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 October, 2014

What a Difference!

Life is not perfect.  It never is. And that is completely okay with me. After all, I appreciate the good things in part because they stand out in contrast to the bad! But I will be brutally honest – life is much eadier to walk through when the good outweighs the bad.

I really like where and how I am spending my time and energy right now. The best part is, it is just going to get better!  The college class I teach in the spring is my favorite one to teach AND the spring semester means the college and Senior High musicals which is always a good time. Thanks to Stage Door’s schedule, I am currently in rehearsal for “Edges”  and will move from that show into “I Love a Piano”. Yeah, life is good.

The lesson during last school year was tough to walk through but trust me, I get it now! Just because something seems like a practical solution does not mean it is the right solution for you. Knowing exactly where my time and energy should be spent is making it much easier to say “no” to things that  are good but not right for me.  The lesson was hard won.  But I appreciate it now. 

A Prayer for Pastor’s and Their Wives

Abba –

This being a Pastor’s wife thing is hard.  *sigh* Really hard.  Your kids can be really mean.  Sorry, but it’s true.  Some of them want me to do exactly what they say, nothing more and nothing less, and that stinks.  I’ve had to learn to hold my tongue and not speak up for myself over every petty little thing (I know, I know, it teaches me self-control and that’s a good thing) and some of them will never be happy with me no matter what I do.

But I know I’m not alone.  I know of other Pastor’s and their wives going through this and so much more.

My heart hurts for them.  One or two names in particular have wedged themselves into my brain and I can’t shake them loose.  So this is my prayer for them.

Surround them with your comfort and peace.  Remind them that those who are making life so challenging – and maybe even painful – are simply confused and truly think they are doing the right thing.  Let them know that you are crazy about them and remind them of the promise in Zephaniah 3:17 – “He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”

Help them to persevere in the face of disappointment, opposition, criticism . . . I don’t exactly know what they are facing but I know it’s going to take some extra help to come out on the other side with their personal integrity intact.

Let them know they are loved by others.  I know love them more perfectly than I ever could.  But you and I BOTH know that we silly humans sometimes need to feel love from someone with skin on.  Let me be that someone.  And since we’re talking about love, fill them with your love for those who seem determined to make life difficult.  Help them to live the words of Luke 6:28 – “bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”  

Most of all, Dad, I want you to give them PEACE!!  Cranky church members will always be with us – some people just have to have something to complain about! – and sometimes it seems pointless to keep pressing forward.  I know those on my heart love you and want nothing more than to impact this world with your love.

And one last thing – as I think about and pray for these wonderful individuals this passage keeps running through my head.  I’m sure there’s a reason so I’m just going to leave it here ‘cuz I know that you’ll know why the two are connected!

 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ  and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in[a] Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.  I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,  and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.  Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,  I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Phillipians 3:7-14

Pastor’s and Their Wives

My mother shared an article with me today that both moved me to tears and encouraged my heart.  The article was written by Joe McKeever for the website “Church Leaders” and is entitled “Pastor, Remember Your Wife is the MOST Vulnerable Person in Your Church“.  If your pastor is indeed a man, please read the article.  I promise you it will provide insight into the weirdness that is her life and will provide you with ideas for encouraging and building her up (and, consequently, building up the entire family AND your pastor!) (Disclaimer – it may all work in reverse if your church has a Pastor’s husband or it may not.  Just don’t know enough from conversations with those men to say adamantly one way or the other!)

Just have to share a few of the quotes that most touched my heart and left me saying, “Yes!  That, right there.  That’s completely how I feel!”

“You might not think so, but she is the most vulnerable person in the building. That is to say, she is the single most likely person to become the victim of malicious gossip, sneaky innuendo, impossible expectations and pastoral frustrations.” Sadly, this has been true in every church where my husband has served as a member of the ministerial staff.  Things that would be perfectly acceptable of every other woman in the church would earn me a glare or vicious words.  I’ve watched others start new ministries or alter the structure and function of existing ministries and no one pitches a fit.  But let me make a suggestion or try something new and I’m in danger of setting off World War III.

“Her pain is magnified by one great reality: She cannot fight back. She cannot give a certain member a piece of her mind for criticizing the pastor’s children, cannot straighten out the deacon who is making life miserable for her husband, cannot stand up to the finance committee who, once again, failed to approve a needed raise, or the building and grounds committee that postponed repair work on the pastorium.” To the phrase “She cannot fight back” I would add “She cannot just go find another church.”  If the average person sitting in the pew finds herself in constant conflict with another member of the church and every attempt at resolution or reconciliation has failed, she can choose to find another place to worship.  Theoretically, I suppose I could to.  But the times I’ve heard of that happening have not ended well.  It often causes the church to lose trust in their pastor, increases tension and conflict for him, and will likely lead to his being asked to leave or choosing to leave to avoid the strife.

“Since her husband is subject to being called away from home at all hours, she is expected to understand this and have worked it out with the Lord from the time of her marriage—if not from the moment of her salvation—and to have no problem with it. If she complains about his being called out, she can expect no sympathy from the members. If she does voice her frustrations, what she hears is, “This is why we pay him the big salary,” and “Well, you married a preacher; what did you expect?” I have sent my husband off to the Emergency Room because a member of the church family was failing and his comfort was needed.  What few people realize is that I often spend a significant chunk of time praying for him to have the right words, for the family to find some measure of peace in the midst of their grief.  I cannot necessarily be there with him but I rarely sleep well until he is home.  And the next day I am up and off to work, sleep deprived and brain slightly foggy because it is what I have to do.  And it is my honor to hold him and the family up in prayer like that.  But there are times that people want their pastor to bail them out of situations that are not truly emergencies, merely an inconvenience.  It is not his job to run your child to school or pick your loved one up from work.  This may fit easily into his schedule without any inconvenience.  But if it doesn’t please understand that his family needs him too.  Here’s the kicker – my hubby was not in full-time ministry when we got married.  As a matter of fact, we will celebrate our 26th Anniversary in January of next year and he has been in full-time ministry for only about 10 of those.

I LOVE hearing my husband preach.  His work as a pastor has shaped him into an amazing man of God who seeks nothing more than to follow the leading of the Spirit and I love him to the moon and back for that!  But dealing with all the other nonsense – the judgment, the gossip, the anger, the expectations – can get exhausting.  I have been blessed to have a former pastor’s wife in our current church and she is one of the sweetest, most encouraging, most positive people I know.  She is truly a gift.  I have also started building a friendship with a young lady whose husband has plans to be in full-time ministry and it breaks my heart to hear her speak of these kinds of personal pains as just being a part of the whole clergy package.

This is obviously an issue that is near and dear to my heart because it’s not the first time I’ve blogged about it.  But it keeps happening.  Not only to me but to other wonderful clergy spouses I know.  Guess I’ll have to keep talking till people start listening.

Doesn’t Have to Be This Way

Spent some time tonight working on music for the worship gathering this coming Sunday.  Had a friend there working with me which ALWAYS makes any music related event more fun!  We have recently made a couple of tiny changes to the way things are done on Sunday mornings.  I like it.  Oh, let’s be real.  I LOVE it.  Tiny steps but definitely in the right direction.  And I have this dear friend coming along for the ride and she brought her guitar with her!

The sad part is not every one likes the changes and some are getting downright cranky. Maybe even mean.  There are small changes going on in a couple of other places in the overall ministry as well.  These same people aren’t real thrilled about those changes either.

This dear friend – the musical friend I mentioned earlier – looked at me tonight and said, “It’s not great that it’s happening but it’s great that I’m getting a taste of what it can be like.  My hubby wants to be a pastor and this kind of stuff is just part of the package.”

She’s right – it’s not great.  In fact, it’s downright sad.  It doesn’t have to be like this.  Each Pastor’s wife brings a unique blend of gifts and passions into the church where her husband serves.  If those gifts and passions were embraced and she was free to put them to work where she felt led, imagine what might happen – new energy, new excitement, new ideas, hearts being touched . . . the possibilities are endless!  Instead, some people have specific ideas of what the Pastor’s wife/kids should or should not do and to step outside those parameters is venturing into dangerous territory.  Pastor’s families burn out in churches just as easily – maybe even more quickly! – than members of the clergy themselves.  Maybe if they felt welcomed, included, and free to use their gifts, they could be a better support system for the man in the pulpit and help him through the rough times in ministry so that he doesn’t burn out as quickly or maybe even not at all.

Is there a chance she might want to try something new?  Yep.  Is it possible that she might want to change the way something is done?  Yep.  And none of that is inherently bad.  Yes, a certain measure of tact and LOTS of conversation is needed before trying new things or making changes.  But simply shooting her ideas down out of hand or getting angry if others support her ideas is not what the church is supposed to be about.  Our focus is to be on sharing God’s love with others, not creating a country club atmosphere that caters to it’s most powerful or vocal members.

It’s just frustrating because it really DOESN’T have to be like this.  But the good news is I have my friend and her encouragement.  She is excited to be a part of the “new stuff” and her excitement is contagious even in the face of the crankiness.  So we will take another step in the right direction and deal with fallout – if there is any – when it comes.  It’s time to focus on the feedback from those who LIKE what is happening and just “keep serving.”

*Deep breath* I think I can do this.

Just at the Right Time – REBLOGGED

This is a gem from last Spring.  It needed to be shared again as it reminded me of the power of just a few words (in this case only three!) to bring some light and love into the life of another.  Click on the link below to read the original post!

Just at the Right Time.

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