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Month: September 2014

I’m Married to the Pastor and I don’t have it all together!

I’m Married to the Pastor and I don’t have it all together!

Church is a huge part of our life.  With my husband as a Pastor I suppose that was a very obvious and expected statement. 🙂

When the doors at church are opened our family is there.  I sit in the pews (which really I have always thought was a funny name for a seat… who came up with that one?) with my three children, one of which who shall go unnamed is rather squirmy.  She’s one, that is to be expected right?

I have to be honest, when my husband first shared with me that he felt God was calling him to be a Sr. Pastor I said, “Oh no honey, I don’t think so!”  It wasn’t that I felt he wouldn’t do a great job!  It wasn’t that I thought he would fail!  I thought quite the opposite actually, I knew he would do a great job!  My reasoning was because of me!  I didn’t think I was ready to be a Sr. Pastor’s wife!

I mean, some of the Pastors wives I have had throughout my life always seemed to have it together.  Perfect outfits, perfect hair, perfect children, perfect life!  They smiled and were gracious to everyone they met, even to the not so friendly church-goers.  They seemed to never miss a day of Bible reading, they spent hours upon hours praying daily, their children were quick to obey and smiled adoringly at their mother.  This was not me.

I didn’t have it all together so we had to wait to take on this role until I did!

You know what’s coming right?  The Lord had some work to do on my heart.

He has reminded me that no one has it all together, which I mean I sort of knew but didn’t really want to admit it.  Those women were such great examples in my life and I just didn’t even compare to them!  They were waaaaaay up here (imagine hand gesture) and I was waaaaay down here (again, hand gesture).  They always knew the right words to say they always had the sweetest spirit, never did they seem to have a bad day.  In reality, they didn’t have it all together and they would be the first to admit that, they just knew how to cling to the One who does.

So here I am, a Pastor’s wife.  As human as they come.  Yet the Lord is continuously teaching me that I need to rely on His grace in every aspect of my life.  I will never have it all together, but I am learning to lean heavily on the One who does.  I feel unworthy to stand by my man in such a leadership role, I know the sins I have committed that week!  I know I didn’t get to read my Bible as much as I wanted to that week, I know I needed to pray more, I burned dinner, our clothes sat in the washer way to long and had to be washed again, my clean laundry may or may not have sat in piles for a day or more utterly neglected, I probably didn’t have as much patience as I needed to have with my children.  I am fully aware at how I falter and still God chose to place this call on my life and follow my husband, truly one of the most Christ-like men I know, as he became a Pastor.  To stand by his side and cheer him on, to pray for him and lift him up, to be his wife and helpmeet.  So it really doesn’t matter that I don’t have it all together!  When God calls, we follow.  He doesn’t need my excuses or impertinent reasoning’s, He simple needs my obedience and rely on Him like I have never done before!

If I did have it all together how much less would I depend on God?  How proud would I become?  How little glory would I give to Christ?  I would tend to think “Look what I did!” instead of “Look what God has done!”  That’s just the reality of our sin nature.  It’s ugly to look at and admit, but it’s truth.

I’m thankful that God has still chosen to use me despite feeling unqualified and knowing I have so very much to learn, but what an honor God has given me.  What a gift to be able to reach out to so many lives and minister to them!  Love them like Jesus loves them, extend grace like He extends to me.  What an incredible opportunity to serve the people in our church and community!  It is a blessing to have people in our home and feed them dinner but also to have ample opportunity to encourage them spiritually!

I’m a mess.  I have bad hair days, I fail daily, my clothes may not always match, my children will misbehave, I won’t always know the right words to say or what to do and chances are I will let people down.  But who doesn’t have these same things in their life?  All of these things point out my greater need for a Savior!  I may be a Pastor’s wife, but that doesn’t mean I am any better than the next Christian striving to live a life pleasing to the Lord!  Quite the opposite actually!  We are all in this race reaching for the prize set before us together and I just happen to be married to the Pastor.

Being Enough As A Mother

Being Enough As A Mother

So I’m a mom.

A mother to three beautiful, wonderful, healthy children.

Yes, I am blessed!

So why is it that many nights I find myself climbing into bed, exhausted and feeling like I was an utter failure?

I feel like there is sometimes not enough of me to go around. My children are young and need my attention constantly, we home school them which let me tell you, is not for the faint of heart, though it is very rewarding. Sleep is some times hard to come by. The days can be long and in my exhaustion I may “have a moment”….. you know what I am talking about. A moment where the chaos becomes to much for my brain to handle and I begin to have a meltdown. Usually which consists of going into the bathroom, or even my walk in closet and I cry. My husband has found me in those moments sometimes and asks, “What’s wrong honey?” and sometimes…. more often than I may be willing to admit, I say, “I don’t know! I just need to cry!” He doesn’t understand that need, but he never makes me feel silly for feeling that way. For which I am very extremely thankful. He knows exactly what to do in my delicate weak moments…. just hold me and let me cry.

Been there?

No one enjoys feeling like a failure. No one.

However, recently my husband and I watched a movie. Mom’s Night Out. Have you seen it?

Oh my goodness, it was as if that film crew had been spying on my day to day life to gain information on what their movie could be about! My children have drawn on walls…. markers have exploded across the kitchen floor even just this week! Red ink flew out of that marker like nobody’s business and streamed across the floor and resembled something you would see at a crime scene! My Kindergartener has learned the perfect art of slithering out of his chair during school and laying under his desk if I even leave the room for one moment to change the babies diaper. My youngest has decided she wants to scale mountains because she is practicing climbing on everything!  I could relate so well to the movie on several different levels.

The young mother felt just as I have felt many many days.

Mothering is a lot of work.

However, mothering is always always worth it!

The Lord ordained me, me to be the mother to these precious babies. In my weakness, He knew I would falter. In my humanness He knew I would lose my patience and speak harshly and later on be so broken over that. He knew every single time I would fail each and every day, and yet He still chose me to be their Mama.

Let me tell you, I do not craft with my children every single day, I do not plan my children’s lunches in advance hardly at all so rarely do they resemble a work of art that I see on Pinterest. I do not make homemade soaps and shampoos. I use store bought laundry soap and I’m okay with it! I’m not slighting those who do, I promise! I have compared myself to those who do all those things and more and that is when I feel like I am not good enough. When I compare myself to other mothers I see out and about, I always lose. They always seem better.  Their hair, their make up, their parenting, it all seems perfect and I feel disheveled, frumpish and like I don’t know what I am doing!

Yet, God did not call those Mama’s to be the mother to my children. He called me. He knew that with Him and His help I would be enough of a mama for them.  I am not a crafty person, though I wish I was, but apparently my children did not need a crafty mama. They needed a mama who was willing to help her husband make a cake that cakelooked like this….. because it brought so.much.laughter to our home that day!!  This cake was supposed to resemble Elsa from Frozen.  Yes, it hurts my eyes to look at it….but it brought so much laughter from our entire family!

What my children need is a mama who is willing to stop comparing herself to other mama’s and simply cling to the Lord.  They need a mama who will encourage them and cheer them on “Yes, you can draw a triangle!  It looks beautiful!” as is what took place in our home just this morning.

When I feel I am not enough for my children that is when I am placing way to much pressure on myself and what I feel should be “enough” and what really is enough for my kids.  Instead of focusing on reality.  God gifted me in different ways and goodness knows we need those crafty people to make non-crafty people like me cakes that will not frighten small children and puppies 🙂

With God I am enough for my children!

If I am relying on the Lord I can pillow my head each night in confidence knowing that with Him, I am not a failure as a Mom.  I am not perfect, but I am not failing when I rely on His grace to mother my children.

Being a Mama is amazing!  Being a Mama is so worth every hard moment, every tear that is shed, every day is a gift!  My heart is full.  I am living my dream!!

I am thankful that Christ saw my imperfections and made me a mama anyway.  He knew that my imperfections would reveal how great His grace is and that is what it is all about anyway isn’t it?  Pointing my children back to Jesus and as I rely on His grace, my children learn to rely on Him as well.

I am a blessed woman!

Our 9/11

Our 9/11

On this day 13 years ago I was in college as a sophomore. I heard the news of the airplanes crashing into the world trade center while I was in the elevator on my way to chapel. The news stunned me and rumors began to travel quickly amongst the college campus of potentially more hijacked airplanes on their way.

Fear.

That is what gripped the heart of a nation.

Loss.

Grief.

Our country was turned upside down as many of Americans watched in horror the video footage of what just took place.

In chapel the staff tried to encourage the students and thousands of college kids got on their knees and prayed.

Churches began to fill up and hearts were turned back to the Lord.

And then life happened. Life began to get back to normal as distance came between us and the events of 9/11. Churches began to not be so full and Americans across the country began to turn away from the God who comforted them in their greatest hour of need.

I cannot help but be reminded of the Israelites and how they would follow the Lord for years, and then they would turn away and forget all that God had done for them. It wasn’t until they were under oppression that they would cry out to Him for deliverance and time and again the Lord showed mercy on His chosen people.

America, that is where we are today. We have strayed from our roots and the One who gave us these freedoms and privileges!

Turn on the news, pick up a newspaper, listen to talk radio, the news of ISIS is everywhere. It is glaring at us and we are glaring back. Evil has always been around but it has become louder and made it’s presence well known. There are faces and a name associated with this evil.

It would be so very easy for us to shrink in fear. To not be strong and courageous. Evil has a way of being very intimidating. Fear has a way of getting us in a choke hold & squeezing us so tightly that we are unable to do anything. That is exactly where the enemy wants us. ISIS is not our ultimate enemy. Oh they are definitely being used by the enemy. Indeed, they are ready and willing to be used and the enemy has blinded them, there is no doubt. Ultimately they are not our enemy though. Who is?

Well, what I am about to share is not political correctness. It is not what many want to hear, but truth rarely is what the world wants to hear.

The real enemy here is Satan.

Satan is the very opposite of what Christ is. Where Christ is love, Satan is hate. Where Christ is peace, Satan is fear. Where Christ is gentle, Satan is harsh.

The reality is, Satan is evil and he is always on the prowl seeking whom he may devour.

I Peter 5:8, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:”

He is not like a little lamb, he is like a lion on the hunt and he is hungry. He makes himself appear beautiful but everything that he is made of is rotten.

ISIS has soaked in his lies. ISIS has embraced the evil that Satan is. They must be stopped.

The Lord has promised that if His people will humble themselves and PRAY, and SEEK His face, He will heal their land. Our land is one in need of God’s forgiveness and healing! Pray, fellow Christians! When you pray, do not waver! Pray in faith, nothing wavering, believe that He will hear and answer! James 1:6, “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.”

Fear must not dwell in our hearts. God is not the author of fear, 2 Timothy 1:7 tells us that. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” So if fear does not come from the Lord it must come from His enemy.

Many times in the Scriptures Christ tells His people to be strong and very courageous! In order for fear to not dwell in our hearts we need to remember as Christians to put on the entire armor of God. If we are missing even one piece, fear will be able to slither in.

Eph. 6:10-18, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;”

Now is the time to be deeply rooted in God’s Word. Now is the time to keep our minds on Him because even in the midst of the unrest in our world and upset of our nation, we can still have peace! Is. 26:3, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”

Claim the promises of Christ. Be strong, be courageous, be at peace! Keep your focus on Christ and don’t let the enemy win!

Remembering

Remembering

A few nights ago my husband and I were reminiscing. We knew it had been almost a year since the Lord moved us to our current home and ministry but we couldn’t remember the exact date we first came down and candidated. Thankfully I have kept a family journal for eight years now and I was able to quickly look back and find out when it was. That got me reading some more in that journal about that time in our lives.

It isn’t always good to constantly look back on the past. If our eyes are always behind us and what was then we are not consistently looking forward and pressing on toward the prize! However, there are times it is good to look back and remember what God taught us through different situations and life events and how His constant unfailing, never giving up grace and love carried us through.

One year ago we were living in a home that we knew was not a permanent dwelling place for us. We had been looking for a rental but every single time we looked at one either the home was way over priced or it would fall through for one reason or another. Then there came one house…. it resembled nothing of a home to me…. it was a struggle and I felt so selfish for thinking that way. I know that there are many who do not even have a roof over their head at night and I felt absolutely horrible for even struggling with this house! However, I did! I remember sobbing into the arms of my husband, “I feel like an awful Christian, but I hate this house!!” Talk about raw emotion, raw truth. Did I just admit this out loud?

It was an older home, built in 1919 and it looked like it had not been cleaned up since then. We poured every ounce of energy we had into trying to make it livable and I felt so overwhelmed. Just a few months earlier we had been hurt by our church family, friends, and we felt rejection from one church after another when after speaking with them they shared that we were not a right fit for their church. We were in a time of deep discouragement. We felt forsaken, hurt, rejected and then here was this house. Oh my heavens. Lord, what are you doing?

It is at times like that when it is so important to remember that our faith is not based off of emotion, it doesn’t sway and swoon like our emotions do. Our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness! Our faith is based on fact, not feelings.

Looking back at my journal entries I remembered the emotions I struggled with and the evident grace that carried me through from day to day.

That particular evening when I sobbed into my husbands arms about hating that house, my husband and I prayed together and then we climbed into bed and not 5 minutes after turning the lights out my husbands phone rang. It was the deacon from this church here that we are now ministering at, informing us the vote had been unanimous, they were calling him to be their pastor. Our tears turned to cries of joy!

The other night I shared with my husband how it seemed that God brought us to the very edge of our breaking point, and then He gave a reprieve. My husband replied with, “I think the Lord had us over the edge and hanging on with just one hand that was beginning to slip!” True! It was a tough tough year for us.

Then the Lord brought us here.

To a state we never thought we would live in. To a church who needed my husband to be their Pastor. The fit was incredible.

Since coming the Lord has continued to grow and stretch and mold us just as He will continue to do as long as He gives us life on this earth. Let me share with you though, there is nothing, absolutely nothing like being in the center of God’s will for your life. We know now why the other churches never seemed to work out. It wasn’t really rejection, it was part of God’s plan, even though at the time it did not really feel that way!

It has been amazing to see my husband grow into the leader that he is. I know that we had to go through that stretching year of 2013 in order to be prepared for what the Lord has for us here. He has GREAT things going on!

Since coming we have seen the Lord grow our church in ways we could have not imagined! Not just numerically but spiritually as well and we are beyond thrilled to see Him continually adding to His church! Just last week our church began the Awana ministry as an outreach to our community. We have been seeing visitors come and stay and become a part of our church family! The Lord has saved souls! I sit here and honestly give the glory to God for the great things that He is doing! We are humbled that He is willing to use us, we know we are nothing without Him.

I love this verse that I came across this past spring. It just jumped right off the pages at me when I read it. 1 Peter 4:19, “Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.”

No matter what is going on in life, keep trusting Him. He is faithful and sometimes it is His will that we suffer so we may be more and more conformed into His image and likeness. Becoming more like Him and less of us is what it is all about. The suffering will not be what we think it should be, His plans for our lives often look vastly different from the plans we have made. His thoughts are so much higher than our own though, and much much better! At times it will feel like everyone you have ever known has rejected you and sometimes God is silent, but He is there. Wanting us to commit the keeping of our souls to Him.

I’m thankful for that record of our life a year ago. I look back now and see God’s fingerprints all over the place. Here we are 10 months later and are in awe of His goodness to us, even through our suffering. He is so good to us all the time!