Saturday, October 27, 2012

My Pastor is my best friend.....

Life in the parsonage is crazy.  I recently saw a funny little cartoon about what people THINK goes on in the parsonage as opposed to what actually does.  Of course, I can't find the cartoon, but it was a little something like this:  A beautifully dressed woman, delivering steamy hot pancakes, to a perfectly made up table with well mannered kids, with an hour to spare before needing to walk out the door.  The other side of the cartoon depicted reality:  A woman with hair still in a towel, with 5 minutes to spare until needing to be in a building across the street, throwing out food that she is pretty sure now has poop on it, two children crying, and one of them stripping through the house, bare butt and laughing.  

I am pretty sure when God made me a pastor's wife, he was at the peak of his sense of humor, because I am convinced He created me to prove any misconceptions wrong.  Anyway, I have been, as all wives are, created to be my husbands helper.  This is hard for me sometimes, because not only was I raised not being exposed to Jesus, but I was raised by a single mom.  She played both parts.  Slice it whatever way you would like, life growing up in an environment where the woman of our house made all of the decisions made me a no nonsense, take charge, make decisions kinda gal, which bucks against God's plan, and often leaves my husband and I at odds.  I am working on this.  I have come leaps and bounds and God's grace is amazing.  

With all this said, I marvel at my husband.  This being Pastor appreciation month, I would like to write a blog, honoring my pastor who also happens to be my husband, my best friend.  I sometimes feel that people are shocked to discover that my husband has limitations! They are stunned to find out that he has the same number of hours in his day that they do in theirs, or that he couldn't somehow fit more into his day than they do.

I love my job as the wife to the Minister. I'm responsible for that smile on his face when he walks confidently to the pulpit.  I'm responsible for that spring in his step when he heads into the church office.  I'm responsible for that dapper suit and tie he is proudly wearing.  I'm responsible for that good attitude that helps him to face disgruntled members or difficult counseling situations.  I have a big responsibility and I take it seriously, because you see, my minister-husband isn't complete without me.  He needs me.  He needs my hugs and kisses, and pats on the back, and cheers, and smiles, and "amens"!  Well, call me arrogant; but quite frankly, I feel like I'm important to the whole project.  You see, I go with him everywhere he goes, even when I don't leave the house!  I wish I always got this right...I don't. 

However, I try as hard as I can because I know, at any given moment, unlike any other profession, someone needs my husband.  When I says needs, I mean NEEDS.  Not that anyone else's husband is never needed, but my pastor husband is called to do many things, many people couldn't handle.  He is called to be emotionally, physically and/or mentally available at the drop of a hat.  He walks with people through the fight's of their lives and sometimes, tragedies.  He sees people at their saddest, maddest, and most passionate moments, and is called to walk with them through it.  He watches individuals that he loves make damaging/toxic choices.  He sometimes knows every dirty detail of the sin in people's lives, and gives hours of energy to trying to help them overcome the sin, just to end with watching them, devastatingly, walk into Satan's grip and be overcome.  He sits by, watching death take its' grip and enjoys visiting new life.  He remains silent when it is appropriate and uses words when it is the right time.  By the power of the Holy Spirit, he can recall scripture for situations that I wouldn't even want to hear about.  He mourns with mother's, widows and friends.  He listens to the seemingly hopeless circumstances of others, and offers support the way God calls him to.        

The reason I marvel:  He loves it!  He doesn't love watching others suffer, but he loves what he has been called to do.  He will run out of the house in the middle of the night to be with someone who is losing their loved one, he will spend hours, praying and thinking on a problem in someone else's life, he will worry and love and fight with you, not because he has to, but because he wants to.    

Knowing all this, I can send him out the door with a joyful, happy, loved feeling, where he can tackle the tests and wrestle the enemy to the ground. Or I can send him out the door with a heavy heart, full of hurt or anger, where he will quickly be overtaken by grief and anxiety, unable to jump the smallest hurdle. I am not the Senior Pastor (thank God, or we wouldn't have a church to worry about!) and, though my input is valuable to my husband ultimately, I am not responsible for the way money is spent, ministry is done or employees are hired.  My job is bigger than all of that!  When I do my job, he can do his.  

As the pastor's family, we know and accept his limitations. We're glad he's human. We even get to remind him of that every now and then, but we love him just like he is — human and all! We are his helpmate.  We serve him as he serves the church. This is a very important role. I often feel we need more education to do our job than he does to do his!  

We know exactly how hard he works, we know what he takes home with him, we know if his heart is heavy or frustrated or happy.    

I want him to know how proud I am of him.  I want him to know I watch him and feel exhausted.  I couldn't ever do what he does, or hear what hears, or know what he knows and am enamored by his ability to manage and love the church and still have energy to manage and love his family.  I wish I could love like he does.  He has care and concern and tough love and advice for everyone, and then comes home with a special store for us.  

So, as this Pastor Appreciation Month rolls to an end, I want my pastor to know how much he means to me.  I want him to know how much this life wouldn't make sense without him, and how blessed I am to have found him, and how wonderfully fortunate I am to have him father our daughter and sons, and how absolutely humbled I am to be able to simply call him.....mine.   


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Facebook....real or imaginary?

I have a growing hatred for the social media site, Facebook.  I can't stop the hatred.  Hatred is a strong word.  My daughter would say, "Mommy, that's a bad word."  We will use loathe.  Yes, much better. ;)

I should give you the back story....

I am having a bad day.  Not an obvious bad day.  I did fun things today, and had positive interactions with my kids and my super cool gym buddy that outweighed the negative ones.  I just had a day.  A day that doesn't want to end without rendering me helplessly crying for no reason.  That kind of day.  If we are honest, we all have them.  I am really honest, which, by the way, gets me in trouble a lot, but that's neither here nor there.  I decided to write, because that is what I like to do to feel better.  It is hang with me....I think you are going to agree with what I am saying. :)  

So, what do I do with my bad day???  I log onto the happiest place on Earth.  A place where anyone can be anything they want to be.  A place where the ultimate insult is blocking someone or writing some cryptic status about something you are angry about.  I log on, and begin lurking around.  I see certain people who only comment and "like" certain people, another attempt to throw weight around behind the scenes of shiny laptops or IPhones or any other vice of choice.  I am more of a Facebook stalker I guess.  I kind of just soak in information and then log off.  I like to post pictures of my adorable kids and write about things that they say and do, and post my blogs, but most of the time, I stalk lurk.  

As I lurked around, I must have rolled my eyes and sucked my teeth 6 million times.  God must have logged on at that moment, because I got an invisible private message to "knock it off and fix your attitude."  I logged off.

It got me thinking though....does anyone really like Facebook?  I mean, really like; enjoy logging on, look forward to logging on, or gain positive thoughts from logging on?

There are some reasons I enjoy Facebook.  I have maintained friendships with people who I rarely get to see.  I love following people's lives in the social media world and seeing baby announcements and wedding announcements and the like.  I love when I can connect with friends from high school/college and see where life has led them, and reconnect with them in that way.  Sometimes, I find out things I must commit to prayer for people via their statuses, and similarly  posting a quick request on Facebook gets anyone plugged in, praying right away.

I will not delete my Facebook anytime soon, I guess, although I think about it daily.  I am keeping it for the good, the positives.

Apparently, I am not the only one who thinks this.  In an attempt to feel somewhat normal, I googled, "hate facebook".  Hysterical.  Really.

How does one stay away from the nasty stuff???  How does one ignore the attempts of shun from other people??  How do we ignore the attempts of mean girl attitudes???? I am legitimately curious, because, I guess if we are all honest, Facebook just makes our bad days, worse.

I have a little thought experiment for you to participate in or not.  It helped me. :)

1.) Is Facebook our God?

If I am spending more time on Facebook then reading my scriptures, or doing anything else, there is an influence problem. A worship problem.

2.)  Is the cyber me helping me to see reality?

As stated, I let Facebook wars and silent attempts at my happiness get to me.  We should not let this happen.  We should worship the truths of God, not the so called truths of our Facebook friends.

3.)  Is my Christian witness suffering? 

If we cannot maintain our witness on Facebook by being integral, kind, loving, etc., should we really be a member?  Are you airing your dirty laundry and compromising your walk with Christ?

4.) Is Facebook taking away the peace that I have in God's truth about me?

Is Facebook aiding me in seeing myself as God sees me, or as others view me?  Is having a Facebook account causing my confidence in the good promises of God to fade away?

5.) Am I honoring my spouse/family?

God wants us to honor our husbands/wives.  Are we putting something on Facebook that dishonors our family?  Are we giving our spouses what they need when we are reading and keeping up with our friends, rather than the needs of our husband?

6.) Are you stealing?

When are you on Facebook?  Are you at work?  Stealing time from your employer, is stealing,

7.)  Are you lying?

Is the YOU on Facebook, the YOU of real life?


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Church Hoppers.....

I came across this fantastic blog today that shed some light on something that frustrates me greatly.  I always seem to be inspired by things that frustrate me.  I don't know if that is a problem, or a sign that God wants me to do something about the frustration?!  

Either way, this is fantastic.  I thought about putting my own thoughts together, but I would not be able to say it better.  :)  So, here is what I want to share.....let me know what you think.   
This frustration has to do with "church hopping".  The article was written by Dr. James Emery White from his blog over at  Enjoy....and share....

First, a working definition: church hopping is going from one church to another without committing to any one church for any significant period of time (which makes it different than legitimate church “shopping”).

As Betsy Hart writes, hoppers reflect a growing tendency to decide, after they have officially joined a particular church, that “Oh, that pastor down the street is a little more high-energy than mine,” or “Gee, the music here isn't really meeting my needs right now,” or “I really am not crazy about that new children’s church director.”So they hop from church to church.

The hard-core hopper never even makes an initial commitment. They perpetually float between churches, pursuing a Beth Moore study at First Baptist, youth group at First Methodist, weekend services at Hope, Grace, or Community Church, marriage enrichment events at …well, you get the picture.
What’s driving this? 
For some, it’s simply the consumer mindset of our culture at work.As Hart writes, “Church ‘hopping’ is the ultimate ‘all about me’ experience.” They take from various churches whatever it is they perceive to be of value without committing to any one church either to serve or support.

For some, it’s insecurity.They have to be wherever they think it’s “happening” in the Christian world. I know of pastors who joke about a “migratory flow pattern” among Christians in their community who are constantly church-hopping to the “next” thing in church life.They move from one church to another, looking for the next hot singles group, the next hot church plant, the next hot speaker, the next hot youth group.Many times they end up full circle where they began, because their original church suddenly became “next.” 
For some, it’s spiritual gluttony.They want nothing more than to be “fed,” and when they feel they’ve eaten all a church has to offer, they move on where there is the potential for more food – as if that is what constitutes growing in Christ or being connected to Christ.
For some, it’s refusing accountability.A pattern of sin is pursued, or a choice made, and they leave for a place where no one knows, and no one asks.
For some, it’s avoiding stewardship.If they are not committed to any one church, there is no obligation to give or serve at any one church. They can float above sacrifice without guilt.
For some, it’s emotional immaturity.A decision is made they don’t agree with, a building campaign is initiated they didn't vote for, a staff change is made they didn't like, so they take their marbles and go play somewhere else.
I know, I know. None of these reflect well on the person leaving, which intimates that anyone who leaves a church is somehow in the wrong, and that is not fair.In truth, there can be times to not simply hop, but leap. If there is scandal that is simply not addressed, doctrinal heresy, or patterns of abuse, you should leave.But for the typical hopper, it’s not time for self-justification, but loving admonishment.
First, church isn't about you. Sorry, but it’s not. It isn't one of many stores in a mall that exists to serve your spiritual shopping list. Church is a gathered community of believers who are pooling together their time, talent and resources to further the Great Commission.
Find one and start investing your life.
Second, the very nature of authentic community is found in the “one anothers.” Love one another, serve one another, encourage one another; this cannot happen apart from doing life with people.You need community.
Third, the absence of a ministry you desire may be God’s call on your life to start it, rather than leave to find a church that has it. Remember, every member is a minister, and has been given at least one spiritual gift for service in the life and mission of the church.
Fourth, you aren't going to agree with every decision the leadership of any church makes, regardless of its structure or decision-making process. You either feel you can trust the character of the leadership, or you can’t.And being able to trust that leadership doesn't mean they will always do things the way you think they should.  In other words, don’t hop every time you disagree. That’s immature.(And for goodness sake, don’t stay and pout or politic, either. Either get on board once the decision is made, if it was one that didn't breach doctrine or ethics, or find a place where you can.)
Fifth, don’t worry about being fed as much as learning to feed yourself. Even more, concern yourself with taking what you already know and applying it to your life, and then helping to feed others who are new to the faith!
Finally, spiritual depth isn't fostered by satiating your sense of felt needs. It’s receiving a balanced diet of teaching and challenge, investing in service and mission, living in community and diversity that you probably would not select for yourself.