Saturday, March 21, 2009

Just to get you by...

I know some of you need your Jonah fix! So, here he is. I have a whole post from the day this picture was taken but we have a lot going on right now. If this gives you an idea, I told Jonah goodbye yesterday morning at 9 thinking I would see him later in the day. But, here it is 11:36 a.m. the next day and I won't see him until around 9 tonight! EEKS! Oh, the life of being married to a preacher! I'm so thankful for people who love my little boy and step up when we need them. And, I'm so thankful for a resilient little boy who loves people and just goes with the flow. He thinks many of our church people are his family because they treat him that way. I love it!! Oh, before you worry about him missing us too bad, he is at the lake fishing right now so I'm pretty sure we haven't crossed his mind!!! (But, he keeps crossing mine!!)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Dan & our Governor


Dan had the opportunity to have lunch at the Governor's Mansion today. He was called earlier this week and invited to be one of 20 Pastors to be there. I sent my camera with him but he made sure to tell me he would not be using it. But, lucky for me, someone there sent us this picture via email today!!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Way back WHENsday

These are a few pictures taken around this time last year! It is fun to experience life with this little boy!!






What Beth needed to know

On Monday or Tuesday of last week, Beth Moore made an appeal on her blog. She asked all wives of Ministers to leave a comment on her blog and finish this sentence. "Beth, I think you should know..."

She said since she isn't the wife of a minister, she needed some help knowing what some of the big issues are. She ended up getting over 325 comments in less than 24 hours. She used some of them in a video form to open each session. She posted the three videos on her blog today. I'm SO glad because Hope and I were trying to explain them to our husbands and our explanations didn't do these justice. The comments from wives are very poignant, humorous, sad, painful and yet so very real. I've posted them here so you can see them also.




The Life of a Ministers Wife - part 1 from stephen proctor on Vimeo.


The Life of a Ministers Wife - part 2 from stephen proctor on Vimeo.


The Life of a Ministers Wife - part 3 from stephen proctor on Vimeo.

Vera Overload!!!!!!

When we got ready to check out of the hotel Sunday, I ran downstairs to get the luggage cart. I loaded everything on it and couldn't help but giggle!! It looks like Vera Bradley threw up in our room!!! Hope has the Java Blue pattern and I have the Puccino pattern. We looked like members of her fan club pushing that cart through the lobby!


The Wheels On the Bus

video

THE CONFERENCE (Part Three)

Friday morning came very early for me. The conference started at 8:00 a.m. I woke up to a dreary, rainy day. I was so tempted to close the windows, walk across the dark room and crawl right back in bed. But, instead, I got up, turned to PASSION on my Ipod and jumped in the shower. I made it just in time for the first session. Once again, I had difficulty deciding on which conference to choose but I settled on "SISTER, SISTER! DEVELOPING HEALTHY FRIENDSHIPS AS A MINSTER'S WIFE!" This session was led by Leighann McCoy. Her situation is a little bit different because she is married to the Senior Pastor of a fairly large church but she also serves on staff of that same church. So, she is Minister's wife AND a minister there.

She opened the session by asking who in the room found themselves in rooms and churches and parties and fellowships full of people but still felt alone...completely alone? Probably 98 % of the people raised their hands. We then began to discuss/wonder if that question was posed to some of the closest friends at home, would they believe that about their staff wives. Probably not. So, here are my notes from that session.


WHY YOU NEED GIRLFRIENDS
  • There are some things only other women understand.
  • Having friendships with other women takes the pressure off of my husband
  • Girlfriends make great accountability partners. (Romans 14:12)
  • Iron sharpens iron- so girlfriends partner with God to make us more like Christ
WHAT'S NECESSARY FOR HEALTHY FRIENDSHIPS (James 3:1-12)
  • Confidentiality!! (James 3:9-10)
  • Integrity (Philippians 4:8)
  • Laughter
  • Forgiveness
A healthy friendship does not compromise the sacred place you and your husband share! Don't discuss private matters. Don't criticize your husband- even to blow off steam. (You do this with God...not a church member. He is still their pastor!!!) Don't talk about anything that would cause her to think less of him. If in doubt, just don't go there!!

HOW TO CREATE AND GROW HEALTHY FRIENDSHIPS WITH OTHER WOMEN
  • Take the initiative
  • Always return phone calls and emails or get rid of your email account and answering machine!!!
  • Call someone to chat sometimes!
  • Remember special dates of your friends. (anniversaries and birthdays are the obvious ones. What about the anniversary of the death of their child, mother, father, sister, brother.)
A BIBLICAL EXAMPLE OF TRUE FRIENDS (1 Samuel 18:1-4)
  • The soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David.
  • Jonathan and David made a covenant.
  • Jonathan loved David as his own soul!
David and Jonathan had four things in common.
  • True Piety- they were zealous in pursuit of God's enemies and utterly and totally convince in the power of God.
  • Humility- The both embraced humility and no agenda with each other. Many times, we find people who want to be our "friend" only to be sure their agenda is passed on to our husband. They use us to get to him.
  • Duty- (didn't write anything down...must of zoned out. HA!)
  • Loyalty- Jonathan protected his friend AND his father. Many times in ministry, you have friends that are close friends until you do something they disagree with. Then, they are the first ones to turn on you and crucify you publicly or to spread dissension within small groups of people. If these people were/are your true friends, they would be loyal to you, not turn on you when they disagree with you, your husband or a decision made in the church.
When you come across two people who have a deep sense of mutual loyalty, piety, humility and duty, you have the potential to see two souls linked together. When people have those noble virtues in common, they have the stuff of which a powerful liaison can be made and friendship that is stronger than death."

The secret to this kind of friendship is not to simply seek out someone who is just like you-- but to have a heart for God and then seek out others who love Him too! You cannot choose who your LOYAL friends will be. You can choose to BE a loyal friend. (Proverbs 18:24)

The stuff of which spiritual life is made is communion and fellowship with Christ and with people who share a heart for God, building up the things we have in common.

You are missing much of God's provision for you if you are isolating yourself from others.


(TOTAL SIDE NOTE as we were ending but I thought it was worth sharing. There was a long story that accompanied this but I'll just give you the final point.)

As a parent, you will find yourself sitting in the bleachers and stands watching your child play sports with church members and friends. Always live your life in those stands with the reality that you are rearing GODLY men or women, not basketball players, soccer players or etc. Your job as a parent is to make sure they are Godly not athletic!!! If they happen to be a stellar athlete who loves God, then awesome. But if your primary goal is a scholarship to college or a spot on that perfect team rather than Godliness for your child then you need to check your heart.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

THE CONFERENCE (Part Two)

The preconference had three sessions where you got to choose one of seventeen conferences. I was completely overwhelmed because there about 13 I wanted to attend but could choose only 3!! Eeeks!

I based my session choice on two things. I chose based on topic but also on the speaker. During the panel discussion, there were several different personalities represented but on the far left, there was a lady name Karen Alexander Doyel. Karen was older than the other ladies on the panel but seemed to have so much wisdom. Her husband was a beloved Senior Pastor that died and left her a widow. She loved being a Pastor's wife and now tries to encourage women all over our country. I'm so glad I chose her session because God taught me so much!! I only took 6 pages of notes in 1 hour and 15 minutes!!

The title was FORGIVENESS IN MINISTRY. Here are a few of the highlights. I wish ALL Christians could go to this 75 minute session. It was fabulous!!!
  • Forgiveness is an act of perfection.
  • When we don't forgive, we become less loving and less effective
  • You must Love your enemies. Self defense isn't necessary!! (ouch!) Even though your situation doesn't seem fair, there is no need to explain it. You must forgive regardless of your situation.
  • God cares about you. Believe God is in control. Don't be surprised that you face trials. Jesus told us WE WOULD FACE TRIALS.
  • Take up your cross daily!
  • Your feelings can't be hurt because dead people don't have feelings. If we have been crucified with Christ (Galatians 2:20) then we are dead and no longer should focus on our feelings and hurts.
  • Forgiving people isn't easy and we can only follow the example of Jesus.
  • Rather than being hurt and angry, ask yourself "What did I do in this situation?" Then, be still and let God show you if you have any done any wrong.
  • When the prodigal son returned, he was freely accepted and did not have to explain nor did he try to justify his actions.
  • Forgiveness is not optional. We were commanded in Mark 11:25.
  • Talk publicly about forgiveness in your homes so your children grow up surrounded by forgiving people. This will teach them to easily forgive.
  • Forgive even when you know they will hurt you again.
  • Don't allow your children to become bitter about ministry and church people because you openly talk about your hurts with them.
  • We are commanded to forgive. When someone asks our forgiveness, we have to say yes. Even though we are wounded.
  • What if Jesus chose not to forgive you?
  • I have to be an example of love and forgiveness. Jesus is asking me if I love Him? If I believe Him? And, if I trust Him?
  • Ask your kids every day two questions. What was the best part of your day? This teaches them to recognize happiness and positive things. Then, ask them What was the saddest part of your day? When they begin to explain hurt feelings, it will give you an open door to help them understand forgiveness at an early age. Because, truthfully, every day holds something that brings us sadness and something that brings us joy. We must learn to be thankful and forgiving.
  • Jesus never defended Himself. Why do we feel like we should?
  • God will never ask you to do anything He can't do THROUGH you!
  • Pray for people who hurt you! This was a huge AHA moment for me. Karen said we hear that and think about this type of prayer. "God, be with _____. Help them to have a better attitude and not be so mean! Help _____ to understand how she hurts people. Help her to realize the damage she does. Blah, blah, blah, blah...AMEN. WHAT IF we began praying blessings on that person? WHOA!!! Talk about a radical difference. Think right now of the person in this world that has hurt you the most. Stop and ask God to bless that person with peace, finances, health and wealth. WOW! Hard, huh? But, the truth is when you start to pray blessings on them, eventually you will begin to see your heart soften towards them and you will eventually wait and hope to see God answer your prayers for them. God will slowly change your heart towards them. TOUGH but so, so worth it!!!
  • Unforgiveness is about SELF! Do you care more about how God looks or how you look? You no longer matter!!! It is ALL ABOUT HIM!
  • One of the hardest people to forgive is another staff member or staff family. Especially when you are working so hard for the kingdom and you see them not care or do their job halfway or take advantage of people and the resources of the church. Some of the laziest people in the world work on church staffs!! There is no room for pride, ego, whining, self-pity, excuses, lack of work ethic, dissension or a bad attitude on a church staff. When you see your spouse working so hard another staff member displays those traits and the church buys their sob story, it is hard. But, no one ever said the Christian life was easy. SUCK IT UP, pray blessings on that staff member and ask God to continue to use you and your spouse for his GLORY. You aren't called to make a group of church members happy, you are called to serve God and live for his glory and renown!!!
  • DO NOT waste this season of your life being bitter!
Whew...GOOD, GOOD, CONVICTING, LIFE-ALTERING STUFF! I'm still trying to process it all. I bought the session CD and want to listen to it a few more times just to get everything. It was THAT good!!!

This session ended the Thursday night conference. I checked into my hotel, called Dan and made him listen to everything that was all jumbled in my head. It was a late night, but a very good night. Stay tuned for all that happened on Friday morning.

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!"

Monday, March 16, 2009

Made me smile

I was in a conference last Friday when my phone alerted me of a new message. The subject was "WOW!" I opened it to find this picture.

Dan and Jonah went to Uncle Marty's work because they had a big tractor display and served lunch. Dan said Jonah at 2/3 of a pulled pork sandwich, baked beans, potato chips and a cookie. I was soooo proud of him. He really seems to be making some progress where food is concerned.

P.S. Dan sent me a text to let me know he had Jonah from preschool and was on his way to see all the tractors. I asked to be sure he took the camera. He didn't He was SOOOO apologetic and figured I'd be upset with him. I sent him a text back and told him he was lucky because I was in a conference on encouraging your minister husband. They talked about how many OTHER people's problems your hubby deals with on a daily basis so are the things I get upset about worth it in the grand scheme of things? So, I would let him off this time. He is REALLY going to benefit from my attendance at this conference. HA!

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