Tuesday, December 13, 2011

On a WHIM: Goodbye for Now

Dear Readers of The Pastor’s Wife Speaks:

When I go to the airport I love to watch people. My favorite aspect is witnessing all the “hello” and “goodbye” scenes. One so happy, one so sad—all a part of life. And so it is with saying “goodbye” to you here at The Pastor’s Wife Speaks.

As I shared my heartfelt insights with you over this past year, I’ve loved the interaction that transpired. Through our article-and-comments type conversations, we sorted out how to apply scriptural principles to the lives we live in ministry. I hope that sharpened all of us and clarified our perspectives.

What words would I like to leave with you in my last column? May we each know Jesus more. The kind of relationship where we talk back and forth, and even have moments of contented silence as well. The kind of relationship that not only gives us peace about our eternal destiny, but our immediate needs as well. This sort of intimacy with God is the only way to make sense of life—seeing it through His lens. May we see God in the stuff of everyday life and learn to enjoy the journey as much as we anticipate the destination.

Thank you to Jennifer AlLee for hosting us on your blog this year. What a pleasure to get to “do life” with each of you this year.

On a WHIM isn’t done yet—as long as there are Women’s Hearts In Ministry, On a WHIM will exist in some form. So be looking for me and WHIM on the Web!

Come visit me where I hang out:
Personal blog: http://imlivingoutloud.blogspot.com/
Business blog: http://kcwcomm.blogspot.com/
Website: http://www.kathycarltonwillis.com/
Facebook: Kathy Carlton Willis Communications
Twitter: @KCWComm
Linked-In: Kathy Carlton Willis

Kathy Carlton Willis shines, whether she's shining the light on God's writers and speakers, or reflecting God's light during her speaking engagements and written works.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing a beautiful Thanksgiving to you all! May you be blessed as you bless others!
Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy, for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now. And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

So it is right that I should feel as I do about all of you, for you have a special place in my heart. You share with me the special favor of God, both in my imprisonment and in defending and confirming the truth of the Good News. God knows how much I love you and long for you with the tender compassion of Christ Jesus.

I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God.
Philippians 1:3-11

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, goodbye...

by Niki Turner

I hate endings. The end of a great book, the end of a good movie or TV program, the end of a vacation ... or in this case, the end of what has been a lovely opportunity to interact with other PWs, past and present.

That said, I'm not going to drag out my goodbye ... I'll let the VonTrapp children do it for me!

Blessings to you all, contributors and readers alike! I hope you'll pop by In Truer Ink from time to time and say hello. In the meantime, see ya around the Internet!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thanking God for YOU: My Final Post for PW Speaks

I pray for you. In fact, the #1 item on my office whiteboard is "Pray for readers, editors, my agent, myself." So before you ever visited this blog or read my post about The Fun Things I've Learned from My Cats, or How Sharing Your Messes Makes You More Lovable, or What God Isn't, I was praying for you.

You are the reason I write. Okay, that was not 100% true. I write because I have this wild, mad love affair with words and the way stringing them together can change a peson's outlook, heart, or life.

But I don't put my words out on blogs or in print simply to satisfy my passion. I do it for you.

If one word, sentence, or story touches your heart, draws you nearer to the endless love of God, helps you like yourself better, or makes you laugh, I have fulfilled a slice of my dream.

It's sad when something good, like this blog, must end. Although I'll miss you, I hope you pop over to Mirth and Worth sometime to say "hi." I write the same kinds of crazy, uplifting things there that I do here, so you'll feel right at home, I promise.

I'm thankful for you. And I will keep praying for you. That's another promise.

With Love in the Lamb,

“Nutty with a dash of meat” best describes Jeanette Levellie’s speaking, writing and life. She has published hundreds of humor/inspirational columns, articles, greeting cards, and poems. A spunky pastor’s wife, Jeanette is the mother of two, grandmother of three, and waitress to four cats. Her first book, Mirth and Worth in the Real Lane, will be released in April, 2012. Find her mirthful musings at www.jeanettelevellie.com

Friday, November 18, 2011

Dealing With Transitions

This was the last box to pack. It would be the first to be unpacked when we arrived at the new house. For a moment I studied the framed photo in my hand before cuddling it in bubble wrap and tucking it next to the homemade calendar that had hung on the kitchen wall, and the set of quilted placemats we used for family meals. There were the girls’ favorite Winnie-the-Pooh ornaments from atop their bedroom dressers, a few precious bedtime storybooks along with the family bible, and the living room clock that ticks its way through all our days.

We’ve packed a similar box for every one of our moves back and forth across the country. It’s been our way of creating a small comfort zone upon arrival in a new and unfamiliar home.

In each of our moves, we knew we were following God’s call to take up ministry in a new location, but leaving behind beloved people and the comfort of familiar places was still difficult. Transitions are traumatic, regardless of the circumstances. To minimize the stress for our children we made up lists with the phone numbers and addresses of their best friends, and encouraged them to keep in touch. We researched the new area ahead of time and as a family chose places we would explore. We acquired photographs of the new schools and church, and sometimes even a floor plan of the new house, with everyone’s bedroom identified.

As soon as we arrived in our new home, the first thing to be unpacked was the ‘homecoming’ box, eager hands reaching for their special treasures. Our first day’s devotional time included reassuring verses from the bible:

“The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” [Zeph. 3:17]

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High, who abides in the shadow of the Almighty,
will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress;
my God, in whom I trust.’"
[Psalm 91:1-2]

There are so many transitional times in life – moving, changing jobs, death of friends or family members, retirement. But my husband is fond of the saying, “We don’t know what tomorrow holds, but we know Who holds our tomorrows.” We know that when we place ourselves in God’s care, He goes ahead of us into every situation and will be with us as we make the necessary adjustments.

Have you faced any major transitions in your life recently? Did you have special ways of coping with them?

Carol J. Garvin is the wife of a retired Presbyterian pastor, mother of four and grandmother to several more. Her life has been a wonderful mixture of school teaching, church and family activities, owning a professional dog show business, and freelance writing. She and her husband live in a rural suburb of Vancouver, Canada.

Blog: http://careann.wordpress.com/
Facebook: http://on.fb.me/mBj1F7
Twitter: @caroljgarvin

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I Am the Offering

The kids get so dirty after a day at school. I imagine they use the play yard like their own personal treasure island. They ravage their domain for every ounce of dirt they have time to dig up. It would explain the creases of grim inching down their necks and trailing up their scalp. The teachers giggle while they run about happy to see their imaginations at work. No one seems to care how dirty they get.

I cringe because I never wanted to get dirty as a child. My mother had to push me outside to play. Barbie’s were clean and reading was sanitary. Today, I still don’t enjoy getting dirty. When the girls were babies, they used my blouses as burp clothes. I grumbled every time.
When the kids reached elementary school and suffered some careless spill at lunch time, they knew I would have a complaint. “Girls should stay clean.”

But as I unveil myself from the vanities of this world, I see something different. I am dirtier today than I’ve been my whole life. I can’t scrub hard enough. I want to feel the squeaky clean that comes from a steaming hot shower and a luffer sponge. But the grim of sin has saturated the surface and is deep down in my bones.

“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are
as filthy rags;” Isaiah 64:6

I take heart for one reason: My dirt is an offering–an opportunity for Christ to overtake me. When I climb up on the gleaming altar of holiness with all my dirt and muddy dispositions Christ turns me into His masterpiece. I become a gleaming vessel and a glowing light.

When I try to conjure ways to give God something in the way of thanks, it pales in comparison to this. The thanks that He desires is the dirty me willing to lay it all down. I want for us to understand that Christ wants all of us, and He knows that means more filth than fine goods.
Will you give Him all of you today? Won’t you stop trying to clean it up and give it up to the One who can straighten you up.

Share with me in the comments: Do you feel too dirty for God sometimes?

Tamika Eason is a passionate wife, writer, and awestruck mother to three daughters. She is amazed by God's great grace- that He chooses to love a woman so full of unworthiness. She and her husband serve in ministry in Austin, Texas.
You can find her writing inspirational fiction that showcases the power of supernatural love and blogging at The Potter's Wheel

Monday, November 7, 2011

Whose team are you on? {Marriage Monday}

by Niki Turner
(Husband comes in after work, throws his jacket and briefcase on the sofa.)
HUSBAND: You won't believe what happened today, honey. So-and-so walked into my office and accused me of losing those books I was using to study from last week.
WIFE: Well, did you lose them?
HUSBAND: (defensive) No, I didn't lose them.
WIFE: Then where are they?
HUSBAND: How should I know? I put them back in the church library.
WIFE: Are you sure? You know how forgetful you are.
HUSBAND: I'm leaving. I can't even get any respect in my own home. (storms out)

This wife chose the wrong team. By aligning herself with her husband's accuser, she immediately created a rift in her marriage. Now it's Team Wife v. Team Husband in the same household, and that doesn't bode well for anyone.

"However, let each man of you [without exception] love his wife as [being in a sense] his very own self; and let the wife see that she respects and reverences her husband [that she notices him, regards him, honors him, prefers him,  venerates, and esteems him; and that she defers to him, praises him, and loves and admires him exceedingly.]"
Ephesians 5:33 Amplified
I'll admit, there are days when just reading that verse makes my toes curl up in my shoes. But Paul's words here are a description of what it means to be on the same team, not in opposition against one another, not competing with or battling our spouse for power or control or even for the right to be right. One of our longest arguments started over whether a pound of liquid weighs the same amount as a pound of solid matter. We both wanted to be right. But as soon as we got in strife over it, we were both wrong.

Let's make sure we're on the right team ... Team Marriage. One unit, together, through thick and thin, good and bad, not berating one another, but building each other up. Offering acceptance, approval, and unconditional love, a safe place to land after a hard day.

About the Author: Niki writes fiction, blog posts, articles in the local newspaper, grocery lists, and Facebook status updates. She can be found at her own blog, In Truer Ink, in addition to posting here and at The Pastor's Wife Speaks. She was a 2009 finalist in the Faith, Hope, and Love "Touched by Love" contest. She and her husband pioneered a church plant in 1998 and pastored that church until 2011 before turning the work over to another couple. Nowadays, she's enjoying being a grandma to her first grandbaby and waiting to see what God has in store for the next season of life!