I'm just a wife and mother who earnestly desires to grow in my faith and it's demonstration. DISCLAIMER! I have absolutely no problem with women in the clergy. As a matter of fact, I have several female pastors who I consider friends. In my home, the pastor is a male so the pronouns I use to refer to a pastor tend to be male. This is not a statement of any kind. Just a reflection of my every day life!

Archive for May, 2014

Just for Me . . . Can I Do That?!

I was having a conversation with myself earlier today.  Don’t laugh.  I’m not the only person that talks to herself.  Others have told me they do it too.  Now, if you want to question our sanity, that is an altogether different topic of discussion!  But I digress.

The most recent conversation went something like this –

Me – Excuse me, self?

Self – Yes.

Me – Ya’ wanna know what I miss most from my “growing up” years?

Self – What?

Me – Piano lessons and practicing.

Self – *disbelieving pause* Come again?!

Me – Yeah.  I miss having weekly lessons and having someone – or a couple of someone’s – holding me accountable for practicing during the week.

Self – But there were SEVERAL occasions during the earlier years when we would throw a bit of a fit when it came to practice.

Me – Well . . . yeah.  But in middle school and high school?  We actually liked it then!

Self – True.  It was fun to conquer a really hard piece and see the progress.

Me – Oh!  And remember Senior year?!  Worked ALONE to get a piece ready for Solo and Ensemble and actually got a Division I rating?!

Self – I’ll never forget that!  That Mozart piece was still a personal favorite.

Me – I know, right?!

Self – So why did we stop practicing like that?  We’re a responsible adult now, we could set our own practice expectations.  Why don’t we.

Me – It’s selfish.

Self – *pause* Huh?!

Me – It’s selfish.  There is a family to take care of and work responsibilities.  I mean, we still have rehearsing we have to do for the choral accompanist gigs and the music theater jobs.

Self – But it’s not the same.

Me – *sigh* No.  It’s not even close.

Self – I still don’t get the selfish part.

Me – I’m a wife. A parent. I have responsibilities.  The kind of songs I would want to learn would mean longer practice sessions and that feels like I’m cheating others out of my time or cheating on my responsibilities.

Self – *pause of disbelief* Are you kidding me?

Me – What?

Self – That’s nonsense!  You are an individual with a unique identity that existed before your roles as wife, mother, employee, volunteer, etc.  There is nothing selfish about making sure you don’t stagnate; that your identity continues to exist!

Me – Well, when you put it that way . . . 

Self – So what piece are you going to assign yourself?

Me – Huh?

Self – Now that we have that silly “it’s selfish” nonsense dealt with, what piece are you going to set aside time to learn?

Me – I won’t have anywhere to perform it.

Self – So what?!  Is the purpose a performance or feeding your heart?!  

Me – *feeling a little ashamed* Feeding my heart

Self – Okay.  So I’m asking you again – what piece are you going to start working on.

Me – Well, I haven’t finished learning Moonlight Sonata.  And I still have a copy of Clair de Lune, and I’ve always wanted to . . .

Self – Now you’re talking.

I think you get the point.  This is for me.  The me that existed before wedding vows and nine months of waiting added pieces to my identity that I prize beyond words  The me that has found solace, comfort, consolation, and joy by simply coaxing notes and rhythms from 88 black and white keys.  The piano has always been my favorite instrument and sometimes even felt like a best friend!  In recent years, I’ve restricted my rehearsal moments to those that would benefit others only.  But that’s done.  I have some pieces at home that I have not yet learned to play all the way through and that will be changing.  Soon.  No one else may ever hear them performed but that is SOOOOOO not the point.  Now, if you will excuse me, I have some music to go look through!

 

Things Your Pastor’s Wife Wishes She Could Say Outloud

This morning I caught a few moments to read a blog entry entitled “Nine Heartfelt Things Pastors Would Like to Say to Their Church Members” written by Thom S. Rainer.  I am not a pastor but I am married to one and I found myself nodding along as I read.

The thoughts I read there inspired a few of my own.  So here are my own “Hard Truths from a Pastor’s Wife”.  These are not specifically aimed at any one congregation hubby has pastored and some of them are inspired by the lives of other pastors wives I know, not my own experience.  **Disclaimer – I have NOTHING against women clergy.  I am blessed to have several of them as friends.  In my home, hubby is the pastor and I am the spouse so this is the perspective I know and can write knowledgeably from.**

1.  I chose this church for VERY different reasons than you did.  I’ve known of pastor’s wives who did not attend the church where their hubby served.  Those pastor’s never stayed for long.  I choose to honor my husband’s work in this particular congregation.  In other words, I chose him, not the church.  There have been some places that hubby served that were absolutely the kind of church I would have chosen to make myself a part of.  Others?  Not so much.  Just to be safe, don’t ask me why I’m attending.  You might not like my answer.

2.  I have gifts and I want to serve but not necessarily where you tell me I should or where your last Pastor’s wife did.  The Holy Spirit is perfectly capable of pushing me in the right direction so let’s just leave the job to him, okay?

3.  My kids and I do not want to be treated like employees.  My husband is on the payroll.  My kids and I are not.  Please do not expect any more from me or them than you would from any other person in the church in our particular age group.

4. Be careful of criticism.  My son was once scolded for slouching in church.  My daughters and I have all been scolded for not dressing for the weather when we dressed in outfits more “summery” than the critic would have chosen.  Mind you, the church in question is kept at a temperature that our “more mature” congregation prefers which usually means I’m in danger of overheating if I dress for the weather.  The point is this – if all my children or I ever hear from you is criticism, it makes it harder and harder to willingly put ourselves in “that building” with “those people” week after week.  No one wants to live with constant criticism.

5.  Pastor’s wives need friends too.  As a pastor’s daughter and now a pastor’s wife, I have seen more and more women in that role who have been soundly criticized for “playing favorites” because they had a close friend in the church.  Everyone needs one close confidante.  Someone around whom you can just be “you”, flaws and all.  But so many pastor’s wives are loathe to find that woman in their own congregation because of the fear that others will feel snubbed.

6.  He’s your pastor, but he’s the love of my life.  Please don’t be offended if you see us out on the town and he chooses me rather than a lengthy conversation with you.  He is trying to find a balance between being a loving pastor and a loving husband and sometimes that means I come first.

7.  If you are talking to me and speak critically of his work as pastor, I will choose to back him every time.  I think that one pretty much speaks for itself.

8.  My family and I really don’t have a pastor.  The man you go to for counseling, the man you can talk to about marital woes, the man your kids can call on for some insight and prayer . . . he’s just “dad” or “hubby” in my house.  We cannot go to him for leadership and guidance the way you do because we have another relationship that takes precedence (and in our case, predates his role as pastor!).  Hopefully we find another Godly counselor outside the church to fill that need!

9.  I don’t always know where he is or what his schedule is.  I am his wife not his mother.  He is almost always in the building before me when there is a weekly service or event so asking me “Where is your husband?” the minute I walk in the door isn’t going to be productive.  I try to keep track of what’s going on with his schedule for family schedule purposes, but that’s about it!

10.  I truly do want to be a part of the church and use my gifts as the Holy Spirit leads.  I am just a woman trying to function in her God-given identity and could use lots of prayer support as I seek to follow the Spirit’s leading.  I may or may not do exactly you think a “good” pastor’s wife should do.  You may or may not do exactly what I think a “good” church member should do.  How about we both cover the other in prayer and believe that God is working in the other even though we may not see or understand exactly how?!  Can that be a thing?!

 

Song for Sunday

I know I’ve shared this one before.  But it’s worth hearing again!

 

 

Facing the Truth

My father has been known to say “The truth will set you free. But first it will make you miserable.” Before you write that off as a bit cynical think for a moment. How many times have you had to admit that certain things were true even if you wish they weren’t? There are ugly, painful things in the personal history of every single human being. Heartbreak, dissapointment, loss, maybe even abuse of some kind. Even if the issue is DEEP in your past, the pain may make it feel like it all happened yesterday. And what if others who inflicted the pain have not apologized and it looks like they never will? Or maybe you’ve completely lost touch with the person so you simply can’t confront them.

How do you learn and grow from painful experiences that seem too much to face even years later? How do you forgive when there is no apology?

I know that this all sounds rather cryptic. But I’m at the “but first it will make you miserable” moment. I’ve named the issue and I’m ready to take the next step. Just not sure what that is. I’ll keep you posted.  Maybe.

Defined

It’s amazing what happens when you begin to embrace your gifts and how they help to define your identity.  It helps you say “yes” joyfully and “no” without guilt.

Let me explain – over the last few months, I’ve walked through a personal refining process where I have VERY clearly seen what is it I’m designed to do.  I’ve gotten a better grasp on what drives me than ever before.  It has allowed me to resign a position that completely misses the mark with a complete sense of peace.  Truthfully, it wasn’t that hard to do.  Working a job that completely misses that target as far as talent and passion go?  Really doesn’t build much into your life so it’s not terribly hard to walk away.  But I don’t regret the time because I learned things.  Lots of things.  About myself, about what matters to me, about what I want my energy and time to focus on.

Then I heard of a job opening in a field that I am qualified for.  The problem?  It’s a field that I have chosen to turn my focus from.  In other words, it’s not something I want to do with my life anymore.  In the past, I would have felt obligated to apply.  If I’m trained for the job and it’s available, I should want it, right?  Nope.  Not even a little bit.  That fact has often been true.  I applied because I felt I was supposed to, not because I wanted to.

Not this time.  This time I looked at the possibility and asked – “Does it line up with my passion?  Is it a part of what matters most to me?”  When the answer was no, then the decision was made.

My only regret is that it took me until the age of 45 to get to this place.  But at least I got here.

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