Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Monday, January 26, 2009
- To know when to have important discussions. Sometime your pastor's wife is going to have to tell someone something that they don't want to hear. We need to pray that she will have discernment from God about timing, what to say and how to say it.
- To form trustworthy friendships. She will need this more than we will ever know. We need to be fervently praying for this! And, I hate to tell you this, but........it might not include you. OUCH! I know, that one kinda hurts, but think about it. She needs a safe environment to vent. She may want to vent about something your husband did or didn't do, or maybe even about you. AND THAT'S OK. Sometimes when people vent they realize that they were not really mad about that situation (what they were really mad about was everything else in their life and this situation just tipped them over the edge).
- To grow personally in her relationship with the Lord. This is so stinking important. How can we expect someone to pour into our lives if they are not being poured into themselves. She needs time with God and His Word. Pray for her to have the ability to carve out the time in her unbelievable schedule. Pray for it to be a refreshing time and that she never feels rushed or guilty about getting to do something she is enjoying. Pray that her husband, kids and other church memebers won't be a distraction to her during this time.
"I pray for you constantly, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you may grow in your knowledge of God." Ephesians 1:17
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Friday, January 23, 2009
- You might have to do some "uncomfortable" things. Like, go to a mommy's group where you don't know anyone, or a Ladies Bible Study when you have never studied this topic before or go over to someones home whom you have never met before. Basically, little Ms. Turtle, you are going to HAVE TO GET OUT OF THAT SHELL. Believe me, NO ONE knows about how easy it is to hide away in your house better than I do. I'm not a people person but unfortunatly this profession does not lend it's self to introverts. What will start happening is thoughts like, "No one likes me", or "No one has reached out to me" will start taking root in your mind and your heart. And you know what, maybe no one has reached out to you, so ....... go reach out to them. Give someone the chance to get to know you, because the truth is they will probably like you!
- Learn from others. I'll tell you who are the pros at this, military wives. Man, they are freaking GREAT at this. And the one reason I believe they are is because they HAVE to be. They have no other choice. But it does pay off! The one military wife who taught me this is my sweet friend Jessi. The first time she came to our church was because she saw our sign and just knew she needed to come. No one invited her. She came on her own. She is one of the dearest friends I have had since living here in South Carolina (and we really miss her). When she walked through the door she started coming to almost everything we offered. Ladies Bible Studies, Mommy Play Groups, and Women's Retreats. She knew she had to , and now she's doing it again in the big MO. If your not a people person you are going to have to push yourself in this area. Give some new things a try. You never know how many good friends you could meet! I promise.
This is where your "roots" are going to start forming. And keep in mind that it is really hard to "bloom" without roots!
Thursday, January 22, 2009
These two flags represent where I came from and where I am now.
Can I just say that I miss HOME? Uuuuggghhh, something fierce.
There are many striking differences between these two lands:
· THE FOOD – BBQ in SC in pork. BBQ in Texas in beef (as God intended it). This took me a long time to get used to. And it’s a mustard-based sauce. In TX it’s a tomato-based sauce.
· THE DRIVING – Oh my word. Drivers in SC are the slowest going people I have ever met. It’s like they truly are on a joy ride every hour of every day. They will drive right next to you and especially right in your blind spot. In TX people will literally run you over if you do not get out of their way.
· THE NIGHTLIFE – In SC there is no nightlife. Almost every restaurant closes well before 10pm. In TX if you wanted homemade tortillas at 3:00am then you could go to about 20 different places and have as many as you wanted.
· THE GENERAL PACE OF LIFE – I think everything is just a little slower in SC. It didn’t even have its first Starbucks until a year after I moved here. In TX life is so fast paced. Everything is new and constantly changing. There were three Starbucks with in a 5-mile radius of my home when I graduated High School.
There may come a time in your ministry career when you are asked to move. It may be 200 miles, it may be 2000 miles or even half way around the world. I have had to move twice. I left Austin, TX to go to Raleigh, NC, and then left Raleigh to move to Columbia, SC (where we are now).
This concept of “bloom where you are planted” really didn’t take root in my heart until a couple of years ago. When we first moved to Raleigh I was so home sick I didn’t give the city a chance. I pretty much went to work, went to church and stayed at home. I really missed out on a beautiful city. There is a lot to do there.
When we moved to Columbia I slowly started to investigate what was out there.
Here are a few suggestions to help when (and if) you ever have to move away from someplace that you love:
· Ask the locals! Hey if it works for Rachel Ray, then it can work for us. Talk to people at your church and see what they suggest. Talk to your neighbors and co-workers. Talk to people that have lived there their whole life and people who have recently moved there as well.
· Take an adventure! Get in your car and just drive. By a map and search the land. Get out of the house and stretch your legs. You never know what you’ll find.
· Use tools like City Search and Google to help you see things you didn’t know about.
The point is, your there. Grow some roots, learn the culture and have fun while your doing it.
Monday, January 19, 2009
- Why did your husband move you so far away from me?
- Are you guys still doing that ministry thing? When are you going to get a real job?
- Ya know, working at a church is great for when your a youth, but don't you think it's time you got a better job?
- There is no way I could live off of what your husband makes. That would drive me crazy.
Our families mean well, but sometimes their words can cut like a knife. I have had so many friends in the ministy who have turned down great opportunities because their parents didn't want them to move away. Or, they took the wrong job because they were trying to run away from someone in their family that they did not want to be around.
This time last year I read a verse that knocked me on the floor. (Probably because I was living this post out). Leviticus 19:17 says, "Do not nurse hatred in your heart for any of your relatives." I don't think it can get any clearer than that. :)
Our family members are not perfect, but I believe we are called to honor them no matter what. I can speak from first hand experience that my family has not lived up to my "expectations" or plain needs but I know that no matter what I have to honor them. And really, it's because I know that the members of my church see the way I respond to them. We have to be the example for them because they are watching our every move. When you are on staff at a church you are in a life-sized fish bowl. People will follow your example. If they hear you speak ill of a family member or make fun of your parents that is what they will do as well.
I can remember every single time my "home" pastor (aka Preacher) made fun of his mother. ZERO TIMES.
And now as an adult I can tell you what an impact that has had on my life.
Whether it is a brother, sister, mom, dad, grandparent, aunt, uncle........whatever, we have to honor them.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
One of the best things I did last year was to read through the Bible in a year, chronologically. It has been amazing! So amazing in fact, I’m going to continue to do it every other year.
I’ve truly learned so much about church history. I’ve loved learning about the Levities and the priest’s. I’ve come to consider them my “people”. They are who we started from. They are the first “ministers”, so to speak. I’ve loved reading about them. It’s weird to say this but, they were some messed up people. Seriously. Some of the time they had it together, and most of the time they did not. One of the leaders in the Bible that truly captured my thoughts was Moses. Man, he had it rough. I felt for Moses. He was stuck with these people who moaned and groaned at every turn. “I want to go back to Egypt”, “You don’t lead us the right way”, “We don’t believe you”.
When I came to the end of Moses’ life I felt like I had run a marathon. Some of things he had to endure would have driven me right over the edge. Numbers 16 is a prime example. When I read through this chapter I started to realize the type of leader Moses had become. I mean, take a look at him in Exodus 3 and 4. He protested against God for the calling on his life and then in Numbers 16 he is pleading for the lives of those who wanted him “fired”.
In verse 2 the “members” of Moses’ tribe decided that he just didn’t have the stuff to lead them anymore, that he had become too big for his britches and that they were going to bring him back down to their level. Korah, the leader of the rebellion decided to go straight to the top for his support. He gathered all of the prominent members of their assembly. Here is what he decided to use as his opening argument against Moses:”What right do you have to act as though you are greater than the rest of the Lord’s people?” Here is where I realized the kind of great leader Moses had become, because had I been Moses this is what Korah and all his prominent members would have heard. “Are you talking to me? Is he talking to me? You did not just ask me if I thought I was greater. The right I have is the fact that I carried your sorry little rump all over this desert for the last several years, listening to your whining and crying about we have no food, we have no water, and we should have just stayed in Egypt.” (As you can read, I’m trying to work on my mercy skills)
I believe Moses was transformed as a leader because he learned how important people are to God. He learned that God’s character is shown to the world by the way we represent Him. It does not specifically say this in the Bible. These are just my “in between the lines” thoughts.
We are all going to face opposition from church members. They are going to cast doubt on our husband’s, our lives, our choices and our abilities. I think that is just a part of leadership. So what do you do when the people you are leading turn on you? I think we have to keep a few things in mind.
1) They have doubts just like us. I think it is in everyone’s nature to question the events and people that surround them. Be patient with your people and give God a chance to mature them in their faith of who He has placed in leadership above them.
2) Sheep are stubborn creatures. Did you know that if you leave them out in the rain they will probably drown? It’s true and so sad. That’s why they need a shepherd. I imagine some of them even bite their shepherds hand when he is trying to bring them into a place of safety. People are the same way. They are going to lash out at whoever is the closest to them. Don’t let their words control who you are. Learn to let go.
3) We all have a choice to make. Dr. Viktor Frankl was a holocaust survivor. He lived by a simple principal, “Your ability to succeed in life often comes down to a single choice: how you react to what has been done to you in the past, or is being done to you in the present”. Make the choice each time you are hurt to forgive. Make the choice to look at them through Christ’s eyes. He would look past the hurtful remark straight to their heart. What is going on in their life right now that would cause them to react like that, and what can I do in this moment to bring them closer to God?
Remember, God has entrusted you with these people. They are your sheep. Tend to them. Bandage your hand when they bite you. Pick yourself back up when they knock you down and lead them to safety.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
· Your husband has spent the last month coming up with a creative idea for the church. He gives up time away from you, your kids and his own life. He plans everything out, organizes volunteers and gets everything ready to a T. Then your senior pastor stands up and takes credit for everything and never mentions your husband or any of the hard work he put into the event.
· You finally let your guard down and shared your feelings about one of the ministers at your church. Two weeks later you find out that everything you said in confidence was brought up at a staff meeting because your “friend” decided that you don’t have a team mentality.
· You and your husband decide to move half way across the county because the church of your dreams made you an offer you couldn’t refuse. Three months into it your ready to go back home because no one has reached out to you, you never see your husband anymore and the money you thought would solve all of your problems has only made things worse.
Hurt is going to come, whether it is intentional or not. What do we do with this hurt?
· Bottle it up. Never bring it up again, never let your guard down again and never so much as crack a smile in front of another staff member again.
· Tell yourself, “I’ll just let it go. He/She never really meant to hurt me and I’ll just put a smile on my face, turn up my praise music and sing my blues away!”
· Deal with it.
Let me ask you a few simple questions. Do you breathe? Do you have skin? When you feel sad do your eyes leak a clear substance? Then guess what? YOU’RE HUMAN! And so am I and when we are hurt, it hurts!!! Don’t run from your pain and think that you are going to be ok as long as you never have to deal with it again. If you’re still at the same church this happened at then you will see this person again. Don’t hide behind your fear of being hurt again. Remember that they are human too and they make mistakes. Maybe there is a deeper reason behind what they did to you, or maybe they are just selfish people who really have not grasped the Truth yet. Talk to God about it, talk to your husband about it and talk to a close friend who maybe lives far away (maybe even your mom). Talk about what happened; get it off your chest. Then do something you know you need to do. Forgive them. Truly, forgive them. Make a choice in your heart that even though they hurt you, you will not retaliate.
I had to learn the hard way that just because someone works at a church, has a seminary degree and leads other people to great heights in their walk with God does not mean that they are perfect all of the time. They are not and if you are expecting them to be then you are in for a rude awakening.
Do what you know you need to. Don’t hide your pain. Deal with it and move on to better things. You’ll be a better person for it. He promises!
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Here is a wonderful recipe I found from this sweet girl. She has a great blog! I am so addicted to these little treats. I have made them about three times in the last month! Yummy!
1 Box Red Velvet Cake Mix
1 Container Cream Cheese Frosting
1 Package Almond Bark-Vanilla
Mix cake according to directions. Bake and let it cool for 2-3 hours.
When cake is cool crumble it into a mixing bowl and mix in the entire container of frosting. Cover it and let it set in your frig overnight.
When mixture is cool then melt the Almond Bark according to the package directions. Take the cake mixture and roll it into little bite sized balls. Dip the bite sized balls into the melted Almond Bark.
Place in an air-tight container and let cool in your frig for another hour.
These little things are so stinking good and you can modify the recipe to use what ever kind of cake and frosting you like!
I hope you have a great weekend and I'll see you on Monday
Friday, January 9, 2009
Who Are You Accountable To – Part Three
Thank you for coming back to part three of this post! I hope that you have been able to think about the importance of this topic and have taken the time to pray about people you can talk to.
For some of you this is a new territory. Maybe you haven’t had the courage in the past to talk to a friend about starting an accountability relationship. If you have not here are a few things I would recommend you look for in the person you want to become accountable with:
· Would you consider this person trustworthy? If you have told them something private in the past and “somehow” other people found out, then I would keep your relationship at a friendship level only.
· Look for someone whom you trust, and are mature in their faith and character, and from whom you can learn so you can develop closeness and share shortcomings! What you do not want is someone to discipline you who is prideful, who only cares about themselves, or who is irritable, presumptive, "too busy," and neglectful of others!
· Look for someone whom you already know or have a connection with such as a common interest or season in life.
So how do you get this started? Well here is how our group started (and also how I started all of the groups I was previously in).
· Always start SLOW
Since you might not know this person(s) you need to take it slow. In my current group we spent the first year just talking about nothing. We met for coffee, had breakfast or would meet for a play date. We took our time really getting to know each other, and let me tell you, it paid off. I am so close to these ladies now and I know it’s because we went slow and didn’t force and deep relationship. We let it unfold naturally.
· Begin with a focused plan
· There are very specific things we go over every week in our group. Quite times, personal growth and our marriages. If you don’t have a starting point then you’re more likely to end nowhere. Start out by making a list of things you want to see improvement on and then help each other form a plan of how you’re going to get it done. Communicate ground rules or a code of conduct, clearly emphasizing confidentiality and equal time.
· Make it a priority
Plan on a day and time that is good for everyone. Don’t let anything else get scheduled in your life during that time. Make it work!
When our group decided to take it to a deeper level I looked over a couple of great websites that really helped us formulate our plan. Here is one that was really good!
Just remember that this is not going to be perfect and run smoothly over night. It takes time to cultivate a trusting and lasting relationship. It’s a great privilege to be able to speak truth into someone’s life and see real change happen. Be patient with yourself and with those in your group, and always keep in mind that ultimately you’re accountable to God.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
I learned a very important lesson about accountability from a movie. A movie called Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. (Have you recovered? Good, then keep reading because this is a good post!)
For those of you who have not seen the above mentioned movie I’ll need to fill you in on a few important details. Harry Potter is a normal teen-aged boy who lost both of his parents at a very young age. He goes to a private “boarding-school” and in this series of the movies he is having problems with his friends. He is alone and trying to figure out what his life is really about. While he is at school Harry is introduced to a girl named Luna Lovegood. She also has lost her mother and is teased by many of the other students. She takes it in stride and has learned to look the other way. In one particular scene of the movie she and Harry are watching these very odd creatures called Thestrals. Harry finds out from Luna that you can only see these creatures if you have seen death. While they are talking Luna confesses to Harry that she and her father believe him that their enemy, “You-Know-Who”, has returned and that he indeed intends on destroying them all with his hatred and fury. During this discussion Luna says something that has stuck in my mind since the first time I heard it. She said, “If I were “You-Know-Who” I’d want you to feel cut off from everyone else because if it’s just you (I have to fight) alone you’re not as much of a threat.”.
If you are reading this and you are a Christ follower then I Peter 5:8 should be a pretty familiar verse to you. It speaks of our enemy and his master plan for those of us who follow Christ. When someone feels alone and detached they are so much easier to sway. I know this to be true in my own life. When I don’t have any real friends I can turn to, I am more vulnerable to turn to someone who may not have my best interests at heart. Someone who may just want to be my “friend” so that they can have the inside scoop on the latest church gossip.
We were never meant to do life on our own. Never! All throughout the Bible you see God bringing someone along side of the men and women He called into service. Moses had Aaron, David had Jonathan, Jesus had Peter and Paul had Timothy. If you start thinking you can do this on your own, then you’re heading down a dangerous road.
I hope that you will come back on Friday! I’ll be talking about how to start an accountability relationship and some pointers on how to keep it real and effective.
Monday, January 5, 2009
I am not someone who jumps in feet first. No, no, no. I have to test the waters and then slowly wade into the water. So, as you can imagine, I looked at quite a few blogs before starting this one. In particular I looked at other minister’s wife’s blogs. Some were cute, some not so cute. One late night I found a few blogs that broke my heart. They were all about minister’s wife’s who had called it quits. All of them shared their stories about heart-ache, bitterness, guilt, shame and sadness. Some of them did have happy endings, but some of them didn’t. As I was reading through their stories I started to think, “What happened?” and “Why did this have to happen”.
I believe that one of the reasons why is, they simply had no one to talk to. I don’t care who you are or what type of profession you are in, as a woman you will always need someone to talk to.
Two years ago a sweet friend in our church decided to start an accountability group with myself and a few other ladies in our church. I can honestly say it has changed my life. Every Tuesday night I swing by Starbucks, get my drink of choice and head on over to my Porch Pals meeting. As an associate Pastor’s wife I KNOW that I have a safe place to share my struggles, my fear, my joy and my life.
Why is this important? Well, come back on Wednesday and I’ll share why.
How can you start this? Come back on Friday and I’ll share that too!
Saturday, January 3, 2009
Thursday, January 1, 2009
Who Are You?
Hello blogging world! Let me introduce myself. My name is Leslie. I am a wife to an associate pastor and the mother of the two little one’s you see pictured above.
This is the first official day of my blog, Purposeful Steps, and I am so honored that you stopped by to take a peek!
The name of this blog comes from a verse in I Corinthians 9:26, “I run with purpose in every step”. This is the heart-beat I have for this blog. I want to encourage, up-lift and challenge all of you who read it.
As I have stated before, this blog is designed for women who are married to men that are on staff at a church, but please don’t let that stop you if that’s not your call in life. Everyone can relate to the topics that will be discussed here.
My agenda is simple. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays I will talk about a serious topic. Any other day of the week will probably be random thoughts and family stuff.
I hope to see you soon!