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, June 29, 2015

Someone, Somewhere Has To Take A Stand

I started this blog months ago and never finished it. But it especially holds true now that summer is upon us. There seems to be a lot of churchitis in the summer months so this will be a good reminder to those who forget that vacations from work do not include vacations from church.

We've will have been in ministry 31 years next spring. Through the years, it seemed that we were blessed to be effective in what we preached, taught and lived. We always shrived to live what we preached because we believed it to be the truth and the correct way to obey and grow in God. That's not to say that we haven't ever changed things. Learning of Christ is an ongoing process and there have been things that we realized that maybe we were a little over-exuberant about but for the most part, the basic and foundational beliefs and practices have remained the same.

One thing that we have never budged on is our observance of the Lord's Day. Many will label this "religious" and they're right. Jesus never banged on religion.  He condemned false religion. There is a difference. There are some things that we should do religiously like brushing our teeth, bathing, eating breakfast, telling our kids that we love them AND "not forsaking the gathering together of ourselves."

We religiously attended our home church every Sunday in that we left no stone unturned to make sure that we could be there every week. The only thing that kept us from it was the occasional illness or catastrophe in the barn-you'll have this when dealing with cows.  They will occasionally get turned sideways while lying in a stanchion stall and break their spine trying to stand up at which point your only course of action is to call the rendering plant and have them come and get her.  Or you will have a moose of a diary cow plug up the door leading outside and the rest of the cows will try to squeeze through and end up breaking a water pipe, thus flooding the barn. But these kinds of things are the exception.

Over the years, we have always taught the importance of being part of a local body and being faithful to church attendance. It has been one of our biggest struggles. On this issue, no one can accuse us of not practicing what we preach.  It has nothing to do with the fact that we are in ministry. When we came to know the Lord, our favorite place to be was in God's house with God's people. There was no thought or desire to be in ministry then.  We drove to church no matter the weather even though we lived almost an hour away in the middle of nowhere where even snow plows sometimes feared to tread. If we went to visit family and wanted to spend the night, we took a day off work and went on Friday so that we could be home and in our home church on Sunday. We let our kids sleep in their car seats and drove through the night to be HOME for church. God always blessed and gave grace, even to our kids for that. It taught our children to have the right view of the family of God, the Body of Christ, and the priority of God's meetings. We never missed-not for family reunions, not for moral/social events that were scheduled for Sunday, not for work-we never took a job if it required us to work on Sunday and usually not even for vacation if we could plan around it.  I did lose a job once because they needed me on Sunday and I refused. God has blessed us for this decision.

Summer is coming and people just tend to go AWOL for no particular reason. I understand that people take vacations and I would begrudge no one that opportunity. Most people that I know do attend church somewhere when they are on vacation and for that I commend them. Still, others seem to have the view that as long as they go to church SOMEWHERE on any given Sunday that it is okay. Or they think that watching a live stream service of some pet preacher is the same as church attendance.

I'm not advocating the "I'm of Paul, and I'm of Apollos" mentality either. However, there are reasons that God has directed you to a certain church.  If He hasn't, for heaven's sake find out where you're supposed to be and get plugged in there. You are needed somewhere and you need to be in a church where God can give words to you through his messenger, your Pastor. Yes folks, your Pastor has a higher purpose than comforting you when you're sick, marrying you, burying you, and giving you little pats on the back to assure you of your spirituality. He won't be held accountable with any of that, but he will be held accountable for what he preached and delivered. If he's accountable for presenting it, then you are accountable for hearing and heeding what he says.

Last year my husband contemplated putting a sign on the door one Sunday morning that read "Cancelled Due To Lack Of Interest". Of course, that would have only punished the faithful but it was very discouraging. So before you go running off to Anywhereland this summer consider a few things:

-God has given gifts to the church.
-He has placed those gifts in people.
-When he places a gift in a church, it is inside of a person.
-If the person is missing from the place where the gift was needed, thus being why God placed it there, then the gift is missing from the church.
-When gifts are missing, the Body suffers.

-Your Pastor seeks God for a message every week. It takes time, prayer and study. He delivers what God says the Body needs.
-If you aren't there, you won't get what God has for you that week. The potential for catasrophe exists when you are missing things God wants you to hear. If I had a nickel for every time I've heard someone say "I wish I had been there when that was preached" or my husband says "I really felt that the sermon was for so and so, but they weren't there", I'd be driving a new truck.

-It's just not about making sure you are in church somewhere. That is just religious activity and at its very heart, selfish. Well, I went to church, I heard a sermon, I worshipped a little, I paid my tithe so I'm in good standing with God. I'm still under God's blessing spout. It's all about me, me, me.
-Perhaps you could change your plans, cut your trip short one day, or some other type of sacrifice to actually be where God placed you to hear what He wants you to hear and minister to others in the way He has graced you to minister. Your gifts are important!
-Your home church won't be home long if you are constantly missing.

There will be times when it is impossible to be in your home church. That's understandable but it is important for you and those you call "family" to make HOME church attendance a priority. Some people will poo-poo this idea but it was preached of old and has proven in our lives to be a true source of blessing.

It's a matter of faithfulness.  If you want to serve in a church, you have to prove yourself faithful. Maybe the reason you aren't asked to serve is because you haven't proven faithfulness to the body of Christ where God has placed you. Church attendance is a good place to start. Being there helps you connect and take ownership of a body of believers. It's important, even when it's summer.

-

Monday, June 22, 2015

Knitpickers

To be honest, I really wanted to blog about something else today. I read a really stupid blog this morning-not the way I wanted to start my week. It was a Christian banging on their church. This has happened several times before on this blog and it disturbs me. The first time it happened I just decided to extend some grace. The second time it happened, I prayed for the person because obviously they had some issues that required the Lord's grace. Today it just made me mad. (I do have Irish roots and we are known to be a bit hot blooded you know. That's not an excuse for anger manifesting itself though. With the Lord's help I have learned to control my temper, in fact, I have learned to just let things roll off like water off a freshly waxed car. I've decided that the misplaced anger of others is not worth my attention and certainly not worth my time. That doesn't mean that things don't upset me. They do. I just think them through carefully before voicing any opinions either to the Lord or to others. Usually after being mad, I grow sad. And I'm sure in this case, it made Jesus sad too which makes me even sadder.)

Eph 4:29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.

So I am going to explain why this kind of behaviour is damaging and suggest some ways in which blogs can be used for edification. We are not to be devouring each other in a public forum.  In fact, we shouldn't be devouring each other at all. I shouldn't have to be writing this, but it seems that according to the need of the moment, it would be beneficial. I don't even know if that person reads my blog.  I kind of doubt it, but for all of you who do, please consider what I am going to say.

Based on this verse, I will say that it is very poor character when someone feels the need to criticize the church or it's members publically on a blog or on FaceBook when they have not spoken with said members or leadership about what is obviously a burr in their saddle. If someone has something to say to or about a body, it should be said in church at the appropriate time and in the appropriate way. Afterall, we are supposed to be family. In our house, and probably in most homes, if someone is upset about something, they just say it. If someone hung the dirty laundry of blood relations out to dry on a public forum, anyone would naturally be furious so I don't understand why some folks have no problem hanging the church's out there for all to see. Does not scripture say that we are more family than even our blood relations? If we are to forsake natural family for the sake of the Kingdom, that includes the people in the Kingdom who have become, by God's great power and design, our family.

Venting on a public blog or facebook just serves to upset church members and cause division. More importantly, it makes church bodies look bad to any sinners that may be reading the blog and brings reproach on the name of Christ. As Christians, we should not be providing opportunities for offense. More importantly, we shouldn't be voicing our own problems with offense on line. If we need to cry in our beer, do it before the Lord but be ready for what He may have to say. If your aim is transparency, be transparent about your own shortcomings, not everyone elses.

I have noticed through the years with blogs such as these that most of the time there is no valid point being made. More often than not, it is because the person has perceived the situation through their own tinted glasses instead of seeing that their world is much too small and that their nose is stuck in their naval. So they vent on a public forum thinking they are being spiritual by using ambiguities and generalizations when what they are really doing is just getting their digs in to satisfy their flesh which hurts the Body of Christ and the cause of Christ. What we ought to do is consider others more important than ourselves and let love cover a multitude of sins. If it is a legitimate hurt, the Bible is very clear on how to handle them and if I recall correctly, it never mentions telling the world and anyone else who will listen.

Surely there is enough crap on line without Christians adding to it. Seriously, why not talk about the greatness of God, the plight of sinners, the healing power of the Holy Spirit, the love of Jesus Christ for the world, the goodness of God in your own life or in the lives of others instead of being a knit picky exposer of perceived faults of those the Lord has placed in your life to be family. And if you don't think they are being family, perhaps examine your own self and see how much "family" you are being to them! Be what you are in word AND deed and if you aren't, stop complaining because they aren't that to you!

The church body is not perfect. The Pastor and his wife are not perfect! We live in an imperfect world and imperfected flesh. Learn to deal with it and go with the flow. At least, learn to rise above what you see as faults in others and pray genuine prayers for God's blessing and santification in their lives. Take the negatives and turn them to positives. Take the spirituality that you have received and be spiritual! Project some grace into the situation by using edifying words that give grace to those who hear it...or read it.

Too many people see themselves as the victim in every situation. I can't tell you how many times I read or hear of people thinking that they are somehow victimized by the church. If your church truly does that, go somewhere else but before doing that sit down with your Pastor and discuss your feelings.  More often than not you will find that you are not really seeing things completely clearly because of your own weaknesses. Honestly, with all the people in this world that are going to hell, Christian bloggers have plenty to write about that could make a difference in the life of a lost person, a downtrodden person, or a person who is hurting and needs healing or encouragement. At the very least, we could project a little goodness into the world and brighten someone's day or give hope to someone who has lost faith. 

We have no time to wallow in immaturity! Let's put our big person pants on and be a positive influence in the world and the church!





Monday, June 15, 2015

God's Timely Promises

On May 14th, the retina in my left eye decided to say "tallyho" to my eyeball.  I was sitting at work and noticed that everything looked "wavey" and not the kind of wavey you see at the beach. I called the eye doctor and went in for an exam and within 2 hours was sitting in a surgeon's office and scheduled for emergency surgery early the next morning. All went well and I am already back at work, although I am temporarily blind in that eye. (I will write more on all of this later.)

Through this whole ordeal, I have been amazed at the peace of God that has pervaded my life. Once jumping on this wave, everything went really quickly-the opthamologist, the surgeon, traveling to the hospital, the operation and home, the return visit to the hospital the day after surgery and home again. It was one of those buckle your seatbelts and hold on experiences. Outside of asking my husband to pray with me before entering the operating room, there was really little else except this deep, abiding peace. In the midst of not knowing if the detachment had progressed to the point of no return, there was just peace. In thinking about missing work and my ability to return to my present job, there was just peace.

On my desk at work, I have a scripture calendar that my sister gave to me.  Each day I tear off the previous day to see the beautiful photo and verse for the day. I'm not a believer in using these like some use their horoscopes, but I find it uncanny at how much a verse will bless me on a certain day because it deals with exactly what kind of day I'm having. On the day of my surgery, had I been at work I would have seen "Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee: the glory of the Lord shall be thy rear guard."

What a perfect verse for that day. I don't think God designed that calendar just for me, but it is amazing to think that in His infinite knowledge of time and people that His hand was on the person designing and arranging the days on that calendar. I'd like to think that He had me in mind along with the myriad of other people who now own this calendar.

Impossible?  Not for my God! And it is just something that He would do!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

I May Not Be A Shadow, But I'm Not A Mirror Either!


Many of you know that I have never felt like I fit in the Pastor's wife mold and I have had open rebellion when someone has tried to force me into it. And although I don't see this role that I play as a "position" in the church, I do assume a certain position in the hierarchy of my family and since my husband happens to be a Pastor, I am called the Pastor's wife. 

Most of what I do in the church revolves around one of two things, my spiritual gifts or my God given call of helpmate to my husband. My desire has always been to serve the Lord, my husband, my family, and my church family.  It has nothing to do with my "position". I rather choose to serve in quiet service and quite frankly I don't give a rip if everyone in the church is happy with me or not. It's not that I don't care, it's just that I have learned that if I tried to fulfill everyone's expectations of what a Pastor's wife should be, I'd be like a dog at the circus jumping through fiery hoops. I don't like fire or hoops and a little bit of circus goes a long, long way!

When we left our denomination, or rather, when they left us, we became affiliated with a Pentecostal group that was similar to what had left us. In order to be ordained, we had to fly to sunny southern California to attend the ordination service. When the minister who was praying for people came to us, he stopped and prophesied over my husband first, and then me. As he spoke, he said some things that really resonated with me and some things that I didn't, at that time understand. After the service, we were given a copy of the prophesies to take home with us.  I tucked mine in my Bible for further consideration and prayer. 

We are not to spurn personal prophecies or immediately accept them as gospel truth either.  Let's face it, there are a lot of false prophesy nuts out there and we must be careful. I've been too often on the end of a wrong prophecy, and thanks be to God, He has always helped me to discern. We are warned in scripture in 1 Thes 5  "Do not quench the Spirit; do not despise prophetic utterances.  But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good;  abstain from every form of evil" and in 1 Jn 4:1 "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world."

This particular organization was very pro-woman. They believed that women had total equality with men, both in position and function within the Body of Christ. I agree that we are equal in position, in Christ, but it should be obvious to anyone with two eyes that we are created a little bit different then men, so we are different in function. I have no desire to be a man.  I want to embrace the grand, beautiful design of womanhood. And if that womanhood means that I am third on the total pole of functionality in the church, Praise God! I would never want to serve outside of God's design for me as a woman because let me tell you ladies, we do not want to try to do spiritual work without the right equipment! It's always a disaster!

Because of this, they also believed that when a man was called to ministry, his wife was called as well. You see this idea still in many churches. The wife preaches and teaches as much as her husband. I'm not against this IF the wife is actually called to these things, but to assume that the wife automatically inherits her husbands gifts and callings doesn't make sense, in fact, I think it is demeaning to women. 

The thing that he said to me in the prophecy was "you are not just a shadow of your husband." This was to encourage me to be a minister as well. Funny, I thought I was already doing that. I had at that point in my life, discipled many young women who were all over the world in missions and ministry or being a helpmate to their minister husbands. I was teaching Sunday school and leading the worship team. I was never one to like standing up in front of a group and doing anything, but I thrived in leading in a small group setting. I was raising 3 children in the fear and admonition of the Lord and was about to add one more to that mix. I was taking good care of my husband and "filling in the cracks" at church to make sure that everything was running smoothly. I wondered, was this just to "tide me over" until I married the man who would dictate my giftings? Certainly not!

Through the years I'd had the "one flesh" verse thrown in my face as they tried to ordain me every year as a minister of their organization. I told them over and over again they could ordain me all they wanted but I was not paying the fee nor would I ever use my ID card to assert myself as in some "position".  (Actually I did use it one time when the hospital didn't believe I was a Pastor's wife when trying to get into the emergency room to see an injured church member, but that was merely an act of desperation!) The organization couldn't argue with me using scripture, so they used book excerpts to try to convince me that essentially my gifts before ordination were now expired and now I should operate in the same gifts as my husband. I insisted on scripture but they could provide nothing but the one flesh verse, which essentially, in the context that they used it in would make the sinner spouse of an ordained minister with their organization gifted to preach and teach as well.  I could shoot that one down pretty quickly and they could never provide me any other scriptures to support their pleas. I'm stubborn like that. Eventually they quit calling. 

I always thought that whole train of thought actually defeated their attempts to validate and elevate women.  Essentially it said that women were not complete in their gifts until married to a minister or ordained themselves.  I don't believe that the gifts that God had given me as young woman were just "temporary-get-by gifts" until I could step into whatever calling my husband had! I am complete, married or not! I am gifted by God, married or not! I have a place and a purpose and worth in the Kingdom with or without a spouse. 

And even though I agree it wouldn't have been good for me to be a shadow, it would have been equally bad for me to be a mirror, which is what this organization seemed to be advocating. I am called to mirror Christ in whatever gifts and callings HE has given me. Those operated in me before my husband even thought about the ministry, while he prepared for ministry and after he entered the ministry. How they manifested in my life might have been different depending on the situation and need, but they remained unchanged and without repentance, as scripture says. I've never bent to the pressure that is put on Pastor's wives to be anything but Godly, as God has called us all to be. 

I encourage you today to find the gifts that God has given you and run with them! You are not the second part of a two for one deal. If you are called to preach, preach.  If you are called to teach, teach.  If you one of the "unseemly gifts", do that with all your might. Don't allow the perceptions of what others think a Pastor's wife to be squeeze you into a mold that was never meant to be yours! I will tell you that it won't feel comfortable and eventually parts of you will pop out due to the shear pressure of the molded life. God created you the way He did with the full knowledge of why He needed you to be that way. It's how He will use you! Let God mold you around that gifts He has given you and you will be able to minister in power, authority and with great success. Don't worry. People will eventually get over the fact that you are not anything like what they expect you to be and will grow to accept and be thankful that you are who you are.