Showing posts from 2014

Me and My Petunias

Today I spent some time deadheading my petunias- again. It seems like the hotter the summer gets, the more I have to pull those dead blooms off these plants, otherwise they look pathetic. I've learned that if I don't do this, the plant doesn't thrive and grow new and bigger blooms.  It's a tedious job, often time consuming- and sticky- and I don't particularly enjoy it. 
So it is with our lives. We need those dead things pulled off in order to grow, to thrive, to bloom. Carry enough of those dead things around and we get weighed down. The process is tedious, time-consuming, often sticky and unpleasant. I don't particularly enjoy it! 
Life gets hotter than we'd like at times, and the heat can wilt our hearts, causing things we need to let go die. 
This feels bad, it hurts and it's hard! Sometimes the process seems like it goes on and on. But in the end it will bear greater things when we continue to choose growth in courage, wisdom and faith- no matter…

Choose Courage

Have not I commanded you? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, nor afraid or discouraged: for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. -Joshua 1:9One of my favorite scenes in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy is when Eowyn (a woman of royalty) looks at Meriadoc (a.k.a. Merry)- about to embark on the biggest battle Middle Earth has ever seen- and says "Courage ride with me." She sweeps him off his feet and on to her horse and ride off into battle. You can just see the courage rise up within him as he makes the decision of a lifetime. Although a small and untrained hobbit who has made his share of mistakes along his journey, he decides to choose courage in the face of most certain death. 
The stakes were high and he knew it.
Sometimes as humans, we forget to choose courage. We look around at our circumstances and wonder how we ever got ourselves into this mess.  We worry that we're not good enough, pretty enough, talented enough, strong enough or eve…

Life in the Banana Bowl

Life in ministry can cause this condition:

Yes, you heard right. Ministry life can cause a woman to join the banana bowl.
In my ministry life, I have joined the banana bowl many times. At times, voluntarily. Other times, out of sheer necessity. You see, although in reality I might feel like an apple,  sometimes the situation calls for a banana.
I totally believe that we should seek out, understand and embrace our God-given gifts. Our wise Creator has built into our DNA to passionately serve through these giftings and our ultimate purpose is, in part,  lived out using and growing these gifts. 
There are times in ministry where we are called to step out of our "comfort zones" and function in areas that we don't necessarily feel strong or comfortable in. Perhaps we haven't had appropriate time to pray about it or even prepare in advance. Maybe the situation completely took you by surprise.
But God might be saying "I want you here- doing this- right now."
It mi…

Disappointment Valley

As a woman in ministry, you will visit this place often:

Why? Because we are in the people business.
People are human, like us. People make mistakes. Sometimes very painful mistakes. People will hurt us and those we love.
It causes us to ask the proverbial question- why is this happening?
But there is a flip-side to disappointment. Love.
If you find yourself disappointed, it's because you love. If you didn't love, you wouldn't care. The deeper the love, the deeper the disappointment. All because you love...and that's a good thing.
I've been choosing lately, to go ahead and feel my disappointment instead of denying it's there. To do the work of examining my heart and ultimately giving it over to the Lord. Next, I choose to thank God for giving me this love for them in the first place. To deepen it. To widen my vision.  To show me how to proceed.
Does this make the feeling go away? No.
Does it change the circumstances? No.
But it offers me a different perspective. Reminds me of the …

No One Sits Alone

I'm not sure why this is, but it is. I've observed this over and over throughout our ministry lives:

Pastor's wives. Sitting alone in church.
I've been trying to figure this out for a long time.  Partly because I'm a pastor's wife, and a pastor myself. Partly because, more often than not, I've sat alone for many years too. Partly because I'm an observer of people. It saddens me and fascinates me all at once.
I know- weird.
But why?
It's probably logical right? The pastor is usually busy doing his thing on Sunday morning and his wife is left to navigate on her own, deal with the kids and often do ministry work as well. People have their own families, and usually, their fiercely claimed weekly pew (or chair). Let's admit it folks- we are creatures of habit....and comfort. 
And there sits the pastor's wife. Usually towards the front somewhere- alone- or maybe with some kiddos to keep quiet. Usually Sundays are not the sabbath for her.

We Are Not Superheros

Have you ever heard someone use the phrase:
God says He wouldn't ever give me more than I can handle.
It makes me pause every time I hear this. It's actually not Biblical.
The verse that people tend to get this idea is from I Corinthians 10:13: No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. (NIV)
This verse talks about temptation in particular. If we were strong enough to handle temptation on our own, we wouldn't need Godto provide a way out so we could overcome it.
 The New Living Translation puts it this way: If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall.The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. If …

Pastor's Wives are People Too. A Poem.

Pastor's wives are people too.
(A pastor's wife may actually be a guy- a pastor's husband- which brings unique challenges of it's own. But for the ease of writing, I'll just say "she" for now, but please know that the "she" really could be a "he" and the point is the same.)

There are a lot of demands on her time and energy- just like you.
She carries many burdens and try in earnest to give them to the Lord- just like you.
She struggles with all the same stuff you do- yes, this is true.
She may not play the piano or sing. She may be a welder. selah.
She feels loneliness, sorrow, worry and fear- just like you.
She makes mistakes and has regrets- just like you.
She worries that she's bringing up her kids right- yes, this is true.
She may not be an extrovert. And that's okay.
She is often asked to do way too much- just like you.
She often wonders about the future- just like you.
She crawls back to the cross on a frequent basis- yes, it…

Find a Way

While watching an interview of Diana Nyad the other day, I was captivated. What an incredible story! Diana's story is one of an unrelenting spirit.  Pursuit of a dream. Making it work.
This former marathon swimmer, after 30 years of not a single lap in the pool, reignited an earlier dream of swimming from the US to Cuba without stopping.  AT ALL. 103 miles.  At 64 years old, she fulfilled that dream. 
Just. Wow.
Diane's story is such an inspiration, and reminds me of how God created us with such potential. He has instilled in us this will, this drive that propels us on no matter what obstacles come our way.
The thing inside that says: find a way.
She tells of a time when she was sharing her story to a large group of people, which included her abuse by a former swimming coach. After her talk, she met a woman in her late 80's at one of the tables. As they were talking, she noticed the series of numbers tattooed on this kind woman's forearm. This mark was the one she received fro…

First Thing in the Morning

What's the first thing you do when you get up? Me? I'm not a morning person by any stretch of the imagination. Those of you who know me are probably laughing right now! I've tried to convert, I really have! Alas, it just doesn't work for me. And to be honest with you, overly joyful morning people are annoying...well, to those of us who- let's say- are not. I've had other "non-morning" people tell me that it's fingernails-scratching-a-chalkboard annoying. I can relate. (dear morning friends and family, I love you) There is a beauty in that though. We all do our best work at varying times of day and we are simply built differently. Some work their genius in the morning, while others deliver genius at night. I appreciate the variety, because if everyone was built like me, nothing would ever open before noon! I read an article recently that proposed this thought: the most defining moment of our day is when we first wake up. The reasoning is that we have a …

Hold On to What is Good and True

Not a sparrow falls to the ground without God’s knowledge, but sparrows still fall. God works all things to the good for those who love Him. But He still allows His saints to suffer. And He doesn’t always tell them why. I read this quote recently in a blog on how to help those with depression. (you can find the whole blog by Anna, click here) Have you ever felt like that sparrow?When it seems like all the people you see are smiling, but you are just too tired. When leaving the house seems like a momentous chore. When things look dull and your life seems the same day after day. When you've been cheated, betrayed or slandered. When all the nice Christian answers are hard to believe. When this current season of your life is difficult, and you don't see any end. When you wonder who your real friends are. When you try to hear from God and there's only silence. He doesn't always tell us why.I tend to believe that the desire to know why is built into us. If we can just put our finger on …

Grace in the Grey

It would be nice if the world were always black or white,  where issues and circumstances were either one way or the other, right or wrong,  good or bad and so just might be easier to navigate.
Don't misunderstand, I do believe there are absolutes in this world.  Good and evil. Right and wrong. I believe this with every fiber of my being.  I also believe that these things are instilled deep inside of us.  Things such as a true sense of justice, crimes that turn our stomachs  and leave no doubt in our mind, actions and words that hurt, steal or wound. There are all kinds of right and wrong. I believe that God himself created us to know it.
But while there are black and white issues in the world,  there are also circumstances that live somewhere between the black and white.  Somewhere in the blur of the grey.

We don't typically like the grey. The grey is nebulous. The grey doesn't offer quick and easy answers.  The grey can present itself suddenly, or very slowly over time. And th…

Listen With Your Heart

Do you listen with your heart, your head... or both? When others ask you how you're doing, are you honest? Sometimes pasting on a smile with a "positive attitude" is a great cover up. Sometimes behind that smile is a heart that is actually withering away. Or cursing, in conflict, devastated, angry or confused. Sometimes that forced positive can even take the form of denial. It's okay to face the facts- healthy even. It's happened to me several times recently.  I was being honest with someone about how I felt about some hurts inside of me that have impacted me deeply. I didn't go into the gory details, just in general. Well, they asked. But what I experienced from them was interesting. Instead of empathy                      I received "well, at least you....." and "you think that's bad" Instead of compassion                 I received platitudes. Instead of validation                     I heard about how I should try to see it from the other sid…

Just Show Up

All of us have unique gifts and talents.  The Creator is a creative God- just take a look around you.  Even the Bible starts with God as Artist- all of it magnificent.
Since you are created in His image, you have His creativity in you.
And get this...
He wants to flow out through you in a unique way  that He won't through anyone else. 

You have been given this one unique life. You have been asked to show up.
You have been given your hands, you mind, your personality, your insight. You have been given your sense of humor, creative expression, your sense of right or wrong, unique problem solving skills, an ability to love and receive love. 
You may have been given your sick parents, a diagnosis, a disability, a leaky basement, a rusty car, a challenging child, a lonely house, a crabby co-worker or a layoff you didn't expect. 
You have been given a passion for something, perhaps a heart for the homeless, justice for the abused, compassion for the needy or a desire to bring a light to dark p…