of us are difficult to love at times! What an encouraging verse this is: “Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.” I Peter 4:8

May our new beginning in 2014 draw us closer to the Lord by obeying, forgiving, and loving!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!




Dear sisters, I pray that all of you will have a Blessed New Year as you seek the Lord and live out all the wonderful plans He has for your life.
We serve a great and awesome God who has new opportunities for us and He shows us new mercies each and every day!
Live for Christ in 2014!!