Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Contentment


More than anything else I wanted to be class favorite.  During my eighth and ninth grade years I would pour over my older brother’s annual (now they are called yearbooks) gazing at the pictures of each class favorite in their beautiful formals, wide smiles and stunning hair all fixed for the evening.  Full page shots.  So popular.  So well loved.  I wanted that!!  Because then….I would be happy.

My sophomore year finally arrived.  I was now in high school and at the end of that year I was nominated for sophomore class favorite!!  What??  Was my dream about to come true??  Was I finally going to be happy?  During the Favorites Ball dance my stomach was in knots as I danced to songs by Chicago and Three Dog Night and a plether of other amazing bands with my crazy date, Bill.  Pretty soon they were going to announce the winner!! 

The five nominees all lined up on the stage….the announcement was about to be made….the Sophomore Class Favorite is…..Dana Henderson!!  What??  What did they say??  Was I sophomore class favorite??  Was I now going to be happy??  Oh the euphoria and delight and amazement that flooded my mind and heart!  I was sooo happy!! 

For a little while…Before long, I was not happy.  It wasn’t enough.  I wanted more.

Fast forward several years and I marry this handsome, ruddy, Godly man, Ernie, and I just knew he was going to make me happy.  That was his job as a Godly man, right? To meet my needs? I envisioned that we would go to church together, sit together, and minister together….BUT, since I didn’t grow up in church, I was in for a wide awakening when we went to our first church!!  What?  We sing a zillion verses of “Just as I Am”?  What?  You have to go before the sun comes up and we can’t drive together?  What?  You have to sit up front??  Not with me?  What?  You are a messy person?  It doesn't bother you that the toilet paper roll isn't on the roller?  I was not happy.  It wasn’t enough.  I wanted more.

Fast forward a few more years and I was convinced that new kitchen countertops and a tile backsplash would make me so happy!  After hours of pouring over pictures and researching options; a (wanna-be granite) countertop and a (wanna-be slate) tile backsplash donned my kitchen and I loved it!!  And it made me so happy…..for a while.  It wasn’t enough.  I wanted more.

To be honest, I could recount many situations where I had convinced myself that I’d be so happy if __________. As Believers we know that contentment only comes from God….certainly not from popularity or husbands or countertops….so why do we constantly fall in to the same trap of looking for happiness “in all of the wrong places”?

What is it that I want now?  What is it you want now?  What is the ‘thing’ that we just knew if we ‘had’, we'd be happy?  My advice to both of us?  Let it go.  Cling to the Word and Christ and allow Him to bring contentment and joy.  THEN….when the very thing we want comes around….it won’t make us happy….it will make us grateful!!  We will pour out our hearts in gratitude to God for providing it for us and cause us to love Him even more and therefore become more and more content.  Philippians 4:11 says “Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.” 
 
Paul had to “LEARN” how to be content!  We do too!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

You are Amazing!


I get so frustrate with ads and commercials today.  Each one seems to tell women of all ages what we should be wearing, what to eat so we have lean, rippled abs, what product to use to keep from getting wrinkles and on and on. 

I get discouraged just watching the ads but when I go to purchase clothing, my frustration goes up a notch.  My body description is this:  short with CURVY hips and football player thighs and calves.  No, designers, I cannot wear “skinny jeans!”  Please do not force my body into a pencil straight skirt or tight shirt!  No designers, I do not wear short skirts or dresses because I have cellulite and veins on my legs.

As for my skin, I am blonde with fair, freckled skin.   Crow’s feet surround my eyes and my inherited my grandmother’s mouth.  I slather lotion and moisturizer on my body but I am dry except for my face and hair which is oily.  (Thankfully, I believe this oily skin somewhat slows the wrinkling process).  Thankfully, we do not need to find our self-assurance in what the marketing world thinks. 

As Christian women, we can look to the Father for our assurance.  Think about it.  YOU ARE AN AMAZING WORK OF ART!  We are individuals created in the image of the Father who adores us.  We come in all sizes, shapes, colors.  We all have unique abilities suited just for us.  As women, we are able to be a mother, a nurse, a friend, a teacher, a taxi driver, a coach, a lover, a maid, a chef, etc.  We excel at multitasking and can often exist on a few hours sleep. 

So sisters, when the world tells you how you should dress and look, don’t be discouraged.  Just flip open The Word to Ephesians 2:10 read how you are His workmanship created to do all He has planned for you to do.  Then repeat, “I AM AMAZING!”

Monday, September 8, 2014

Looking Back


The other day I was going through one of the many boxes I brought home from my parent’s home.  My mom, a former teacher, kept EVERYTHING that my brother and I ever did in school.  One of the items I discovered was a book of highlights from each of my school years.  It started with Kindergarten and ended with my senior year of high school. 

I settled down on my sofa with a handful of M & M’s, this little book and my husband.   I pulled out my first “report card.”  We started laughing immediately because it was my Kindergarten report card.  I quickly scan the check marks and soon discovered my lack of math skills began here.  It stated, “Needs help with number recognition.”  Suddenly I was overwhelmed with only two memories of Kindergarten.  I went to the Methodist church for it.  Second, a friend and I got in trouble for talking during nap time which resulted in punishment at our respective homes.  (By the way, this friend was best man in our wedding, one of my husband’s friends, and to this day remains like a brother to me).

My husband and I continued further into the school book.  Each time I turned a page I could remember one thing about that particular year.  Maybe it was that I did not like my teacher or a disagreement I had with a friend.  Two of the years I struggled badly in Math and recall the hours of study I had to do in order just to pass the course.  My senior year was where I recalled one the sweetest memories.  My senior English teacher saw something in me that no one had ever pointed out to me.  She is the one I credit for pushing me to write.  She noted in one of my class journals to “go for it because you have the talent.”

Do you ever look back and discover people who have touched your life or encouraged you to purse a dream?  I look back at the churches we have been honored to serve in and recall people who ministered to us over and over.  In our first church out of seminary, there were two couples who literally took us in as family, loved us, and allowed us to grow up at their church.  In two other churches, God placed two older men in our lives who quickly became adopted grandfathers to our sons.  These men took the time to teach my boys to fish, hunt, and enjoy nature.  In addition sisters, I can tell you I have two of the best friends in the world from a couple of the churches we served in.  These ladies, non-staff wives, were placed in my life to encourage and support me.  Our friendship runs deep and I know without a doubt these friendships will carry us into eternity.  What is amazing is that both these ladies have met each other and now they are friends as well. 

Yes, looking forward is always a great thing to do, but looking back reveals some of the blessings and lessons we have learned.  As you look back over your ministry life or just life in general, can you recall people who touched or encouraged you in a significant way?  Share it with us and if possible take a moment to call or write that person.

 

 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Expert Pastor's Wife---Part 2

In my blog earlier this week, I proposed the question, “Is it really possible for someone to be an expert at being a pastor’s wife?”

Of course, there are none of us who are “perfect” in this role, but I believe the wives who are living out this assignment from the Lord in a successful way are prayer warriors for their husbands (which I addressed in my last blog) and they are truly committed to faithfully serving the Lord no matter where they are planted. So how do we faithfully serve where the Lord puts us?

We all received our “calling” in different ways: some knew before the marriage, and some after. Some took the news gladly, others not so much. But God does not make mistakes, and you are a pastor’s wife for such a time as this!

Again, none of us are perfect, but the attitude of our heart can make all the difference in how we live out the role. Here are some things that are very critical: Always rely on the power of the Holy Spirit to make you adequate to support your husband and love on the flock, because our competency and adequacy come from Him and Him alone. We cannot trust in our own abilities apart from His power. (2 Corinthians 3:5). Also, remember that Christ is working in you to be the dutiful pastor’s wife He has called you to be; what He has begun, He will bring to completion. (Philippians 1:6; 2:13) Passionately stay devoted to Jesus, and let nothing or no one get you off course from following after Him. (2 Corinthians 11:3) Finally, in those moments of despair (and we all have had them) and you may feel like giving up, trust that the Lord will guide and reward you for being steadfast as He gives you the strength to continue to serve Him. (1 Corinthians 15:58)

Yes, we all can faithfully serve where we are planted. Never fail to constantly draw near to Christ in your own personal Bible study and prayer time. I have found that reading His Word and “crying on His shoulder” in prayer brings me such a feeling of peace because I know that He hears me.

So, I guess none of us will ever be “expert” pastors’ wives, but we can be faithful pastors’ wives, all to the glory of God!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Expert Pastor's Wife---Part 1

Is it really possible for someone to be an expert at being a pastor’s wife?

Webster’s Dictionary defines “expert” as: 1. (adjective) showing special skill or knowledge; 2. (noun) a specialist. Do you possess special skills and knowledge that make being a pastor’s wife a breeze (please share it with the rest of us!) Are you a specialist in the areas of encouraging, praying, giving, listening, etc…? The list could go on. Being an expert, now that’s something to ponder.

The Scriptures give no instructions for pastors’ wives. There have been many books written to encourage pastors’ wives. There have been countless seminars that minister to the needs of pastors’ wives. There are wonderful support groups out there among the various communities of pastors’ wives. Yet how does one become an expert in this role?

Maybe there really is no such thing. But I wonder if the truly successful wives practice something over and over again that all of us should strive to emulate: praying for their husbands without ceasing and making a commitment to serve the Lord no matter where they are planted. I am sure we all do this to some degree, but I could do better, what about you? In this blog I want to address the praying issue, and in my next blog I will expound on making the commitment to serve.

As pastors’ wives, we know our husbands better than anyone, and the Lord shows us areas where we can pray for him on a daily basis. We can always lift him up in these areas :

(1) His Spiritual Growth---Pastors need to grow in the Lord too. Many in our congregations sometime forget that. While the pastor’s job is to “feed the flock”, he needs the Lord to feed him as well. Pray for the Lord to grow your spouse in the knowledge of Christ and to give him spiritual wisdom and insight (Colossians 1:9-10; 2 Peter 3:18). Also, pray that he will truly love God’s Word and receive joy from it, and not merely use it as a tool for sermon topics. (Jeremiah 15:16)
(2) His Mind---Pastor’s are bombarded with many situations that need to be addressed every day, and some days are more challenging than others. What a blessing to be able to petition the Lord to give your husband wisdom to prioritize his duties and to have his thoughts focused and directed toward what the Lord’s will is for him for each day. (James 1:5; 2 Corinthians 10:5) Pray that he will be reminded that he has the mind of Christ as he tackles the circumstances of the day. (1 Corinthians 2:16)
(3) His Physical Health and Strength---Pastors need to have a certain amount of physical stamina in order to effectively handle the demands of ministry, balance family life, and work an additional job (if he is bi-vocational). In 3 John, verse 2, God’s Word says “Beloved , I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.” Just as your husband’s spiritual health is of the utmost importance, his physical health is very important also. Of course, praying for good health does not mean that he will never get sick, for we all succumb to illness at times. Yet ask the Lord to give him the knowledge to take care of himself by scheduling regular doctor’s visits, getting adequate rest, and being open to occasionally getting away for rest and relaxation.

These are just a few areas to pray for. Ask the Lord to show you more things to petition Him for regarding your husband.

Although none of us may be considered “experts” in this role, I believe our Heavenly Father has gifted us all in different ways that we may serve Him, and serve Him well as we stand beside our husbands in ministry. I have been a pastor’s wife for 10 years, and I am still learning!

Friday, August 29, 2014

PRAYER REQUEST

Hand, Foot & Mouth SPIRITUAL Virus

Daddy has been out of town, so I have been helping our daughter with the grandbabies this week……they both have the Hand, Foot and Mouth Virus. (High fever, blisters in the throat, feet, hand and bottom.) It is pitiful to watch them suffer so. I have discovered that a cold Popsicle will numb their throats to the point that they can drink enough to keep from being dehydrated though.

Last night, I got to thinking……..what an odd name: Hand, Foot and Mouth Virus. Many times Christians, including myself, get the Hand, Foot and Mouth SPIRITUAL Virus sometimes. You know that kind…..where your mouth is engaged before your brain is and you stick your foot in your mouth….

As a pastor’s wife, I have learned to keep my thoughts to myself and hold it in. However…..enough is enough…..after a while, I totally get out of the spirit and develop the Hand, Foot and Mouth SPIRITUAL virus and it just COMES OUT. This especially happens when I am around negative people who get me down.

This virus has made both our grandbabies ill and in a bad mood. Spiritual HF& M also puts you in a bad mood.

Guess this post is just for me…………..

Surround yourselves with POSITIVE FOLKS and risk being contaminated with Hand, Foot and Mouth Spiritual Virus.