My Husband is the Hospitable One

Yesterday, probably like many of you, we had some people over for Memorial Day. I did the traditional getting ready for company by cleaning up the house in the morning. Putting things away, wiping things down, shoving unwanted clutter into our bedroom. (Don’t judge, you know you do it too.) We put out some food, and then waited for our guests to arrive. It was a great time of fellowship and fun.

Most people come in and thank me for the food and for the hospitality, but really they should be thanking my husband. Don’t get me wrong. I like having people over. I enjoy cooking for them and I enjoy the fellowship. However, I usually don’t go out of my way to plan for it. My husband is always thinking of others. He is always thinking of the next couple, or teen, or family, or single person he would like to have over for dinner or a game day. Or in the past, even someone who is in need of housing to stay with us (average live in guest stays about 6 months or longer). Again, people usually assume I am the one who has planned it, but the truth is my husband puts me to shame when it comes to hospitality. The wonderful thing is he doesn’t just come up with these ideas for me to do, but is a hand in had partner when it comes to getting ready. He helps with the cooking, cleaning, and entertaining. I love him for that. If it were up to me, I would be perfectly happy sitting at home by myself reading a book or watching a movie. I would be a perfect hermit. But I’m thankful for the fellowship and the good times I have had in having a husband that encourages us to open our home to others. I am thankful that we can be a blessing to others with our home, or should I say God’s home.

 

I LOVE Being A Girl

This past Friday I had the most awesome time. Normally, on a Friday night my husband and I lead our church’s Junior and Senior Youth Group. We have done it since we were teens, and love spending time with the teenagers. Normally our two year old daughter stays with my parents and gets spoiled rotten and has what I believe to be necessary time with the grandparents. However, this weekend was different. My parents are on vacation and so I was able to stay home with MY GIRL.

Recently we haven’t had too much mother/daughter time. I have been watching some church member’s kids during the day and so that has left us with little time for just us. She has been really good about it though. She loves people so it isn’t too hard for her to deal with, but I’ve really missed it. So, this past Friday was just for us. We called it “Our Special Day”. When Daddy left for youth group the party broke out! We went all GIRLIE. We baked, played with dolls, played some games, read some books and colored. I loved it! I’ve forgotten how much I just enjoy my daughter. She is funny, sweet, and has a great imagination. I just couldn’t think of a person I would have rather spent time with on Friday. (No offense to the teens or my husband.) The happiest moment of the night was when my daughter turned to me and said, “This is fun Mommy this special day is just so much fun”. I felt the same way. I can’ t wait for our next “Special Day”.

Wrestling with God

“Then Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. When he saw that he had not prevailed against him, he touched the socket of his thigh; so the socket of Jacob’s thigh was dislocated while he wrestled with him. Then he said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking.” But he said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”” (Genesis 32:24-26, NASB95)

I’ve always been confused by this passage. Recently I realized I had more in common with Jacob than I thought.

My husband has been a full time pastor for only a few years. Ever since I was saved I imagined myself becoming a pastor’s wife. The role of pastor’s wife was always seen as a great position in my circle of friends. We thought the world of the godly pastor’s wives we knew. They were seen as super Christians, woman who were valued in the church. These were women who taught children and women’s Bible studies and had all the respect in the world.

When I started dating my childhood sweetheart who was studying for the ministry I realized my dream was coming true. I was excited I would get to become a woman like the one’s I highly valued as a teen. However, within a year of being a pastor’s wife I realized my naivety. I love our ministry and our church. It has been a source of joy in the Lord as well as blessing. However, since I never grew up in a ministry home, I am now learning that at times the role of pastor’s wife can be hard, disheartening, lonely, and sometimes downright painful.

Currently we are experiencing a very hard and painful time. We have cried out in prayer together as well as individually for this particular trial to be fixed. It is during these times of prayer that I have understood the passage. My prayers have been a struggle, a wrestling match with God. Sometimes the struggle comes as I wrestle with God to fix my attitude toward the situation. Sometimes the struggle comes to even pray. The trial is a struggle between doing the right thing versus sinning. I struggle with trusting God to handle a situation that at times I try to fix myself. I struggle moment by moment to think on what is true. I struggle to think right things about God and remind myself daily that He is good, merciful, and full of love; not evil, mean, or not there. This time of struggle has gone on and on and has weighed on my heart to the point of exhaustion. But I will not and cannot let go of God. I cannot walk away until God blesses.

I understand what it is like to wrestle with God and come out different on the other side. The passage says, “. . . the socket of Jacob’s thigh was dislocated while he wrestled with him.” When you wrestle with God you never come out of the struggle the same way. There is a part of you that will be changed forever. However, this truth is what has drawn me to the wrestling match. The gravity of the trial has shown me unless I am different; unless God blesses me I have nothing. I need God to help me. So, I continue to cry with Jacob, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”

God’s Faithful Servant

In my inner city church there is a never ending supply of amazement. There are many people who stand as trophies of God’s grace, showing off the characteristics of God’s forgiveness, mercy, love, hope, and at times suffering.

Currently there is one dear sister in Christ who, while suffering, stands as a blessing and conviction to me. If you were to see her on the street or even in your church, there are many who would pass by her without a second thought. There would be even some who would work hard to avoid her. She is not a typical well dressed, well educated, good looking Christian woman with well placed costume jewelry. She is an older, very quiet, undereducated, sloppy dresser who doesn’t always smell the best. However, she displays Christ in ways that few others can. This dear lady has been a faithful member of our church for many years. She loves coming to church and is so happy to sing in the choir. She comes faithfully to every service. She is happy just to be in church.

Recently she has had to miss a couple of services. She has been diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer and has started chemotherapy. I know from others that the treatment is rough and leaves you feeling very sick, but you would never know from watching this woman. Every service she attends she praises God for being able to come. She continues to sing in the choir and has promised to keep doing it as long as she can. I have been convicted by her faithfulness. I think everyone can learn from this dear sister.

Watching her I realized that many times I am a wimp when it comes to faithfulness. When I am tired, or have a cold, I usually see it as an opportunity to stay home and “rest”. I don’t see worshiping God as the prized possession or great opportunity that it is. I don’t push through the pain realizing that the “rest” I think I need is nothing compared to the opportunity I have to fellowship publicly with my God. Watching her I realize that I have lost the joy of worship. How many times have I come to church excited to sing in the choir? Or happy to sit and hear God’s word? Sure as a pastor’s wife, I have a smile for others, but is there true joy in my heart as I am filled with the knowledge of Jesus Christ and what He has done for me. I realized that often I am there because I am expected to be or because I have duties to perform. I worship because I’m a Christian and that is what Christians do. I don’t smile because my love for Christ is spilling out of me. I smile because I’m supposed to.

This woman has reminded me that there is joy in coming to church. She is satisfied just to be there in the building with the body of Christ and excited she gets to serve in the choir. The great thing about this dear woman is that her attitude didn’t change once she got cancer. She has always had these attitudes. But it is this Christ-like attitude that is helping her through her cancer and has taught me a valuable lesson. Worship is a joy, singing is a joy, and service is a joy.

Keeping It In

Proverbs 20:3 “It is an honor for a man to keep aloof from strife, but every fool will be quarreling.”

Proverbs 17:14 “The beginning of strife is like letting out water, so quit before the quarrel breaks out.

Do you ever replay conversations over and over again in your head? Do you ever plan future conversations? Thinking and rethinking what you will say? You go through the conversation you had and begin reworking it till it morphs into a conversation you wish you had instead. This happens to me all the time. After I’ve wasted time trying to change the past conversation, I begin to plan the future conversation. I think of all the ways I am going to “clear the air”, “get things off my chest”, “let it all out”. This is a pretty amazing feat since I am not only planning what I am going to say, but somehow I magically gain the ability to look into the future and somehow predict exactly what the other person will say and how they will react to my well thought out conversation.

Thankfully, God is good. He is the One who owns the past.  He is the One who truly knows the future. He is the One who has planned it out. He knows the other person’s heart and because He knows my heart He often intervenes and confronts my heart before I can cause a fight. God is gracious isn’t He? Many times in the past I view myself as a failure or even as a coward for not truly saying all the things I had wanted to say, or planned to say. However, in my time with God this week I realized God was holding my tongue even though I hadn’t planned to. God doesn’t want us to let it out. I don’t need to make people see my point of view. I don’t always need to be right, or have the last word. I need to keep peace. I need to love others and put their feelings ahead of mine. Even if that means I keep it in. I can always talk to God about it later and leave all my burdens and feelings with Him. So, I am learning to plan the future less and talk to God more.

My Husband’s Ordination

This past Sunday was one I will never forget. It comes in close ranking with the birth of my child and my wedding day. This past weekend I witnessed my husband’s ordination. I was surprised how emotional it was during the service. However, when I sat to think about the occasion, I shouldn’t have been all that surprised. It is a glorious thing to be called by God  to preach the Word. It is an awesome thing to be trusted as a shepherd of God’s people. So, when I saw my husband being sworn into the duties of the office of overseer, it should not be shocking that I, along with the others in the congregation, shed a few joyous tears.
My husband has been serving in the ministry for almost 6 years and the last 3 of those years has been in full time ministry. It hasn’t always been easy, but it is always joyful and a privilege. These last few months my husband decided to buckle down and work to be ordained. He spoke to our head pastor (who happens to be his dad) and asked that he call an ordination council together. So, this past Saturday Derick sat before 6 men for about 4 1/2 hours and answered questions. These questions ranged anywhere from personal testimony to his doctrinal statement as well as practical ministry practices. I was invited to come to share my testimony as well as answer why I believe I was called to minister along side my husband. I was allowed to stay for the entire council and I’m so glad I did. It was such a wonderful thing to see my husband open the Bible and answer competently questions like, “Was Mary the mother of God or just the human part of Jesus?”, “What safeguards do you put in your life to preserve your family life?”, and many more to recall to memory. I don’t remember every question or every answer to each question, but I will never forget the feelings I had watching my husband during the council. I was so proud of him. I have never been more attracted to my husband than in that moment. It was funny because after the council was over and we were walking home, my husband turned to me and said, “I’m sorry you had to see that.” I just looked at him in shock. He thought that somehow that lessened my view of him. That somehow I saw him as a weaker person. He was shocked when I told him that it made him all the more attractive to me. I’ve never seen him stronger. Of course, this situation just reaffirmed what we all know that fundamentally men and women are completely different beings.
On Sunday, not all the members of the ordination board could be there, but it was an awesome service. My husband’s father gave a charge to him and then his grandfather (another member on the ordination board) gave a charge to the congregation. His grandfather announced that the board from the day before unanimously voted that Derick be recommended for ordination by the church.  The elders of our church as well as his grandfather and father laid hands on him and prayed for him as well as his future ministry. The congregation was overjoyed. We celebrated after the service with a wonderful meal.
I will never forget the look his father had during the service. I will never forget the love of our congregation that was showered upon us in words and in their presence there on that day. It will be a day that will long stick in my memory because it is a day that we celebrated the calling of God in our lives and His confirmation that there is nothing else in this world that we should be doing but live our lives in full time service to our Maker and Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Welcome to My Blog

I’ve been thinking about starting a blog for a while, but always found an excuse not to. However, being a wife of a pastor as well as the full time mom of  a two year old has left me with no choice. I have too many ideas and stories bouncing around in my head that I just feel like I have to get out. So, I am joining you fellow bloggers. I am excited to meet you and share what is on my heart. If for no other reason than to clear my head.