Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Conference (Part One)

EDIT: Realizing the length of this, I am going to break it into different posts. I don't think anyone could make it through all I have to write in ONE reading!!

I'll start this post with a disclaimer: YOU MAY GET BORED READING THIS!!! I am writing this for several different reasons. First, I want to remember everything I learned. Next, I had lots of friends who are wives of ministers that could not attend this conference. I told them I would take notes for them. (and, boy did I take notes!!!!) Last, people keep asking me how the conference went and in reality, they don't have three hours for me to fully describe it, so I'm putting it here. (No, it shouldn't take 3 hours to read. I'm just hitting the high points!)


I only heard about the two conferences a few weeks ago. Dan was away at school when I saw it mentioned on Beth Moore's blog. I looked online to find information and discovered there was also a preconference put on by Lifeway. I was really excited about the possibility of going but didn't know if I could work out the details with such short notice. Also, I did not want to go alone. I called one of my best friends from college, Hope to see if she might be able to go. She lives outside of Atlanta and is married to a Student Minister.


That night, I shared about the conferences over dinner with a friend and she said "Nicki, I think it is a great idea but you will plan all of this, work out the details and NEVER go!" She was right. I have a bad habit of doing that. But, that comment made me do it just to prove a point to her (and me!) that I WOULD do this...with or without Hope.


Hope called back the next day to say she had talked to her husband and she was in! Due to work, she could not attend the preconference but her church wanted to send her to Beth Moore portion. So, we finalized all the details and planned to meet in Nashville then.


I was very excited about the trip but never thought about being ALONE for the 8 hour drive OR the preconference. I arrived on Thursday night in time to attend BETWEEN US MINISTER'S WIVES: CALLED AND EQUIPPED. When I arrived at dinner, I quickly realized being alone would be harder than I thought. I must admit, for a brief minute, I considered leaving and waiting until Hope arrived the next night and just skipping the preconference. But, I quickly remembered the money I had paid for the preconference and how I NEEDED to be there. So, being brave, I walked to a table that had one empty chair and asked to sit down. Whew...hard part over! (Don't be too proud of me, I had already texted Dan telling him how uncomfortable I was and that I was a little bit teary!!!)


After dinner, we moved to the chapel for worship. I realized then exactly why I was there...and ALONE. There were so many things said in the first few minutes that were meant just for me. And, come to find out, I ended up sitting next to a lady on the very back row who happened to be alone also. As we talked, we discovered her youth minister is one of our good friends. He was Dan's roommate in college and was a groomsman in our wedding. All of the sudden, the world didn't seem so big anymore.

The time in chapel was a panel discussion with 6 different Minister's wives. The discussion began with them listing the issues that are the most prevalent in our lives.
  • loneliness
  • lack of authentic/real friends
  • trust
  • raising children in glass houses
  • marriage
  • people who criticize your husband
  • people who adore your husband in an unhealthy way
  • forgiveness
  • high and unrealistic expectations
  • knowing your husband has secrets he cannot share with you
They spoke next about the one thing they wish an older, wiser person would have told them at the onset of being married to a minister.
  • Be real! Don't try to be who you aren't. If you don't like to sing, don't sing in the choir just because the last pastors wife did or the youth ministers wife does.
  • You are the PERFECT pastors wife for the church you are serving. If God called your husband to that church, then he called you also. That means your giftedness and personality is exactly what is needed for this time.
  • Your first call is to walk with God, then to your husband and then to your children.
  • Exodus 14:14 "The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent." Many times, you are misquoted, accused or misunderstood. Don't get in the mud with those playing dirty. Be faithful to God and allow him to fight your battles. (HARD TO DO!!!!) Especially, when you know your husband is completely innocent in a situation where he is having integrity but is being dragged through the mud.
  • You are responsible for you.
They ended this group session by talking about people that just difficult. You know, those who complain no matter what you do. The ones who have unrealistic expectations and who care more about their own comfort than seeing people come to Christ. The ones who smile to your face but plot ways to get your husband fired. The ones who have never voiced an issue to you directly but tell everyone they come into contact with about what they are unhappy with. You know, THOSE PEOPLE!!! This is what they had to say:

"You have only been given a short time to minister to those people. Your time at that church may be one year or it may be 20. You must show them the love of Christ. Do not waste your time there being unforgiving. LOVE THEM TO JESUS!"

3 comments:

Amanda said...

Enjoyed all of that post and I can't wait to read the rest, but I really chuckled when I saw the label you attached to this post :)

Anonymous said...

Awesome

4 J's said...

Love it...wish I could have been there. Thanks for sharing!

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