This month my family and I traveled to California to go our annual Harvester's Homecoming at our mother church. It's a time when all the pastors and their families that have been sent out to pioneer a church return home for a time of preaching and refreshing. Recently, I've been reflecting on my role as a pastor's wife, and I'm so thankful for a book I came across that really encouraged me....I wish I would have found it sooner!
Jeana Floyd's, 10 Things Every Minister's Wife Needs to Know, is a well written book full of wisdom. Jeana wrote this book after serving in the ministry with her husband for 30 years. Being a pastor's wife is not an easy role to fill. But after reading the first chapter, I was immediately drawn to spend time with God. That one thing is the most important thing I can do as a pastor's wife. Reading Jeana Floyd's book brought a confidence in my life as I sought to fulfill my role as a pastor's wife.
A Few Quotes from the book:
* "Survival in ministry to me is knowing that I have a personal relationship with Christ, who knows every detail of my life, and gives me the awesome privilege of coming before Him - in the "secret place."
* "I heard it said one time that your husband's appearance is a reflection of you, and your countenance is a reflection of your marriage."
* "Taking the time to be a few minutes early and speak to people, or visiting with church members after service doesn't sound like anything particularly spiritual or clever. However, it shows that you care about your people, that you are interested in their lives, and that you actually like them!"
* "Being raised in a pastor's home, I was taught that you cannot have friends in the ministry. Because ministry life and the expectations that go along with it have changed so drastically, I personally believe it is possible to have relationships and friendships in ministry. In fact, I will go a step further and say that you must have friends and relationships in ministry."
* "If we are 'spent' from constantly pouring into the lives of others, we will not be effective in ministering to those God particularly wants us to reach. Remember, even Jesus drew aside from the crowds to refresh Himself."
Here are some things that I wrote down in my journal that spoke to me from the book:
My presence at church and events tells people that I care about them and that this is important to me
Let the men be men
Love the people, let my husband be the pastor
Your children will really know if you love the church by the things you say at home; they will know how you value each church member in what you say about them outside of church
Share positives of dad being a pastor with my kids
Count on criticism
Always listen and learn from critics and allow it to draw me close to God
Let the Lord fight my battles
Deal with hurt inwardly (with God), not outwardly
All relationships must have boundaries...relationships also make ministry fun
Don't let the disappointment of a very few keep you from enjoying the love of many others
When I love others, they will love me back
Mentor--be what God has called me to be in front of other women
My Application: After reading this book, my perspective changed in how I look at my role as a pastor's wife. I realized how significant my attendance at church services and church functions simply was. I've always gone to all the church services ever since I've been a Christian. But, long ago I was a girl who arrived right on time to church and left the second the closing prayer was made. Even when I got married I wanted to leave right after service. But, I've changed. I take joy in looking for those I can talk to and connect with at church. I linger after service...sometimes my husband (the pastor) heads out the door before I do! People are important and my heart is to do my best to convey it.
"My attitude is ultimately what makes our house a peaceful haven. And because I can only accomplish this by leaning on the Lord, it is my relationship with him that ultimately will provide a nurturing environment for the people I love."
"True friendship is a sacred, important thing, and it happens when we drop down into that deeper level of who were are, when we cross over into the broken...fragile parts of ourselves. We have to give something in order to get friendship like that. We have to give up our need to be perceived as perfect. We have to give up our ability to control what other people thing of us. We have to overcome the fear that when they see the depths of who we are, they'll leave. But what we give up is nothing in comparison to what this kind of friendship gives us. Friendship is about risk. Love is about risk. If we can control it and manage it and manufacture it, then it's something else. But if it's really love, really friendship, it is a little scary around the edges."
1. Homemaking is a priority-I love Titus 2:3-5 because it so clearly spells out God's will for my life (and yours, too!) as a Christian woman.
2. Homemaking is a privilege-Being a queen is a privilege...just as "making" and "building" a home is a privilege.
3. Homemaking is about people-Home is a place where people live.
4. Homemaking is also about a place-A model home has no people. That's true. But it's also true that if there are people living in your house, then you should make that place a lovely home, a place for your loved ones.
5. Homemaking is a passion-not a prison.
6. Homemaking is a profession-As we all know, homemaking is a challenging and diverse career in itself.
7. Homemaking is a matter for prayer-The simple act of praying for our "palace" and our homemaking and for the loved ones for whom we are "making" the home transforms our physical efforts into a great spiritual work with eternal value.
8. Homemaking is permanent-Our high calling to homemaking is not only an important calling, but it is a permanent calling. Why? Because wherever you are, that's where your home is.
9. Homemaking sets a pattern-Titus 2:3-5 tells us what the older women are to do-they are to teach "good things" and train and model for others what a godly woman is and what a godly woman does.
10. Homemaking is a practice-and is to be practiced. An excellent (and encouraging!) time-management principle is "repetition is the mother of skill."
~taken from A Woman's High Calling by Elizabeth George
*Do my children have too much clothing or too many toys or too many saved papers?
*Is the closet arranged so my child can hang up her own clothing? Are my child's drawers organized and not too crammed? If my child needs it, have I placed picture labels on the appropriate drawers? Do my children each have their own laundry basket?
*Do I have an organized place for out-of-season clothing, and do I regularly go through this storage area to keep it weeded out?
* Do we have a system for rotating toys so the children don't have too much out at one time? Do we periodically give away toys to someone who can use them? Do my children have a place for books and papers?
*Have we thought of a creative way to deal with items left lying around the house, like a confiscation box?
*Does my older child understand why it is important to be organized? Has he spent time thinking about the best ways to organize his room and belongings? Do I regularly declutter with my child, helping him to sort and prioritize his possessions?"
~taken from Life Skills for Kids by Christine M. Fields, pg. 149
"A wife, if she is very generous, may allow that her husband lives up to eighty percent of her expectations. There is always the other twenty percent that she would like to change, and she may chip away at it for the whole of their married life without reducing it by very much. She may, on the other hand, simply decide to enjoy the eighty percent, and both of them will be happy."
I read this article in "The Old Schoolhouse-The Magazine for Homeschool Families"and loved it. I want to share it with you because I believe that journaling is so important and it gave me some new ideas you might find helpful.
"I wouldn't tell you, except that I know it will go no further."
Of course, the most infamous such rationalization in Christian circles is,"I am telling you this so you can pray." It sounds pious, but the heart that feeds on evil reports leaves flaming fires in its wake. Oh, the heartache that comes from the tongue."
~Barbara Hughes, Disciplines of a Godly Woman, pg. 88-89
Anything you would add to this list of possible gossip phrases?
"In addition to learning how to treat others, children must also be treated well themselves if they are to develop gracious manners. Parents most often think in terms of how they can teach their child to behave toward others and only rarely stop to think of the courtesy that even a small
child is owed.
Here are the basic courtesies that
any child is owed:
Do not talk down. Children may not think or act like adults, but they do know when they are being condescended to, and they do not like it.
Do not speak babytalk. Apart from the fact that speech experts have determined that babytalk only confuses a child, the child may think this is an acceptable way to speak. And there are few things more ridiculous than an adult speaking jibberish.
Do not use vulgar language. In today's media-oriented world, with standards at what must be an all-time low, he will learn vulgar language soon enough. There is nothing cute about a two-year-old using obscene expressions that he does not understand.
Do not, if you can possibly avoid doing so, discipline your child n public."
~Taken from The New Etiquette by Marjabelle Young Stewart
2011 is a day our church will always remember. Five young men were driving
home from our annual Bible Conference, a tire blew, the car rolled seven times,
landed on the opposite side of the freeway, two young men died, one was paralyzed
from the neck down, and two were rushed to the hospital for severe injuries.
believing God for mighty miracles in the three boys' lives that were facing
physical pain and injuries. People around the world began to pray. God moved
and all three have experienced healing in various ways.
time of great turmoil, a dear friend of mine told me about the book God Said Yes by Heather
Horn-Bland and Ninie Hammon. It's the testimony of a
little girl that overcame the odds and experienced 13 medical miracles in her
body. It immediately brought me hope in
the midst of a difficult situation. It strengthened my faith that nothing is impossible for God.
What It Says On the Front Cover:
four-year-old Heather was run over by a car, doctors told the family she wouldn’t
survive. Now 34 years, 187 operations, and 13 medical miracles, Heather is
alive to tell her story.”
Ninie beautifully recount the amazing story of Heather’s life. Heather overcame different obstacles in her life: emotionally, physically, and spiritually. She jumped into the front seat of the car at the age of four, the door opened and she fell out. The front tire was on her stomach. It's not known how she got out from under that tire. But, God knows and saved her. God said, "Yes"--Heather would live. Even after Heather's accident, Heather endured abuse from a neighbor down the street that brought deep emotional pain. In addition, the man she married left her during a very hard time in their lives. Yet, despite all of the pain and trials, Heather pressed forward, trusting God.
A Few Quotes:
4, still in the hospital after the accident… “I stood there proudly, beaming, as the
doctors and nurses-including the orthopedist who had pronounced solemnly that I
would be in a wheelchair for the rest of my life-burst into applause. But I
wasn’t finished. With a grin that threatened to split open my whole face, I lifted
one foot and carefully took a shaky step forward. And then another. And
another. I didn’t even limp-astonishing given that there was still an inch-wide
gap between the broken halves of my pelvic bone.”
“As Mom sat
in the chair beside my bed, staring with unseeing eyes out the window at the
street below, I just knew the tired old phrase was echoing in her head: This
many bad things can’t possibly happen to one person! How many times over
the years had we heard somebody say that about me? Every time yet another
ghastly thing occurred, we could count on fielding that comment from someone.”
Towards the end of her story Heather says,
decades of suffering, pain was not the driving force of my life. It never had
been. I had been propelled through life by the engine of joy. Over the years, I
made thousands and thousands of individual decisions not to be controlled by
pain. If I had been unwilling to suck it up and go on, if I had allowed
self-pity and bitterness to snag fishhooks into my soul, I would have missed
everything. Everything that mattered.”
back over the events of the last year, the hardest year of my life, and I was
filled with an overwhelming gratitude. The bleaker my life got, the brighter
God’s incredible gifts of joy sparkled in the darkness.”
"the joy of the Lord is your strength" Nehemiah 8:10
This was such an inspirational story to read. It helped and encouraged me in my walk with God, to hear how another Christian endured trials and suffering with joy.
It reaffirmed my faith that:
God is real...God saved Heather's life-against all odds she survived the accident
He will send His angels to watch over me...an angel was with Heather in her hospital room after the accident
God's grace is sufficient for me..Heather continuously made the decision to trust God and choose joy in the midst of her pain throughout her life
God works miracles in people's lives, and He can for me, too...Heather technically died two times, but lived
God is my healer...God healed Heather's body to the degree that she conceived two children
God provides my needs whatever they may be...God used people to buy Heather's incredibly expensive medicine, when she had no means to buy it herself
Heather's story ignited my faith once again for these things personally, and for others that I know enduring difficult situations. It gave me hope as I read through the book, for the young men in our church that were in the accident.
I've struggled in my life with a lot of unnecessary fear, especially while being pregnant. I've worried about my upcoming cesarean surgeries and what would happen to me and/or my baby. I struggled with the fear of the unknown...wondering if I'd survive the surgeries or the fear that the doctors might make a mistake. But, reading Heather's story gave me a peace and comfort that God is in control. With God, I have nothing to fear. I can trust God to watch over me and those I love. Heather went through 187 operations and God took care of her. No, everything wasn't perfect, but God carried her through every step of the way.
"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind."
2 Timothy 1:7
I highly recommend this book for anyone to read. It touched my heart and opened my eyes to see my loving Savior in a new light. God is good.
"You cannot think fear and act courageously. Conversely, you cannot think courage and act fearfully. You cannot think hatred and act kindly. Conversely, you cannot think kindly and act hatefully. Your feelings inevitably correspond to your dominant thoughts and actions. Is this scriptural? Absolutely! God's Word says, 'For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he' (Proverbs 23:7)."
"London preacher and Bible teacher Dick Lucas provides these six basic questions that, if asked, will prove helpful:
1. What is the main point (or points) of the text?
2. How can you tell what the main point is?
3. How does your understanding of the text connect to what came immediately before and after?
4. Does this text tell us about or point us to Jesus? How?
5. What are the surprises in this text?
6. What is the application of this text? How do you know?
Get the big picture. After applying these questions to the text you are studying, ask this question: 'How is the text tied to the context of the whole Bible?' This will help you avoid getting bogged down in the small details and enable you to gain an understanding of how a smaller section of the Bible fits into the big picture."
~As quoted in Disciplines of a Godly Woman, pg. 79-80
* Practice being present with a friend. Stop everything and be there. Put your cell phone on vibrate. If possible, don't multitask, even if you feel like you can do something else and listen at the same time. Let her know that you are there by your body language and eye contact. Ask follow-up questions.
* Practice being present with yourself. When possible, drive in the car without the radio on. Sit still without reading or watching television. Start small, but become comfortable with longer periods of silence and solitude.
* Practice being present with God. Pour out your heart but then take time to listen. Or simply imagine you are leaning up against Jesus like his disciple John (John 13:25). Breathe out your worries and breathe in his peace.
* Imagine yourself stepping to the throne of grace with your feelings of shame and unworthiness. Now, picture him smiling and delighting in you because you are his beloved daughter.
* Call someone just to talk through your feelings.
* Call someone and ask for specific prayer.
* When people ask you to pray for them, offer to pray with them right then.
* Send a card, text, or email that says, "I have prayed for you." That is so much more comforting than, "I will pray for you."
* Collect your friends' Christmas card photos and put them on the fridge or a bulletin board nearby. Whenever your eyes land up on a family, send up a quick prayer for them.
* If a sermon touches you at church, buy the CD and send it to a friend. If a book helps you grow, buy one for a friend.
*Send a box of "withness" to a friend. Collect a handful of little gifts, wrap them individually, put a sweet note on each package, box them all up, and deliver it to a friend who needs a friend to be with her during a lonely or hard time.
* Consider attempting to reconcile a broken friendship.
* Think of the kind of friendships you would like to have and ask God to provide that kind of friend.
~Taken from Friendships for Grown-Ups, pg. 211-212