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.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Royal Promotion

Lately all the buzz is about the marriage of plain ole Kate Middleton to Prince William tomorrow.  Their Cinderella love story has captured the world's attention.  Tomorrow morning at 6am EST, all eyes will be glued to the t.v. as Kate Middleton enters Westminster Abbey a commoner and emerges a Princess. 

As fascinating as all of this may sound, something of much greater importance happened on April 27th, but most of the world is not aware nor does it care.  A royal event took place as a 79 year old man entered the day a common preacher of the gospel and ended it a royal citizen of heaven.  Like Kate Middleton, this man is known around the world by people of every age, color and occupation.  Unlike Kate though, he has earned the respect and honor of those people by dedicating his life to seeing souls saved and boy, have they been saved. 

David Wilkerson, a lowly preacher in Phillipsburg, PA, received a burden for the gangs of New York City after hearing about a trial they were involved in on the t.v. news.  Phillipsburg is in the middle of nowhere and is about as metropolitan as my backyard, but this burden was so heavy on his heart he refused to consider how ridiculous it sounded for a small town holiness preacher to travel to the violent streets of NYC to share his message with the gangs.  Forsaking everything else, he went and the lives of literal millions of people have been forever changed. 

I can imagine that the trumpets of heaven must have blown and the bells must have rung as this faithful servant of God approached heaven's gates.  I can imagine that as he entered those watching whispering "that's David Wilkerson!"  And as iconic as this man was on the earth, I can imagine and know that his only concern at that moment was to see face to face the one who had saved him and set him on this path he walked so many years ago. 

David Wilkerson has run his race.   He has finished his course and now he will forever be a royal son of the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.  A lowly common man has become a Prince of heaven.

Only heaven will tell of the number of people this man's life affected.  I know it touched mine.  The church he left in Phillipsburg moved across the mountain to the town where I live and I was saved there.  Even in his absence, his legacy affected me and my husband.  We did later have the opportunity to meet this man personally several times.  He was a regular guest at the ministry where I worked and he would sometimes preach at local ministers conferences and meetings for students.  What a humble servant and genuinely nice man he was.  And what power when he preached!! 

So it's really hard for me to care if Kate Middleton is wearing a tiara or flowers in her hair.  I don't give two hoots what her wedding dress looks like.  It does not impress me at all that heads of state and royalty from other countries will be at her wedding.  You see, something much more majestic is happening in heaven.  Brother Wilkerson is wearing the crown of the redeemed.  He is dressed in a robe of Christ's righteousness.  He is sitting in the presence of the Lord God Almighty.   All of heaven is rejoicing!  A saint has come home!  Kate Middleton can't hold a candle to him.  I wish her and William the best, but most of all I wish them an encounter with the God that captivated the heart of David Wilkerson and caused him to undertake truly compassionate endeavors that will continue to yield fruit even now that he's gone.

I think of him in heaven and I smile.  I think of the hole he left on the earth and I cry.  I think of the void in the Spirit that his passing has created and I fear.  May God call more common men and women to step into his shoes!

To read more about this amazing man go to http://www.worldchallenge.org/en/about_david_wilkerson/dw_fullbio

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What Your Clothes Say About You!

Below is a very good article by Nancy Lee DeMoss concerning how women dress in our society.   This is of such importance within the Body of Christ in our modern times.  I pray that any young women reading this would heed it's challenges and spend some time before the Lord with an open heart and open ears.

Celebrating Biblical Womanhood: Caution! Your Clothes are Talking¹Tools: Print

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Editor's Note: The following is the first in a series of columns on the issue of modesty by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. This series on modesty originally aired in the form of a three week radio broadcast, beginning June 16, 2003. Her radio program—"Revive Our Hearts"—is heard on more than 230 stations.

If I tell you that there's a woman coming down this church aisle in a long, white, formal dress, what would you say is probably the occasion? It's a wedding; she's a bride. How did you know? Because clothing communicates.

If I tell you there's a teenager bundled up in a snowsuit, mittens, a wool hat and a scarf would you agree with me that the teenager is probably not on his way to a picnic?

Clothing and appearance send a message. They can communicate our occupation or an occasion we're marking. In some of the world's religions, women are clearly identifiable by their dress.

Clothing can communicate something about our socio-economic status. You can look at some people and think, "She looks like a wealthy woman." Or you might look at another woman and-purely on the basis of her clothing-say, "She doesn't look like she comes from a financially stable background."

Clothing also communicates a message about our values, our character, our attitudes. For example, you can look at the dress of some and tell that neatness is not a concern to them.

The Bible speaks of occasions when people would wear sackcloth as a sign of mourning or repentance. So, if someone was wearing sackcloth, he was sending a message about what was going on in his heart.

Scripture also indicates that clothing can send a message about our morals or the lack thereof. For example, in Proverbs 7:10 we read of the adulteress that she was "dressed as a harlot" (NASB). The woman is dressed in such a way that you can look at her and see that her motives are not pure toward this man.

In Genesis 38:13ff., we learn of a woman named Tamar, a widow who wanted to seduce a man to whom she was not married. Accordingly, she took off her widow's garments (v.14). Such garments were a specific type of clothing that would have communicated that she was a widow. Tamar, however, changed her clothes and put on the clothing of a prostitute, for the man she was trying to seduce knew her. In fact, he was her father-in-law. But when she changed her clothes, he didn't recognize who she was. He just looked at her clothes, and judging her to be a prostitute, he went in to be sexually intimate with her. Of course, I point that out not to justify him, but to demonstrate that clothing can send a powerful message.

It is just as true today that women are sending a message with their clothing. Many of them know exactly what message they're sending. Perhaps some others are naïve, having become so influenced by this culture that they don't know any other way to think about clothing.

Kim Alexis was a super-model in the eighties. Her picture was on over 500 magazines covers including Vogue and the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition. She's had a change of heart about many things, and today she realizes that she made a lot of mistakes. Now she's challenging women to think about the message they are sending when they dress sensually.

Here's what she has to say, "Many women are playing with fire in the way they dress. Dressing like a floozy tells the world, ‘Look at me, want me, lust after me. I'm easy and you can have me.' Displaying intimate parts of the body," she says, "is a form of advertising for sex."

As women, clothing and appearance are some of the most powerful and important means we have of sending a message about our hearts and our values.

So here's the question. What do your clothes and your appearance communicate about you? What message are you sending?

As Christian women we need to ask one another, "Is the message you're sending consistent with what you really believe, or are you sending a mixed message? Are you thinking one thing in your heart, but sending a message that you don't intend or ought not to send with your outward appearance?"

I find, today, that there are a lot of women who really do have a heart for the Lord. They may be faithfully involved in a local church. And they may be actively involved in gospel ministry. And they may lift up their hands in joyful acclamation to the Lord when singing songs of praise. And yet, many of these very same women may also be totally oblivious of the message that they are sending with their body and with their clothing.

Their clothing is communicating something far different than what's in their hearts.

Unfortunately, this issue represents an area where too many Christian women have accepted the secular world's way of thinking, with the rationalization that "Maybe it's okay so long as we just don't go to the farthest extremes."

That's why we have to go back to the Word of God and ask, "What is God's way of thinking about all this? What message should we be sending? And how can we send that message with our clothing and with our outer appearance?"

The way we think, the way we act, the choices we make, the way we relate to others, and yes, even the way we dress sends a message.



1 Excerpted from Nancy Leigh DeMoss, The Look: Does God Really Care What I Wear? (Niles, Mich.: Revive Our Hearts, 2003). For information on Nancy's three week radio series on Modesty, the Modesty Packet (including two booklets) and other great resources, please visit www.ReviveOurHearts.com.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Hubby's April Valentine-Our Story

To my one true love.  If there was such a thing as a soul mate, you would be mine. Still, God has truly made us one.  One in the Lord.  One flesh.  One in purpose.  One in passion.  How abundantly blessed beyond all I could ask or think I am in having married you. 

I know you joke about marrying me for my money.  I know I joke about marrying you for your money.  And by now everyone is laughing because anyone that knows us knows that neither one of us has a lot of money!  But money could never have purchased what the Lord has done in our relationship.  It is truly "marvelous in my eyes!"

Every couple has a love story.  And they all think that their story is somehow special compared to the many others that they hear.  But I have a feeling that when we get to heaven, we will find that our love story is the most common, yet the most profound love story ever written.

Our story is profound because few relationships that got off to the kind of start ours did are still in existence.  As close as it came to ending, only a supernatural act could have saved it.   No power wrought in the heart of mankind could have changed what was changed in our relationship.  Only God could have put in our hearts what we have.

Our story is common because what we have is only a result of two hearts turning from each other and turning to the Lord.  As we grew closer to Christ, we grew closer to each other.  It just happens that way!  And since God is no respecter of persons, every love story will sound the same.  Through all the ages of failed marriages that God has restored, the story will sound the same, over and over and over again, but I have a very feeling that it is a story that never grows old.  Even still, it is the greatest love story ever told.  A story of redemption.  A story filled with incredible sorrows that turned into joy.  A story of great sacrifice and incredible victory!  A story only an all powerful God could write.

And yes, it is special, not because it's ours, but because it's Jesus' story and everything He does is perfect and worthy of receiving praise.

It used to be hard for me to imagine us not being married in heaven, not being the center of each other's universe, but if our life together in Christ on earth is just a shadow of what heaven will be like, then I can't wait for both of us to get there!  We will still be one!  We will still be one in purpose.  We will still be one in passion.  We will have come so close to Christ that we will still be one with each other.   But best of all, we will be one with Christ!

Thank you honey, for a little slice of heaven on earth!  I truly, truly love you.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

What If?

I wasn't raised in a church that told me of the need to be born again.  That is sad.  Because for all my life I believed that there was a God and I genuinely wanted to please Him, but just never felt that I knew exactly how to do that.

Thank God we had born again neighbors that went to a church that had a Vacation Bible School every summer.  It was there that I heard about heaven and hell (yes, they preached hell!) and the Blood and forgiveness and the Love of God for me expressed through Jesus Christ.  So, as a child,  I embraced this truth, but didn't grow in it because I went back to my old church they didn't have the knowledge to tell me what to do with it.   Through the years I read my Bible, sporadically at best, but tried to do what I read.  I even posted the Golden Rule in my locker at school during a time when people were picking on me relentlessly. 

While away at college, I came to what I call a "crisis of faith".  Life was okay, grades were good, but I was in a desperate state.  I knew that I needed God and I needed Him NOW! 

There was a Baptist Student Union building on my campus.  Our born again neighbors had been Baptist, so one day I went into that building and sat on a couch in one of the main corridors of the building.  I sat there nearly all day, missing classes.  I had decided that the first person that stopped to meet me (obviously someone would notice that I was new to the building), was going to be confronted with the question that was burning in my soul--"What must I do to be saved?"  For hours I sat as people went in and out of prayer meetings and Bible studies.  I tried to make eye contact with every one.  Pastors came and went, never even giving me a glance.  At the end of the day I went back to my dorm confused and feeling rejected by the Baptists and by God.

The next day, I felt a little better so I went back to my normal routine.  I graduated and married a boy I had met in a bar.  Within a couple of months my marriage was in terrible trouble.  I was working in an administrative position in a large facility.  Our boss, whom we later learned was mentally ill, made our lives miserable.  I felt like such a failure.  My marriage and my career were in the tank.  I soon began to suffer from extreme and constant nauseousness, outbursts of emotion where I would totally lose control of myself, and was tired and unmotivated to do anything which caused my job and marriage to suffer even more.  The doctor had told me that I was close to a nervous breakdown.  My life was just one BIG mess.

Two years after my day at the Baptist Student Union, I found myself sitting on a couch again, but this time with a bottle of Valium poured out in my hand and a glass of water to wash them all down at once.  As I put the pills up to mouth a picture of that sanctuary of that little Baptist church flashed in front of my eyes.  The feeling of the presence of God that I had experienced as a child came all over me and something told me that whatever I had to handle I could handle because God would help me.  Almost without realizing what I was doing, I got up from the couch, walked to the bathroom and flushed all the pills down the toilet.

From that day forward, my Bible became my Valium.  When at work, the nausea would start, I would go to my office and open my Bible.  At lunchtime, instead of eating food, I ingested the Word.  I started at Genesis 1:1.  What I read really didn't mean much to me, but I knew that it was God speaking and I was desperate to hear what He had to say! 

A few months later we moved a couple hours north.  My husband and I were saving to get a divorce.  Upon my urging, he agreed to attend a few churches with me.  He had once been a Christian as a child, had grown up in a wonderful church atmosphere that had been regularly charged with the power of God, so I figured that he would know a good one when we came upon it.  Of course, what I didn't realize was that he was under tremendous conviction and an alive church was the last thing he wanted to be in.  We attended several churches, all of which he found something wrong with.  (Naturally!)  He was running from what I was running too, only I didn't understand how all that worked, never having any spiritual training beyond Bible stories and the golden rule.

One Sunday morning, our milking system went down, so my husband couldn't possibly attend church, but I went to the church that we had attended the week before by myself and I got gloriously, wonderfully, miraculously saved!  At last, my question, "What must I do to be saved?" had been answered!

I look back on this and wonder:

What if someone had stopped to talk to me that day in the Baptist Student Union?  How would my life have been altered?  Would I have married my husband or would I have pursued graduate school?  Would I have moved back home or gone out into the world seeking better opportunities.  Would I be Baptist? LOL!

But even more it makes me wonder how many people  who are searching like I was have I walked by without even taking the time to make eye contact?  Am I so busy with my "spiritual life" that I walk right by others, who like myself, look totally happy and adjusted on the outside, but who are hurting and desperate on the inside?  Am I running from prayer meeting to Bible study to Sunday sermon right by those who are sitting along the corridors of my life without even noticing that they have been placed in my path?   Do I intentionally listen to people when they talk to me to see if there is a "What must I do to be saved?" coming through in their conversation?  Am I, like Jesus invading the places that they live or am I just rushing past their lives on the way to somewhere better?

God, help me to slow down and take notice of the people that You have placed in my path each day.  It just might save a life.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Christian Writer's Dilemma

Any Christian gifted with the ability to write, be it music, prose, meditations, or books immediately encounters a dilemma.

You see, writing is a form of communication.  Any author in any genre will tell you that a finished piece, heard by another, is equivalent to a piece of his own soul being publicized to the world.  In order for any composer's work to be complete, it must touch the ears, the heart, or the spirit of another and communicate some form of a message that speaks into the life of it's hearer.

So, naturally, Christian writer's have a natural desire to share what they create with someone else. 

In the natural world of composers and writers, the goal is to get published!  When you get "published" you receive clout in the world of your chosen genre.  You may even receive financial renumeration for your work, giving a sense of pride and accomplishment.  Once published, it is easier to be published again and again until you become one of the 2% of all writers whose work actually supports them.  You have "the ear" of your reader's and people put stock in what you have to say about the craft.  Your creativity becomes a thing to be admired, stroked, pampered and guarded.   

Oppositely, a Christian writes because there is an unction, an anointing, a supernatural ability, an if-I-don't-get-this-out-I'm-gonna-explode experience.  Our gift is not our own in the sense that it originates from us.  The reality is that it simply resides in us and expresses itself through us.  "There is nothing new under the sun", so we can't even really claim what we are saying as our own.  We are simply expressing timeless truths in a way unique to the gift that God has graciously placed in us.

The natural world's audience is anyone who will listen, read, and buy the material.  The audience that purchases the material is often the audience the next piece of work will be directed to in order to sell more material, make more money, and gain more status.

The Christian writer sometimes only has an audience of one, God Himself.  There have been many times when I have written things, under the direction and unction of the Spirit of God that only I and God have seen.  Not everything God gives is for the world.  Sometimes, it's just between Him and me. 

This is where the dilemma presents itself. 

When God communicates a truth to us and then graces us to write it in a format that is pleasing to others, we want to share it!  It is, after all, communication. 

This morning, as I wrestled in prayer over this very issue, God spoke so clearly to me and said, 

"Do not study to have something to say so that others may know Me better.  Instead, study to know me better so that when I want to use you as my 'voice', you will have something to say."   

Writers can get so caught up in the craft of what they do that they forget the reason of why they are doing it.  It's a Writer's trap.  There must be a constant guarding of the purpose of what we do.  I'm not saying that we should never work to perfect and fine tune our gift.  We should.  But we must never lose sight of the fact that our gift is simply that, a gift.  It is something that belongs to another and was given to us to use for HIS benefit and the benefit of others.    Our benefit simply comes from doing what He asked us to do and what He gifted us to express.

Ambassadors are not well known people in most circles.  They go about their very important jobs incognito to most of the world.  But how they do their jobs can change the course of world history.  I am the Lord's Ambassador.  I just want to hear the message correctly from Christ and deliver it correctly and in the right manner to the world.  That is my duty, my joy, and what the Holy Spirit uses me to do.    

Someday I will know fully what impact my Ambassador-ship had on the world, but for now, I am simply focused on  representing my Lord correctly to the world and as I come to know Him more fully, I can more accurately represent Him to the world.  Knowing Him is reward and renumeration enough for this lowly writer.  He is my reward!