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, May 19, 2014

Celebrate!

I am still in anniversary mode I guess.  It's not that it was such a big event or anything to anyone but us, but my husband did put on dress clothes to go out to dinner which he rarely does.  (Outback Steak House does not require dressy clothes! LOL)  I can't tell you the number of times people have commented on the relationship that my husband and I have when we are out to dinner.  It's as if it is somehow abnormal which I think is a shame because really, being affectionate and obviously enjoying one another should be normal in a marriage.  It is very troubling that when people see a couple in love being "normal" that they think it is abnormal.  


One thing that has kept our marriage alive is that we don't wait until May 15th to celebrate our relationship.  We find time weekly to steal away somewhere just to spend an hour or two alone with each other.  It may be out to dinner, to the shooting range, to Barnes and Noble for cheesecake, or just to the McDonald's parking lot where we gobble down a hot fudge sundae.  Our kids have not understood at times, but we have always tried to make sure that they know that our marriage is important to us and that we must maintain it.  (And quite honestly it's necessary to survive parenthood and have something left when the all consuming part of parenting is done!)  Over the years, I've seen this knowledge bring a certain amount of stability to their lives because it has helped us to stay stable, connected and on the same page.  


Love is always worth celebrating.  There is so little of it in the world.  Take time to celebrate!  

Selflessness is the Secret

Thursday marked 32 years of marriage for my husband and I.  To most people, this is a long time. To us it seems that we've been together forever because we are so familiar with each other and yet, it's really hard to believe that we have loved each other exclusively for the past 36 years.  My husband is my world.  At work I am teased (and I believe secretly envied) because I only have eyes for one man.  I think he is the most handsome man in the world and I don't even think about "reading the menu" as they say.  


When we go out to dinner, we may be in a public place, but that all seems to fade away as we sit at the table playing with each other's hands and getting lost in discussion and lots and lots of laughter.  Invariably the wait staff will comment on how happy we are and how unusual, refreshing and wonderful that is.  When we tell them how long we have been married, they are usually pleasantly surprised and curious.  And then we are asked "the question."  "What is the secret to your marriage success?"  Through the years we have answered that question many ways but this year, for us, it all just came down to one word-selflessness.


Our waitress was quite taken aback and speechless when we said "selflessness."  She really didn't know what to say.  Finally she said, "that's really not what I expected to hear."  We went on to explain that when you are selfless, your main concern is the other and while you are busy caring for and sacrificing for them, they are doing the same for you.  There are no unrealistic expectations in the relationship and that causes both parties to be happy.   "That makes sense" she said.  "I never thought about it that way.  Thank you!"  


You know, Christ was selfless.  He permanently laid down parts of His glory that He will never again pick up to come and dwell in human flesh.  He was totally under the direction of God, never doing anything unless instructed to first by His Father.  Many times he said that he did not come to be served, but to serve.  Because he was perfection in human flesh, he had to be the happiest person to ever live.  Scripture is clear that anyone who obeys the Lord is happy and blessed.  After setting the example of how man can live, He then rose from the dead so that we could do the same.  This is the key to not only a happy marriage, but a happy and blessed life.  It just makes sense that a person who lives as Christ did would be happy in every area of life, including marriage.  


So really, happiness and success in anything in life starts with the individual learning to be selfless before God and anyone else they are in relationship with.  Sounds too simple?   Not really, although the actual walking out of this is not always easy.  Buffeting flesh is not always easy.  Dying to our culture's "you're the most important person in your life" philosophy is not easy.  We have to swim upstream.  Dying on a cross was not easy either but Christ did it because He was selfless and totally devoted to the plan of God and his love for lost humanity.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Possibility of Impossibility

A few years ago...well, maybe more than a few years ago, there was a movie produced called Angels in the Outfield.  It was about two boys, living in foster care who love baseball and soon discover that an angel is helping their favorite team-the Angels.  The team, faced with the seemingly impossibility of having a good season, all the sudden starts to improve-with the angel's intervention of course.  The younger of the two foster children adopts a saying "anything can happen!" Of course the team ends up in the world series and the two boys end up being adopted by their favorite baseball player and they all lived happily every after.  At the end of the movie the angel floats off into eternity saying "just believe." 

We all love these kinds of stories because they give us the hope that maybe, just maybe, things like this really do happen to people like us.  Some people grow cynical and just doubt that anything good will happen quoting Murphy's law at every turn.  Others sit and sigh as if something impossibly good is a far off dream they will find sometime in the retirement years.  We all face impossibilities in life.  Those who work hard for little money think it impossible that their circumstances will improve.  Some with chronic illnesses or conditions resign themselves to accept that this is just something they will have to learn to live with.  People with wayward children or loved ones find faith fleeting in what seems obvious to them, that those for whom they pray will never be saved because the situations keep getting worse and worse.  Others, and probably most, don't even dare to think that they could do something significant for God with their life.

In looking at what scripture has to say about impossibilities I find two camps of people.  There is the Zacharius camp who when told that a miracle is on the horizon says in a doubting tone, "how will I know this for certain?"  I'm sure for the next 9 months, he'd wished that he had just believed what the angel said because he was unable to speak.  Now you may be thinking "seriously, how would he not know for certain?  When his wife's belly started ballooning out, that was a pretty good indicator that she was pregnant.  For heaven's sake, an angel appeared to him and told him this!  Why didn't he just believe?"

-Perhaps because he was old and experienced and knew what life had shown him, it was just too hard to accept.
-Maybe it was because God had done nothing supernatural in Israel in the past 400 years.  Generation upon generation had lived without any witness that God was even alive and well. 
-Perhaps, after living with a woman who had desperately desired children to ease her shame in society and fulfill that inbuilt desire to produce an heir and give a mother's love, he thought that he had just gone over the edge.  Surely he loved his wife and was grieved at her pain all those years.  I don't know, but for whatever reason, he doubted if the word spoken to him was possible.  

A few months later, the angel once again visited a small town where a young maiden named Mary lived.  Again, he delivered the message that the impossible was going to happen to her.  Her response was much the same as Zacharius'.  Scripture tells us that, like Zacharius, she was perplexed and afraid.  She even asked the same question.  "How can this be since I am a virgin?" 

Both were told that something humanly impossible was possible, even a certainty.   Yet their reactions were totally different.  Perhaps Mary had a bit of innocence on her side.  She was practically still a child who dared to dream, whose life had not hardened her through it's twists and turns.  Perhaps believing came a little easier for her.  She had not spent a lifetime in the temple serving a seemingly muted God.  Perhaps she had dedicated her life to remaining tender before the Lord.

 Zacharius had spent his life in the temple performing religious duties as prescribed by the law.  I believe that he loved the Lord and was a man of God, otherwise God would not have chosen him to father John the Baptist, but maybe the reality of what he had experienced, or had failed to experience in God had made him just a little cynical.  Maybe the promise of a Messiah just seemed like a far off event that he believed would happen but that he probably wouldn't see. And maybe he wondered why, when he had devoted his entire life to God's service, that he and his wife were childless.  Maybe the realities of life had dulled his spiritual senses and clouded his ability to dream and believe.  I'm not making excuses for Zacharius, but in thinking about these things I had to honestly look at where he had been and what he had probably experienced because let's face it,  sometimes faith is hard to find when life is screaming in your face. 


 Zacharius questioned the "if" of the impossibility, while Mary questioned the "how."  She never doubted the Word of the Lord.  She only knew that something outside of the realm of the natural would have to take place in order for it to happen.  Zacharius knew this too, but based on past experience, seriously wondered if it were even possible. 

Now, let's bring this home.  The human condition has not changed.  We probably aren't hearing from angels concerning some great event that is about to happen but we do have the Word of the Lord concerning our lives. Have you read what He has said about your life?  Do you know and understand the good things that God has prepared for you to do, the kind of person that He has provided for you to be, and do you comprehend that it is His power that will bring those things to pass, that something outside of the realm of the natural can and will have to take place in order for them to happen?  And what is your response to God?  Are you like Zacharius doubting the "if", or are you like Mary questioning the "how"?     

Jesus said "the things that are impossible with man are possible with God."  Luke 18:27  Everything that God has spoken about our lives is possible, even when they are impossible.  Do you realize that it only takes one second for everything in life to change?  In just one moment, the sick are healed.  In just one moment, a person is transferred from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light.  You may go to bed a poor man and find when you wake in the morning that someone has left you a fortune as an inheritance.  Don't believe it could happen to you?   That's one reason it hasn't! I could say to you, "for heaven's sake, the Word of God appeared and told you this! Why don't you just believe?"

What seemingly impossible things are you facing in life?  What has God said in His Word concerning them?  What are you going to do about it?  Jesus said "only believe."  That's our part!  It's not as hard as it seems!  For one thing, the power to believe does not come from us.  It comes through and by the Holy Spirit.  And we have His Word!  If He said it, and we believe it, He will bring it to pass!  I wonder how much we are missing out on because we choose to live like Zacharius, believing that things can happen and even that they will, but never believing that they will happen to us?  Perhaps life has taught you a few choice lessons.  Perhaps experience has hardened you.  Perhaps the thing you need is just too big for you to wrap your brain around.  Then stop!  Wrap faith around that thing!  Seek God for faith.  Say, "Lord, I believe.  Help my unbelief!"  And then "only believe."  God means for us to experience more than just the occasional missionary story about a miracle.  He means for us to experience him every day, in a tangible way!  He is going to and fro looking for someone that will believe Him so that He can show forth His power.  You know, God really is a show off.  He loves to do stuff to WOW you!  Will you let him?  Will you believe that your life is not set in stone?  Will you allow God to invade the common-ness of what we experience everyday and do something extraordinary?  He is able.  He wants to.  And He will if you let him.  "With God, all things are possible."