Wednesday, November 25, 2015

What A Pastor's Wife Wants You to Know

If you are a church goer then it is likely you have a Pastor. If you have a Pastor then it is likely that sitting in the front pew of your church (or close) is a Pastor's wife.  She's probably smiling. She's probably looking all put together and calm.  You may look at her and think she is a picture of perfection.  The ladies of your church may put her just under the pedestal that they place her husband on each week, which is scary for her because it's a long frightening fall down off of a pedestal that high.  Because guess what, she is a human person.  A human person with all the feels, with the anxieties of expectations not met, with the fear of letting someone down in her humanness, walking around with the weight of the expectation that goes with her title, she is a real girl with a big calling.  Can you walk with me into this for a little while?  Are you loving on your Pastor's wife? Have you gotten to know her?  Have you placed her on a high pedestal of unattainable expectations?  Let's chat.

Think about getting to church events. You mommas with babies, isn't it the HARDEST feat ever to get your kids up, fed, dressed decently, PLUS getting yourself ready and all out the door in time for church. I mean, exhausting just typing about it right?  Imagine doing that by yourself every single Sunday morning. Along with Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Easter and all the church events in between.  When your husband is called to Pastor, you are called to support. When your husband is at deacons meetings, hospital visits, weddings, funerals, church services, evening service, business meetings, southern baptist convention, pastoral leadership meetings and all the things in between that leaves you running the home.  Imagine doing all that and breezing into the doors on Sunday morning looking perfectly put together like a pastor's wife should.  Then jumping into the role of greeter, counselor and even sometimes mediator.  Imagine all the pressure to attain perfection in this, as the people all watch you waiting for you to slip up.

So, can we just love on these women girls. Can we give them safe places?  So many Pastors' wives are told to live lonely lives, because people are not safe for them.  Because the women in the church expect perfection from their pastors wife and will not give them safe places to be real, and let me just say, how un-biblical is that.  How can we expect perfection for our members in ministry?  That's not biblical at all!  No one is perfect! No one can have it all together all the time. We need ugly cries and real hugs.  We all have hard days, and weaknesses and imperfections of course.  Guess what, our Pastor and his wife are not exempt from that. They are chasing after grace just as we are.  They are called to lead but not to perfection.  They are called to serve but will not always do it perfectly.  Have you hugged your Pastor's wife lately? She needs a real, honest hug. One that she can sink into and breathe out the weight of perfection laid on her by the world, by the church. It's harder than you think.

Ruth Graham is maybe not a well known name in your house.  Maybe you don't know anything about this woman, but she was mighty.  I don't know her personally, but I've heard she was amazing.  I don't know her inner self, but I've heard of her great heart in a life lived serving alongside her husband in ministry. It's funny to say serving alongside, because really she was an extremely important player in the Billy Graham ministry but she was completely behind the scenes.  In order for a Pastor to serve and have a family it seems common that the Pastor's wife takes on a huge support role.  Billy Graham's ministry called him out of their home with 5 children for many days, many months and many years.  Ruth lived out her ministry role by running their household and supporting her husbands call to Pastor.  Lives, so many lives, have been changed because of the role that she filled. It was a hard, lonely, long role at times.  But she served in mighty ways.

Decision Magazine wrote these things about Ruth Bell-Graham:

Ruth’s rock-solid support of Billy’s ministry and her ability to manage their household on her own earned the respect of his Team. “There would have been no Billy Graham as we know him today had it not been for Ruth,” said Billy’s longtime assistant, T.W. Wilson. '

“What I missed!” he wrote in “Just As I Am,” his autobiography, “And what Ruth missed by not having me to help her. Whenever I did get home, I got a crash course in the agony and ecstasy of parenting. If Ruth had not been convinced that God had called her to fulfill that side of our partnership and had not resorted constantly to God’s Word for instruction and to His grace for strength, I don’t see how she could have survived.”

Our Pastor's have amazing, God honoring, exhausted, poured out women serving alongside them.  Helping them get up to the pulpit each Sunday.  Praying for them, lifting them up, and walking through the messy of ministry because lets face it they work directly with humans and we are messy. Let us love our Pastor by loving his wife like Jesus does, fiercely and with abundant grace.  Let's let them be real people doing real life things for we are all FEARFULLY and WONDERFULLY made in his BEAUTIFUL image.  Grace upon grace abounds... Go hug a Pastor's wife this week!

Much Love,

PS- More than 80% of Pastor's wives feel unsupported, burnt out and unappreciated by their Church. Here is a great little blog that tells you how you can support and care for your pastor's wife.
and also here is a 30 days of praying scripture for your pastor's wife:

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Unanswered Prayer

What if you prayed your heart out?  Just poured your guts out to your creator. What if you met him each day, in the throne room, and pleaded? Just laid at his feet and gave it all.  What if you cried all your cries and made all the pleas and what if...what didn't turn out the way you wanted it?  Then what happens?  What do you do? Walk away from it all.  Throw in the holy water and call it a day.  Stand firm on your right to get what you want, protest, have a sit in.  Lord you said you would give me the desires of my heart,  I rightfully ask for a prayer recount.  You said...

Did he say that?  That he would give me everything I ask for.  Well I mean if that's the case then lets all just start requesting all the things.  I deserve to have that trip to Fiji I have desired for years!  I deserve that music career I've been asking for since I was 6, I mean it's about time Lord, right?  You know I packed all my stuff once.  I had the idea to go to Nashville and make it big.  And wouldn't you know days before I was going to run away to Nashville, my life was dramatically altered and I stayed. I had prayed, my heart desired, but it was not answered, or was it?

Didn't he say though that he would give me the desires of my heart?  I prayed hard this week. I prayed, my friends prayed, my family prayed. We all prayed.   It did not turn out the way I wanted it, the way I knew it would. I was sure God was going to move in a miraculous way.  Now I am heartbroken, searching in the dark, are you still good Lord? Are you still good?  It is quiet now, the kids are in bed, the dust from the day has drifted down to the floor and there is silence, are you still good? Didn't you say, desires of my heart...but didn't you say that...

Psalms 37:3-4
Trust in the Lord, and do good: dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Yes in fact he did say that, but we leave out the first section leading into the delight. TRUST in the LORD, do GOOD, DELIGHT ourselves in him. BE FAITHFUL to him.Then he will give you the desires of your heart. But guess what, after doing all this trusting and delighting and being faithful that just may change you.  It just may align you with God's ways, with peace in God's ways. Matthew Henry's commentary of these verses touches on this very thing:

"He has not promised to gratify all the appetites of the body and the humorous of the fancy, but to grant all the desires of the heart, all the cravings of the renewed sanctified soul. What is the desire of the heart of a good man? It is this, to know and love and live to God, to please him and to be pleased in him."

What else can we take from God's words:

Ephesians 1:11-12
In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.

Read it again, HIM WHO WORKS ALL THINGS according to his plan. His plan, not mine.  For his glorification not mine.  You see ladies, I prayed my guts out, they were overly exposed laying out for all to see but that's doesn't mean I get to dictate the path that life goes. If I am TRUSTING in our GOOD FATHER, if I am DELIGHTING myself in him, if I stay here in FAITHFULNESS he will make it ok.  Ok in my heart, ok in my walk, ok in my life. He will heal the part of my heart that is broken and he will make straight a path that I could not see before for all the crookedness.

Tonight I close my computer saying out loud and truly knowing, he is still good.  His plans and ways are not my ways but I know from experience that his path is better than mine. When I wanted to leave for Nashville there were 2 lines on a pregnancy test and so I stayed, a life forever changed.  I prayed though, that I would have a music career.  I prayed hard that someone would discover me, that I would get to go be a famous country singer and leave behind all the things, start over.  My life was forever altered because of those two lines that stood in the way of my so called prayers. An unanswered prayed I am thankful for today. Our God is greater and does more than I could ever imagine.So tonight I say it is well Lord, it is well.

Are you praying your guts out for something right now?  I am praying for you in this process. My girls this life here is hard, but we pray to the mighty creator of this spinning world. He is still on his throne and he is still good. Our prayers come into the throne room like a sweet aroma this week, they are answered in alignment with God's will in a masterful plan that we could never ever imagine.  Just as you are a part of this plan FEARFULLY and WONDERFULLY MADE in his caring, loving, kind image. Sending all my love to you for all of your hard places.

 I leave you with this amazing song by All Son's and Daughters, thank you Lord for music.

Much Love,

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Called to Serve

Service. Serving. To serve.  What does that mean to you?  Do you think of a waiter?  Do you think of a service member? Do you think of the self-serve buffet?  Serving those around you is maybe not the first thing that comes to mind.  Maybe it is.  Serving ones tribe can be tricky.  Being called to be of service, to serve lovingly and without bitterness can feel impossible at times.  I struggle here in the very strangest of ways.  Let me explain…

I passionately serve people in my community, in my church and even strangers I don’t know.  I want to help them, I want to feed them, I want to do the things they need done.  I serve on boards, committees and teams.  I’ll feed you, clothe you, plan for you, pray for you. I'll fill a box full of toys and goodies for you.  I’ll help you find a job, connect you with a new friend, bake for you, cook for you and maybe even clean for you.  But when it comes to serving within my own home…now that’s just a whole thing.

It’s hard to serve your family with a joyful heart day in and day out.  It takes a lot of prayer and commitment to stay the course.  To give of oneself when oneself is poured out and worn out.  I get it.  Dear laundry, I hate you all the time!  Dear dishes, you pile up on purpose I think sometimes!  Dear children, didn’t I just feed you!  Dear Husband, why do you need a cup of water in every room!  Dear house, please put yourself on self-clean and move on with it!  I mean it’s constant acts of service around here.  The feeding, the toileting, the providing for. I mean wash, rinse, repeat right?  Well I’m here to say I am guilty of the bitterness of the act of service for my family.  Something that comes so naturally to me outside of these walls is such a struggle here when it should be an out pouring of love on the people needing so much of me.

Needing so much of me, this is maybe where the rubber meets the road.  It’s because there is so much need, so much pouring out, so many things for all the persons at Ferrell Farms.  And so it becomes a heart issue.  If I love God, then I am to serve joyfully, here’s the word… 

 Colossians 3:23-24 “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”

I am serving the LORD in what I do!  This should spur me on while I fold the laundry or stay up late working to keep up.

Philippians 2:5-7 “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.”

I love this verse because it reminds me that Jesus served us by being emptied out and taking the form of a servant.  I mean no clearer picture here of how I should live. To be emptied out of myself and filled up with the goodness of a serving heart and mindset.  Also, I can take away from this that GOD will fill me up on those days where I am completely emptied.  He will provide.

Mark 10:45 “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Jesus came to serve and to show us how to serve in selfless love.  I want that.  I am determined to serve my sick husband (he’s the worst sick person of ever) with a happy heart tonight.  I am determined to serve these exhausting little people with the pouring out of myself, in the knowledge that God will fill me back up again. I am praying this over my life.

Imagine a fountain.  The top tier, pours into the bottom tier, pours into the big basin which goes back up and starts again.  I pour out only to be re-filled through the act of service.  We do not serve alone, the Father is with us pouring back in as we go. Thank you Lord for that.

FEARFULLY WONDERFULLY and BEAUTIFULLY MADE in his image girl, that is what you are.  Serve your guts out, to God by the glory! Let us be joyful in our service this week sisters!

Much Love-