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 27, 2016

Not All Who Wander Are Lost

I saw this photo on Facebook.  The caption said "not all who wander are lost."  I don't know if it was a quote or just the thoughts of the person who took the photo but it struck me and caused me to think. I don't think the person who posted it meant it in a spiritual sense but because I think in spiritual terms, I thought to myself, that is true spiritually speaking as well.

We all know people who have wandered from the faith because of circumstances or just plain neglect of their spiritual life. That does not mean that they are lost forever. Galations 6:1 say "Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to oneself so that you too will not be tempted." There are 3 key ideas reflected in this process that we need to observe and follow if we truly want to call ourselves "ministers of reconciliation." But first let's take a small look at the idea of reconciliation.

Reconciliation is the "act of being friendly again after a disagreement." When you think of it in these terms, we have to remember that we were at odds with God. The cost of our reconciliation was not only great, it was also COMPLETE! There is nothing that needs added or refreshed or renewed. It is once and for all complete!Also remember that the terms, conditions and accomplishment of our reconciliation was totally on God. We, the beneficiaries, could do nothing or add nothing to make the work complete. God, the perfect one, gave all so that we could have all. Now in terms of reconciling and restoring one that wandered from the faith, we need to remember that, relatively speaking, we are in the same positions that God was in when he reconciled us unto Himself. It's not a 50/50 deal. Yes, the one repenting has to truly have repented, but we must also forgive, accept and receive back the one who wandered. This is called FORGIVENESS and it is born from LOVE. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him will have eternal life."

Now lets take a look at the 3 key attitudes we must have to successfully restore an individual back into the fold.

1. Restore-to return to its former state. So once a person has repented, they are once again on the same level ground that you are on. This means that they are not a sub-Christian or a marred Christian because of what they did. They are washed and clean and their garment is just as white as yours! If God throws our sins in a sea of forgetfulness then we can do no less for those who have repented. Who are we to be remembering, judging and allowing former sins to form how we feel about and treat a repentant sinner? We certainly do not want God or others doing the same thing to us. Nor should we expect or look for a return to sin from the now washed believer, but should as 1 Corinthians 13 directs, "think the best of another." When we expect or look for sins to return, we are, in effect, deriding the power of the Blood of Christ to cleanse and restore. He uses the same blood on others that He used on you. That's a good thought to remember.

2.Gentleness-kind and quiet; not hard or forceful; not in a harsh way. There's no need to remind or rehash their sin over and over again unless for the purpose of finding the reason that caused it in the first place so that it won't happen again. Furthermore, they have just been a punching bag for the devil so they don't need punched anymore. The only way that one can do this in a spirit of humility is to remember point number three.

3.Looking to oneself-realizing that you are not beyond falling to this very same sin or worse. If this wasn't the case, the Lord would not have added this little phrase. Learn from other's mistakes just how vulnerable you are and remember that our human nature makes us "prone to wander." If you saying "that would never happen to me...I would never...then take heed! You are already on shaky ground! Don't get on your high horse but remember that "pride comes before a fall." You're not all that and a bag of chips yourself. Don't compare yourself to others. Compare yourself to Christ, the sinless, spotless, perfect one. You too, have already failed and with the same mind that was in Christ, with the heart that has had the love of God shed abroad in it, restore others as you have been restored. 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Most Thoughtful Gift

I've wanted to write this blog for a very long time.  Since May of last year, in fact. On Mother's day I received a gift from my oldest daughter. Now to know her is to love her. I watch her with her children, I see how she loves her husband (You're a lucky man), I watch how she ministers to others. I see how thoughtful, how caring, how genuine she is and I honestly stand in awe. Most times I just think to myself that I wish I was more like her. I wonder to myself, how she became what she is, a Godly, authentic woman and I feel blessed to say I know her.

She's always been Daddy's girl. She still is. Too say that I never felt left out would be a lie. I worked hard at teaching her to love and respect her Daddy. I always felt that she was so fortunate to have a Dad like my husband so I always let her see the value of having him as a father and a Pastor. I was glad that she was so in love with her Dad but there were times when I wished that I had been more a part of their inner circle. That was selfish of me and I'm glad that she is so close to her Dad.

One endearing quality she has is that she is exceptionally good at is gift giving. She is crazy generous, but when she doesn't have a lot of funds, she takes what she has and makes something beautiful and meaningful with it. I've never ever heard anyone say a bad word about her. That may be because people know I carry a gun. LOL! But even in public I've heard people comment on how nice and sweet and thoughtful she is. She makes me proud but most of all I feel fortunate to know her. If I had a best friend, I would want them to be very much like her.

Last Mother's day she gave me a gift. It was two pickle jars filled with little slips of paper. Her husband and mine kind of poo-pooed it as a gift but let me tell you, two men have never been so wrong.

On those slips of paper she had written 260 reasons why she was glad I was her mom-one for each workday for the next year. I was flabbergasted that any woman with two active boys could possibly find the time to sit and think up that many things, much less write them down. I can't imagine how much time, thought, and love she put into them. It truly is the thought that counts!

I tried to be good and follow the instructions on the jar, reading only one a day but that soon fell by the wayside and I found myself devouring them in groups of 10 or 20.  When I got through them all in a week, I read all 260 every week for months. If you remember, from May of  2015 into 2016 was the most difficult time of my life on every level. There were many days those little slips of paper ministered hope, healing and gratefulness to me when I felt hopeless, broken, and alone. I still read them. They still make me cry, and laugh and remember. Some days I read them wrapped in the beautiful silk shawl she made me this year for Mother's day that is covered with beautiful birds in all my favorite colors. (A thank you  to my grandsons who had to endure the fabric shopping trips to find this most exquisite fabric.  I'll give you extra candy!)

As I read these slips so full of love, I realized that she had listened and learned more than I ever imagined. What hit me the most were the "little things" she remembered that to me were just what you do when you're a mom, but to her were the things that had helped form her into the lovely woman that she is today. Unbeknownst to me, I was, after all, a small part of a big God's plan in the making of this beautiful creature I call my daughter. She's taught me that life is made up of the "little things" we do everyday. Breaking it down that way doesn't make motherhood seem so daunting.

I wish I could share every single one with you, but that would be overdoing it a bit but here are some of my favorites.

"You built a Mexican snowman with me complete with Dad's birthday sombrero from Chi-Chi's. Love you Mom!"

"You taught me to respect authority." Love you Mom!

"You always wiped my tears away!" Love you Mom!

"You took me to fly kites and sang "Let's Go Fly A Kite" while doing it." Love you Mom!

"You taught me to love all people despite their past, skin color, or social status." Love you Mom!

"You taught me there's a song for every situation..Usually a silly one." Love you Mom!

"You taught me how to not get my legs caught in the roller slide." Love you Mom!

"You taught me not to strive to be perfect but to just be who God created me to be." Love you Mom!

"You are the perfect hospital companion." Love you Mom!

"You built huge piles of leaves for me to jump in." Love you Mom!

"You taught me to learn and adjust whenever life brings changes." Love you Mom!

"You taught me to pray for others." Love you Mom!

"You were always my Mother first and my friend second." Love you Mom!

"You taught me to look with my eyes instead of my mouth." Love you Mom! (Something some of my other children have not yet conquered. LOL!)

"After Dad pronounced Brian and I husband and wife and we started to walk down the aisle, you tearfully grabbed my hand and I'll never forget that special moment." Love you Mom!

"You always loved to rock your babies...and I think that's why I love to rock mine." Love you Mom!

"You have the courage to say necessary things when most people are too scared." Love you Mom!

"You showed me corn on the cob is a meal." Love you Mom!

"You showed me it's okay to spoil my kids sometimes." Love you Mom!

"You've always been available to me." Love you Mom! (Sometimes I was too available! LOL)

"You let us get dirty and have fun and just enjoy being kids." Love you Mom!

"You gave me lots of kisses." Love you Mom!

"You taught me you aren't always blood related to family." Love you Mom!

"You made sure to meet my friend's parents before I went over to make sure I was in a safe place." Love you Mom!

"You celebrated each of my pregnancies and mourned the one we lost." Love you Mom!

"You sang the 'Good Morning Song'  to get me out of bed. Love you Mom!

"You give great hugs!" Love you Mom!

"You taught me to finish what I started" Love you Mom!

"I've never once heard you swear." Love you Mom!

"You got me a library card and showed me how magical the library could be." Love you Mom!

"You accepted help when you needed it." Love you Mom!

"You made a ridiculously fun slide from cardboard boxes and bean bags." Love you Mom!

"You let me spend time with my friends and develop strong relationships and lasting memories." Love you Mom!

"You prayed for my PUPPS to go away...and it did." Love you Mom!(Praise God for healing power and the agreement in prayer with other  church ladies! We saw a miracle we will never forget)

"Many young people who grow up in the church believe that "married activities" are evil and sinful, even after marriage. You taught me it is beautiful and it made it even more worthwhile to save myself for marriage.: Love you Mom!

'You always tell me you love me." Love you Mom!

"You treated my friends like they were part of the family." Love you Mom!

"You gave me good baby birthin hips." Love you Mom! (A blessing and a curse, I think,)

"You've always been honest with me." Love you Mom!

"You helped me learn how to be in the world but not of it." Love you Mom!

"You made me an award winning angel costume...twice." Love you Mom!

"You helped me realize that I am human and in fact, not a dog." Love you Mom! (That was a scary time indeed.)

"You acted all excited when I got you a bug-eyed goldfish for your birthday." Love you Mom! (I did like the way his butt wiggled when he swam!)

"SEVEN.LAYER.SALAD. Enough said." Love you Mom!

"You made my childhood magical." Love you Mom!(Even without Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny!)

"You are modest in how you dress." Love you Mom!

"You prayed for a Godly husband for me since the day I was born." Love you Mom!

"You held my hair back and put a cold washcloth on my forehead when I got sick...in the toilet." Love you Mom!

"When we didn't have a sled, you took a car mat and turned it into a sled! That's my first memory of sledding and I loved it." Love you Mom! (Actually that was your Daddy's idea and a good one indeed!)

"You took me shopping every year for school and always spent more than you should have. (And I gave Daddy a fashion show. He didn't mind!) Love you Mom!

"You defended me when I had crazy teachers." Love you Mom! (And they were never in short supply, it seems! Couldn't they tell you were close to perfect like I could?  They weren't very smart for teachers! LOL)

"You love corney Christmas movies (and I'm not alone when I cry for the Christmas Shoes.)" Love you Mom!

"There were always misconceptions of what the Proverbs 31 woman was and you always taught me truth." Love you Mom!

"You were faithful to go to church and made it a priority" Love you Mom!

"You had the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang song memorized and sang it with gusto!" Love you Mom!

"You taught me to make good friends because 'bad company corrupts good morals." Love you Mom!

"You helped me through the heartache of losing best friends who chose wrong paths." Love you Mom!

"Sometimes you let us get unexcused absences from school when we just needed a day off." Love you Mom!

"You gave me fun dress up clothes and a tea set and let me make actual tea!" Love you Mom!

You learned to cut hair so Bubby and Evan could have their hair the way they wanted since no professional could suffice." Love you Mom!

"You made me buy my own candy at WalMart to help me get over my extreme shyness." Love you Mom!

"You simply love me." Love you Mom! (That I truly, truly do! Love you Kate!)

"You always tell me I'm a 'good egg!'" Love you Mom! (A truth if there ever was one!)

"You always make our Christmas Stockings fun." Love you Mom!

"You taught me it's good to relax and unwind." Love you Mom!

"You taught me to always have hope." Love you Mom!

"You tell me when you're proud of me." Love you Mom!

You taught me to take well calculated risks." Love you Mom!

"You showed me the beauty of remaining faithful to your husband." Love you Mom!

"You used tough love when I needed it." Love you Mom! (Oh, how hard that was cause you were so darned cute! :-)

"You showed me how God can take the worst things that happen to us and use them for good." Love you Mom! (I think we have to give God the credit for that one!)

"You got me rubber gloves so my hands wouldn't crack and bleed when I did the dishes." Love you Mom!

"You gave me room to make my own mistakes and helped me learn through them." Love you Mom!

"You helped my friends through some of the most difficult situations imaginable." Love you Mom!

"You taught me to listen to meaningful music." Love you Mom! (Among all the silly songs I taught you! LOL!)

"You took me to big hills to sled!" Love you Mom

"You never stop learning or educating yourself." Love you Mom! (Belly dancing anyone?)

"You appreciate a good cup of tea!" Love you Mom!

"You didn't leave your kids hospital beds for months; until they were able to come home." Love you Mom!

"You always told me I was beautiful...inside and out!" Love you Mom!

And my absolute favorite one:

"You understood that even though I'm a "Daddy's girl", I could never live without my mamma! Love you Mom! (This one causes me to burst out crying so I leave it at home!)

Now, if you're a Mamma and you read this whole blog, I owe you a box of tissues! I encourage all kids to do this for your Mom. She will treasure it forever!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Just For Fun-Dishwasher Salmon

There is just a lot of senseless information on the internet! I know I have to be careful! It's just too easy to flip through Facebook and click on every random item that someone posts. When you are done, you realize that you have spent the better part of an evening looking at totally random, useless information. It's a total waste of time.

I have to apply the same restrictions to my blogroll. The other day I clicked on a blog that listed uses for your dishwasher-other than dishes. Some of it was helpful and clever but this one was way over the top! It lterally made me laugh outloud. I hope it give you a giggle too and my apologies to the person who came up with this idea and thinks that they are clever.

It was a blog that told you how to cook salmon in the dishwasher. (Seriously, who would even spend time experimenting with something like this.) Of course you wouldn't want to cook your salmon in the same load as your dishes in case you didn't do a very good job at wrapping it in tin foil because who wants to eat salmon cooked in dirty dishwasher water? Furthermore, usually the dishes are done AFTER dinner is cooked, not before. Although salmon is considered a pure food, I don't think this is what they mean when they talk of a "clean food" diet either. 

This just didn't make sense to me.  Firstly, you are using an entire load of dishwater plus the electricity to run it. Double jepordy in my opinion. Even with the promise that the salmon will be cooked and moist-DUH, it's not enough to make me want to try it. It's actually more efficient to cook salmon in the oven with some side dishes or on the grill than to use an entire dishwashing cycle! And in the summer, my dishwasher heats up my kitchen just as badly as my oven, so no advantage there either. 

Obviously I have since wasted more time just thinking about this. There is a lesson here to be learned though.

How many times do we hear something about another person that sounds ridiculous at the time, yet we spend precious time thinking about it when we could be filling our heads with other more valuable, useful and edifying things? With all the information we now have at our fingertips, we must be extra careful about what we fill our heads with! The more of the world that is swirling around in there, the less of God we are meditating on. Slowly our spiritual life will decline, in increments so tiny that we won't even realize it until we are in a place of tempatation or trouble. Then we would be wishing that we had put more effort into reading the Word and listening for the voice of the Spirit. 

As a way to regulate this, I have seriously limited what pops up on my wall on Facebook. It's much better to just check on someones statuses when the Lord brings them to mind than to read every item they share on their wall. 

I have catgorized my blogroll too. All the blog categories are listed on the left, but only "reliable" blogs actually appear with their subject titles. 

Thirdly I have limited the amount of time I spend on these sites at all. If I see something that interests me on a quick pass through I will mark it for later so that I can access it easily. If it's a website, I'll email myself the link so that I don't waste time scrolling and possibly being taken captive by some outlandish title or photo. 

I'm challenging myself to not give media of any kind more time than I give to God. That's out of balance. Does this make me a religious fanatic?  I hope so! If there's anything I want to be fanatical and knowledgable of, it's the Word of God! If there's anything I want to hear clearly, it's the voice of God. And if there's anything that I want to feel in life, it's the presence of God. That can only be gained by spending time with God.

So, what's for dinner at your house tonight?