Sep 18, 2009

Not here this week...go here...

I am not writing here this week. Not that I don't want to but I have been working on something special for another site. Pastoring Partners Network. It's a fantastic life line for you women who are pastors, PWs or women serving in the ministry in any form. I was honored to be asked to be a part of this wonderful online ministry by the founder, Deanna Shrodes. Not only did she ask me to be a contributing writer but also a board member. I have to say its very humbling to me to be asked to serve in this capacity. I love this ministry and I love the women who are part of this ministry. So this week I posted a new blog over here. Go check it out! It's good for everyone not just those in ministry!

Sep 8, 2009

Jesus Bring the Rain by Mercy Me

I was listening to the radio tonight and this song came one like 5 times within 2 hours. It really struck a cord with me tonight. Not sure why but it really touched my heart.

Here are the words:

I can count a million times
People asking me
how I can praise You
with all that I've gone through
The question just amazes me
Can circumstances possibly
Change who I forever am in You

Maybe since my life was changed
Long before these rainy days
It's never really ever crossed my mind
To turn my back on you, oh Lord
My only shelter from the storm
But instead I draw closer through these times

So I pray
Bring me joy, bring me peace
Bring the chance to be free
Bring me anything that brings You glory
And I know there'll be days
When this life brings me pain
But if that's what it takes to praise You
Jesus, bring the rain

I am yours regardless of
the clouds that may loom above
because You are much greater than my pain
You who made a way for me
suffering your destiny
so tell me
whats a little rain

Holy, holy, holy
Holy, holy, holy
is the lord God almighty
is the lord God almighty
I'm forever singing

I love it when I find a song that really ministers to my heart and also makes me say, "Yes Lord that is my cry tonight!" I have gone through a lot in my life, like a lot of people. But I have to say I would rather walk in my shoes than someone else's. Even the most well put together person has hurts and things they have gone through. I think I will chose to follow the plan God has for my life and if that means some pain along the way that pulls me closer to Him then I will face it with courage and hope, trusting Him for the outcome.

Sep 4, 2009

Guest Speaker Deanna Shrodes

This morning I went through my daily ritual of coffee and blogs. Yes I actually read the blogs before my quiet time with the Lord. But I can assure you that my quiet time with the Lord is coming and I am looking forward to spending time in the word and in prayer. But before I do that I had to post this. My dear friend Pastor Deanna Shrodes writes monthly for Take Root and Write. This months post is awesome. I so needed to hear this this morning! I believe all women do but especially women in ministry regardless of their position but especially for women pastors and pastor's wives. But I also feel that the other men and women in the church need to hear what is being said. So sit back and open your heart to the Lord as you read this post!

Vital Signs by Pastor Deanna Shrodes

"Stop the ministry! I want to get off!" How many of you pastor's wives have said that? Every friend I've got in ministry (and I've got lots of them!) have said that at least once if not a million times. Before I even go any further, I want you to say to yourself out loud, "I AM NOT ALONE!" If you don't believe that and still feel like you are, email me and say, "I feel alone." You don't even have to share any other details, just those three words if that's all you're comfortable saying, and I'll shoot you back an e-mail in a New York minute and reassure you the truth of the matter that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. One of the devil's biggest lies he tries to get you to believe is that you are alone. Let me give you some statistics from a survey that show you that you aren't as alone as you might think...
In the Enrichment Journal article, "Stress Management for Women in Ministry, author Joann Butrin says the following: "When pastors’ wives were asked to name the things that cause the most stress in their lives, the most common responses were: balancing the demands of the congregation with the responsibilities of raising children, being a supportive wife, keeping an organized household, and feeling guilty for not giving enough time for any of these roles. Other responses included: feeling frustrated at being relegated a lesser role while feeling the same call to ministry as one’s husband, feeling unappreciated in the support role of pastor’s wife, feeling drained by the constant schedule demands that go with ministry, and feeling isolated and alone due to taboos concerning friendships in the church."
Stress is a given when we accept the role of a minister's wife but that doesn't make it any easier. No amount of reading, training or even mentoring beforehand could ever prepare one for what they will face in full time ministry. I stopped to think about it the other day and realized I don't have many friends who are pastor's wives who haven't faced some serious physical complications as a result of stress. This is not only with pastor's wives at mid-life or older but even younger ones. I came to the conclusion, we can't hear enough about stress management!
The other day I went to a meeting for ministers in my area that was a mandatory thing for our denomination. I have to be honest that at first, I dreaded it. I was overwhelmed with a full schedule that day and had so much to deal with, the last thing I needed was a three hour mandatory meeting to add to the insanity that was my day. Once I got there, my attitude changed. Our presbyter (overseer over our area) had prepared a workshop on stress management in ministry. He shared some things I really needed to hear and be reminded of.
One of the first things he shared was that when a person becomes president of the United States, everything is monitored very carefully, from their diet to their sleep schedule, exercise, and even mandatory vacations! There are those who criticize because our various presidents have taken vacations and even during critical times in the nation's history but the truth of the matter is, during that time they probably needed the vacation all the more to hold up under the pressure. Our leader went on to say that they are very protective of the president because he must be able to function at his optimal best to lead the nation, and without these basics being well covered in his life, his health and safety is at risk. He went on to say that we in the ministry are front line warriors and very important leaders in our nation and how much more do we need to carefully "monitor all of our "vitals?"
In Mark 6, we see that the feeding of the five thousand had just taken place. A busy time of ministry had just concluded, for sure. Perhaps Jesus Himself was thinking, "stop the ministry, I want to get off!" We know this because in verses 30-32 in indicates he immediately called for a break:
"The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest." So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place." Mark 6:30-32 (NIV)
How long has it been since you took stock of what you are eating? Stolen away for some quiet time? Enjoyed some moments of solitude? Years ago a counselor told me I had better plan to do this for myself because no one else would ever be standing in line to do it for me. He was right. Church members usually have little regard for their pastor's quiet time and if you don't take a stand, nobody will. Pastor Perry Noble of Newspring Church in Anderson, SC, says the following, "I know WAY too many pastors who let the expectations and demands of needy, clingy church people (notice I didn’t say Christians) DRIVE them to a place of insanity and burnout…and then those same church people will stand around his coffin and talk about how he should have taken better care of himself."
This is so true. To share a typical and humorous story about this, a number of years ago a woman called me on my day off and said, "I know it's your day off but I needed to call you. We are having terrible marriage problems and I need to talk." I was expecting to hear that her husband had just left, or that she found out that day about an affair, or something of new and shocking revelation. Instead she continued on and told me about many problems they had over the years. I interrupted a few moments later and said, "what new thing has happened today or this week in this situation?" She said, "nothing." I said, "how long have you had this problem you are calling me about today?" She said, "Hmmm...well, since 1972." I said, "So this has been going on since 1972, nothing has changed, but you are calling me about it today?" She said, "Yeah, I just finally felt like talking about it." This was the "emergency."
Many in our church or ministries will not understand this. We are never going to get it across to everyone in an understandable way and quite frankly if that is our goal we will more than likely never achieve it or have everyone happy with us. But we CAN decide how to respond each day. A healthy response means that we monitor our vitals and take the time we need when we need it whether anyone understands or not. The other day our presbyter admonished us, "You've got to do this, or soon. . .cancer is coming for you. . .ulcers are coming for you. . .a heart attack is coming for you. . ."
That got my attention. I decided to come home and make a list of things I needed to more closely monitor. Some will understand, some won't. But that's okay -- we have to do what is right and take care of ourselves so we can take care of others properly.
Are you monitoring your vitals?


Me here. Good stuff huh! Now go check out more of what Deanna shares daily on her blog. She is very straightforward and open and I LOVE that about her! She is a trooper for God and I cherish our friendship, her wisdom and her love for God and the lost. Love ya D!