Monday, June 29, 2015

Journey Off My Map

Last week was Vacation Bible School at my church.  Being a kid at heart, I love bible school and enjoy working with the children.  I adore seeing the smiles on children’s faces and watching their excitement.

Well, I signed up to work and said put me where I am needed.  I have served as VBS director, taught the bible lessons, co-directed the musical dramas, wrangled kids in recreation, served up yummy, fun snacks, and even pretended to be an artist in crafts.  I felt I could do whatever our children’s minister needed me to do.  Imagine the shocked look on my face when our children’s minister said, “Great!  We need a mission teacher in the preschool area.”  WHAT?!  Eek!  Cue up the Jaws movie theme and pass the chocolate!
Let me tell you this up front.  Preschoolers are precious and adorable.  I mean I have a sweet two year old grandson whom I love dearly.  However, lock me in a room full of wiggly, constant noise makers and I panic!

Now I have a college degree and have been a pastor’s wife for 37 years.  You would think an educated, seasoned pastor’s wife could leap in and handle toddlers.  Nope, I am inadequate.  Seriously, how do you capture their attention and teach a lesson while dragging two tots out of the kitchen play area and keep four more from running in circles around the room.  Then you turn back around after gathering the escapees and discover the rest of the toddlers have taken flight. This preschool challenge was definitely a journey off my map of knowledge and strength.

Vacation Bible School began at 9 a.m. and by 9:15 a.m., I was completely overwhelmed.  The room was total chaos.  I left Monday weary and almost in tears.  However, I was determined not to be completely defeated.  I spent the first afternoon of VBS gathering coloring sheets, stickers and rewards.  Tuesday dawned and for the first time in my life VBS was not where I wanted to be.  My joy was gone.  That is when God and I had a conversation.  My gift is working with teenagers, but if preschool is where God needed me to be, I would trudge through this uncharted adventure.

Surprise!  Although the week was not without little tikes fighting over toys and crying toddlers (and sometime this girl), I survived.  My greatest joy was seeing my two year old grandson, Gideon, smiling from ear to ear and talking about Jesus. 

Sometimes the uncharted journey off our map is exactly what God desires.  Our paths are sometimes not where God wants us to go and that is when He pulls us kicking and screaming in the direction He wants us to go.  It is my hope that this crazy, scared pastor’s wife said something to these babies that will resonate with them when they are older.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Prayers For Jamaica Answered!

Thank you!

Prayers for Jamaica were answered!

My sisters, I would like to thank each of you as you prayed for our team during our recent mission trip to Jamaica. This was such a wonderful experience, as I saw the Lord work wonders not only among the team members, but also in the hearts of the people that we were blessed to minister to.

I truly believe that the Lord was honored and glorified in all that we were able to accomplish, and the specific requests that I had you praying to the Lord, well, He answered every one!

We had safe travel in the skies, and as we traveled all over the island during our time there. Also, the Lord prepared hearts as we went into schools and walked the streets of the Linstead community sharing the Gospel. I could tell that the Lord truly blessed our two church members that went, so much so that they want to return and bring others. And I was certainly proud of my daughter; I was amazed at her entire demeanor during the trip, and I witnessed a courage and boldness in her that I had never seen before….to God be the Glory for it all!!

Rejoice with me over this: after our time ministering in Linstead was over, there were about 300 souls who made decisions to follow Christ!! Our God is truly amazing!! It was not about what we did, but what HE did through us.

I am very excited about the potential of another team of youth and adults going next year. Many of the teens shared testimonies about how the mission experience impacted their lives and they definitely want to come back again. In fact, after a visit to an elementary school, where a small group of us spoke to the children during their morning devotion time---yes, morning devotions are a permanent fixture on the daily schedule in Jamaican schools!--- my own daughter shared Scripture and a testimony, and later told me that she did not want to leave! I clearly saw that the Lord had given her a heart for missions!

There are so many other things about the trip that I could share, but I will simply say again…. Thank you all for your prayers!!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Can't Stay Away

Fun, fun, and more fun!

It’s that time of year again when many of you and your families will be hitting the road, flying through the skies, or sailing away to that much anticipated vacation that you have been planning for and longing to experience. It may be a trip that has become an annual tradition, a new place to explore, a reunion to see family and friends, or maybe the new thing, a “staycation”, where you see visit the familiar sights in your own hometown. Wherever the case may be, the time is near, and you can hardly wait.

It’s nice to get away from the routine and do something different, to “recharge” our batteries so we can plow ahead in the journey of life. And just so you won’t feel guilty about getting away from it all, our Savior encouraged rest and relaxation, when he told His disciples in Mark 6:31, “Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while.”

There are some routines we absolutely need a break from, but as I think about getting away from it all, there are two things that come to mind that we should NEVER cease to do. Perhaps you can guess what they are……..I can’t take a break from these precious practices because they have become a lifeline to me. I am speaking of being intentional about being in the presence of the Lord through Prayer and Reading His Word.

Talking to the Lord daily in prayer is so needed. There is nothing like talking to our Father, as we praise and honor Him in our hearts, ask Him to forgive us of the MANY times that we just don’t get it right, thank Him for His MANY blessings, and present our requests and petitions before Him. Yes, prayer is talking to Him, but it is also so much more, we should incline our hearts to listen as He speaks to us; it is two-way communication, not a monologue. I love what the psalmist says, “Be to me a rock of habitation to which I may continually come…..“ Psalm 71:3a. It’s comforting to know that we can always come to the Lord in prayer.

Every time we open the Bible, we can be certain that it is the voice of God speaking to us. Although He used several writers over a period of hundreds of years to give us the Scriptures, He speaks through every book, chapter, and verse. The psalmist says in Psalm 119:18, “Open up my eyes, that I may behold wonderful things from Your law.” May this plea be the attitude of our hearts and minds, as we fervently pursue God’s Law, and have it minister to us each and every day.

Yes, get away as much as you can, and as often as you can to regroup and energize from your daily routine of working, cleaning, cooking, organizing, running errands, care giving, and the list goes on. Yet never neglect to be faithful to cultivate a daily routine of Prayer and the Word, so that your heart cries out, “I can’t stay away!”

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Enough is Enough

Whewwww!!!!  I am TIRED!!!

This has been another tiring, but fun week.  Our grand-babies spent the night with us Tuesday night and then Wednesday we got up and drove to meet their mommy to go to their first theater movie.  I wound up and spent most of the day with them and then hurried home to get ready to go to church to teach the preschoolers.

Thursday, I literally grocery shopped all day, purchasing food to cook for "Fishers of Men" fishing tournament men for Friday night.  Then, Thursday night, we went over to the grand-babies house, where Roger and I took them out to eat so mommy and daddy could pack for their vacation.  Afterwards, Roger and the parents wound up going out night fishing and I had some quality time with the babies.

Friday, I spend all day cooking............two pot roasts, broccoli casserole, corn salad, slaw, banana pudding and sweet tea.  (Those fishermen eat a lot.  smile.)

Today, Saturday, I have worked all day, getting activities and crafts for Father's Day for the preschool class and worked on Day 1 for the 2 & 3 year old in V.B.S.

It is 9:40 on Saturday night and I am worn out.  I think I am going to take a shower and call it an early night..............tomorrow is Father's Day..........AND......Monday night, we begin our Journey off the Map....Vacation Bible School. conclusion is Enough is Enough.....I am NOT super woman.  Time to get some rest.

May you have a blessed week.  God bless you and remember us in your prayers as we are ministering to the children.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Our Blessings

Our Blessings...............I love what our daughter always says, "My hands are full, but my heart is fuller.)

Life is never dull with a 16 month old and a 30 month old.!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Ask for HELP....and you'll get it!

Ask for HELP....and you'll get it.......... in HIS TIME!!!

We have been at our church for 18+ years.  What a blessing it is to see some of the kids that Roger baptized in leadership positions today.  God is Good.

For many years, Roger and I had to do or at least had to lead EVERYTHING.  It is such a blessing to have help.  Many years ago, God sent us help, but our numbers were still small, so we ALL had to do everything together.  Finally, God has sent us LOTS OF YOUNG help so we can spread the responsibilities out.

Once a year, Roger's secular job, working with computers has a "Mock Disaster Recovery- (DR)" two weeks.  It is a very stressful time for him; many times working 24 hours.  And, he's always had the church also.

This year, our youth guy preached for him the first week and Roger was able to sit back and enjoy the service.  The second week, an older preacher in our congregation preached for him while Roger was once again able to sit back and enjoy.  Some of the men of the church stepped up and did some of the visiting, etc. for him.  What a Blessing!

In the middle of the DR one of our elderly church members had back surgery....and a few days later they had to do a second back surgery.  He was not doing very well last Wednesday and was in the hospital in Oakridge.

Roger had a decision to make............because of his job, he had a small window that he could go to church.............or he could ask for help and he could go to the hospital and have prayer with Bill instead.

No many years ago, there would not be an option.  We would HAVE to be at church Wednesday night.  However, Roger called a young man and asked him to take care of the prayer service and he agreed to.  I called a girl and she took care of my Wednesday night class,  (I had it together, so I dropped it off at the church for her.)

Thank you God for sending us help!!!  We appreciate all of our members....the young and the old.  We could not do it without them.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Just for YOU, Lana Rose!!!


Okay, Ladies................what do you think of the NEW LANA ROSE?

P.S.  I LOVED seeing the Hawaii pictures, although I was just a bit envious!!!

Toddler Prayers

If you really want to be blessed, go into your preschool department and listen to those babies pray.  They truly bless my heart.

Aubrie (4 years old) - "Dear God, I just don't know where to begin.  You have blessed me soo much.  I want to thank you for everything and that you have and will do for me."  (She's been listening to dad pray.  smile.)

Aubrie (another time) - "And God, would you please make Carmen leave me alone so I can hurry up and finish this prayer?"

Stephen (4 years old) - "Dear God, please be with my mommy and my baby brother who is fixing to be born.  And, God, in case I forgot to tell you, my baby brother's name is Logan."

Henley (4 years old) - "Thank you for making me who I am.  And thank you for choosing my mommy and daddy for me because I love them very much."

Charly (3 years old) - "God bless mommy and daddy and me.  And God bless Mimi and papa and ChaCha and Sissy and Bubba. And God bless Aubrie and Henley and Carmen and Brielle and Elan and Stephen and Julian and Annie and Mrs. Kaffy and Mrs. Belinda and everyone.  Amen."

Collin (2 years old) - "Thank you for the food."  Amen.

They are such a blessing.  This is just a small sample of their precious prayers.  I look forward to seeing how they are used by God has they grow older. 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The VBS Crunch

Our V.B.S. is next week, so this week is my V.B.S. Crunch Week......where I am trying to pull it all together and finalize things.  Need I say.....My house is a wreck.....projects EVERYWHERE.  Oh, two weeks we can get back to normal.

I am looking forward to V.B.S. this year.  I always think I enjoy it more than the kids.  This year, I have two wonderful helps.........I mean, real, honest to goodness helpers.  smile. One of them is also a teacher, so she is teaching and planning two days for me and the other one is cutting out and getting together several of the crafts for us.  We are teaching the two and three year old.

I know....many people think that is the babysitting group.  NOT.  They are VERY teachable.  Sometimes I think they are the most teachable of church because they are so eager.  That age group has always been my passion because I fill like they get neglected so many times.

Three years ago, FINALLY, I had someone that volunteered to direct V.B.S.  And FINALLY, I was able to teach these precious toddlers.  That year, my daughter-in-law was able to help me and just this weekend she posted a picture from that V.B.S.  It was bitter sweet.......because all of those babies have moved up to an older group.

This year, in our small country church, we have 9 two and three year old of our own and it will be interesting to see how many visitors we have.

I also teach the preschoolers (2 years old to before Kindergarten) on Wednesday nights and with this being Father's Day weekend also, all I can say is thank goodness for Pinterest!!!

I hope you have a very blessed week!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Answered Prayers!!!

Thanks for the prayers!!!  God is GOOD.....ALL THE TIME!!!!  This is my son's mother-in-law, Debbie, with her precious granddaughter, Ellie.  I have been asking for prayers for her since December.

I am proud to say that she completed six chemo treatments (18 weeks worth) and then June 2nd, she had two surgeries in the same day.  First the did a hysterectomy  and while she was still asleep, another doctor came in and did a double mastectomy and also removed the tumor.  The doctor thought everything was okay, but they sent it off to make sure.

Last Wednesday, she went back to the doctor and got the news she has been waiting for since December..........SHE IS CANCER FREE!!!!

It is all because of prayer.  The type of cancer she had is very aggressive and normally when they discover it, it has already spread.  Hers had not.  Also, many time it is not responsive to chemo...........hers was.  God is good.

Thank you for the prayers and please continue to remember this sweet lady in your prayers.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

My VBS Lessons Learned

Lucas and Victoria are the youngest high school students who were selected to lead the middle school VBS at our church. The rest of the team are either incoming high school seniors or recent high school grads.

This week, I have had the honor and the privilege of being the supervising "adult" in a couple of the small groups these two have had the responsibility to lead.

Victoria has done an awesome job leading out in the Bible study sessions and Lucas has really "rocked" leading games with the middle school boys. I've watched Victoria engage and interest a co-ed group of seventh graders in the days' lessons. I've played Elbow Tag, Freeze Tag, Capture the Flag, Dodge Ball and more under Lucas's direction.

They've both taken direction. They've both stepped up and assumed quite a bit of responsibility. They've both grown as leaders of their peers and as followers of Christ. They've both taught me a lot.

First, I'm not as young as I used to be! While running from "it," I pulled some muscle in my leg today.

Second, I want to be as teachable as Lucas and Victoria. They were the youngest, but have learned everything we asked them to. They rose to the occasion overcoming insecurities and fears. An outsider would never guess that they were our youngest leaders. No one will look down on them because they are young.

Third, I need to be intentional in mentoring the students at church. Yes, I teach a youth Sunday School class, but I need to be looking for ways to turn them loose and let them lead. How can we ask the next generation to be leaders if we never give them the opportunity? They are more than capable and they want the chance. I need to do more than just prep a lesson each week. I'm not sure what exactly that looks like, but I know our God will show me.

Yes, the VBS lessons have come primarily out of the book of Daniel, but God has been faithful to teach me so much more than the curriculum writers ever had in mind. Isn't it neat how He does that?

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

VBS Season

As hunters anxiously await the start of their favorite hunting season, many of us ministers' wives anticipate the beginning of VBS Season.

We plan and prep. We recruit and review. We decorate and design. We usually just work with one church, our church.

Being the wife of an assistant associational missionary guy, I have an unique perspective of VBS. My man travels the region encouraging churches with various sized Vacation Bible Schools. From the large ones with hundreds of kids to the small ones who rejoice over an attendance of 12, we get to see what God does all summer long. It's very cool.

Personally, I do invest in our home church's week of VBS. Over the years I've volunteered my time in various ways to help make the thing work. This year I am supporting our high school students as they prep and teach our middle school students. I must admit that even though we've just completed day 3 and have two more days ahead, this has been very cool too.

I have had the summers when VBS is overwhelming and I am burnt out and spent before the first note is even sung on that theme song that seems to never go away or end. I have experienced the feelings of dread and desperation and "I'll never do THIS again!" too.

Ladies, I don't know where your heart is this VBS Season. I don't know if you are living in anticipation of the crazy, wild week or maybe you just glad that it is FINALLY over. Maybe, you can identify with me on those years I just wished (and prayed!) that is would somehow miraculously go away.

Regardless, let me encourage you to ask God to open your eyes and your heart to what HE is doing this VBS Season. I know you will be blessed!

If you've already been blessed this VBS Season, or remember a particular blessing of a past season, please post about it in the comments. Let's praise God together for what He has done or is doing this VBS Season.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

1201 Posts

I can hardly believe it!

I logged on to write my first blog of the week and noticed that we have reached a milestone.

This posting is the 1201st post!

Ladies, that is 1200 posts from the hearts of 8 different ladies over 7 years.

We have shared with you joys and struggles. We have aimed to be transparent and real. We have written about our lives, our families, and our churches. We have tried to be an encouragement and a support for all of us who wear the title of minister's wife.

I feel confident speaking for all of us when I say that we have prayed over our words and for our readers. We have been humbled by our readers and I know I have been blessed to see my name listed among these other sweet women under the title of "Contributors."

This blog was the dream of Lana Rose. I hope that many of you, especially here in Tennessee, have had the privilege of meeting this sweet servant of the Lord. If this blog has been beneficial to you at all, it is because God used Lana to bring us together, get us organized and set us off. Rarely does she add her words of wisdom, but it isn't because they aren't worth listening to. She is content to quietly serve behind the scenes.

Please join me in thanking Ms. Lana Rose.

I know that this is the best way to mark this milestone of reaching over 1200 posts.