A Prayer for This Christmas

Father above,

As I sit this morning, coffee in hand, to catch up on the news of the world, all my mind can think is how badly we need to cry out to You.  Our world is lost and crumbling without You. Forgive us in this Season of Holiness.  Forgive us for our lack of holiness.  Forgive us for abandoning You.

Break our hearts for You, Father.

I close my eyes and see Your perfect love…

In a tiny little stablearts-graphics-film_1189811a
So very far from home
You gave up Your throne in glory
For a humble bed of hay
You put Yourself in the care
Of simple mortal men
To allow Yourself to learn and grow
To fully understand
How broken and in need of You
Our world truly is
You taught us faith and showed us love
As You walked upon this land
You endured our pain and took our place
While shamed upon that cross

Father, give us each Your eyes to see through during this Christmas season.  Let us not see with the hate of the world, but with Your unconditional love for all of mankind.  Give us Your wisdom and desire to pray.  Pray like we’ve never prayed before.  Prayers for a lost world to come to You.  Prayers for wisdom to show Your love to those who need to see & experience You.

Help us focus on You!  Rejoice in You, for You are worthy of so much more than we can give!  Remind us to praise You on Christmas morning for Your greatest gift and abundant blessings!

Amen

If My people who are called by My name humble themselves, pray and seek My face, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14

Merry Christmas & Be Blessed

-De

Take Off Those Steel-Toed Boots

2_timothy_3_16_by_treybacca-d5vmg7vBut as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed. You know those who taught you, and you know that from childhood you have known the sacred Scriptures, which are able to give you wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” 2Timothy 3:14-17 HCSB

Preface: This verse actually popped up in my children’s lesson a few Wednesday nights ago.  That set it rolling around in my brain.  God has had it on simmer for the past weeks, allowing me to draw some amazing things from it.  Speaking its lessons to my heart.

How often do you wear your “steel-toed boots” to church?  You know what I mean…the imaginary armor you put on after a few weeks of the preacher’s words stepping on your toes.  It’s so easy to become exhausted of sermons stomping our toes into the ground.  You may even be tempted to ask your pastor to give your toes a break once and a while.  Ever been there?  I have.

You know what friend?  Don’t be tempted to ask your pastor to “tickle your ears.”  There are warnings against that.  Paul specifically warns Timothy of this just a few verses later:

I solemnly charge you before God and Christ Jesus, who is going to judge the living and the dead, and because of His appearing and His kingdom:  Proclaim the message; persist in it whether convenient or not; rebuke, correct, and encourage with great patience and teaching.  For the time will come when they will not tolerate sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, will multiply teachers for themselves because they have an itch to hear something new.  They will turn away from hearing the truth and will turn aside to myths. But as for you, be serious about everything, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”  2 Timothy 4:1-5

Prayerfully, if your pastor is truly seeking God’s will, he/she will not listen to your counsel anyway.

We are human. We don’t like to be told we’re wrong in any way.  It hurts.  It makes us uncomfortable.  It often makes us angry.  We may want to lash out.  We may want to withdraw.  There are many ways we respond to rebuke or correction.

When your pastor or teachers are teaching the Words of God in truth*, friends they fulling God’s will for them.  If those words from scripture stomp on your sensitive toes…LET IT!  That usually means that you need it.  I know that is the case with me.  When something my hubby preaches just pierces me to the core, I know it’s time to get with God and do a check-up!  (Not always willingly…I have been known to throw a toddler tantrum or two.)

God’s truth can hurt as well as encourage.  I’ve heard messages in the past that I found incredibly encouraging only to be told by a friend how much it stomped her toes, and vice versa.

Let’s take those old steel-toed boots and toss them in the trash!  Let’s allow God’s Word to pierce our hearts and stomp our toes!  Only then, when we’ve been taught, rebuked, corrected, & trained will we be complete & equipped for the work He has prepared for us.

Be blessed!

-De

*Please be aware that there are “teachers” and “pastors” who do not teach the Word in truth but in twisted versions of the scriptures.  I encourage you to study the scriptures & hold them accountable.

Being Crafted

DeAnna:

God brought this blog post back to my heart last night. Reminding me of it’s meaning and not only its personal implications, but also those that are for His church. He is refining all within His body of believers. Church, allow Him. He is the Master Craftsman.

Originally posted on Jesusfreak Mommy:

Over the past several years, like many, I’ve had spiritual ups and downs.  This is how it goes it seems.

I’ve talked with several people about the struggles of being a Christian.  For some strange reason, many in the world have the idea in mind that being a Christian is a life filled with ease.  (HA!)  Being a Christian is more like a process of being hand crafted by the Maker of the world from a rough hunk of rock into His perfect vision.

Now think about that a few minutes.  What must the Craftsman do to achieve His vision?

First, He begins break away all the excess.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you future and a hope.”  Jeremiah 29:11 ESV

What part of that process sounds easy?  Imagine His tools…

Nothing about this…

View original 380 more words

Pastor Appreciation from Your Spouse and Children

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As October draws to a close & with it the end of Pastor Appreciation Month, I felt led to compile a little thank you to pastors from their families.

As spouses and children of pastors, we see a completely different side to your ministry.  (Thanks to all the ministry wives & children who helped me compose this.)

To our pastor,

Thank you for being not only our pastor but the foundation builder of our home.  To some of us, you are our very best friend & spouse.  To others, our father & friend.

Thank you for modeling servanthood to us.  Although we may sometimes become frustrated when you work long hours, we appreciate you showing us a model of sacrifice to minister to the body of Christ.

Thank you for allowing us to see your discerning heart as you choose to speak or remain silent as you interact with the church.

Thank you for coming home to us with a smile and grace after seemingly endless hours of meetings.

Thank you for being a constant for us through the transitions and relocations that ministry can bring, even though you may be struggling silently while comforting and reassuring us without fail.

Thank you for modeling fasting and prayer for us as we see you diligently seek after God’s will in His church and the messages He has given you to deliver.

Thank you for the deep compassion and care you model for us on those many sleepless nights that the church will never see.

We know you endure so many things.  We know you are easily the target for so many who are hurting.  We see your pain.

We see so many things that no one else ever will.

And we love you so much more than you will ever know.

Thank you!

**Father in heaven, we truly do thank You for our pastors.  We pray that You will continue to lead and guide them in Your perfect way.  We pray that You will give them Your vision for the church.  We ask that You will strengthen us to give them the encouragement, support, and unconditional love they so need.  Send them mentors, encouragers, and most of all friendships that will help them grow in You.  Amen. **

Be blessed!

-De

(Special thanks to Bro. Joe McKeever for allowing use of his awesome artwork.  Thank for your wonder pastor heart & for being such a wonderful encourager of our pastors.)

A Much Needed Getaway

When you are a family in ministry, family time is a VERY important thing! We were very blessed to take a family vacation this month, and not just any little vacation, a magical vacation for this family of Disney addicts. ;)  A wonderful week of disconnecting ourselves from the world (aka cell phones were only for trying to reach each other in the park, the “do not disturb” function is a beautiful thing), and enjoying our family.

Here are a few of my favorite memories:

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We opted for the Memory Maker package on this trip, and I really loved it. That allowed my hubby to concentrate on videos (notice his camcorder in almost every pic) for our video scrapbook. :) It’s such a cool way to document our family time. He even let the kids take his old camera & capture videos from their point of view, aka “Kid Cam”.  I’ll share a few segments of it when he’s done editing it.

Be blessed & enjoy your family!

Disney Signature

To the Young Pastor’s Wife

I guess I still somewhat fall into this category, but although the “pastor’s wife” title is a new-ish one for me, being a woman in ministry is not.

Ladies, my heart simply wants to encourage you.  The struggles you feel are very real, and you are not alone in any of them.

Are you feeling any of these:

  • Lonely.  Seemingly every friend you had before ministry now looks at you differently.  They aren’t as open with you.  You aren’t as open with them.  The fear of judgmental thoughts is very real.
  • Like you must walk on eggshells.  Every decision you make is watched.  Your clothes aren’t nice enough…or maybe too nice.  Every word you say must be more than carefully thought out, because everyone, but you it seems, is allowed to wear their feelings on their sleeves.
  • Like you must be the “perfect” housewife.  Your children must fit a certain mold.  Your home must look a certain way.  The budget must always work out perfectly.
  • Like your husband is on loan to you…definitely doesn’t belong to you but to the congregation.
  • Like you have forgotten who you really are deep inside.

I will honestly say, at some point over the last 15 years in and out of ministry, I’ve felt these & many more.  Living the ministry life is not for everyone.  It’s lonely.  It’s very public.  And if you are in it, it’s part of God’s plan for you.

When I find my mind wandering into one of these negative places, it’s easy to dwell there.  Honestly, it’s easy to set up camp and stay a while, and that’s just what the Enemy wants us to do.  If he can bring us down, he can get to our family, our husbands, and destroy the work God is doing.

First and foremost let me encourage you (and remind myself) to suit up each day.  Put on your armor ladies!  Keep the Enemy out of your minds.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. – Philippians 4:8

Second, let’s defeat these lies.  Yes, lies.

  • Lonely.  You will feel lonely, but you are most definitely NOT alone.  Your friends are still there.  True, you may have to be more guarded around some people, but I promise you, there are friends out there for you.  (And you are always free to message me.) :)  Confide in your husband how you are feeling.  Let him pray for you.  Don’t worry about burdening him…because you aren’t!  You are in this ministry TOGETHER!
  • Those eggshells.  I know from experience that sometimes you just want to let your feelings fly…ugly and out in the open.  Over the years, I’ve excused myself from many meetings to “refill my cup of water” or “visit the restroom” in order to allow myself time to pray and regroup.  There will always be those who passive-aggressively (or maybe downright aggressively) put down on your husband, your children, and you.  But know that the worth of your family & yourself is NOT directly related to what they perceive.  Only in God can we truly find our worth!

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. – 1 Cor 10:13

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. – Psalm 139:13-15

  • Perfect Housewife.  I laugh at this one often.  I am FAR from the perfect housewife.  I am FAR from the perfect mom.  Still, I find myself feeling expected to be these things.  It never fails,frazzledmom-3 there is always that one church member who will show up on the day you have a double sink full of dirty dishes.  A mountain of unfolded laundry on the sofa.  Kids who look as if they haven’t bathed in 2 weeks. And, you still in your pjs at 3 in the afternoon.  Oh well, right! :)  Don’t hold yourself or your family to the expectations of others.  My children are introverted, like both of their parents.  If they aren’t comfortable enough to speak to someone, I know not to force them to.  I can pray with them about being brave, but others will not see this, and that is okay.  I stress lots over budgeting…I’m a numbers person.  If this falls into one of your household responsibilities, know that in most ministry cases…it’s going to be tight.  It may not always be in the black.  But as long as you are following God’s leading & being a good steward of His blessings, relax.  He’s got you!

Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. – Matthew 6:31-34

  • Husband.  Remember that your husband’s calling is a very important one.  If you feel like he is “on loan” to you, please talk to him about it.  If he’s a new pastor, he honestly may not see what you are seeing.  He may simply be trying so hard to “do a good job” that he doesn’t realize this.  Schedule…purposely schedule…off days with him.  Make him put them on the calendar. :)  When we were first called to pastoral ministry, one of the best pieces of advice my husband was given was to make family time sacred.  It is scheduled & uninterruptible. His deacons know this.  Our church knows this, and they respect this.
  • Who You Are.  This can be a tough one.  We all have dreams of what we want life to be.  It’s difficult sometimes to realize God may have other plans.  But we also need to remember that verse in Psalms I posted earlier.  God knows us better than we know ourselves.  He gives us desires in our hearts.  We may not know why or how they fit into His plan, but I assure you He has a plan.  Continue to find yourself in Him.  I’m still not 100% sure of His plan for me.  I just follow.  When we started seminary 5 years ago, I knew God was calling me to get a degree in Worship Leadership.  Music is my passion!  He speaks loudly to me through music.  It fit!  He called me to serve as a worship leader for a while, but never opened up worship classes for me to take.  He did however open up women’s ministry training.  Not having a clue as to how He would use me in this, I followed.  I’m still following.  Over the past 5 years, He has taught me so much about myself.  Grown in me a HUGE love for women in ministry.  And, I know He isn’t finished yet.  But for now, I will love on and pray for each one of you ladies!  Remember, you are a unique creation…perfect daughter… of the King.  Put on your crown princesses and hold your heads high!princess

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. – Ephesians 2:10

*Father, I pray for each special lady You have called to be the wife of one of Your leaders.  It’s not an easy calling.  I pray that You will help them learn to guard their minds from the attacks of the enemy.  I pray You will send them friendships.  I pray that You will protect their homes and marriages.  And I sincerely pray that You will show each one how precious they are to You.*

Be blessed!

-De

Mom’s Night Out: Review from a Pastor’s Wife

So, the other night, my hubby and I FINALLY watched Mom’s Night Out.  I’ve been wanting to see the movie since its release, but never had the opportunity to go.

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I thoroughly enjoyed the laughter found in a rare, truly family friendly comedy.

The chemistry between the cast was phenomenal.

Seriously I LAUGHED so hard…much needed after the past few weeks around here.

But, I also cried.  There were several moments of silent tears as I found myself identifying greatly with the story.

I’ve been the frazzled mom…many many times.  I’ve found myself putting the focus in entirely wrong places.  I’ve felt the aggravation over never seeming to have a moment alone.  Children who refused to just go to church and take part in children’s activities while mom had a rare moment of adult worship.  I’ve been there.

I’ve tried not to crush dreams my children have by freaking out when they make messes (and when I say messes I mean the true tornado just destroyed this area kind of messes).  I don’t always succeed here, but I try.

I’ve been in the place of crazy…when I desired the company of girl friends so much that I might do something totally insane if you ruined my plans.  ;)

But there was one point that has only just recently become real to me.  One place that I am learning more about how to deal with, and failing miserably.  I really felt myself identifying with Sondra (Patricia Heaton), and in that crying over things I’d taken for granted in the past.

The Pastor’s Wife.  This is where I live right now.  A position that I never fully understood for years.  A position that, like I said, I took for granted for a long time.  They portrayed her well.

-Sunday morning greeter.  Wearing a smile, even though life at home (with children) wasn’t perfect.

-The Encourager.  Ready and willing to encourage the other women, even when deep down she needed a little herself.

-Human.  I was thrilled when they touched on the fact that she was a person who had made mistakes.  Yes…we make mistakes too.

I laughed at the scene in the bowling alley when she felt compelled to remove empty alcohol bottles to protect their reputations…only to be put on the big screen carrying away empty bottles…totally my luck. ;)

I laughed at the looks on her face when forced to enter a “shady” place.  Seriously, we always feel people are looking over our shoulders judging our every move…even if we are doing what’s right, people will turn it around.

But the part that hit me most was back in the bowling alley.  Sondra thanked Allyson for inviting her out for a girl’s night and adding that it was the first time in 5 years that she had been invited to do anything with anyone that wasn’t church related.  *tears*

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Ladies, as a pastor’s wife (woman in ministry) & former regular “Jane” church member, your pastor’s wife is simply a person like you.  She feels like you.  She lives life like you.  She wants to hide from her children sometimes like you.  She needs friends to be friends, just…like…you.

The things you enjoy: shopping, playing games, being goofy together, almost obsessing over Downton Abbey (or any other tv show), hanging out, exercising…really anything… I assure you, she shares some of the same interests.  Pay attention…you’ll see.

I kick myself now for not purposing to get to know so many of the pastor’s wives I’ve known.  Many of these wonderful ladies have impacted my life more than they will ever know.  I honestly never dreamed God would lead my husband and me down this path of ministry.  I’m so glad I had many of these women to be a role-model for me.

*Father in heaven, I pray for each ministry wife that has been part of my life, and all those I’ve never met.  I pray that you will send them joy.  I pray that you will send them rest.  I pray that you will make them strong pillars of faith and strength for their husbands.  I pray that you will fill them with your love.  But mostly Father, I pray that you will send friends to those who need them.  True, trustworthy friends.  Wrap your loving arms around these precious women.  Wrap your arms around their families.  Refill & refresh each one so that she may minister to your people as you need her to. Amen.*

-De