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For a Pastor’s Wife Somewhere

I’ve been quiet for awhile. Life has a way of winding and unwinding itself.

I wrote this a month back. I decided to post this because this situation is too common! It’s a story repeated over and over in the church. If you are in ministry, be careful. If you are a church member, be loving.  Satan is alive and well and destroying the visible representation of Christ, The Church, from the inside out.

We have been in full-time ministry for almost 20 years. Without warning, after 11 years the Board reacted to financial problems by voting to release my husband as Sr. Pastor. No discussion, no notice, no prayer or seeking God’s wisdom, of which we were a part. Thankfully one elder suggested they move the weekly prayer time to someone’s home to tell my husband the news. Otherwise, he would have been given his notice at the local Starbucks.

Here’s the thing. It’s been three four months. In that time we have received letters and texts and phone calls that range from “we are so sorry” , “we don’t understand what happened” to “when are you going to get over your pity party?”. A three page letter came in the mail using personal information about my husband to justify him being let go and at the same time suggest that we had had some type of obligation to the new Sr. Pastor. (Whose wife, btw, was on the group that voted to oust my husband.) A group of ladies went to a Women’s Conference, Leading and Loving It, right after this all went down. They used the spot that I had paid for and took someone else. They could not understand why I didn’t want to go with them. They somehow feel justified in their own minds that because of our seemingly unchristian like response, we are at fault. (Our response being that we need to distance ourselves and move on with what God has for our lives)

If you are a pastor’s wife There is no figuring this stuff out. Only God knows. Take care of yourself emotionally, physically and spiritually. Don’t let ministry be the first priority of your family. It’s insidious how we think just one more event, bible study or dinner won’t make a difference and that we can handle it. That one more thing you think you should do really won’t matter in the end.  

What matters is telling yourself that You are enough, just as you are, to God, your husband, and your family. God is not depending on you to do more than your mind, body and soul can withstand. Rest, still your soul, hug your kids, plan a date night, read a book, create something, talk to an old friend. Take time to remember the person that you are and that God is your biggest fan. He loves you. A.Men! Preaching to myself!

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Pruned if I Do, Pruned if I Don’t!

I don’t know if you are all familiar with Christine Caine. She is the leader of A21, a global organization for preventing human trafficking. I have been listening to her for a few years now. I find her honest and inspiring, but most of all challenging. Her podcasts are great! This one in a series called 3 C’s: Change, Collaboration and Courage sure seems like its going to be a good one. How do you deal with change? What’s God been pruning in your life lately?

http://christinecaine.com/content/podcasts/gjeqgo?linkid=38#.VGti2vnF9M5

My Story: It’s All Joy

There was this Women’s Retreat that I went to just a couple of weeks ago. “His Story: It’s All Joy” was the theme. All the ingredients had been prepared for God to be able to show-up. He did. Big time.

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The early fall weather was perfect at a spirit-filled conference center in the small mountain town. Details like goodie bags, name tags and centerpieces were tended to. The worship team was practiced. The anticipation of how the Holy Spirit would move could be felt as prayers were lifted for the weekend to a start.

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I’ve had my share of experiences with Women’s Retreats. Great times to get away from the daily grind and focus on spiritual growth. Time for being in community with friends and just having fun. I’ve cherished most of those times where the Holy Spirit drew me in and did some heart work.

This retreat didn’t disappoint. 30 women bonding together with songs, crafts, meals, and heart work. The speaker honed right in with how we can “count it all joy”. Familiar territory for this retreat veteran.

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During that Friday night session, the speaker spoke of something she called ‘Biblical Imagination’. The type of meditation that helps us practice the presence of God in our lives. In Ephesians 1:18, Paul prays that ‘the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you”.  Could the eyes of my heart be that biblical imagination that allows me to picture more of who God is and the hope I am called to?

I was curious and as she continued her thoughts, I was encouraged. She mentioned that Oswald Chambers, one of my life-long favorites, wrote about imagination. How it was dangerous for the believer not to use their imagination to practice the presence of God. “Is your imagination stayed or starved,” Chambers asks? I concluded that this girl who lives in the here and now of her five senses was probably a little malnourished!  Time for the eyes of my heart to get a wake up call.

That evening as we sat around tables with fall pumpkins and our eyes closed, she read scripture verses. As the Word of God surrounded us, she asked us to focus on what the eyes of our heart might be seeing. How was the presence of the Holy Spirit renewing my mind’s eye? What was I seeing?  What was I hearing?

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For the past few months I had been feeling alone and disconnected from God. I know he is always with me, but I was experiencing a sort of wandering nevertheless. Some anxiety even, as I thought about the future. The uncertainties of health, income, and ministry had been weighing heavy on my heart. I had been asking God for a new perspective. One that focuses on His purpose and plan.

After a few minutes of praying and listening to God’s Word being read, my mind began to see something. I visualized a hand, the hand of God, reaching out to me. It was something to hold on to. I was reminded that I am not alone and with out purpose. As this picture of God’s hand came to my mind I heard a verse from Isaiah…

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
    Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.
    I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. Isaiah 41:10

My heart was filled with the Joy that comes from the work of the Spirit. I felt reassured that I was not alone.  All I had to do was reach out my hand to God and He would be there.

But there was more…I had a deep sense that The Pastor was going through a strong spiritual attack. The word oppression even came to mind. I felt a heaviness in my spirit knowing that the man I love was in such a vulnerable place spiritually.

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The song “How Sweet the Sound” played and I felt the wave of amazing grace wash over me. I held on to the righteous right had of God. I knew that He would strengthen and uphold me.

I talked with the speaker afterwards. The funny thing is she never read that verse. It wasn’t in her notes.

In my deepest need He is holding onto me. Taking care of the enemies who rage against me. My enemies might be worry, anxiety, or health.They might be those circumstances that are out of my control like suddenly losing your life’s work and experiencing the changes follow.   Isaiah 41 continues…

“All who rage against you
    will surely be ashamed and disgraced;
those who oppose you
    will be as nothing and perish.
Though you search for your enemies,
    you will not find them.
Those who wage war against you
    will be as nothing at all.
 For I am the Lord your God
    who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear;
    I will help you.” Isaiah 41: 11-13

The oppression and spiritual attack that I sensed The Pastor experiencing is nothing when I am holding onto God’s right hand. I am not afraid. God is protecting me.

My Story is God’s Story. Redeemed. Preserved. Encouraged. Strengthened. Victorious.



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