Thursday, May 30, 2013

Fishbowl Hide and Seek

Many an office have a fish tank. Off the top of my head, my chiropractor has one, my pediatrician has one, a Community Resource center has one, etc. Why are they there? Because it's soothing? Because it demonstrates life? Both of those are possible, but regardless of why they're there, the fish find themselves under constant watch throughout the day. Imagine being a fish, where you home has glass walls. Everyone is watching you all day. In fact, it's not just like your home in your neighborhood where someone might glance in a window as they walk by, but rather the walls are glass for the sole purpose of giving you the ability to see in. As you vacuum, someone is watching. As you sleep, someone is watching. As you wash the dishes, someone is watching. 
It's often said that a pastor's family lives in a fishbowl. We live in a small town so I know when we go to Walmart, that people I know are viewing me as a pastor's wife. I know as we walk our neighborhood, we have purposed to connect in the community so people know we are a pastor's family. We've actually been told that people know we're a pastor's family and are being judged by whether or not the toys in our yard are picked up every day, as well as how we discipline our children, pay our bills on time, have a dirty car... you get the idea. And I'm not being paranoid... we have been told these things by people that feel we need the reminder. 

We currently have a family of 7 staying with us, making 14 people in the house and I realized the other day that my fishbowl is now under constant surveillance. We now have people that see when we leave dirty clothes on the floor of the bathroom, wake up with morning breath, yell at my kids too quickly, don't bathe my kids enough, let the clothes sit in the washer overnight, or don't do the dishes before bed, don't spend 'enough' time in The Word daily, etc. Again, I'm not being paranoid... these are actual conversations that have been had. 

I stressed for the first several days they were here and now on day 11, I have begun to relax. I'm working through a book by Dorothy Patterson called, "A Handbook for Minister's Wives" and I believe I might just re-read it every time I finish it, or perhaps at least read it monthly. I so needed the reminders she gives. 

It is so simple that our priorities are not to please "man" but to please God. But please allow me to be transparent with you and share... that simple truth is so difficult to remember when a person is standing in front of you and you can just *feel* them looking at the stains in your carpet. I know I know, I need to repent.

Sometimes, like in a fish tank, I'd like to duck behind the volcano (in my house it's laundry!) and be hidden for a few minutes of rest. That currently is not the case and God is teaching me so much through this season. I'm so thankful for the examples of gracious hospitality extended to my family as well as demonstrated by my parents over the years and it is my prayer that *HE* would receive glory through this situation, even as I muck it up with my messy corners and selfish desires. I am human, I am not a neat freak, I have a backed up laundry pile, I don't scrub my toilet every day, and I need friendship just like you. 


Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Just like you

While the title of this blog page is "Are You the Pastor's Wife", I really don't get that question very much. Our church is small and while I am introduced sometimes as "Our Pastor's wife", it is still something that seems odd to me.

I attended 2 events this weekend specifically because I am a pastor's wife.

Hubby and I attended a retreat hosted by our state convention exclusively for Senior Pastors and their wives. The time away was a wonderful gift and the speakers were excellent. It was refreshing to be surrounded by normal people just like me, who also happened to know intimately the struggles and hurts that can accompany this role and journey.

Last night, we were blessed to attend our local Right to Life banquet where my husband had been asked to say the closing prayer for the event. We were sat at the head table, next to the keynote speaker, and a congressional's representative on the other side. I was absolutely humbled to be sitting next to the woman everyone came to hear speak, and other noted people.

I found myself thinking, "Who am I to be at the table with these people? And really, I'm only at this table because my husband is on the program." I am just an everyday person, a lowly stay at home mom (I say this tongue in cheek), who married a man with God's call on his life. I am blessed to serve along side him as a church member and as his helpmate.

You know what I found as I sat next to these very important people? They are also ordinary people. The congressional representative? A mom of 3 kids. We discussed potty training among other things in our conversation. The radio personality who was the MC of the event? He was showing everyone pictures of his dog :)

I think we tend to put people on pedestals and pastors and their wives sometimes are put up there too and I need you to know, that your pastor and his wife are normal people. We have struggles, arguments, we let our kids watch TV too much, my kitchen is TRASHED right now and if you showed up for an impromptu drop in, you'd find me in sweat pants and a t-shirt without my teeth brushed.

Anytime I hear a reference to the role of a pastor's wife as one with prestige, I try to stomp on it as quickly as I can. My calling is to be the Proverbs 31 woman just as any other woman. To love and serve my husband, to love and correct my children. To be a student of the Bible and to serve Jesus with all I am.

All For His Glory

Friday, January 25, 2013

If I Could Go Back 10 years...

Have you ever considered what you would tell yourself if you could go back 10 years, 20 years, etc., to a certain time in your life to change a major event or decision course? Makes you wonder if Adam wished he could rewind time and not even the fruit from the tree. Did Cain wish he hadn't killed Abel? The list goes on and I'm sure each of us has our own.

My husband and I have come to a crossroads and while we have a list of things that we wish we could have done differently if we could relive our almost 10 years of marriage, there is a crucial ideology that we wish we had heard 10 or 11 years ago as that would have changed some major dynamics of our marriage.

Now for the stunning shocking reality.

We can't rewind time.

Betcha didn't see that coming. (just kidding of course)

So since we can't rewind time and go back and tell ourselves this piece of golden wisdom that would've saved us so many life lessons and averted many peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, what do we do?

First of all, we pray and repent for the sins we're realizing.

Second, we learn from our mistakes.

Third, we move on. We embrace that it was God's purpose for those chapters and decisions to be part of our story for His glory. We tell others about our mistakes both for God's glory and for possibly helping others to avoid making those same mistakes.

I'm working to not mourn those decisions, but to be thankful I can see God moving throughout those decisions and then now figure out how to we can change the course of our story.

"For we preach not ourselves but Christ Jesus the Lord and ourselves, your servants, for Jesus sake." 2 Cor 4:5b

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Lost and Confused?

Trying to formulate my thoughts the other day, I had the words "Lost and So Confused" flash through my mind. Appropriate descriptions for this moment and I decided I needed to write a song using those words. Then I realized there was a song that had that line, but I couldn't figure out what it was. I tried to sing that line and eventually the entire song, "Imagine Me Without You" by Jaci Velasquez came to my senses. That was the song I was thinking of. I pulled it up on You Tube and let the music and words resonate in my soul. Then I realized...

I'm not without God. In her song, "Imagine me without you, I'd be lost and so confused..." describes how she would be without Christ. So... why am I using those exact descriptors when I am NOT without Christ?!

I had a smack in the face as I realized in that moment that I was living as if I did not have Christ in my life. Her song ends, "Because of You, it's all brand new, my life is now worthwhile... I can't imagine me without you."

I prayed and confessed this to my Lord. I allowed myself to be distracted by the enemy, and forgot that I am with Christ, and He is with me.

Are you living without Christ? Are you with Christ and yet living as if you're not? In either case, repent, for the Kingdom of God is awaiting you! WAKE UP! He is there to see us through, and our lives are now worthwhile. PRAISE GOD He has given us the opportunity to serve Him!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Are You Listening

On occasion I express myself through writing a song - it's a soothing means of expressing what is on my heart and going on in my life. I don't have any dreams of Grammy's or Oscars or Dove Awards, I don't think they're that good and I don't really do it for other people, but really just for me. Just a means to communicate really. My superman husband has been asked to guest preach along with me singing for a service at our sending church in the near future and he'll be preaching on Deut 6. I couldn't find a song that I really felt was the right song to sing, so I decided I would just write one. Thought I would share it here...



Love the Lord your God
Love the Lord your God
Love the Lord your God
With all your heart

Listen o Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is One.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength. Teach this to your children. Repeat it every day. While you’re sitting while you’re walking and when you’re on the road. When you lie down, and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and wear it as a symbol on your forehead. Write them in your home too.

Love the Lord your God
Love the Lord your God
Love the Lord your God
With all your heart
Are you listening Israel 
Are you listening to this church
Are you listening to this dads
Are you listening to this moms
Are you listening to this kids
Are you listening to this brothers
Are you listening to this sisters
Are you listening are you listening are you listening
Love the Lord your God
Love the Lord your God
Love the Lord your God
With all your heart
Do you teach your children every day to love the Lord our God? Do you teach them when you rise do you teach them when you sleep, do you teach them when you drive, do you teach them when you shop, is it written in your house is it written in your heart? Do you love the Lord your God….with all your heart?

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Abigail's arrival

Abigail Kay arrived the Saturday before Thanksgiving and just 2 days before her due date! She has been an incredible joy and I am blessed to have a newborn in my home again. Her siblings all adore her (especially Joanna who FINALLY has a younger sister) and she's now 6 weeks old marking the end of my recovery crutch :)

God protected both she and I in an amazing way that day... in a way we didn't even know we needed protection from.

Abigail's placenta was abnormal - she had something called a velamentous cord insertion. In this condition, the veins in the placenta were exposed instead of protected which means they are more apt to rupture under the stress of the contractions or could be potentially nicked when the midwife broke my water right at the end - they can even rupture if she had stripped my membranes. Should that have happened, Abigail, or both of us, could have very quickly bled to death. An emergency c-section would not have occured quickly enough. As I researched after the fact, it turns out that the when it's detected in utero, those are planned c-sections so prevent the possibility of rupture from the stress of contractions and the moms are put on bedrest up to that point. Not on bedrest, I continued my normal life pace including moving, unpacking, probably lifting I shouldn't have, etc. God spared us both and we are so thankful.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

37 weeks!

Just home from another midwife appointment and baby is looking great, BP is holding steady, and we're officially in the clear to welcome our little one whenever he or she decides it is time! We have so much to be thankful for...

Of course there are struggles... new ones it seems each week.... but God is faithful and we are seeking to walk closer to Him each day and in each new struggle. January is looking incredibly uncertain at the moment and I feel at times that all is lost. But the same God that called us up here is the same God that we are still serving, who is the same God that provided for the Israelite people in the wilderness, parted the Red Sea, rose Jesus from the dead, and is still our provider. 

I recently learned of a proposed full time pastor's salary at another church and was asked if I felt that was fair. While not an exorbitant value, I realized I could not even dream that big. Money is not everything, but balancing eating and disconnect notices with no health insurance can be draining. It's a growing experience for sure.

We have so much to be thankful for....

Our health is good
We have a warm dry home to protect us from the weather
We have a prayer support team
Our families and friends who love us
The blessing of 4 children and this 5th baby on the way
Food in the pantry
The blessing of living in a state where home birth is a legal option
The opportunity to serve in Columbia City
The blessing of salvation

Will be posting more on Thankfulness soon...

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

God's GOT this!

I am 34 weeks pregnant and at the midwife appt this morning we discovered that the baby is not measuring where it should. The measurement today was the same as 2 weeks ago.... and 4 weeks ago.... 
Erring on the side of human error, the midwife suggested waiting 2 more weeks til my next appt and then if measurements are the same then we go for an ultrasound to check the baby.
Trying to not worry and take my cue from the midwife, we leave. A mile down the road the van begins violently shaking - we slow way down and it gets better but does not go away. A well placed slow moving tractor gave us cover and we crawled to the next gas station following this tractor. We make a couple phone calls, including Superman's brother, who is a car-repairman and he advises us to not drive it any further and believes the back end is going out. Threw out some possibility estimates (for parts alone) of between $300-$900. We drive a 96 .... it's not worth more than $1500 running great.

Oh. And we're broke :)

Against advice, we determine we are 45 minutes from home, and have no money for a tow, so we opted to attempt the drive home praying all the way.
Praise God we made it home safely.
After getting everyone a late lunch, I went for chocolate and a Pepsi (hey - basic necessities) and began sharing my day with a few people for prayer. As I was typing out a message to a dear friend of mine, I realized.... DUH! Things are going well at the church and there's a new possibility we haven't even shared yet and OF COURSE Satan's going to be attacking and discouraging us! And you know what??? Satan had to get God's permission to do it!
This means: God has a plan - He's GOT this! For up to the next 3 weeks, the kids and I don't have to go anywhere beyond walking distance and if he has to, Superman can ride his bike to and from work and anywhere else in town. 3 weeks is PLENTY of time for God to show His awesome and mighty hand and perform a miracle. At this point I think I'm going to pray that He provide us with a mini van - surely someone has a mini van not doing anything that they'd be willing to give to a pastor's family right???

My favorite verse in times like this:
2 Cor 4:8, "We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed."

I've also noticed that sometimes God has allowed things to happen to use that we would not prefer, not just for our own lesson learning but for others to step up and serve too. Which reminds me of the verse in Phil 4 where Paul tells the church at Philippi "I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that once again you renewed your care for me. You were, in fact, concerned about me but lacked the opportunity to show it."

God is granting someone(s) the opportunity to show concern for us! And He's teaching us to trust Him! In everything! PRAISE GOD!!

God's GOT this.

Hush my child..... I will provide....

We covet your prayers as we watch on the sidelines to see God move on the vehicle situation. We also covet your prayers as we trust The Great Physician, the ONLY ONE who can help our baby grow, as the giver and taker of life, and will fulfill His purpose for us. We pray for the baby's safety and trust Our Provider with this child.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Psalm 57:2

"I call to God Most High, to God who fulfills His purpose for me." Psalm 57:2

This verse was written by David as he was hiding in a cave; hiding from King Saul who wanted to kill him because King Saul knew that David was to be the next king. 

Facing almost certain death against the mightiest king of the day, David cries out to God.... I don't know that I would have had the same wording.

When I am faced with adversary, I pray for deliverance.... how many times do I ACTUALLY then end with "not my will but Your will be done?" Or in this verse specifically the wording is "I call to God... who fulfills His purpose for me." What if God's purpose is the worst case scenario in your book? What if it means death? Death to you? Death to your children? Your spouse? What if that means a repossession of your home? Filing bankruptcy? A job loss for you or your spouse? What if any of those things is God fulfilling His purpose for you? For me?

My superhusband/pastor referenced this verse yesterday in his sermon and it struck me between the eyes and I almost fell apart right there. You see, I had just learned before walking out the door to church, that I have a friend who is expecting a child, and as they expect the arrival of that child they are preparing for certain death. Their baby has a rare defect and the baby has a zero percent survival possibility. Zero percent. They have been given no hope. They are making plans for delivery, burial, casket, etc.

"I call to God most high, to God who fulfills His purpose for me."

God's purpose is always first and foremost to bring Himself glory and no, that's not selfish - He's God - the Creator of the Universe. We are His instruments for that glory to be accomplished through.
I cannot begin to imagine all that God has planned for this couple and this tiny baby that is still alive at 26 weeks gestation despite all odds (and the fact that abortion is the most logical for this couple and they have received some pressure to do so), but one thing is clear, God is using this situation to fulfill His purpose in this couple. It's now part of their story - of their marriage, their family, their church family, and they have already been able to minister to many through this road God has chosen for them.

Are you truly content in Christ? Do you cry out to God in the midst of trials and struggles and joys and celebrations to fulfill His purpose for you? Do I? Not often enough I am afraid. Not often enough. 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Hush my child.... I will provide

In one of my first posts I shared with you my struggle of following my husband to a place of great insecurity for me - greatly beyond my comfort zone - and God using that time in my life to teach me to trust Him in a whole new way. You can read that particular post here: http://www.areyouthepastorswife.blogspot.com/2012/01/lord-is-my-shepherd-i-shall-not-wait.html

Something else God used during that time I didn't share in that already long post - I wrote a song called "Provision". It's simple, unpolished, won't ever win a grammy kind of song, but it is very special to my heart and I have been amazed at how many times over the last 6 years the Lord has brought that song back to the forefront of my mind during a time of great struggle.

Yesterday was one of those days. The day started terribly and the whole day was just awful. The details aren't very important other than to say the lessons were financial.

Let me share with you the first part of the song I wrote....

I think I know what I need, but I'm just along on the world's ride
Until God brought me to my knees
Hush my child, I will provide. 

Life spins me in circles, Lord I can barely keep up! I need this, I want that, Lord WHERE ARE YOU?
Hush my child, I will provide. 


He grows grass for the cattle, and fruit for nutrition of man
He gives food from earth and water from the sky

In all that He shows, He will provide. 

Life spins me in circles, Lord I can barely keep up! I need this, I want that, Lord WHERE ARE YOU?
Hush my child, I will provide. 


So after this long terrible day, God brought me to my knees.... perhaps flat on my face if I didn't have a 8 1/2 month baby belly to keep me from doing so.....and now for one of my favorite word phrase in the Bible......

But GOD.....

At the end of the day just before the kiddos bedtime, Derin received a phone call from someone he hadn't heard from in months. The details can't be shared yet but when he got off the phone(2 hours later) and shared the information with me, I was literally dumbfounded and asked him to repeat himself.

You mean.... God HEARD me crying out and He was already working on an answer to the prayer I hadn't yet voiced??? Oh I am of little faith.

The information from the phone call must be proceeded with much prayer and caution, and yet it is an amazing possibility that is just astounding. I can't wait to share the details with you. In the mean time, let me finish the song....

He caught me when I was falling
He gave me everything I need
He heard me when I was calling
You showed me Lord, You did provide
I see now Lord, You do provide
I see now Lord........... You died to provide......

Amazingly I have to keep learning this lesson.... God is our Jehovah Jireh - our provider!

Hush my child, I will provide.....

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Seasons of Change

While it's my 2nd favorite time of year, I absolutely love fall. I love the cool air after the hot summer, the hot chocolate, hot tea, warm blanket, slipping into socks for the first time in months, the crisp fall leaves on the ground, the preparedness for Thanksgiving and Christmas.... it's a warm and cozy time of year.

This year fall is bringing about a huge change in our family. It began with a move from a small house to a large house that we are loving but still trying to unpack and settle into, and now as we settle into our school groove we're also preparing to welcome our baby #5, due Thanksgiving week. There must be something that happens as you have more and more children... I find I am far less worried about 'being ready' this time around....lol and yet I do have a list of things that need to be ready before the little one comes that really does need attention. :) I have begun to buy a few needed items, washed boy and girl newborn clothing (baby wouldn't cooperate for either ultrasound so we'll be surprised!), but that's about the just of my level of preparedness. I mean, I still have 3 weeks until my home visit with the midwife right? Jeepers....

I'm hoping to take only a week off of our homeschooling calendar after the baby comes.... with our late start due to the move I am not comfortable taking much more than that... but we'll see what happens.

The church is maintaining and is also turning a corner of change. The vision my husband has cast to the congregation is challenging and demands the people step up - if they are faithful, I have great faith that this model will work. I so admire the clarity God provides to my husband for direction and leading his flock.

This time of year always makes me consider Ecc 3.... there is a time for everything. Sometimes we are not fond of all of what "everything" means though. A dear friend of mine was just diagnosed with breast cancer, another friend is waiting on her father to pass away, a great person of faith whom I have never met lost his 15 year old daughter today to eternity. In contrast, we're getting ready to welcome a new blessing, we're in a time of health right now in our family although difficult challenges in other areas, the church is turning an exciting but a little scary chapter where we need lots of faith to press through, and people all around us are celebrating and mourning in their own blessings and struggles. Do we truly celebrate and thank God in each and every celebration and trial? Do you praise God when your home is broken into? Do you praise God when someone passes away? Do you praise God when you struggle with organization? Do you praise God when you are at your wits end with your spouse? I love the Laura Story song, "blessings".

"What if trials of this life, are His mercies in disguise...."

In this season of change and thankfulness.... let's truly give thanks both in the blessings and in the trials.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Whom do you serve?

I can think of numerous occasions in the Bible where a person had to decide about whether to please God or man. Ultimately, that is the crux of essentially every issue, but there are some times that it is more obvious than others.

I've been contemplating over the recent week or two the importance of choosing God over man. Our God is a jealous God. He demands, yep - strong word but it's true - He demands our allegiance, our attention, our loyalty, our all.

I recently became aware of a person who is not pleased with a decision Derin and I have made. The details aren't important, and while it shocked me and hurt a little, it was fairly easy for me to shrug and though disappointed, conclude that since I'm not seeking that person's approval, this news was not all that important to me. That's easy (or at least *easier*) to do when the person is not high on our list of those we need approval from, but what about those that are. Consider for a moment the people that you go to for advice, the ones that you long to have approve of you, your spouse, your decisions, your dreams... when it comes to those people on your list... it is much more difficult to choose to serve God instead of those men and women of importance. Is God really your everything? Do you long to serve God more than you long for "____'s" approval?

"Choose this day whom you will serve, but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." Joshua 24:15

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A moment of transparency

When preaching about marriage, my husband has often said from the pulpit, "If you don't like my wife - then we can't be friends." His point is that we are one and he will stand with me even if that means he has to stand against everyone else - friends, family, etc. He has had to do just that a number of times and I love him for it so much - it is a demonstrative act of his commitment to our marriage.
Of course I also agree the same - if you have a problem with my husband, then I'm sorry, I will end a friendship. My husband comes first. If your words or attitude are acting as a crowbar to drive a wedge in between myself and my husband, you're the one to go.

Here's my "transparent maybe it shouldn't be said but it's on my heart so I'm going to say it" moment.

I have a difficult time with this in the church family.

When someone comes to ME to ridicule or question my husband, the points from above are my instinct and I have a difficult time remembering to love first. In that moment, I do not have the luxury of growing frustrated or angry or defensive or even hurt because the other half of my heart (my husband) is being attacked or questioned- but instead I have to respond in love or we're going to have even bigger problems than where we began.
Typically my response, preferred by my husband especially, is deference. In that moment I try to take a deep breath and direct that person to my husband to discuss their issue or question. I don't know what my husband is thinking all the time, why he opted to preach on the next text instead of a "holiday appropriate" sermon, why he planned something a certain way, why he hasn't planned something yet, etc. As a bi-vocational church planter who is working on his master's degree there are plenty of weeks that we barely have time to discuss necessary topics pertaining to our family - discussing the church as pillow talk is well.... less than ideal.

With this I leave to you, if you have an issue or question for the pastor - seek him out and not his wife. You'll get a more accurate answer and he has broader shoulders - he's used to getting punches in the gut. Me? I don't have abs of steel and well ....sometimes it hurts.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A confession and a song

I have a confession to make...

While by majority my passion is Christian Contemporary Music, I have a special place in my heart for John Denver's music. The simple clarity that he wrote with just speaks to my heart - it's a love I share with my mom actually. It's just.... peaceful.

The Colorado fires are especially close to me for a couple reasons, the first being is that I have a sister, BIL, and nieces and nephews that live in The Springs and they are being directly effected by these fires. I also fell in LOVE with Colorado when I traveled through there 14 years ago on a mission trip. Additionally, John Denver's songs are both inspired by and much written about those rocky mountains and that also helped form a special place in my heart.

I wondered today as I looked at some of the pictures of the fire and devestation, what kind of song would come from John Denver's heart if he were around to see those same pictures. I wrote a song today, intended to be from his perspective so I guess you could say in memory of him, as I pondered those things.

The Beautiful Colorado


The Colorado that I know was beautiful and clear
Eagles flying, mountains rising and the hills themselves are dear
The air so crisp and clean up there is exhilarating
The Colorado that I know is my home and my retreat

The Colorado that I know stands now charred and burned
A drought with heat and then a spark has changed the scenery
The rich green trees stand sad and bare - the foliage is gone
The air is thick – I cannot breathe and my heart has lost a home

The beautiful Colorado is changed forevermore
My rocky mountain high stands sad and the birds robbed of their song
The beautiful Colorado is lost and so am I
My country my retreat is gone and my heart has lost its home

Now don’t lose heart my Colorado as I know that you’ll rebuild
It’s scary now and oh so sad and with you my heart still aches
The trees will grow again and see - the flowers will rebloom
The birds will sing their song one day and my heart will have a home
My heart will have a home…

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A woman's prerogative?

Everyone knows it's a woman's prerogative to change her mind... right?

Well in this case it wasn't just me. Superman and I decided not to move into the house. We had an unsettled feeling and decided it was not the best thing for our finances. At the end of the day, I still don't know what we're going to do about living situations because as much as I keep trying to find ways to make this house work out, I just can't seem to do it.

In the mean time, I have started a business making elastic tablecloths and it seems to be going well. Had some business - need to streamline so I can become quicker about getting the orders out the door but I'm excited and it seems to be doing ok.