A Typical or Atypical Pastor's Wife-whichever one you come to believe

Welcome to the barnyard. Watch your step! The things written here are raw and unedited. Just my thoughts thrown on a page as they flow from my heart.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

As Christ Loved the Church--Hubby's September Valentine

Scripture instructs husbands to love their wives as "Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it."  That's a pretty tall order!  I know that a lot of emphasis is put on the love that Christ has for us and I believe it, but sometimes when we think about Christ's love for us, we can tend to apply value to our lives where we shouldn't.  Christ doesn't love us because of us.  We were not worth anything when Christ came to earth in human flesh. 

So what was His motivation?  I think that Christ loved the Father so much that He was willing to do anything to please the Father.  Because God loved us--which is a whole other mystery--Jesus loved us too.  Jesus often spoke of His relationship with the Father while here on earth.  He also alluded to it in His prayer for the church in John 17.  His heart's desire was that we would experience the kind of relationship with God that He had Himself. 

I don't quite know how to separate the fact that Jesus and God and the Spirit are one and how that relates to them loving each other.  I do think that they do love each other because Jesus came to be an exact representation of the Father and the Spirit also works to reveal Christ.  Christ then leads us to the Father. 

Of all the people I know, I don't know anyone that loves the Lord like my hubby does.  I'm sure there are people who do, but I don't live with them and that's really the only way someone could tell.  I watch how he lives.  I see and benefit from his constant selflessness as he works and prays and guides our family.  I see how he bears up under the pressures of having four children, pastoring a small church and having to work another job besides.  I'm sure at times it must be very hard for him, but he never complains.  I believe that even when there are times when he would be tempted to have regrets about things that have made his life hard, he perseveres and for the most part, without a word, just as Jesus did.  With all that Jesus must have known about his future, with all that He experienced on the earth, especially with relationships, he said very little until it was the perfect time.  My hubby is like that.  He does all that he does to please the Lord, even when he experiences difficulties in other earthly duties.  He doesn't burden others.  He only shares what he needs to, when he needs to do it.  I know that he could make the load that I carry much heavier, but he doesn't.  Why?  Because he loves us as Christ as loves the church and gives Himself for it, even still today.  I see that example in my husband's life and it makes me love him even more.

Knowing how much my husband loves the Lord gives me a security in our marriage that only Christ could provide.  You see, I don't worry about my husband cheating on me or doing something that might betray our family because in order to do that, he would first have to betray his God, and he would never do that.  Just as Jesus loved the Father and would do anything for Him, including becoming human flesh, so my hubby does all that he does because of his love for God, which translates into love for us as well. 

Happy "love your husband" day, honey!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Changes Coming for Atypical Pastor's Wife

After some consideration and prayer concerning a lot of things, I have decided that I am taking a break from the blog. For a little while, I'll leave it up, but at some point in the future, I may take it down altogether. So if you want something off of it, you may want to get it now. If I take it down, I don't know how long it will be down or in what form it may return, or if it will ever return. If you want to know, you'll just have to check from time to time. So I wanted to thank the few of you who have been readers, especially those that have commented. Writing is, after all, more than a form of therapy for me. It is, in it's very essence, a form of communication. Communication only takes place when at least two parties are involved-preferably two parties that don't reside in the same head.

I must say, it's been incredibly fun for me-this blogging thing. I have also enjoyed some of the comments you have made. Thank you for encouraging me to keep writing. Hey, we all need motivation from time to time. Even when I didn't particularly have something to say that was noteworthy, you read anyway. I don't know if it's because you were interested or nosey, (I'm sure it was a combination of both) but it all works together I guess.

I have to say also that I do feel a little conflicted about not having the blog as an outlet. At least for a few hours, it felt as if someone might actually be listening. I don't get that feeling from Word, but for the next while, Word will be it for me.

I pray that some things I have written, especially concerning spiritual things, touched your heart in a positive way. I hope that the days I was trying to be funny, you giggled. Laughter is so important in life and health. For those of you who had grown disillusioned with God, or family, or church, or husbands, I pray that the little glimpses into the life God has blessed me with were an encouragement to you. You see, I am nothing special in any way. The good things that God has done in my life, He so wants to do in yours as well and even more! I pray that a little of my experience has blessed, encouraged and challenged you to really get to know Him on a personal level because it is there that the wonder and the beauty begins. He is unlike any relationship that you could possibly find on earth!

Above all, I pray that God was glorified, even in the silliness. God has to have a sense of humor. Just look at your neighbors! I'm kidding! And even though most of what was funny on this blog was a result of my own stupidity, distractions, and bouts of brain deadness, I'm glad if you were amused. At least something good came about as a result of it besides my own humiliation.

The future for me is bright! I am a Prov. 31 woman, after all! :-)

For the last several months, I have felt the tugging of the Holy Spirit in my life in so many different ways and the mystery of it all is too much for me to resist. God is up to something in my life, and I simply must pack my backpack and go discover what it is.

As the Reverend Mother so beautifully sang for the 1,947, 631st time (I have no idea how many times that movie has aired, but it has to be at least that many times), "climb every mountain, forge every stream, follow every rainbow, til you find your dream." ( Do you think she ever gets tired of singing that song?) I feel that the Holy Spirit is birthing a dream in my heart and I'm heading out to find what it is. And that takes time. And prayer. And focus. It may not be anything earth shattering, but it will be life shattering for me. Because it's God. Because He's good!

And I MUST do this. Because I'm older. Because I want the rest of my life to be a stimulus package in God's economy. (Please don't tell my husband I said a dirty word.) Because I don't want to grow stagnant in the fall of my life. Because I want to leave something of substance, something that remains on this earth when I leave. I have no idea what that might be, but God knows and He wants my dreams to come true, because He is the one who put them there.

I realize that I may die and not know that God's dream in me has come true. Abraham and those of the Hall of Faith died that way as well. There were some promises they didn't inherit--yet. And they're famous as a result of it! But that doesn't matter. I've learned that with God, sometimes what we think is preparation for something more is actually His main event for us right now. The most important thing is that I be found, dead or alive, in the path that HE has laid before me.

So may God bless all of you with dreams....and backpacks.....and hiking boots. And may all our dream travels culminate in "a meeting in the air, in that sweet by and by."

God bless you all!
A Typical Pastor's Wife OR Atypical Pastor's Wife, whichever one you've come to believe fits.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Fruits of My Labor

Today is labor day. A holiday, at least for me it is.

I rose early to find the fruit of my 4 labors snuggled under blankets, sleeping soundly. For the first time in a few years, they are all living at home. At least for another couple of weeks, I have all four living at home, but for the last time. My oldest will be married soon.

I looked around the house. I labored hard in it last week, but there is no fruit of any labor! That's par for the course. For the last 3 days, my house has been terrorized by 2 ornery dogs, 4 of my own children plus 4 neighbor kids zigging and zagging in and out of the house engaged in a very serious air soft competition. My kitchen sink has been stacked with dirty dishes in spite of the continual cleanings. Who can compete with 8 teenagers getting drinks, making soup, eating ramen noodles, and baking several types of cookies-the fruits of which last a little under 5 minutes? If I have to choose, I'll take the teens and all their mess any day.

I went to a bridal shower for one of the young women in our church. I have known her since she was small. In fact, there were many young women there whom I have known since they were small. I babysat them, gave them free piano lessons, taught them in Sunday school, fed and cared for them when they were playing with my children, prayed for them, went to the emergency room with them, helped them in times when they were uncertain, confused or discouraged. And there they were. Grown women of God. Fruit that remains. Products of Godly parents. Products of fervent, effective prayer. Products of years of ministry for my husband and I. (I don't even begin to claim sole credit for how they turned out, but I know that in some small way, our ministry has helped.) Women who now have children of their own. Yes, the hard times of ministry just fade into nothingness when you spend just a few hours with these women. Some fruits of my labor.

I looked on my couch and sitting there was a young man who will soon be my son-in-law. Fruit of prayer. Even when my daughter was still a babe, prayers were prayed for her husband. Prayers for a Godly man, one like my husband. Prayers for a compassionate man, but one with common sense. Prayers for a patient man, but one with backbone. God answered every request.

I looked at my husband. I am his helpmate. Funny, living with him, helping him, caring for his needs, loving him is no labor at all. It's my joy and privilege every day. He always says that we should find a job that we love because God wants us to enjoy our work. Boy, do I ever!

After taking a few moments to reflect on all my labors, I realize that my labors are blessed. They are not in vain. Some, although necessary are less fruitful in the here and now, but all are playing a part in eternity-even the dirty dishes. After taking time to reflect, jumping back into tomorrow's labors is something to look forward to.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

What Next?

Now that my obligation to the True Women Movement is done, I had to ask myself, what next?

Some bloggers take a lot of time to write their posts and re-write their posts and spell check and grammar check. Not me. I just sling it on there as it comes to my mind. I'm wondering if that's really the best way to do it. I always have been the sort that "is just what I is", no fluff, no fuss, no primping. Perhaps though, it would be better to re-think what I write before I sling it out there because sometimes my mouth can engage before my brain, but after it's "out there ", I can't get it back. There is a certain honesty about that way of writing though and I love honesty and transperancy. And people soon come to realize that I am not perfect, in fact, far from it! And I'm not always right-I'd hate to see the actual percentages. However, I am always "me". And that feels good, which is one reason I write. To leave a little piece of "me" for my kids. To leave them memories. To leave them insights into what made their crazy mom tick. To leave them explanations of why I handled them the way I did. And to leave them some giggles. We've shared plenty of those along the way.

Of course, my blog does not have a lot of readers anyway, so it mostly functions as an electronic journal because I can type way faster than I can write by hand. Sometimes, my hands even have to stop and wait for my brain to catch up.

But that's a whole other subject.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Lawnmower Devotions--Weed and Feed

To the homeowner, weeds are a nuisance. They are like eggshells in your omelet or ants in your peanut butter. When present in your yard, they are just annoying. Once you have them, it takes hard work and perseverance to get rid of them. Even in times of drought, when the grass is sinking into the look of deceased dormancy, weeds will still be green and growing strong, making them all the more aggravating.

There are things one can do to keep weeds at bay. In the spring, just as the grass is greening, a preventor can be applied to the yard. This preventor forms a barrier on the top of the soil that obstructs the path of a germinating weed seed and prevents it from growing. A preventor must be applied after germination but before the plant breaks the top layer of the soil or it is not effective.

Regular fertilization also helps with weed control by nourishing the soil and the roots of the grass, causing them to be healthy. As they absorb the fertilizer, the root system of the grass can spread which leaves less bare spots of soil for weed seeds to invade, thus lowering the chance of a weed problem.

But what if weeds still prevail in your yard? Then there is weed spray. Weed spray is a topical application liquid that covers the weed plant and travels via the plant internal system all the way to the root, killing the weed.

The influences of this world and sin are like weeds that invade our hearts. The weeds of our spiritual lives are not discriminating either. In sunshine and rain, good and bad, they are attempting to invade and establish themselves in our hearts.

The master gardener of our hearts, God Almighty, has also provided us with preventors, fertilizers and sprays to keep those weeds out.

God’s Preventor—The Word

In Ps. 119, God gives us instruction in how to use this preventor in our lives. In v. 9 the Word asks the question “How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your Word.” Verse 11 goes on to say “Your Word I have treasured (or hidden) in my heart that I might not sin against thee.” In v. 25, the Word is described as a reviver that can be used in times of drought or hardship, restoring the soul to health and strength. Verse 74 goes on to tell us that the Word does a work in us, just as the preventor does a work on the soil and the psalmist declares, “I wait for your Word.” Verse 116 reveals that not only does the Word keep us, revive us, and work in us, but it also sustains us as well. “Sustain me according to Thy word that I may live.” In order to have faith in the working of the Word, we must first know what it says. If we do not know what God has spoken, we have no grounds to hold Him to His Word. Because God has given us His Word, we now have “clout” when we speak or pray against evil.

We are also to pray to prevent sin. Lk. 18:1, 22:41, 46 instructs us to “pray and not lose heart” and to pray against temptation. When we are in prayer regularly, it will make it harder for “spiritual weeds” to take root.

God’s Fertilizer—Fellowship

The practical definition of fellowship is a sharing or partaking together with others. This is what we do when we, as the Body of Christ, come together for times of worship, meditation, learning and reflection. Phil. 2:11 tells us that we have fellowship with the Holy Spirit. Then as a result of this fellowship that we have with the Spirit, we are to look out for the interests of others. (v. 4). Earlier in Philippians we see that this was “the mind of Christ” as He humbled Himself and came in human flesh. We, as His followers are to have “the same mind”. We are to walk with other believers always having their best interest first and foremost in our hearts even to the point of denying ourselves. God loves the humble but the proud of heart are an abomination.

Philemon wrote in 1:6, “I pray that the fellowship (communication) of your faith may become effective (active and powerful in action or energy) through the knowledge of every good thing which is in you for Christ’s sake.” This reinforces the idea that fellowship is about fellows-in-a-ship together. John writes concerning fellowship between believers, “if we walk in the light….we have fellowship with one another.” This requires vulnerability and transparency on our part. When we live in close fellowship with others, they see our strengths and our weaknesses. So in fellowshipping together with the Holy Spirit and in the Word, we receive encouragement from one another in our areas of weakness and strengthen others with our strengths. There is a tangible communication of faith that yields active and powerful energy into our lives as believers that keeps us strong in the faith.

God’s Spray—Prayer

So what do we do when we discover that a “weed of the world” has taken root in our hearts?

“If my people, who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then I will hear from heaven, and forgive their sin, and heal their land.”

John tells us “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us of all unrighteousness.” So the first step to restoration is confession and repentance. James instructs us to “confess your faults to one another, and pray one for another, that you may be healed. The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”

Sin and worldliness causes us to suffer. James (5:13) tells us to pray so that we can be healed. Just as weeds can damage a yard, damage occurs in our spiritual life when sin and worldliness take root. Sin and worldliness carry consequences that cause suffering in the lives of human beings.

So prayer is like a spray. It kills the weed so that our hearts can once again be strong and healthy.

When Simon the Magician believed and was baptized, he was a true believer in Christ, but a weed of pride and selfish ambition had taken root in his heart and he desired to buy spiritual power to use as a self-promoting influence. In Acts 8:22, Peter instructed him to “pray that the intention of your heart be forgiven you.”

So as believers, we must continually weed and feed spiritual lives. We must use what God has given us to prevent evil and worldly desires from gaining access into our hearts. If we do this, God has promised us that He will “cause us always to triumph in Christ making manifest the savour of his knowledge by US (what a thought) in every place.” It is through the death of Christ that the victory was secured and it is through His resurrection that the victory is manifest in our lives. It is for this reason that Christ came.

“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; 2To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; 3To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.” Isaiah 61:1-3 (KJV)