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.

Monday, February 27, 2012

"Random" Acts Of Kindness

I love to knit!  I am rarely ever idle so even when I'm sitting in front of the t.v. relaxing  I have to be busy doing something other than staring mindlessly at the t.v. screen.  So I knit.  I've been knitting for 26 years and in all those years, I have never once knitted one thing for myself-not one thing.  I did get a sweater by accident once because the person I knit it for is someone I hadn't seen in awhile and they lost a bunch of weight so the sweater was way too big.  They sent it back knowing that I could probably wear it, which I did for awhile, even though it didn't fit me as perfectly as I would have liked.  I had decided that the next thing I knit would be something for me.  I picked a sweater that has a lot of forgiving qualities just in case I didn't get the gauge right and I would sit and read and re-read the instructions so that when I did finally get yarn, I would be ready to start.

This is the sweater I am knitting but I'm making it in black.  I hesitate to show this because now my friends will know if it doesn't turn out right! LOL!

Christmas left me yarn-less.  Every time I would sit down in my chair I would say to my husband "I'm in the mood to knit, but I don't have any yarn to knit with!"  (You see, I'm not part of the YHA-translated Yarn Hoarders of America whose motto is "the person with the most yarn when they die wins".  I use up all my scraps making things for charity or some of my "smaller" friends.)  

I think my hubby finally felt sorry for me because he understands the feeling of wanting to go to the shooting range and not having any ammunition or wanting to re-load and not having any bullets or primers or powder.   So one day, out of the blue, he just said to me, "go to Michaels and get yourself some yarn".   I LOVE my hubby!  He's the best!

So that afternoon found me in Michaels walking through the yarn section touching every skein, hand knitting it through my fingers to get an idea of what it would look like, looking for the perfect color and dreaming of all the things that yarn could create.  I do that quite often.  Some call it window shopping, I call it "coveting". LOL!  I go to the store and "covet" all the yarn they have on the shelves!  LOL!  But this day, I actually had money in my wallet to buy something!!!  I was so happy!

After shopping for a little while I filled my arms to overflowing with yarn and was waddling up through the store to pay for my purchase trying not to drop anything and kind of hurrying because I was afraid there would be a yarn explosion at any moment if one of the skeins moved from it's precarious position!!  All of the sudden I heard a voice behind me that said "Excuse me."  I stopped and turned to see an employee of the store behind me with a white envelope in her hand. She said,  "today at Michael's we are celebrating 'Random Acts of Kindness' day so I'm giving you this gift card that will take $5.00 off your purchase."  "Oh, WOW!  Thank you", I said.

Between my member discount, the yarn sale, and the "random" gift card, I saved a considerable amount of money on my purchase which made it all that more sweet!

I almost skipped from joy to the car.  As I got in the car I thought to myself, of all the people in that store she could have picked, she picked me.  It made me feel pretty special.  I even called my hubby to tell him that I had been the victim of a random act of kindness!  As I drove home I pondered my good fortune and a thought came to my mind.  As a child of God, nothing that happens to me is "random".  All of the sudden, I felt even more happy as I realized that God had laid it on that woman's heart to give ME that card and I realized that God's favor is never random!  He is very particular about blessing us!  And he knew just what would make me happy that day.

The Bible tells me that" EVERY good and perfect gift comes down from the Father of lights in who is no variance nor shadow of turning.  EVERY good thing in my life is a result of either the mercy or the favor of God.  I looked up the word :favor" and this is what I found.

"For His anger is but for a moment, 
His favor is for a lifetime..."

"For it is You who blesses the righteous man, O LORD, You surround him with favor as with a shield."

"Let Your work appear to Your servants
And Your majesty to their children.
 Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us;
And confirm for us the work of our hands;
Yes, confirm the work of our hands."

"A good man will obtain favor from the LORD, But He will condemn a man who devises evil."

"The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life,

"To turn aside from the snares of death.

Good understanding produces favor,

But the way of the treacherous is hard.

Every prudent man acts with knowledge,

But a fool displays folly."

One of the benefits of being made righteous through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ is that the favor of God resides on you, just as it did on Christ.  I really hadn't thought much about this before but my experience at the store made me ponder.  So I set my mind at that moment to listen to the teaching of the wise so that I will have good understanding so that I can believe, by faith,  that God's favor is with me wherever I go and to expect through faith that I will see it.  Something about that mindset just automatically sets you up for a good day!

And most of all, to take the time to thank God for every good thing that was in my life and that happened to me. If God knows when a hair falls off my head, He certainly controls what comes into my life as well.  I receive from God through faith, so by believing that God's favor is upon my life, I will receive much more of His favor.  He is a good father and desires to bless His children with as much blessing as is possible to give them.  That coupled with the abundant mercy that He has already shown me and continues to show on a daily basis makes me one blessed woman!  That just makes me feel pretty special!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

I'm So Thankful for My Bible!

As I closed my Bible after reading this morning, I just pressed it to my chest and said "Lord, I'm so thankful for Your Word!"

 Everyday I'm so anxious to open it.  When I close it, I just feel different. I'm more at peace, more settled.  I feel full and satisfied yet more hungry, looking forward to the next time I read it all at the same time!  I'm so thankful for men, inspired by the Holy Spirit who took time to write it, for those who copied it and re-copied it all through history so that it would be preserved.  I'm humbled when I think that it cost people their lives to guard it, to keep it and to hide it as well as to publish it in a language that I could understand!  How could I ever treat it as common?  I'm thankful that Paul didn't waste his days languishing away in a Roman jail, but he used that time to write.  If he hadn't we'd be without a majority of the New Testament!  I'm thankful for the Jews that recorded and wrote down all the acts of God throughout history, the teachings of Jesus Christ, and the acts of the Holy Spirit.

The Word is my truly my source.  When I am hungry Jesus beckons me to go there and a table is already spread just waiting for me to come and eat until I'm full.  When I'm frightened there are admonitions telling me "do not fear", at least enough for one every day of the year.  They call out to me and comfort my soul by reminding me that the one who said it is well able to handle anything that concerns me that day.  When I am hurting, His words soothe my soul, pouring out the oil, the balm that soothes, heals and restores. When I feel deserted, His Words surround me and that cloud of witnesses calls from it's pages to remind me that I am not alone.  When I've allowed unbelief to cloud my way and my strength to persevere is gone, His Word comes running to me and picks me up and runs the race right beside me reminding me to be strong and courageous for He is with me.

His Words are like cool water after a long, hard day in the hot sun.  It quenches the spiritual thirst in me.  And just as water strengthens and rejuvenates from the blistering heat, so His Word reaches and soaks into every fiber of my being and fills me up giving me strength and energy to continue on. The promises on those pages are sure.  They are a rock beneath my feet, a sure foundation.  They are guardrails to keep me on the straight and narrow path away from harm that awaits me if I wander.  They are the lamp that shines on the road I am to take and they are the light at the end of the tunnel, my destination, my great reward!

I'm so thankful that I don't have to wait til the next Sunday meeting, the next Bible study, the next chance meeting with another believer to receive all that I need at any given moment.  It's there sitting on my nightstand always working, always powerful, always true!  It's hidden in my heart by the Holy Spirit who brings it to my remembrance so that my mind is stayed and in peace.  It never ceases to amaze me at it's accuracy, it's pertinence, it's ability to pinpoint whatever is going on in my life and to give instruction, encouragement, and revelation.  

Jesus said that "I and the Word are one."  What an incredible thought!  When I pick up that book, with it's worn cover, smudged pages and colorful markings, smelling of glue and tape that has put it back together so many times, I am conversing with Jesus Himself.  I'm hearing "power words" that are active and working in my life.  

My Bible, the Word of God-truly the pearl of great price, truly a treasure worth selling all to have.

Thank you God for writing it all down for me but for not leaving me alone when I read it.  Of how many other books that we own can we say that "every time we read it, the author is sitting right there with us"?


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Hurry Up and Wait

My husband met me for lunch the other day at a local restaurant that is near his work.  We were engrossed in conversation when all of the sudden he jumped up and said "Oh, I have to go!  I have to be at work in 5 minutes!"  "I laughed and said "hurry up and wait!"  You see, my husband is a substitute school bus driver.  He gets paid to sit in a room and wait.  If one of the bus drivers is sick or they don't show up then he is there to cover their bus run.  He has to be one of the first ones there in the morning and the afternoon, but he may not even drive a bus that day.  

I've noticed that people are always in a hurry.  Twice in the last month I've noticed people in cars driving like maniacs through traffic, weaving between lanes like a snake weaves through the grass, cutting people off, almost causing accidents.  

The other day I was driving side by side with another vehicle down the main street in our town.  Suddenly, the woman behind him started honking her horn.  When he pulled a little ahead of me, she zoomed in front of me passing him on the right and then jammed on her breaks so that she could swerve into the lane she had just zoomed out of.  She continued this erratic pattern all the way through town. Eventually my mind drifted off to somewhere else as I putzed along in the traffic to the other end of town.  Just before I reached my destination, the car in front of me abruptly turned into a local business (without using a signal) and once again I had to jam on my breaks to avoid smashing into the back of their vehicle.  Guess who it was?  That's right!  It was the woman from the other end of town that had been in such a big hurry.  She must have caught every red light all the way through town.  She hadn't ended up any further ahead than I was when we had first started out but I was definitely more calm and at peace than she was. 

Not two days later, I was sitting at a red light.  When it turned green the guy beside me crushed his gas pedal to the floor and zoomed ahead in a cloud of smoke from burning rubber.  He sped past me and the public transportation bus that I was behind and got into the lane ahead of the bus just in time to make the exit that leads to the local university.  At the end of that exit is the longest light in town.  I've timed it several times and it's at least a minute and 15 seconds long.  It doesn't stay green for very long either so I almost always catch it when it's red.  As I approached the light, the bus in front of me took the exit to the right.  I stayed left towards the light.  Just as I got up to the intersection the light turned green. I didn't even have to use my brakes to make the turn.   Guess who was in front of me?  You guessed it.  Mr. Smoke and rubber!  He had been sitting at the light waiting for it to turn.  

A verse of scripture passed through my mind. 

Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:21

We are always in a hurry.  As children we are in a hurry to become teenagers, to get a driver's license, to graduate from high school, to graduate from college, to get a job, to get married, to have kids, to get the kids out of the house, to retire.  It's a vicious mentality.  We are always looking ahead to what's in front of us and when something gets in the way of us getting there as fast as we can, we tend to get irritated and start driving erratically through life! 

It's just silly to think that we can somehow beat God's timetable.  Instead, we ought to just sit quietly where we are, moving ahead as traffic allows and enjoy the scenery along the way.  When we reach our destination, we will be much more ready to handle the tasks that await us there.  I'm sure that when both of those drivers reached their destination they were frustrated, irritated and not at all in right frame of mind.  It probably took some time for them to calm down and get on task with whatever they were rushing to do.  

Scripture talks a lot about waiting on God.  It gives us 21 reasons to wait on God and over 21 blessings received when we wait on God.  Psalm 40 says:

 1 I waited patiently for the LORD; 
And He inclined to me and heard my cry. 
2 He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, 
And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. 
3 He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God;
Many will see and fear 
And will trust in the LORD.

So in life, why not just go with the flow?  Trust that God has designed the "traffic" you are in. Every red light and green light is specifically designed so that His plan for your life can unfold in a way that completes His purposes, both for you and for the world. ( Do you ever think about that?  A red or a green light in our lives may just be completing a purpose of God for the world!)   Sit back, be patient and enjoy the ride.  Arrive at your destination ready to do whatever He sent you there to accomplish and enjoy the company of His presence until you get there!

If you are the type that has to hurry, then hurry up and wait at the throne of grace!  Sit at the Lord's feet and wait to hear what He would say about the course and timetable of your life.  Scripture promises us it's a perfect plan because it was designed and initiated by our God who is perfect in all of His ways.  


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Bonds or Bondage?

Bonds or Bondage?

2Timothy 1:7-15

 7 For God has not given us a spirit of [f]timidity, but of power and love and [g]discipline.
 8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God, 9 who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, 10 but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, 11 for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle and a teacher. 12 For this reason I also suffer these things, butI am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him [h]until that day. 13 [i]Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. 14 Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the [j]treasure which has been entrusted to you.

Paul knew that God had called him as a preacher, teacher and apostle.  In order to do this he traveled to people and people traveled to him.  At times, it must have seemed to Paul and others that he could not fulfill his calling because he was locked in prison, but Paul never allowed his bonds to become bondage.  Paul never viewed himself as on hold or on a shelf.  Instead Paul continued to do what he could do-pray, teach through his writing, govern through letters and his disciples.  He never allowed his present circumstances in the natural to hinder his spiritual work and calling.  By many he was made to look like a failure, a common criminal in order to hinder his effectiveness and his influence but Paul continued on in ministry, even though he was kept in prison.

The previous scripture it tells us that God's calling is according to his own purposes.  Because of Paul's imprisonment, we have most of the New Testament.  In prison Paul was not spending time traveling or in tent making.  He spent that time writing through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.  He continued right on with what God had called him to do.  He made no excuses for his imprisonment and he never used his imprisonment as an excuse.  He knew that God had led him to prison, so prison became to him the will and purpose of God.  Paul did not sit and pout in prison.  Instead he used prison to further the Kingdom of God.

Where are you today? Do you feel that your present circumstances are binding you or keeping you from what God has called you to?  Do you look at ministry as a future goal or destination?  Are you allowing your present circumstances to become bondage to what you can do for God?  Do you view your marriage, your children, your socio-economic status, your job, or where you live as bonds that keep you from fulfilling your call?  Are you using them as an excuse to do nothing because you can't do it as you envisioned?  

What if instead of doing what he did, Paul would've sat in jail rotting, stagnating and feeling sorry for himself?  What revelations, what insights what life we would have missed!  How his ministry would have diminished!  In face, he might have not been remembered for much at all.  His life would not have had the impact for the Kingdom of God that it did.  

Paul probably never dreamed that people in the year 2012 would still be reading his writings or that his writings would become part of the guidebook for Christian living for generations to come!

What has God given you do do?  Do it with all of your might!  What has God gifted you with? Do it as much as you can within the confines he has led you to.  Don't allow your flesh the luxury of viewing your circumstances as a prison and render yourself useless to God.  You may never fully realize God's complete purpose for your placement in life, but there IS a purpose-HIS PURPOSE!  

Ephesians 2:10 tells that God has already prepared good works for us to do.  He is certainly able to lead us to them!  We have to be open to recognize them!  Have faith to believe in God's purposes in your life even when you don't understand them.  Don't be a child being led somewhere kicking and screaming because it doesn't look like where you wanted to go.  Don't sit in that place with your eyes closed, arms crossed and checked out from the world until God lets you out of that place.  You may just miss the opportunity to really make a difference for Christ!