Thursday, April 28, 2016

The First Ministy Wife Criticized

It seems that people have been criticizing ministry wives for a long time.  How long?  How far back?  Waayyy back!

Who was the first ministry wife ever criticized?  Well…..I am not certain....but I was taken aback this week as I was reading in Numbers 12.  There we find Miriam and Aaron criticizing Moses... and the first reason given?  Because his wife was an Ethiopian…some translations will say Cushite.

Hummmm….why has it never hit me before?  Why have I not ever tuned in to the fact that a spiritual leader's wife was being criticized?  Perhaps it is because I read right past this part to the part where they continue to criticize Moses for his spirituality and gloss over the fact that people have been criticizing ministry wives for generations.

The interesting thing is the object of their criticism.  Where she was from!!!  No one has control over where they are from!!  Where they were born!!  Who their parents are!!

The other interesting thing is that we know from Exodus 3:16-22 that Moses married Zipporah, who was the daughter of a man from Midian—not Ethiopia.  So….what’s the deal? 
  • Has Zipporah died and Moses remarried?  If so, who cares where she is from??
  • Was Zipporah’s father originally from Ethiopia and when Moses met him he had moved to Midian?  If so, who cares?
  • Did Moses have multiple wives?  This seems unlikely.
  • Were they critical because of the color of her skin?  Really??  Do people care about the color of skin?  Sadly, yes.
  • Were the people making this up?  Sheesh!  Do people make up stuff?!!  Sadly, yes.

It seems to me a little thing….to be all upset and critical over where the wife of the spiritual leader is from.  I remember being concerned that people in our churches would not like the fact that I was not raised in a Godly, Christian home…I am very grateful that, as far as I know, it has not been an issue.

Sadly…this happens all of the time though.  People criticizing ministry wives for all sorts of reasons.  Some valid.  Some ridiculous.  Perhaps you have been brutally criticized by the people your husband leads.  Maybe not brutally….but criticized.  Truthfully though…any criticism can be brutal.

The other point I suppose I should make here is who was doing the criticizing.  The language used indicates that Miriam was the one leading the criticism.

Miriam.  Remember her? 

  • She was Moses’s big sister. 
  • She stood at a distance to see what would happen to her baby brother after he was placed in the river.  In a basket.
  • She approached Pharaoh’s princess and asked her if she could find someone to nurse the baby.
  • She led the women of Israel in worship with a tambourine and dancing and singing to the Lord after He hurled the enemy into the sea.  (Hummmm...I wonder if you or I would be criticized if we were dancing and singing to the Lord with a tambourine??!!)

According to these accounts in scripture….she trusted God.  She worshipped God.  She knew God.  She was Moses’ sister for crying out loud!!  And here we find her being critical. 

Yep!  Sometimes it is the people we are closest to, even related to, who we serve with, worship with, etc. who are critical and it hurts even worse.

I get much satisfaction in what God does….how He responds to her criticism.  Read it for yourself in Numbers 12.  She is covered with leprosy.  Covered.  She has to go outside of the camp…His judgment is public.  Everyone is aware.  Severe.

I am so on the side of Moses and his wife here and grateful the Lord vindicates them (and us) and how comforting it is to rest in knowing that He not only is aware of what people say and do against His spiritual leaders…He deals with them!

However….we must also not forget that we are sometimes guilty of doing the same thing.  Being critical.  Complaining about people.  People in leadership.  People in authority over us. 

Have you been criticized?  For what?  Are you being criticized now?  For what? Rest knowing God can still deal with those who criticize you.

Have you been critical?  For what?  Are you being critical now?  For what?  Give much grace today!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

4 Ways to not be a Copter Mom

Way back in November, 2013 I wrote a post called “Protect or Prepare our Kids” (if would be good if you would read it here to understand why this has been on my heart).  Ever since that day I have pondered more about how to do this well and what does it look like if I don’t do this well and what in the world is a copter mom?

Go to this link to watch a great video on what a copter mom is!

So….here are some thoughts on how to not be a Copter Mom

1.      LET THEM GO versus HOLD ON

Does it cause you to become anxious when they go to school, or to a friend’s homes, or on a mission trip?  Make you paranoid?  Dread?  Do you wonder how they will do without you?

Think about Moses’ mother!!  She trusted God enough to let him go and put him in a basket—in a river!!  Look at the plan God had for him!!  However, it required her to hold on to all things loosely!!

1 John 4:18 “Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear.  If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced His perfect love.  We love each other because He first loved us.”

Philippians 4:6-7 “don’t worry about anything, instead, pray about everything.  Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.  His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

Has safety become an idol?

We are raising them to leave.  It is a process as they move through various seasons of life!  From meeting every need as a baby to teaching/correcting moments as toddler through high school to guide/counselor as adult.

I learned that that is why we gradually let them go.  I could never imagine them leaving home as a first grader or in middle school...  But with each new season, they become more and more independent so that by the time they are seniors in high school…they have gradually ‘left the nest’ with work, friends, driving, trips, etc.

If you find yourself wanting to hold on versus let them go—it might mean you are fearful!

2.      LET THEM BE (who they are) versus PERFORMANCE (what they do)

Let them BE who God created them to be!  Way too many moms are living out their lives through their kids….what they did, didn’t do, wanted to do, wish they could do.

Sometimes our parenting behavior is motivated by our own egos.  We have to make sure they succeed at everything and are involved in everything....after all, it makes them (and us) look good!

You know how important it is for them to know you are proud of them for who they are not for what they do.  This will help them learn God’s love is not works based.

If you find yourself caring more about what they DO (their performance) versus who they ARE you might be prideful!!

3.      LET THEM FEEL (hurt, disappointment, frustration, loneliness, failure) versus INTERFERE/INTERRUPT

The hardest part of being a parent is watching your child go through something really tough and not being able to fix it for them.  It will happen!!  Pain.  Disappointment.  Hurt.  Frustration.  Failure. 

I love this quote from Melissa Milbourn.  “If we continually bail people out, they never have to make better decisions.  Sometimes people don’t reap what they sow because someone else steps in and reaps the consequences for them.  If every time you overspent, your mother sent you money to cover the check overdrafts or high credit-card balances, you wouldn’t reap the consequences of your spendthrift ways.  Your mother would be protecting you from the natural consequences:  the hounding of creditors or going hungry.  The law of sowing and reaping can be interrupted.  It is often people who have no boundaries who do the interrupting.  Just as we can interfere with the law of gravity by catching a glass tumbling off the table, people can interfere with the law of cause and effect by stepping in and rescuing irresponsible people.  Rescuing a person from the natural consequences of his behavior enables him to continue in irresponsible behavior.”

We can do this with our older, adult children too!!

You are always around to be sure nothing bad happens.  You interfere with little scrapes and bruises by never letting them play.  You are involved in every interaction with other children to be sure they are treated ‘nice’.

You fix things for them.

Do you want them to work hard, learn from mistakes and trust God?  Or do you want them to think someone/anyone/everyone will fix it for them?

Are you taking your children out of the battle instead of teaching them to fight the battle? 

If it is hard for you to let them feel and you fix things constantly, it might be because you distrust!


Do you do for your kids what they can do for themselves?  Are you micromanaging your children's lives to the point where when they leave home they have no idea how to cook or do laundry?

Have you have stayed up late working on a class project long after your child has gone to bed so they can turn it in and get a good grade?

Do you know there are parents who fill out their son or daughter’s college applications and job applications?  Is that you?

Is the root cause your need to be in control?  Ask yourself honestly…”Do I want/need to control my child?”  (and I hope you know my heart here….yes, our children are to be ‘controlled’ as far as being disciplined….and not ‘out of control’.  This is not what I am referring to)

If you find yourself micromanaging your children versus letting them do, you might be a controller!

So….in conclusion…4 ways to not be a copter mom!!

  1. Let them go versus hold on because you are not fearful!
  2. Let them be versus perform because you are not prideful!
  3. Let them feel versus fix it because you trust!
  4. Let them do versus micro-manage because you are not in control!

Friday, April 22, 2016

The Best is yet to Come

While on vacation for a few days last week, I decided to take a walk around the condo area.  Since we were in the Ozarks, I always know there is plenty of nature to see.

Spring has just begun to peek out from the winter freeze up in the Ozarks.  Although many of the trees are just budding, the entire area is covered in white and pink Dogwood trees.  It was simply breathtaking.  As I strolled along a gravel path, I had an “Ah ha” moment.  With spring in view there is more beauty to come.

Earlier this week, I stumbled upon a quote which read, “The best is yet to come for the pastor’s (ministers’) wife.”  I have no clue who said it but it really is true. 

As ministers’ wives, we face some grueling days in the ministry mud.  There is always criticism, apathy, unfaithfulness, and more.  Sometimes these elements of ministry can become burdensome.  However, in the midst of the dark days, there are promises like a soul saved, Christian growth, lives changed.  Many times the beautiful story of someone’s salvation brings tears to my eyes.  These simple blessings from God are only a glimpse of the promise of our future.

One day when we meet Jesus face to face He will show us all the lives our ministries have touched through our steadfast work in the ministry trenches. 

Yes sisters, the best is yet to come.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Today is my Birthday

Today is my birthday.  I am not going to tell you how old my body is because mentally I feel like a teenager.  Ok, maybe a twenty something.  After I spent my 25th birthday in a complete emotional breakdown because “I was old,” I decided the number of years does not matter.  It is how you see yourself.  Although I believe my mirror tells the truth about my age, inside I still feel like a kid.  So since today is my birthday, I have created a birthday wish list just for me.

1.        Today I do not wish to deal with any “yucky” ministry stuff. 
2.       Today, I wish to eat chocolate and not gain a pound.
3.       Today, I wish to have a party . . . at the beach . . . with my ministry girlfriends.
4.       Today, on my birthday beach trip I wish to decorate fun beach themed cookies complete sprinkles and icing.
5.       Today, I want to wear fun flip flops.
6.       Today, I wish to wear a tiara and a pink boa.  (Every girl need to do this once in her life).
7.       Today, I wish my mom were here to make me a chocolate pie from scratch.
8.       Today, I wish to laugh until I cry.
9.       Today, I wish to kick back and enjoy my family.
10.     Today, I wish the Lord would give me many more years to be His hands and feet to the world.  (My goal is to live to be 100.  First to give my children more years to make me laugh.  Second, I plan to cause some havoc in the retirement home by racing my walker/wheelchair down the hallways while wearing a tiara and pink boa).  

These are my simple birthday wishes.  It does not take a lot to make me happy.  Every minister’s wife deserves a day to celebrate herself.  Most of my wishes are dreams; however, I will wear fun flip flops and indulge in chocolate (even though I will gain weight).  

By the way, if the birthday beach trip could happen, I would invite all of you to join me.  Trust me; there would not be a dull moment.  We would laugh until we cried.

Have a blessed day and thank you for being this pastor’s wife friend!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Labels: Real or Imitation

Coach, Calvin Klein, Wrangler, Gap, Old Navy, Jones of New York .  What do all these have in common?  They are all labels.  Isn’t it strange we strive to have the best labels on the market?  If your jeans are not the latest trend and you walk out in a pair of Lee jeans, you might get some funny looks.  I proudly carry a Kohl’s or Walmart purse.  Hey, I hate purses so why spend the bucks on a Coach bag?  Now, if you are in to trends and labels, I do mean to offend you in any way.  I am just using this to make a point.

A label “describes or identifies something or someone.”  Think about these labels “Methodist,” “Baptist,” “Non-denomination,” “Full Gospel,” etc.  What do these labels have in common?  They  identify a religious group. 

Of course, we also apply labels such as “selfish,” “rich,” “poor,” “happy,” “joyful,” intelligent,” etc to people.  We sometimes mislabel person before we really get to know them.  For example, a seemly stand-offish person may be actually very shy and timid.  Our children are faced with labels everyday as well.  Some children are labeled “hyper” when really they have a ton of energy.  I personally was labeled as “slow” by a teacher in the fourth grade because I was apparently struggling to read aloud.  After two weeks with a very caring reading assistant it was discovered that I was just shy.  I read on a very high level.  In fact I was reading on a high school level. 

What does the label “Christian” describe?  A person committed to the Lord Jesus Christ and who has given their heart to him.  They are loving, kind, gentle, self-controlled, etc.  However, we need to remember one thing.   Often a label is just a replica of the real thing.

I am talking about people who claim to be “Christians” but who have absolutely no clue that it means.  Oh, they say they believe in God but they also claim there are several ways to be saved.  I have had a people tell me that “all religions (Christian, Islam, Buddism, etc) lead to salvation?”  No, just because you claim to be a “Christian” doesn’t mean you are.   

As people in the ministry we fight a daily battle of “getting people lost before they can be saved.”  People believe that because they are a good person, give to charities, and treat all people with respect that they are “Christian.”  Our society has actually taught this philosophy.  If you are good then you are a Christian.  This is a lie straight from the pits of hell.

A Christian is a born-again believer in Jesus Christ.  They have been forgiven of their sins, washed new and clean by the blood of Jesus.  They are a new creation in Christ.  We should live each day with the hope and joy that Christ brings to our lives.  We should willing to live our lives in such a way that people will notice that something is different about us.  That is the description of a Christian.

Just like I want the real chocolate and not some cheap imitation, I want people to see the real Christ in me.  I want my life to so ooze with Jesus that people around me want to get a taste of the Living Water. 

As our dear sister and fellow Tennessee ministers’ wife, Rachel Lovinggood, said, “Christianity was never meant to be a label.  It is a lifestyle.”

So today I ask you my sweet sisters:  What style of Christianity are you wearing?  Is it real or is it an imitation?