Tuesday, October 30, 2012

37 weeks!

Just home from another midwife appointment and baby is looking great, BP is holding steady, and we're officially in the clear to welcome our little one whenever he or she decides it is time! We have so much to be thankful for...

Of course there are struggles... new ones it seems each week.... but God is faithful and we are seeking to walk closer to Him each day and in each new struggle. January is looking incredibly uncertain at the moment and I feel at times that all is lost. But the same God that called us up here is the same God that we are still serving, who is the same God that provided for the Israelite people in the wilderness, parted the Red Sea, rose Jesus from the dead, and is still our provider. 

I recently learned of a proposed full time pastor's salary at another church and was asked if I felt that was fair. While not an exorbitant value, I realized I could not even dream that big. Money is not everything, but balancing eating and disconnect notices with no health insurance can be draining. It's a growing experience for sure.

We have so much to be thankful for....

Our health is good
We have a warm dry home to protect us from the weather
We have a prayer support team
Our families and friends who love us
The blessing of 4 children and this 5th baby on the way
Food in the pantry
The blessing of living in a state where home birth is a legal option
The opportunity to serve in Columbia City
The blessing of salvation

Will be posting more on Thankfulness soon...

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

God's GOT this!

I am 34 weeks pregnant and at the midwife appt this morning we discovered that the baby is not measuring where it should. The measurement today was the same as 2 weeks ago.... and 4 weeks ago.... 
Erring on the side of human error, the midwife suggested waiting 2 more weeks til my next appt and then if measurements are the same then we go for an ultrasound to check the baby.
Trying to not worry and take my cue from the midwife, we leave. A mile down the road the van begins violently shaking - we slow way down and it gets better but does not go away. A well placed slow moving tractor gave us cover and we crawled to the next gas station following this tractor. We make a couple phone calls, including Superman's brother, who is a car-repairman and he advises us to not drive it any further and believes the back end is going out. Threw out some possibility estimates (for parts alone) of between $300-$900. We drive a 96 .... it's not worth more than $1500 running great.

Oh. And we're broke :)

Against advice, we determine we are 45 minutes from home, and have no money for a tow, so we opted to attempt the drive home praying all the way.
Praise God we made it home safely.
After getting everyone a late lunch, I went for chocolate and a Pepsi (hey - basic necessities) and began sharing my day with a few people for prayer. As I was typing out a message to a dear friend of mine, I realized.... DUH! Things are going well at the church and there's a new possibility we haven't even shared yet and OF COURSE Satan's going to be attacking and discouraging us! And you know what??? Satan had to get God's permission to do it!
This means: God has a plan - He's GOT this! For up to the next 3 weeks, the kids and I don't have to go anywhere beyond walking distance and if he has to, Superman can ride his bike to and from work and anywhere else in town. 3 weeks is PLENTY of time for God to show His awesome and mighty hand and perform a miracle. At this point I think I'm going to pray that He provide us with a mini van - surely someone has a mini van not doing anything that they'd be willing to give to a pastor's family right???

My favorite verse in times like this:
2 Cor 4:8, "We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed."

I've also noticed that sometimes God has allowed things to happen to use that we would not prefer, not just for our own lesson learning but for others to step up and serve too. Which reminds me of the verse in Phil 4 where Paul tells the church at Philippi "I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that once again you renewed your care for me. You were, in fact, concerned about me but lacked the opportunity to show it."

God is granting someone(s) the opportunity to show concern for us! And He's teaching us to trust Him! In everything! PRAISE GOD!!

God's GOT this.

Hush my child..... I will provide....

We covet your prayers as we watch on the sidelines to see God move on the vehicle situation. We also covet your prayers as we trust The Great Physician, the ONLY ONE who can help our baby grow, as the giver and taker of life, and will fulfill His purpose for us. We pray for the baby's safety and trust Our Provider with this child.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Psalm 57:2

"I call to God Most High, to God who fulfills His purpose for me." Psalm 57:2

This verse was written by David as he was hiding in a cave; hiding from King Saul who wanted to kill him because King Saul knew that David was to be the next king. 

Facing almost certain death against the mightiest king of the day, David cries out to God.... I don't know that I would have had the same wording.

When I am faced with adversary, I pray for deliverance.... how many times do I ACTUALLY then end with "not my will but Your will be done?" Or in this verse specifically the wording is "I call to God... who fulfills His purpose for me." What if God's purpose is the worst case scenario in your book? What if it means death? Death to you? Death to your children? Your spouse? What if that means a repossession of your home? Filing bankruptcy? A job loss for you or your spouse? What if any of those things is God fulfilling His purpose for you? For me?

My superhusband/pastor referenced this verse yesterday in his sermon and it struck me between the eyes and I almost fell apart right there. You see, I had just learned before walking out the door to church, that I have a friend who is expecting a child, and as they expect the arrival of that child they are preparing for certain death. Their baby has a rare defect and the baby has a zero percent survival possibility. Zero percent. They have been given no hope. They are making plans for delivery, burial, casket, etc.

"I call to God most high, to God who fulfills His purpose for me."

God's purpose is always first and foremost to bring Himself glory and no, that's not selfish - He's God - the Creator of the Universe. We are His instruments for that glory to be accomplished through.
I cannot begin to imagine all that God has planned for this couple and this tiny baby that is still alive at 26 weeks gestation despite all odds (and the fact that abortion is the most logical for this couple and they have received some pressure to do so), but one thing is clear, God is using this situation to fulfill His purpose in this couple. It's now part of their story - of their marriage, their family, their church family, and they have already been able to minister to many through this road God has chosen for them.

Are you truly content in Christ? Do you cry out to God in the midst of trials and struggles and joys and celebrations to fulfill His purpose for you? Do I? Not often enough I am afraid. Not often enough. 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Hush my child.... I will provide

In one of my first posts I shared with you my struggle of following my husband to a place of great insecurity for me - greatly beyond my comfort zone - and God using that time in my life to teach me to trust Him in a whole new way. You can read that particular post here: http://www.areyouthepastorswife.blogspot.com/2012/01/lord-is-my-shepherd-i-shall-not-wait.html

Something else God used during that time I didn't share in that already long post - I wrote a song called "Provision". It's simple, unpolished, won't ever win a grammy kind of song, but it is very special to my heart and I have been amazed at how many times over the last 6 years the Lord has brought that song back to the forefront of my mind during a time of great struggle.

Yesterday was one of those days. The day started terribly and the whole day was just awful. The details aren't very important other than to say the lessons were financial.

Let me share with you the first part of the song I wrote....

I think I know what I need, but I'm just along on the world's ride
Until God brought me to my knees
Hush my child, I will provide. 

Life spins me in circles, Lord I can barely keep up! I need this, I want that, Lord WHERE ARE YOU?
Hush my child, I will provide. 


He grows grass for the cattle, and fruit for nutrition of man
He gives food from earth and water from the sky

In all that He shows, He will provide. 

Life spins me in circles, Lord I can barely keep up! I need this, I want that, Lord WHERE ARE YOU?
Hush my child, I will provide. 


So after this long terrible day, God brought me to my knees.... perhaps flat on my face if I didn't have a 8 1/2 month baby belly to keep me from doing so.....and now for one of my favorite word phrase in the Bible......

But GOD.....

At the end of the day just before the kiddos bedtime, Derin received a phone call from someone he hadn't heard from in months. The details can't be shared yet but when he got off the phone(2 hours later) and shared the information with me, I was literally dumbfounded and asked him to repeat himself.

You mean.... God HEARD me crying out and He was already working on an answer to the prayer I hadn't yet voiced??? Oh I am of little faith.

The information from the phone call must be proceeded with much prayer and caution, and yet it is an amazing possibility that is just astounding. I can't wait to share the details with you. In the mean time, let me finish the song....

He caught me when I was falling
He gave me everything I need
He heard me when I was calling
You showed me Lord, You did provide
I see now Lord, You do provide
I see now Lord........... You died to provide......

Amazingly I have to keep learning this lesson.... God is our Jehovah Jireh - our provider!

Hush my child, I will provide.....

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Seasons of Change

While it's my 2nd favorite time of year, I absolutely love fall. I love the cool air after the hot summer, the hot chocolate, hot tea, warm blanket, slipping into socks for the first time in months, the crisp fall leaves on the ground, the preparedness for Thanksgiving and Christmas.... it's a warm and cozy time of year.

This year fall is bringing about a huge change in our family. It began with a move from a small house to a large house that we are loving but still trying to unpack and settle into, and now as we settle into our school groove we're also preparing to welcome our baby #5, due Thanksgiving week. There must be something that happens as you have more and more children... I find I am far less worried about 'being ready' this time around....lol and yet I do have a list of things that need to be ready before the little one comes that really does need attention. :) I have begun to buy a few needed items, washed boy and girl newborn clothing (baby wouldn't cooperate for either ultrasound so we'll be surprised!), but that's about the just of my level of preparedness. I mean, I still have 3 weeks until my home visit with the midwife right? Jeepers....

I'm hoping to take only a week off of our homeschooling calendar after the baby comes.... with our late start due to the move I am not comfortable taking much more than that... but we'll see what happens.

The church is maintaining and is also turning a corner of change. The vision my husband has cast to the congregation is challenging and demands the people step up - if they are faithful, I have great faith that this model will work. I so admire the clarity God provides to my husband for direction and leading his flock.

This time of year always makes me consider Ecc 3.... there is a time for everything. Sometimes we are not fond of all of what "everything" means though. A dear friend of mine was just diagnosed with breast cancer, another friend is waiting on her father to pass away, a great person of faith whom I have never met lost his 15 year old daughter today to eternity. In contrast, we're getting ready to welcome a new blessing, we're in a time of health right now in our family although difficult challenges in other areas, the church is turning an exciting but a little scary chapter where we need lots of faith to press through, and people all around us are celebrating and mourning in their own blessings and struggles. Do we truly celebrate and thank God in each and every celebration and trial? Do you praise God when your home is broken into? Do you praise God when someone passes away? Do you praise God when you struggle with organization? Do you praise God when you are at your wits end with your spouse? I love the Laura Story song, "blessings".

"What if trials of this life, are His mercies in disguise...."

In this season of change and thankfulness.... let's truly give thanks both in the blessings and in the trials.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Whom do you serve?

I can think of numerous occasions in the Bible where a person had to decide about whether to please God or man. Ultimately, that is the crux of essentially every issue, but there are some times that it is more obvious than others.

I've been contemplating over the recent week or two the importance of choosing God over man. Our God is a jealous God. He demands, yep - strong word but it's true - He demands our allegiance, our attention, our loyalty, our all.

I recently became aware of a person who is not pleased with a decision Derin and I have made. The details aren't important, and while it shocked me and hurt a little, it was fairly easy for me to shrug and though disappointed, conclude that since I'm not seeking that person's approval, this news was not all that important to me. That's easy (or at least *easier*) to do when the person is not high on our list of those we need approval from, but what about those that are. Consider for a moment the people that you go to for advice, the ones that you long to have approve of you, your spouse, your decisions, your dreams... when it comes to those people on your list... it is much more difficult to choose to serve God instead of those men and women of importance. Is God really your everything? Do you long to serve God more than you long for "____'s" approval?

"Choose this day whom you will serve, but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." Joshua 24:15

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A moment of transparency

When preaching about marriage, my husband has often said from the pulpit, "If you don't like my wife - then we can't be friends." His point is that we are one and he will stand with me even if that means he has to stand against everyone else - friends, family, etc. He has had to do just that a number of times and I love him for it so much - it is a demonstrative act of his commitment to our marriage.
Of course I also agree the same - if you have a problem with my husband, then I'm sorry, I will end a friendship. My husband comes first. If your words or attitude are acting as a crowbar to drive a wedge in between myself and my husband, you're the one to go.

Here's my "transparent maybe it shouldn't be said but it's on my heart so I'm going to say it" moment.

I have a difficult time with this in the church family.

When someone comes to ME to ridicule or question my husband, the points from above are my instinct and I have a difficult time remembering to love first. In that moment, I do not have the luxury of growing frustrated or angry or defensive or even hurt because the other half of my heart (my husband) is being attacked or questioned- but instead I have to respond in love or we're going to have even bigger problems than where we began.
Typically my response, preferred by my husband especially, is deference. In that moment I try to take a deep breath and direct that person to my husband to discuss their issue or question. I don't know what my husband is thinking all the time, why he opted to preach on the next text instead of a "holiday appropriate" sermon, why he planned something a certain way, why he hasn't planned something yet, etc. As a bi-vocational church planter who is working on his master's degree there are plenty of weeks that we barely have time to discuss necessary topics pertaining to our family - discussing the church as pillow talk is well.... less than ideal.

With this I leave to you, if you have an issue or question for the pastor - seek him out and not his wife. You'll get a more accurate answer and he has broader shoulders - he's used to getting punches in the gut. Me? I don't have abs of steel and well ....sometimes it hurts.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A confession and a song

I have a confession to make...

While by majority my passion is Christian Contemporary Music, I have a special place in my heart for John Denver's music. The simple clarity that he wrote with just speaks to my heart - it's a love I share with my mom actually. It's just.... peaceful.

The Colorado fires are especially close to me for a couple reasons, the first being is that I have a sister, BIL, and nieces and nephews that live in The Springs and they are being directly effected by these fires. I also fell in LOVE with Colorado when I traveled through there 14 years ago on a mission trip. Additionally, John Denver's songs are both inspired by and much written about those rocky mountains and that also helped form a special place in my heart.

I wondered today as I looked at some of the pictures of the fire and devestation, what kind of song would come from John Denver's heart if he were around to see those same pictures. I wrote a song today, intended to be from his perspective so I guess you could say in memory of him, as I pondered those things.

The Beautiful Colorado


The Colorado that I know was beautiful and clear
Eagles flying, mountains rising and the hills themselves are dear
The air so crisp and clean up there is exhilarating
The Colorado that I know is my home and my retreat

The Colorado that I know stands now charred and burned
A drought with heat and then a spark has changed the scenery
The rich green trees stand sad and bare - the foliage is gone
The air is thick – I cannot breathe and my heart has lost a home

The beautiful Colorado is changed forevermore
My rocky mountain high stands sad and the birds robbed of their song
The beautiful Colorado is lost and so am I
My country my retreat is gone and my heart has lost its home

Now don’t lose heart my Colorado as I know that you’ll rebuild
It’s scary now and oh so sad and with you my heart still aches
The trees will grow again and see - the flowers will rebloom
The birds will sing their song one day and my heart will have a home
My heart will have a home…

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A woman's prerogative?

Everyone knows it's a woman's prerogative to change her mind... right?

Well in this case it wasn't just me. Superman and I decided not to move into the house. We had an unsettled feeling and decided it was not the best thing for our finances. At the end of the day, I still don't know what we're going to do about living situations because as much as I keep trying to find ways to make this house work out, I just can't seem to do it.

In the mean time, I have started a business making elastic tablecloths and it seems to be going well. Had some business - need to streamline so I can become quicker about getting the orders out the door but I'm excited and it seems to be doing ok.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

We've decided...

We've decided to take the cuts and move into the big house. We're super excited and yet also overwhelmed at the daunting task of packing up our current house and moving in 2-3 weeks. (Hubs and I haven't had time to sit down and figure out which Saturday will be moving day).
Lots to do and a serious lack of energy to do so :)

I'm also in the process of getting an eBay business up and running which has been a slow start but the wheel is starting to move, and will be taking on some creative sewing projects for my sister's online cloth shop once we move and have the space as well.

Superman is tired and wearing out from his constant motion and running from one thing to the next. Could use prayer for endurance and clarity in priorities!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Whoops!

I knew when I began this blog that I would not always be consistent with posts and this update certainly attests to this truth.

Since my last post, my Superman accepted a lower position at Family Christian under the premise that he could get in there and prove himself to eventually get promoted. It's been 2 1/2 months and our most recent understanding is that this is not necessarily going to occur.

I also posted about being interviewed for 2 positions at Walmart, and I was offered a flattering position, did it for 2 weeks, and it became very evident that position was not a good fit for my family. I ended up leaving Walmart altogether to make Superman more available at his new job.

Part of the decision for me to leave Walmart was also because that first week we learned that I am expecting our 5th little one! We are so very thankful! I am currently 15 weeks along, due around Thanksgiving. I have already had my first appointment with my midwife and everything seems to be going well. We are trusting God in His providence.

We are at another bend in the road deciding what to do about our living situation. Our current rental has been wonderful, but the house layout is not the most conducive for both our family and our passion for hospitality and ministry centered FROM our home. The house across the street from the church has become available and we are praying about that move. A decision must be made by Friday to give our current landlord his official notice before our move out date. The "big" house is incredibly ideal on so many levels, but is a bit more in monthly rent and we're deciding if we can handle the increase in expenses. We would covet your prayers.
Sometimes at these moments, I find it difficult to separate out my head and my heart and hearing God's guidance through it all. We love the big house, it's a perfect fit for us, and we've had our eye on it since before we even moved up here to start the church. We have made a plethora of financial mistakes in our marriage and desire to truly step cautiously and bring God glory through our finances, spending, and priorities. We truly believe we can serve God in either home, the bigger home is much more logical on many levels and would be incredible to our family, it would be an amazing tool for ministry and hospitality; we are just weighing if that is the best stewardship of His finances entrusted to us. Will post what we decide!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Open doors and more open doors

We're still waiting to hear about hubby's possible full time position, and in the mean time I have applied at a staffing agency which seems to be going well. In addition to this, today while I was at work I was interviewed for two positions (which apparently never happens).

Now we have more options, and are treading ever so cautiously trying to figure out which foot to put where. Praying for wisdom and discernment.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Your Grace Is Enough

Great is Your faithfulness O God
You wrestle with the sinner's heart
You lead us by still waters and to mercy
And nothing can keep us apart

So remember Your people
Remember Your children
Remember Your promise O God

Your grace is enough!
Your grace is enough!
Your grace is enough for me!

Great is Your love and justice God
You use the weak to lead the strong
You lead the song of Your salvation
And all Your people sing along

So remember Your people
Remember Your children
Remember Your promise O God

Your grace is enough
Your grace is enough
Your grace is enough for me!

Your grace is enough
Your grace is enough
Your grace is enough for me!

Heaven's down to us
Your grace is enough for me!
God I see Your grace is enough
I am covered in Your love
Your grace is enough for me
For me!
By Chris Tomlin

Did you read those words? I mean REALLY read them? Such awesome amazing powerful and comforting truth in those words.
Superman and I are in a holding pattern waiting to hear news on a full time job for him. In many ways - it's everything we need. In other ways, it's non ideal because the church will take some hits on time. It's such a difficult struggle to be a bi-vocational pastor, and then a church planting pastor to boot as there is just so much to do and then as we are in the process of growing we're so grateful for every single person that serves in every capacity but there's always more and more and more!

As we struggle over waiting for the news of whether or not the job will be offered we've also wrestled with whether or not to accept the offer if given the opportunity... but then if that's not it - then what?
God has been so faithful to us - providing gift cards, surprise money... can't say we've never had some PB&J days...weeks... and I can't say we've haven't had to bounce the checking account... but we have never not had food for our kids and we've learned so much about trusting God.

I have just loved the song "While I'm Waiting" by John Waller this week. Are we worshipping while we're waiting? Are we praising God and rejoicing in EVERYthing? Can we praise God if the phone call reveals no job offer? I mean... if that happens - I don't really know what we're going to do. But God does. God has a plan for next month even when we don't have a clue as to what it holds.

In 2 Cor 12 we read about Paul's thorn - he begs the thorn to be taken away but the Lord answers "My grace is enough for you because my power is made perfect in weakness."
I am weak - but His grace is enough.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

A Saturday night prayer from the Pastor's wife

Do you ever wonder what a Saturday night looks like for the pastor as he is preparing to bring forth The Word on Sunday morning? You may not have ever given it a thought. Let me give you a peek...

My hubby is a firm believer that Sunday morning worship begins Saturday evening and for the pastor's family of a small church, this means there's lots to do!
Pastor Superman is contemplative usually and slightly withdrawn as he is thinking about his sermon to deliver in the morning. On the average Saturday night he makes a run about 9pm to the local donut shop where he picks up the day's "waste" - one man's waste is another man's breakfast! :) We serve day old donuts for free on Sunday morning at our church :)
In addition to making sure the kids are freshly bathed, I'm also gathering my song music to lead worship in the morning, I'm laying out clothes, socks, shoes, hair bands, for the appropriate people - making sure hubby's dress clothes are pressed (as needed - I'm a huge advocate for a steam ball in the dryer to drive those wrinkles away!) and hanging for him, and when I'm super organized I'm also trying to make sure the house is presentable and welcoming for company that may end up invited into our home for Sunday lunch!

Now you need to understand - this is my ideal - many weeks this is not the case. There are the occasions that I'm finishing the worship song list Saturday night and emailing the bulletin even after midnight for a couple in our church to print (they are blessed with a laser printer and graciously print the bulletin at lightning speed each week!) when they wake up Sunday morning. There have been plenty of Sunday mornings that we're scrambling for missing socks, shoes, wrinkled dress shirts, etc. I recall those Sundays when I was a kid. It'd be a tense, grumpy Sunday morning and we'd get out of the car at church with smiles on our faces pretending everything was just fine and dandy!
You know what though... the pastor's family can't do that - because when wifey and hubby(aka the pastor) have been arguing or shared terse words because someone didn't get up on time or took too much time in our one and only bathroom, we realize we've let Satan win a battle. Because on those Sundays, my husband is distracted and frustrated and is incapable of getting up to preach when he and I are at odds. In fact, in that moment he's not even qualified to do so because our home is not in order.
I have a confession to make - that's a lot of weight for the pastor's wife to bear. That means come Saturday afternoon, I begin growing a mental list of things that he needs to know about, or a budget we need to discuss, or a late bill that is coming due early in the week... - all of that I have to put off and do my best to be extra gracious and loving and patient for the next 24 hours so that the kids and I are not used by Satan to distract hubby from preaching God's Word.

So on this Saturday night, here's my prayer for my hubby...

Father God, I thank you so much for the gift that you have given me in my husband. I am so very thankful that you brought the two of us together and that we have the opportunity to serve you in ministry as one. I pray that you will put a shield around my husband tonight. I pray that you will begin now preparing his heart and mind to be totally yours - that you would give him a restful night of sleep so that he can wake up feeling refreshed and renewed for the day. I pray that you will begin now by preparing the congregation - I pray for all who will attend service in the morning and that you will also give them a restful night of sleep and the motivation and energy to ready for church in the morning and come ready to worship and hear from you. I pray that as hubby is preaching that you will close his mouth to anything that would be only from him and not from you, and that your message will pass through his lips in an awesome way and that you will receive glory as a result of his service.
I pray that you will put your hand of protection on our home tonight. I pray that you will help my children to sleep through the night so they and I are all rested in the morning. I pray that as we ready our family in the morning for worship, I pray that you will help us to rise on time and ready our family with joy so that we can be an example to our children that they will learn an excitement that comes with preparing to worship with the gathered body of believers.
I pray that you will guard my tongue and attitude in the morning - I pray that you will not allow me to be used by Satan to distract my husband so that I may not hinder your Word from being delivered. I pray that in the morning and even as I ready things tonight, that you will help me to be a helper to him and to my family - that my preparations will not have been in vain, and that I will bring my husband good and not harm tomorrow and each day this week.

It is a blessing and a privilege to serve you in this way and I pray all these things in your most precious and holy name, Amen.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

"My world has been devastated"

The new Facebook timeline is not among my favorite things, however it does provide you with the opportunity to peruse the past fairly easily. As I was doing this, I happened upon a post, made December 3, 2008.

"is asking for prayer. My world has been devastated."

I looked for posts around it to recall what it was that happened on that day that was so horrible. Oddly what triggered my memory was the previous post made earlier that day said I was on my 7th load of laundry at 2p.m! Ah yes - the day our new front loader washer and dryer had been delivered. .....

Ah yes... the day Derin was let go from Dish Network due to a clerical error.

You see, Derin had been working at Dish Network since June that year as an installation technician. Unfortunately he was having back trouble (this was before I was enlightened to the world of chiropractic care) and so he changed positions to be a dispatcher at the same location.

Unfortunately, somebody didn't do something right in the HR office, and on December 3, 2008 he went into work and worked for several hours, then was pulled into the office for the bomb to be dropped. His position changed had not gone through the computer and now they were on a hiring freeze which meant he essentially had no job available to him. They were sorry, but well, that didn't help pay our bills. Of course this was also 3 weeks before Christmas. I was working part time for the Red Cross teaching CPR classes which I was able to increase a little during the weeks that followed which helped a little.

Words cannot accurately describe emotions in that conversation. Derin had been doing a great job. He had caught on quickly in the office. The world was going great. And then now he didn't have a job and he wasn't his fault at all. He was told he could reapply after January 1st when their hiring freeze was lifted.

Derin was able to get on at a temp agency for a few weeks and then as soon as the new year came he reapplied.

Finally the day came - he got his job back.

Relief.

Praise and Thanksgiving.

Here's my super spiritual "Are YOU the Pastor's wife?" commentary here.

I don't recall any particular Scripture that got me through that time. I recall my broken emotions. I recall feeling so very wronged.

See? Pastor's wives aren't any more spiritual than the next person.

We struggle. We hurt. We complain. Our homes are messy (you should have seen mine tonight for our impromptu opportunity for hospitality! Thankfully our guests were gracious!). We lose our tempers. We yell at our kids. We have to repent and struggle with sin just like the person we're sitting next to.

As I sit here though and remember that time and that struggle. I can be thankful. We have learned to not take jobs for granted. We have learned that sometimes as much as we are broken to do it, we have to lean on others around us.

The next thought I have is how selfish I was to be focused on how wronged we felt. Contrast that to Jesus.

Jesus lived a perfect and sinless life. He never did anything wrong. But he was hung up on the cross, treated like a criminal, beaten beyond recognition, because WE, YOU, I, sin. And "I" feel wronged for my husband losing his job?

How much I still have to learn...

Sunday, January 29, 2012

A glimmer of hope

Every Christian can point to times in their lives where they see mountain tops and valleys with some smooth mundane roads in between. This particular post is about being in a valley and yet God providing a glimmer of hope that helped me press on....

We had just moved onto the southside of Indianapolis, our boys were now almost 2 and almost 4, and found a nice apartment that actually had what we thought was a good amount of space. It had a good layout and was going to work. I was working full time and hubby was focusing on his school full time and taking care of the munchkins. This is following his end to the youth ministry I spoke of in the last blog, so we were moving to the south side to be in the neighborhood of our new local church - the church Superman grew up attending. Things did not end well at that ministry and we were emotionally drained of ministry. Our pastor recommended we take a time of rest and healing before we began jumping into new ministries again and we whole heartedly agreed - we needed a time to be refreshed.

Our first night in this new apartment was middle of October. We had an awesome moving crew and got everything set up for our first night. We were just barely falling asleep when we heard the sound of water running. It was too loud to brush off and our investigation was short lived. You see, just outside of our bedroom door in the hallway there was a shower - not the appropriate kind, but a shower of water spraying down from the ceiling onto the floor in the hallway. We actually had the humor about us to laugh at the madness of having something like that happen the first night in a new apartment! Maintenance came and I forget all the details but the furnace was a water based furnace and the pipe above the hallway had broken - hence the shower. They left fans and said they'd be back. Now realize this means our source of heat is not working, but it's October so not too big of an issue.
This was fixed within a few days and we worked to get settled in. Unfortunately, a couple weeks later, the heat broke again. I don't recall the problem but the result was a sticky mess. A part had to be ordered we were told. We reasoned that it was November and cold outside, and therefore inside. We had two little guys and needed heat. They reluctantly provided one space heater.
This of course was not acceptable to us for many safety reasons and yet they refused to do anything else for us. We took up camp on my husband's aunt's couches and living room floor for the next 3 weeks - over Thanksgiving. Meanwhile growing frustrated we contacted the health department and a lawyer. The apartment complex had been adamant that we would not be released from our contract.

It's amazing what results a professionally stern letter on attorney letter head bring about. We received notice that we were being let out of our lease but we had to be out by December 1st.

We received this notice on November 28th.

November 29th, I began the process of my 2nd miscarriage.

Did I mention hubby and I were both in college that semester too?

I was overwhelmed. Exhausted. Depleted. And frustrated through all of it. Why in the world was all of this happening?

At work on my desk I had a desk calendar with a Scripture reference for each day. I don't recall which day this occurred, but one morning I sat down at my desk and began all of my log ins, and tore off the previous date to reveal the correct one and on that date the verse given was this, "

"We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed." 2 Corinthians 4:8

I remember a wash of relief passing over me and feeling tension just melt away. 1 and 2 Corinthians are of course written by the Apostle Paul and if you aren't familiar, Paul's story will always bring our own stress or persecutions into perspective. Paul had just about everything possible done to him because of his cause for Christ's name to be shared. Paul was in the middle of encouraging the church in Corinth to press on and remember their cause and he wrote starting in verse 7:
"But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you."

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed?! Christ will not allow us to be crushed!

I personally despise the saying, "Christ won't give you more than you can handle."

I don't believe it. It's not true. You can't find any evidence for that message in the Bible.

But! Do you know what message IS there?? That Christ WILL MOST CERTAINLY give you more than you can handle because it is then when we learn to lean on Him. The footsteps poem? That person had more than they could bear - they couldn't go on - so Christ carried them. It was too much for them.

Check this out - this later in the book of 2 Corinthians. Chapter 12 starting at verse 7. Paul is sharing with the Corinthians that God had given him the ability to do awesome things for the purpose of His glory...
"So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this,that it should leave me. But He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore, I will boat all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

Paul had given his life to God in every way - he was solely dependent upon God for everything including his next meals and lodging as he traveled. He was beaten, stoned, put in prison, house arrest, shipwrecked, while serving God. In our culture today, we're thinking - wow - pretty awesome testimony - God must be so pleased with him! Yeah I bet so! So God rewards him with... a thorn? A messenger of Satan to harass me? To keep him humble? Gee thanks Lord. This is encouraging as someone pursuing ministry. This is how I'm repaid? Ok so get over yourself now and read that 2nd part. Paul PLEADED that God remove the trial, the thorn, but instead God replied that His grace was sufficient for Paul because His power is made perfect in our weakness. Therefore, Paul says to bring on the awful things because when he is weak in his flesh, he is strong in Christ.

YES! We can deduce from these passages that God WILL GIVE US more than we can handle because it is then that HE receives the most glory.

My other blogs shared some rough times for me in my journey with God and this was another one where I just truly wondered WHY.
Because when we have nothing left of ourselves, it is when we lean on God. It is when the fire gets the hottest is when the most refining is done.

Ever heard of the Christian walk as being refined like gold? Malachi chapter 3 uses that term. Ever looked into what that means? Gold has to be put in the hottest point of the fire for all of the impurities to burn off - only the pure gold will survive and remain. Do you know how the refiner can tell when it's done? When he can see his reflection in the pure gold that has remained.

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God will put us in the hottest part of the fire, to endure trials we could have never imagined we could survive if put to the test, because it is there that He is refining us - He is teaching us to trust Him and His will. He is our Creator - He knows what is best for us and He knows what will bring Him the most glory. His power is made perfect in our weakness.

2 Cor 4:8, "For we are hard pressed on every side..........




but not crushed."


Trust that in the trials of your life that Christ will not allow you to be crushed.

For His Glory

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not.... wait, what??

Psalm 23:1, "The LORD is my Shepherd, I shall not want."

In the spring of 2006 after a rough fall and winter in our family, we were living an hour from where my Superman was serving on staff as the youth pastor of a small inner city church, just a few miles from the heart of Indianapolis. Superman was feeling disconnected from the kids in the youth group and spending only one day (albeit ALL day) with them was just not making the impact that he wanted. My darling husband voiced his desire to move our family into the community of the church.

Ready for it?

"Nope - I'm not gonna do it."

Yeah, you saw that coming, didn't you?

I dug my heels in, in the most unsubmissive and stubborn way. No way was I going to be ok with moving my family (we had a 5 month old and 2 year old) and live on the east side of Indianapolis in the ghetto. You have got to be kidding me.

This conversation went on for a few weeks if I recall correctly. One day I broke our rule about not leaving the room while in the middle of a fight, er, uh, discussion, and went into our room and closed the door. (That'll keep him out for sure!)..... (shaking head at myself)

Anyway, I knew I was wrong, but I just didn't understand!

I wanted my family to be safe! Is that so much for a mother to ask?

I wanted security! Read the books! All women want security!

I wanted to be comfortable! Again, is that so much to ask?

I wanted my comfort zone bubble!

I can't logically explain to you except to say the Holy Spirit made me do it, but in that moment in my room with the door closed I opened the Bible laying on the nightstand and literally opened it up to a random place to read. Psalm 23. Cool - one of my favorites - I memorized all 6 verses when I was 6 in Awana after all!

"The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want."

Oh.

I immediately began crying. Tears dripping on the pages of God's love letter to His children.

Remember that list I made a minute ago? Go ahead and scroll back up to read it - I'll wait.

No really, go back and read what I wrote.

Where in all those WANTS am I depending on God to be my Shepherd?

The Bible refers to people as sheep. Have you ever spent any time with sheep? Sheep are STUPID. They will literally follow one another off a cliff if the first one takes that final step. They have to be SHOWN and LED to their needs. This is why sheep need a SHEPHERD. God is so smart to draw that simple parallel for us stupid idiots isn't He? (Ok - maybe I'm the only stupid idiot around here).

"The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want." IS He your Shepherd? Are you trusting Him to lead you to all of your NEEDS? We shall not WANT because He supplies our NEEDS as our Shepherd.

"He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters."

This verse had special meaning to me as I was just coming off a pregnancy that included 4 months of complete bedrest. Yet realizing as I reflected on that verse that He provided that bedrest while briefly locating my family (hubby and kiddo and myself) in the same town as my parents and siblings who fully stepped up to the plate to help take care of me and our toddler while Superman worked. (Special shoutout here to my sister Karyn who 'babysat' me and our toddler every day - 40 hours a week for months - I love you dear!)
Then - He leads me beside still waters. Moving into the inner city was chaos and turmoil to me - but I felt in that moment that God was showing me that He would be the calm I needed.

"He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name's sake."
Restoring my soul - sign me up! I needed that so desperately. For His name's sake? Oh you mean it's NOT about me... I need to write that one down....

"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me."
I cannot begin to explain to you how much I feared moving into that neighborhood and as far as I was concerned, it was the shadow of death. Again, fresh tears as I read this verse. Not fear evil? But... but... those are my babies and me vulnerable with no protection! Oh... right... My Shepherd's Rod and Staff comfort me. Remember the sheep illustration? Shepherds use their rod and staff to fight off the lions and tigers and bears (OH MY!) and wolves that wanted the sheep to be their dinner! My Shepherd is the CREATOR - He will protect me. (Allow me to clarify - I was 99% the most afraid concerning all day while I was at home with the kids while Superman was at work and he was working 60 hour weeks at the time at his full time job - I wasn't afraid ... for the most part... for when he would be there).

"You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows."
I was beginning to realize and understand by this point in my brokenness how much I needed to trust God. Realizing that we would lack nothing - but I had to trust Him.

"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever."
Wow. All that. Why am I doubting again?

I finished my tears and returned to my hubby in the living room, red eyed and blubbery. I apologized to him and told him that if he wanted to lead our family to move into that neighborhood that he had my permission. Oh no wait. Er uh... that I would follow his leadership.

Move we did. I'll never forget telling the excited church members that we had signed a lease and then seeing their faces fall when we told them the address. You see, no one told us that the church sat on sort of a barrier line - one street west was still ok - but the street just west of that was far worse on a danger level than the street previously. (Don't ask me... I don't make the rules...) Yep - we rented a house on the 'bad' street. The summer of 2006 there were a record number of murders in the city of Indianapolis and the closest one geographically to us was on our street, just one block down.

My prayer life grew by leaps and bounds in that house :) But we did connect much more strongly to our youth group and the relationship between hubby and I made a turn as well - it was the first point in our marriage where I truly surrendered to his leadership at a time that was tested.

You see, it's not submission when you agree with your hubby, but rather when you disagree but are willing to surrender to his God given role as the head of your family. But well... that's for a different post...

Nope - I'm not gonna do it

There are so many stories in the Bible where a journey begins with resistance against God's will or direct command. My story of this ministry journey we are on begins much the same.

Late September 2010, my husband received an email from a friend of his, his childhood pastor, who was making contacts for a church in need of a pulpit supply - they needed someone to preach for them while they continued their search for a new pastor. My husband, recently ordained and licensed by our local church, always will jump at the opportunity to share God's Word through preaching. Phone calls were made and it was determined my husband (whom I like to refer to as "Superman") would preach for the month of October at this small church in need, 2 1/2 hours north of us. We decided it would be best for our 4 children who at the time were ages 5 months, 2, 4, and 6, to keep with our normal routine at our home church.

Up hours before sunlight to head north, Superman was on his way to preach and a couple hours later the children and I readied for our normal Sunday morning. Afternoon. Evening. Where was he? I expected him home mid-afternoon, but a family from the church had invited several over, including my superman, to their home for lunch and they had spent many hours talking after the meal. The children and I went on to evening service and near the end of the sermon, the door in the back of the church opens. I turn around and see a look on his face.

Nope - I'm not gonna do it.

You see, I recognized the look on his face when he came in the door of the sanctuary in that moment. It was identical to the look on his face when he got the opportunity to serve at an inner city church a few years earlier as the youth pastor, and again the look came around after several months told me that he wanted us to live in the community so we could better minister. Move to the ghetto - yep. See, I knew what was coming.

As soon as he was next to me I set my jaw and said, "We are not moving to Ft. Wayne." The smile he gave me in response confirmed my fears and in his cheeky-ness he said, "We don't have to move to Ft Wayne. The church is in Columbia City." Man of the hour right there.

Now at this moment if I were reading this, I would say, "My goodness! That woman needs a lesson about submitting to her husband and following his leadership!" And reading these snippets in time, I would tend to agree with you. But understand that since I was halfway through high school I had felt God impressing upon my heart that I would one day be a pastor's wife and was thrilled! This is why (after some more "NOT GONNA DO IT" moments with God), I ended up at Bible College so I could get my M R S degree, whoops, I mean get a Bible education so I could support my future hubby in ministry! (And if I just so happened to meet my future darling husband there then well that would be splendid!).
So really, I had been preparing to be a pastor's wife for years! I had dreamed of the day when superman would be called by a church to serve! But... but... a church in the ghetto? That wasn't in my plan. Then this church up north that had a tiny congregation when he was not yet finished with his degree and would have to work full time additionally and we'd have to move hours away from our friends and family? Nope - not gonna do it.



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Tomorrow is the one year anniversary of our move up north - 2 streets over from that church where God has led my husband to pastor. The journey has been hard, each step a struggle, and we've learned to celebrate even the smallest of victories. God has taught me so much on this journey - and the journey I believe has only just begun.