Tuesday, November 30, 2010
The point I'm getting at is this: We had no clue my husband was going to get laid off, there was no foreshadowing, no hints, just one day he walks in to work and they tell him that would be his last week, they were cutting back. We didn't see it, but God did. He had planned it from the beginning. It was the path he had our family on. I may not have wanted to work, but God made a way for my family to be taken care of from the start, without us even hitting our knees in panicky prayer!
That was over two years ago, and since then, we have weathered many storms, horrific ones that I couldn't see why I was still on the job, why couldn't I quit and resume my position as "the mom" and leave it at that? There have been times I have been overwhelmed with stress, not having enough hours in the day to get everything done. Lately I've been experiencing those same feelings. The restlessness of not being able to devote my full attention to my family and to my church work. Today I found out why.
While at work, a co-worker messaged me that she needed to talk to someone, and since I was a preacher's wife, could she talk to me? This surprised me in the fact that for the past two years, she has not hidden her disdain for me. But tonight was different. She went on to tell me how she's having trouble sleeping, worry about the afterlife, bad spirits, and what will happen to her when she dies. Because of my job, I was able to witness to her tonight. I may not ever see the results, I may never know what decision she comes to in regards to God and His place in her life. But because he saw fit to have me in this job, at this time, I got to share my love for God, and how His Son died for me. The road to tonight started 2 years ago. If you had told me then that I would still be working, I would have laughed my head off. If you had told me a month ago that tonight this woman would come to me with questions about Heaven and how to get there, I would have said there is no way that would ever happen. All along, God knew. He works in mysterious ways, and tonight, I am blessed to be part of the mystery!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
"Charmed" is a PK, PW, and mom to 5 PK boys, living in North Carolina, where her husband of 21 years pastors a small rural church. She always said she wouldn't marry a preacher, and she didn't, God saw fit to call her husband to ministry after they were already married! Visit her blog at http://pantylesspreacherswife.wordpress.com/.
Woman on phone - morguefile.com
Monday, November 29, 2010
Hello. My name is Bonnie and I’m a pastor’s wife.
But here’s the thing, I’ve been caught up in an unrequited love affair – I’ve always loved church, but church hasn’t always loved me back. Since my youth, I’ve found it difficult to fit into what I now refer to as church culture – the micro world of life inside any single church. Was there room inside the nave for a tall, slightly goofy, drama geek with a tendency to say what was on her mind? The answer, it turned out was, “Meah. Not so much.”
Yet, I loved the church. Loved youth group, and choir, loved visiting shut ins, and adored the months of practice it took to put on the Christmas pageant (Oh Lord, don’t make me be Mary this year. All Mary does is hold a baby and look angelic; she doesn’t get any good lines!) But before I turned eighteen, my life fell apart, and I turned to the church in earnest – A little help, please? My church’s response was to show its cool, solid back. The message seemed to be; you’re too messy for us.
The years following weren’t much better for me. Life continued to disintegrate in many ways. What remained was my faith in God. Shaky, unconventional, inconsistent, yet somehow undying faith in the God who loved me first.
By the time I met my husband Steve, who I knew from the moment I clapped eyes on him was called to be a pastor, I’d lived enough for two lifetimes and was heartily disillusioned with the institution of church. But, I had the hots for Steve (still do), so I had to come to terms with a few things – fast.
Number one: The church would always be a central part of our lives. Fine. Deep breathe. I can do church.
Number two: I would henceforth and forevermore be referred to as The Pastor’s Wife. Uh. Hit the brakes for a second. Why must my identity be defined by what my husband does for a living? I checked with hubby. He had no interest in me losing myself inside of his calling. He married me for me – not for my ability to fulfill a preserved role. Okay, good. Moving on!
Number three: Accept the fact that I cannot play the piano, and I’m lousy at crafts (no kidding – I can turn Paper Mache animals into a contact sport. Someone will get hurt!), and have no particular interest or gifting to lead children’s church. In short, I have zero pastor wife skills. Combine that with the fact that I’m ridiculously honest and have no problem talking about the elephant in room (remember, I’ve lived a few lifetimes filled with some pretty serious loss, pain, disappointment, and failure. I’ve learned life is too short to pretend). What have we got? Well. Just me.
Just me who can’t pretend to be someone I’m not. Just me who is learning that my job as a pastor’s wife is to love my husband, love the people in my church, and not be a jerk who judges people based on what I see on the outside. And the biggest thing I’ve learned as a pastor’s wife? That gossip is murder and it’s my calling as a Christian (never mind pastor’s wife) to love people and keep my big mouth shut. That people matter more than institutions, and it doesn’t matter if there are coffee stains on the carpet as long as the people spilling the coffee know they are loved. And I’ve learned I can be a trailblazer simply by being myself – my authentic, true, real self.
Bonnie Grove married to Reverend Steve Grove, Senior pastor of Louise Street Community Church, in Saskatoon, SK., Canada. They have two young children they are very fond of. Bonnie is an award winning, internationally published author of fiction (Talking to the Dead), and a former program developer and author of the self-help book Your Best You: Discovering and Developing the Strengths God Gave You.
You can connect with her online at her website, www.bonniegrove.com, and blogs, http://novelmatters.blogspot.com and http://fictionmatters.blogspot.com. She’s also on Facebook, and Twitter.
WIN THE BOOKBonnie is giving away a copy of to one of Your Best You: Discovering and Developing the Strengths God Gave You to our readers. To be eligible to win, you just need to:
- have a mailing address in the United States or Canada
- leave a comment to this particular post
- include your email address
Friday, November 26, 2010
Old habits die hard, it seems. I saw evidence of that firsthand in a museum gift shop in St. Petersburg. They kept most of the big coffee-table books behind the counter, displayed face-out on some nice shelving. Using gestures and the few Russian phrases I’d memorized, I got the shop’s sole sales lady to take down a book so I could skim through the beautiful photographs of Russian architecture and landscapes, and their (English) captions.
“No, no,” I indicated, waving my hands. “I’m not done looking. I might want that one.”
The confusion that registered on her face soon turned to annoyance, as I stood there examining both books for a few more minutes (not near so long as I would have spent had the lady not been standing impatiently a mere two feet away). She seemed genuinely perplexed as to why I needed to weigh the options and make an informed decision.
We’ve come to expect options and freedom of choice as practically a basic human right. In his great book, The Paradox of Choice, Barry Schwartz argues that this amount of choice is actually a detriment to our quality of life. I’m inclined to agree with him—not only because I am often paralyzed by the number of choices in the grocery aisle or an online store, but also because I am so accustomed to having choices, it drives me nuts when I don’t.
As a pastor’s wife in the United Methodist Church, where pastors are appointed to certain churches by the bishop and parsonages are still somewhat commonplace, my husband and I don’t get to choose where we live or where we worship. And that frustrates me. A lot.
From my privileged, American, middle-class perspective, it can feel quite peculiar to not exercise the freedom of choice in those important matters that we exercise in most everything else. And by focusing so much on what I would choose for myself if I could, and the very fact that I can’t choose it, I often overlook the good in what has been chosen for me and forget to be grateful for it.
I’ve made Choice into an idol.
This intangible concept that less fortunate people around the world would not bat an eye about drives me to anger, envy, and discontent because I’ve cast it in gold and put it on a pedestal. I revere it and long for it, and by “worshiping” Choice, I lose sight of supporting my husband like I should and serving God fully in this place.
This idea that we can choose—and have—whatever we like or whatever we want, out of a myriad of options, makes us kings and queens of our domains, rather than servants, which is what we are called to be. Not because we are pastor’s wives, but because we are followers of Jesus Christ.
And that is something I can daily choose to be.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jessica Miller Kelley is a working mom and pastor’s wife in Tennessee. Her husband, Matt, is a United Methodist pastor, and their daughter Kate is the rambunctious toddler who lights up their lives. She blogs about motherhood, books, and church issues at The Parsonage Family (www.mattandjesskelley.blogspot.com).
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Many of you probably had a service at your church today. It's a good bet that most are preparing family meals or hosting get togethers. Hopefully there will be some time for relaxation and reflection today... A time to bask in the goodness of our heavenly Father and to soak in His grace and mercy.
No matter what your day is like, I'm so glad you took the time to stop in here. This year, I am blessed beyond words to be in the company of all you remarkable women. I thank God for each and every one of you!
The Great Holiday Book Giveaway
Today's winner is Elaine! I'll be emailing you to find out where to send your book.
In case you haven't heard, for the next two Thursdays (December 2 and 9), I'm giving away copies of my novel, The Pastor's Wife. All you have to do to be eligible to win is leave a comment on any post between now and December 8th. Each comment (with your email address referenced so I can get a hold of you if you win) gets your name added to the hat. Following the blog gets you another entry. It's a small gift from me to you.
Monday, November 22, 2010
Then, the world tells me that my salvation through Christ is a guarantee of health, wealth, prosperity, and happiness... tragically misleading.
I’m learning daily that the true gospel is a call to self-denial. Many of today’s evangelists tell us that Jesus gives you peace, Jesus gives you joy, Jesus makes you a better salesman, and Jesus makes you look like a hero at the office, Jesus makes you the envy of all your friends and Jesus really wants to make you feel better about yourself. He wants to elevate your self-image. He wants to put an end to your negative thinking. I love what Dr. John MacArthur calls this kind of thinking- "Christianity for Consumers- Christianity Lite." A watering down and misinterpretation of the gospel in an attempt to make it a little more appealing.
When did Christianity become a "get what you want" instead of a "give up everything" movement?? This reality has been made more transparent to me now more than ever, as I've found myself in a place of "wanting" so many things- for my family, for our ministry, for our future... all good things, but do they exalt Him or me??
"Thy life in my death." That's the true gospel. Jesus said it unmistakably... "If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." Matthew 16:24-25. This is the essence of discipleship and in obeying this command; He’ll help me wear all the many different hats in a way that points to Him!
Maegan Harris Roper is the wife of a youth pastor, mother, worship leader, and full time Marketing and Publicity Manager. She and her husband Jeremy serve on staff at St. Paul Community Church in Nashville, TN where they do a little of everything, but focus on student ministry. Maegan is the proud mom of Emmalyn Brooke, who is 10 months old. When she’s not serving alongside her husband and adjusting to mommy hood, she’s working for a talented team of Christian fiction authors with Abingdon Press as their Marketing and PR Manager. She loves that her job combines faith, outreach, and great novels! She’s passionate about connecting to and encouraging other women both in and outside of the ministry and she often blogs on various missional, faith-based topics at her blog, A Different Remedy, http://www.maeganroper.blogspot.com
Hats - morguefile.com
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Today’s devotion comes from Jeremiah 39-42.
God has already become so frustrated with the Israelites that He’s allowed their nation to be overthrown. The Babylonians roared in like a flood. The Jews have either been taken captive or they have scattered. Jeremiah, the prophet, has also been taken captive but he finds favor with King Nebuchadnezzar.
The king allows Jeremiah to return to Judah with Gedaliah, the new governor. Gedaliah proves to be a good ruler. Under his direction cities are rebuilt and gradually the Jews who had fled the area begin to return.
There are some who don’t like the governor though, because he’s Babylonian. A plot is devised and the governor is murdered. Then the plotters murder another eighty men in a surprise attack to keep them from learning of the murder and retaliating.
When the people learn of the murders they’re horrified. They rise up against the plotters and destroy them. Still the leading citizens are certain that when King Nebuchadnezzar will crush them when he hears the news.
They ask Jeremiah to pray and ask the Lord a question. “Should we flee to Egypt?” Jeremiah does as they ask. He prays for ten days and then when he finally receives the answer he calls the people together and tells them what the Lord has said.
God specifically promises them that things will be okay and that they have no need to fear staying in Judah. He has relented in his judgment concerning them.
This is a miracle!
The first 38 chapters of Jeremiah, are about how God is going to bring judgment on the children of Israel for their evil deeds. God also promises that if they believe, they will see more miracles. His divine protection is going to surround them and He is going to make them prosper.
What do you think the Jews did?
They called Jeremiah a liar and accused him of wanting them to be killed. Then they took off for Egypt taking the prophet with them. Jeremiah is furious with them and calls them all hypocrites.
I think you can all guess the ending of the story.
Nebuchadnezzar attacks Egypt and the Jews are caught in the middle. They are completely destroyed just as prophesied.
To me this is such a sad episode in Israel’s history
The sad part isn’t that they were confused about what they should do or that they asked God a question. The sad part is that they rejected the answer
Fear made them blind to the good things God wanted to do for them and led them astray. Because God’s answer did not come back in the way they expected they refused to accept it. They were hypocrites just as Jeremiah said. They asked for God’s advice but were only willing to follow it if it conformed to their own plans.
We need to be careful that when we ask something of God that we are prepared to accept His response. Whatever the answer is.
Mark 2:1-5, is the story of the man who was lowered through the roof of a house so that Jesus would heal him. This man’s friends went to a great deal of trouble to get him to Jesus.
After all that, Jesus said simply “Your sins are forgiven.” Now this was a greater miracle but it wasn’t what he had come for and he could have been skeptical like the Pharisees. He could have called up to his friends “Pull me up boys, he doesn’t want to heal me.”
Luckily he didn’t. He stayed even though Jesus wasn’t acting according to his plan. If he had left he would have missed out on the second miracle that Jesus did for him.
God is so good to us he wants to do even more for us than we even ask for
The Jews waited for centuries for the Messiah to come and save them. But when Jesus came he didn’t come in the package they were looking for.
They wanted a mighty King to ride triumphant through Jerusalem and kick out the Roman rulers. When Jesus came as a carpenter, they rejected and crucified Him. You see they wanted God to fulfill their agenda. They weren’t concerned with what God was trying to accomplish.
Jesus was the answer that they were looking for He came with blessings in his hand. He fulfilled all the prophecies concerning the Messiah. He was the miracle that they were praying for. But they didn’t want him.
The rulers engineered a phony trial and had him murdered
God has so many wonderful things in store for His church and for each of us individually. Sometimes blessing comes in an unexpected form. In the midst of life’s storms be still and know that He is God. He loves you and hasn’t forgotten His promises.
He wants the best for each of you.
Saturday, November 20, 2010
We've got a winner... The winner of Ann Shorey's novel A Promise of Morning is Vickie McDonough. Congratulations to Vickie, and many thanks to Ann for visiting with us.
We're giving away more stuff... With Christmas coming up, I'm in a giving mood. So for the next three Thursdays (November 25, December 2, and December 9), I'm going to give away copies of my novel, The Pastor's Wife. All you have to do to be eligible to win is leave a comment on any post between now and December 8th. Each comment (with your email address referenced so I can get a hold of you if you win) gets your name added to the hat. Following the blog gets you another entry. This should be fun!
Prayers... The most important thing of all... Do you need prayer? Do you have a praise report? Please share it with us so we can join our hearts and spirits together.
Friday, November 19, 2010
We do plenty of things to guard against moral failure. In fact, my last three posts on this blog have been about just that. It seems to be a hot topic now, anyway. Lots of books about it. But so far, in my explorations, I'm finding a lot less in the way of resources about how to prevent burnout.
Even worse than that, pastors seem to be doing less and less to prevent burnout in a busy culture that compounds into an even busier church culture. And our leaders are vulnerable. Very. But they're not aware of be potential danger, likely because it's sort of embarrassing to talk about when you do go through it, not to mention that it's somewhat looked down on to discuss openly.
Let me tell you, from experience, that if there's anything you can do to avoid burnout, you should do it immediately. Because as someone who's been through it (and the research actually supports my personal experience), you never really recover from it. Yet no one really understands it.
What was the most interesting to watch was the response of the people in the church. While most people at least recognized that he was a far, far better counsellor than a youth pastor, most people thought he was a good youth pastor. They knew the kids loved him, and they enjoyed having him on the stage when he preached and/or led worship. So this was such a shock to them, they didn't understand.
When I listened to my friend/colleague talk about his experience, what was the most consistently evident was that something wasn't right. Yet because of our culture, there was a sort of pressure to just press through the "weird feeling" and keep doing the work that needed to be done. Except having been in his place, I could see what would happen.
He would learn to ignore these senses of oddness, wrongness, and just keep working. Never quit. After awhile, that sense of wrongness would start to wear at you, so you'd start to work harder to get more done when you're really capable of doing less. Eventually, it would be more difficult to get less done, and it would expend more energy. You feel more tired, you get less done, you can't manage to rest, and you never really feel successful. At some point after that happens, you'll combust. You might actually live through it, but your capacity will be absolutely murdered.
So when he told me he was quitting, I had to pat him on the back. I knew we'd all miss him, and people wouldn't understand, and everything would be a little strange, and there would be hurt feelings. But in the end, it would be better for us and for him, if he left.
It seems to go against common sense. To go against what we've been taught about what "good" people do. But the bottom line is that good leaders take care of themselves. This is why God built the rhythm of rest into our lives. Not just every seventh day, but every seventh year and forty-ninth. He knew us innately, because He made us. He built into us what we need to know, and He still speaks to us. We should learn to listen a little better.
Common sense would say, just work through it. Common sense would say, there's too much work to do, you can't possibly rest. Common sense would say, you never quit.
Granted, the difference isn't always completely obvious. And it doesn't always make common sense. But it does make God sense. Sometimes, in order to protect yourself or your family or your ministry, you have to make decisions that don't appear to make a lot of common sense, or any sense at all. But if you're listening to the rhythm that God put in your heart, and listening to His voice, you'll know if it's God sense or not.
I guess I'm just here to say, I hope you're listening.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Monday, November 15, 2010
Fallout from a ministerial marriage meltdown extends far beyond the couple in question. Targeting ministry marriages has been a strategy of the enemy for centuries. It's effective, and the devil knows it.
It's easy to watch images of pastor so-and-so who fell from ministerial heights and think, "That won't happen to me!" It's tempting to bury ourselves in pastor's wifey-stuff, raising children and running a household, and fulfilling all our other responsibilities instead of thinking about such subjects, but hiding our heads in the proverbial sand and doing nothing to protect our men and our marriages is the equivalent of marching off to war without bullets in our guns.
If you knew an assassin was after your husband, you'd do everything in your power —spiritually and physically—to protect the man you married. Well, there's an assassin after your husband and mine. It's time we all rise up, arm ourselves for battle, and subvert Satan's strategy long before he gets a chance to sink his teeth into our spouses. Many of us are accustomed to hiding behind our men, but this is an area where the price of avoiding potential conflict, the cost of Pollyanna-ing our way through, is more than any of us—and more than the kingdom of God—can afford.
Sit up a little straighter, brush the dust off your (yes, YOUR) spiritual armor, and take your place as your husband's true, God-given helpmeet.
Prayer is your first line of defense, and your most powerful offensive weapon. As a wife, you are better-equipped to pray for that man than anyone else in your church. You know him. You know his moods and attitudes, his weaknesses and his strengths. Make praying for him in his role as pastor a priority. Allow the Spirit of God to reveal particular situations and circumstances where traps have been laid, ambushes are planned, and landmines dot the landscape.
Marriage comes before church and children. I know, I know ... that's really hard, especially when the demands of the church and children are pulling on both of you, but it's critical to put the health and condition of your marriage above the needs of your kids and congregants. I'm not just talking about "date nights" and such, I'm talking about taking time to communicate with each other about your needs, your dreams and your desires. A failure to communicate is the failure of many a marriage, in ministry and otherwise. How often do we fail to take our own counsel? You can opt for pillow talk, car talk, after-the-kids-are-in-bed talk, or early-in-the-morning-before-the-phone-starts-ringing talk. Don't expect your husband to initiate these state of the marriage conversations, and don't ask him to pencil you in his planner (unless it's for an intimate rendezvous, which most men will be more than happy to write in Sharpie marker).
Being a Christian does not preclude woman's intuition, being a Christian enhances it. Listen on the inside for those spiritual alarms in your spirit. Be alert! The woman in church who keeps seeking out your spouse for comfort, but shies away from your overtures of fellowship as a sister in Christ? Be aware! Your husband acting strange? Maybe he's depressed, or discouraged, but hesitant to talk about it for fear of losing your respect. In short, if you suspect a rat on board your ship, there's probably a rat on board your ship. Seek it out and deal with it! Yes, this may involve conflict. Rats rarely go away just because we know they are there.
"Be sober, be vigilant, for your adversary, the devil, goes about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour."
If there's one thing women seem to struggle with, it's knowing when to change roles, whether it's going from mommy to wife, or from pastor's wife to lover. Your congregation may need to see you as the pastor's wife, but your husband needs to see you as his WOMAN. He needs to know (by words and by demonstration) that you love him, accept him, and respect him as a man, not just as a minister. (He needs that, too, by the way.) Have you told him lately that you want him? Desire him? Need him? Taking time out of your schedule, out of your own demands, to nurture the strong, godly man you married is like preventative health care—extraordinarily valuable.
These ideas are really just a start. I'm sure many of you have more (and better!) suggestions. Please, share them here!
Friday, November 12, 2010
GIVEAWAY OFFER: Add your e-mail address as well. Put it in code so the spam-bots won’t grab them, like WillisWay (at) aol (dot) com. I will draw a name from all the comments using a randomizer, and the winning name will receive a handmade piece of message jewelry from me. I figure our coffeehouse date should have a door prize involved! I will draw on November 19th, so check back then. If you want a second entry in the drawing, just join as a follower of this blog and tell us so in the comments. If you already follow us, say so and we'll throw your name in the drawing also.
Hair Today—Fun Tomorrow
I told her, “Well, don’t work so hard!”
When doing my last-minute touch-ups in front of the ladies room mirror, I made sure all the spikes were pointed in the right direction. My next-sink-over neighbor asked me, “How do you get your hair to do that?” Since it seemed to be a distraction to my audiences, I figured I better come up with a good response to their hair questions, and address it right up front. So, here’s my new opening for speaker events:
Top 10 Answers to: “How Did you Get Your Hair Like That?”
PERSONAL BLOG: http://imlivingoutloud.blogspot.com
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Some authors get ideas for books from dreams. My second novel, The Promise of Morning, arose from a situation that was more like a nightmare. Some members of my church rose up against our pastor and began spreading discontent. By the time the ugliness had ceased, that dear man resigned his ministry rather than see the church split. His wife was one of my special friends, so I saw firsthand how the criticism affected both of them.
When the Lord put it on his heart to return to pastoring, he spent a great deal of time as a candidate traveling to churches. They found a church home in upstate New York, and the end of the story is a happy one. They have a successful ministry there, and both of them are well-loved by a grateful congregation. The Lord has restored the years (yes, years!) that the locust had eaten.
I still miss them. Their situation stayed in my mind (obviously!), and when I wrote The Promise of Morning I decided to incorporate a church split into the plot. The Promise of Morning was initially inspired by my real-life great-great grandparents. He was a circuit rider in Missouri and Illinois in the 1820’s. After they married, they settled on land in western Illinois and reared a family while he pastored a pioneer church.
Of course, most of the book is fiction, but there are tidbits of truth strewn throughout. I write my historical novels to answer my own questions about what life was like for women back in the early 1800’s. My tag line is “Yesterday’s Women – Today’s Issues.” I try to incorporate current issues into historical plots—after all, the same things that affect us today also affected women in the past. The only thing that’s changed are the resources we now have available.
I’ve found that pastors' wives who read The Promise of Morning understand Ellie’s situation better than most readers. If you’ve read The Promise of Morning, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please contact me through my website at http://www.annshorey.com/.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ann Shorey has been a story collector for most of her life, and has been a full-time writer for over twenty years. Her writing has appeared in Chicken Soup for the Grandma’s Soul, and in the Adams Media Cup of Comfort series. She made her fiction debut with The Edge of Light, released in January 2009. The second book in the At Home in Beldon Grove series, The Promise of Morning, released in March of this year.
When she’s not writing, she teaches classes on historical research, story arc, and other fiction fundamentals at regional conferences. Ann lives with her husband in Sutherlin, Oregon. She may be contacted through her website, http://www.annshorey.com/
WIN THE BOOK
Ann is giving away a copy of The Promise of Morning to one of our readers. To be eligible to win, you just need to do two things:
- leave a comment to this particular post
- include your email address
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
I love church! And, I love church ministry! Even before I married my husband, who was already called to ministry when we began dating, I was an active lay person in my home church where I sang with the young adult choir, started a women’s Sunday School class, served as one of the youth leaders, and coordinated an annual relationship seminar. So, being active in the church was not foreign to me, and I enjoyed everything that I did. But, as I learned to define the role of pastor’s wife for myself, there has been a tension between how active I would be, was expected to be, and wanted to be.
I am also fortunate that my husband has always had few expectations of me—come to worship on a regular basis, participate in some form of Christian education, be active in a ministry, and tithe. From the beginning, he was clear, “I need a wife, not a pastor’s wife.” That didn’t seem too hard - until we began our family. With one child, it was fairly easy to continue to be active, but two was a different story.
The tension was never with the church congregation or my husband, but rather me. Though I love and am used to being involved in ministry, in this season of my life, I simply cannot do it all. I’ve learned to resolve that tension by doing two things. One, I always want to be in God’s will, so I seek Him to understand what I am being called to do. When that is firm and clear, it’s easy to say “no” to other people’s agenda. Secondly, though Harry, my husband, is extremely active in our home life—participating in the morning and bedtime routines, or helping the girls with their homework—as the wife and mother, I set the tone for the order with which our home is run. I can’t do that if I am at church three or four nights a week, which is easy to do even if you are involved in two ministries.
Often times, pastors’ wives lament of all that is expected of them. In my case, it wasn’t what others expected of me. It is my understanding of what I am called to do in this season of my life. I can only have this clarity when I have nurtured my relationship with the Lord. And, that is more important than the many activities with which we can become involved in the life of the church.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Shauntae Brown White lives in Raleigh, NC with her husband and two daughters. She has been a pastor's wife for 12 years
Hands - morguefile.com
Monday, November 8, 2010
I don’t think I’m only speaking for myself when I say that sometimes as PW’s we’re put in some pretty unfair situations. Here lately, I’ve been faced with the challenge of stepping up for multiple responsibilities because no one else is and then when certain things aren’t done just right, there is inevitably a select person or two that love to point that out to you :) My husband is MUCH better at biting the bullet than I am. Often times, when we call a parent meeting or are meeting with the elders about something specific my husband begs me not to say anything that will get him fired (I’m exaggerating of course, but I do have to ask the Lord to help me tame my tongue)!
We are not always treasured on this earth. Our relationships with our families or friends or even spouses can lead us to believe that we may be unique, but that it's not a good thing. So often we are encouraged to blend in, don't rock the boat, but I say...rock the boat, and be who you are.
When we hold back who we really are, everyone misses out. So whether you're a wordsmith or not, whether you like high heels or flip-flops, whether old or young, whether shy or outgoing, be who you really are. We have a voice and a style that is our own. It has been given to us by God so that through us, a unique picture of our Father can be seen! I was really thankful for this insight from the Lord just recently so I hope that it speaks to your heart as well!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Maegan Harris Roper is a 28-year-old wife of a youth pastor, mother, worship leader, and full time Marketing and Publicity Manager. She and her husband Jeremy serve on staff at St. Paul Community Church in Nashville, TN where they do a little of everything, but focus on student ministry. Maegan is the proud mom of Emmalyn Brooke, who is 6 months old. When she’s not serving alongside her husband and adjusting to mommyhood, she’s working for a talented team of Christian fiction authors with Abingdon Press as the Marketing and Publicity Manager. She loves that her job combines faith, outreach, and great books! She’s passionate about connecting to and encouraging other women both in and outside of the ministry and she often blogs on various missional, faith-based topics at her blog, A Different Remedy, http://www.maeganroper.blogspot.com/
figurehead - morguefile.com
Sunday, November 7, 2010
God knows our motivations though. He understands our hearts and no amount of hoop jumping self-justification will work on Him.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lisa Karon Richardson has been creating stories, since she was little. Influenced by books like The Secret Garden and The Little Princess her early books were heavy on boarding schools and creepy houses. It took her awhile to figure our why Grandma thought it was unrealistic for boys and girls to share a room at a boarding house! Now that she’s (mostly) all grown-up she still loves a healthy dash of adventure and excitement in any story she creates, even her real-life story. She’s been a missionary to the Seychelles and Gabon and now that she and her husband are back in America, they are tackling a brand new adventure, starting a daughter-work church in a new city. You can usually find Lisa at her blog, http://lisakaronrichardson.blogspot.com/, or making the contest rounds. She’s a 2010 Genesis Finalist, 2010 Great Expectations first place winner, 2010 Daphne Du Maurier 3rd place winner, 2010 Duel on the Delta third place winner, and more.
Photo credit: morguefile.com
Friday, November 5, 2010
In the previous two parts, we've discussed two of the three pieces of the old story, The Emperor's New Clothes. The Emperor, who was naked and thought he was clothed, and the Tailors, who deceived him into thinking that he was clothed when he was really naked. This third part is about The Crowd, who succumbed to the mob mentality. But the one little girl who did not.
First, the crowd. Now, you can assume that the crowd knew the emperor was naked, or that they believed he was really clothed in magic clothes. Of course, if they knew he was naked and didn't speak up, that says something about the Emperor's leadership (which I'll leave you to draw your own conclusions about), but I'm not going to address that.
If they really believed he wore magic clothes, then the mob mentality point is even more important (because they had to suspend their disbelief in the way the world worked in order to believe this), but even if they didn't, they did have to buy into the mob mentality. This is an important distinction because as a leader, you (or your husband) need to be aware of this phenomenon.
What is a mob mentality? It's the phenomenon that a group will adopt a common emotion or belief, regardless of logic and reasoning, and regardless of individual will. If you've ever seen a mob before, you'll know what I mean. It's also called "herd" or "group" mentality, but the basic concept is that when there's a physical group of people, it's common for the group/herd/mob to adopt a common sentiment, emotion, or goal without even being aware that they're doing this.
Why is this important to leaders? Because we read the cues sent to us by those we lead. And we need to understand that, sometimes, if the group is big enough, we're not reading reality. A mob mentality is essentially the exponential refraction of a common mindset that over-rides individual choice and will. So if a pastor is reading the response to something, the "feeling" s/he gets from a group or the visual cues from the congregation and/or church gathering might not be the best litmus test.
Then, we come to the girl who cried "nude". The little girl who was not duped by the Emperor, the Tailors, or the Mob. She saw what she saw, and called a spade a spade. Of course, the Bible teaches us about faith like a child, and I think this is why. Something about her psychological wellness existed outside the good of the group. She was able to separate her fears from her truth-telling and say what needed to be said.
Of course, this can sometimes be dangerous, but it can sometimes be very valuable.
From a leadership perspective, it's important to build consensus. But it can be tempting to shield or guard some parts of your organization/motive/idea from the public because they might not be taken well. I think if we can learn anything from leadership transparency, it's that hiddenness is never beneficial. If you're unwilling to listen to the "Little Girls" in your midst, then that's a red flag. If you're unwilling to get naked (metaphorically, of course) with your followers, that's a red flag. If you're unwilling to take a close look at the people who support you and search out those who can and can't tell you the truth, that's a red flag.
In my experience, leadership transparency could have saved all the major church disasters that I've witnessed. And it also has saved some churches from disaster. Again, I'll recommend Leading from the Inside Out: The Art of Self-Leadership and Overcoming the Dark Side of Leadership: How to Become an Effective Leader by Confronting Potential Failures. Both excellent books about how to promote leadership transparency.
Both are, in my opinion, must-reads for any pastor or church leader of any capacity and any role in any size church. All scandals and sins are damaging. Do what you can to have transparency in your leadership (in whatever way is best for you and/or your husband), and God will honor that honesty.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rebecca Lynn is a Music Pastor at a thriving church in the Mountain West. She recently finished her Master of Arts in Transformational Leadership at Bethel Seminary in St. Paul, MN. She is an author, speaker, leadership coach, and consultant who specializes in self-leadership and communications.