Category Archives: God’s Word

Just Keepin’ It Real

Standard

Yesterday I told a sweet friend that her husband needed to be a preacher. We’ve known them for several years, watching them grow from early marriage to a family of five, and seeing them both mature leaps and bounds in their biblical knowledge. But she laughed a little bit (and cried a little bit) and said, “I could never be a preacher’s wife!” This made me start thinking, as I often have before: what does that really mean?

There are some people who think preachers’ wives belong in some high place on a pedestal. That we always carry a Bible tucked into our pockets (and can quote on demand) and never have an ugly, vengeful, prideful thought in our heads. Our marriages must be a haven of bliss – we’re married to a preacher, after all! We act demurely, always with dignity, and we speak just the right words at just the right moment. (These people haven’t met me!) 😉 Oh, and we never forget to clean the light switch covers and the floor behind the toilet. Twice a week! And then there are those who believe quite the opposite: preachers’ wives are hypocritical gossips who don’t control their children and spend too much money on clothes. And, they whisper, just where did that money come from, hmmm?

I’m sad that there are preachers’ wives who perpetuate both of those stereotypes. There are some who seem to enjoy being on that high pedestal, being set apart and admired. Let me tell you, I’ve seen some of the “high places” that the Bible talks about – and as they are usually cultic worship sites, I’m pretty sure we shouldn’t want to be put there. Then others absolutely rebel against the idea of having any responsibility as the wife of a preacher. “I can’t help it, I am who I am…take me or leave me!”

I can’t speak for other wives in ministry, but I don’t fit in either of those categories. But because I believe in keeping it real, I can tell you the honest truth about who I am, after 32 years of experience as a preacher’s wife. I’ve made a lot of mistakes – a LOT. Some of them carried hard consequences. More than once I’ve pretended to know more Bible than I actually did, because I wasn’t in the Word like I should have been. There have been times I’ve been full of resentment about expectations I thought were unfair; hard-hearted and unforgiving toward a fellow Christian. I’m crazy about my husband, but there has been conflict, and we’ve hurt each other. I forget to be thoughtful. Sometimes I just don’t want to assemble with the church, and I don’t exactly know what is wrong with me. I’ve been harsh and critical in my judgment of others, impatient when they didn’t think just like I did or make the same choices that I made. There are times I struggle with doubts and questions. I know this is hard to believe (⇐sarcasm, another of my flaws…) but sometimes I give my opinion when no one has asked for it! And that’s a non-exhaustive list of my flaws!

In short, I am an ordinary woman. It comes as no surprise to anyone who knows me that I am far from that perfect pedestal wife. And I think there are far more of us “ordinary woman” preachers’ wives than there are the pedestal kind. I know that God doesn’t expect my light to shine brighter than any other Christian’s light simply because I am a preacher’s wife (although I may be presented with more opportunities to shine His light.) What I have to say carries no weight of importance – only what God says. Every day I am thankful that He has forgiven me and does not remember my past. Every day now, I open His word because I love Him more than I ever have, and I want to know more about who He is. Despite my mistakes, my resentments, unforgiving attitudes, and doubts, I know His mercies are new every morning and if I lean on Him, He will help me through the day. He promised to draw near to me as I fight against the one who wants me to continue struggling, and I trust Him to keep all of His promises. I’ve seen His faithfulness over and over to me, even when I was not full of faith toward Him. I am not who I once was – or pretended to be.

I wanted to tell my friend yesterday – you already are a “preacher’s wife”. And friend, you know who you are and if you happen to read this – your humility and tender heart are beautiful to me, and I know to God also. You are just the kind of “preacher’s wife” that the world needs. Preachers’ wives are just women who question and struggle and stumble. Anyone who tries to make you think differently is not doing you any favors (and isn’t being very honest.) Don’t be afraid of who you think you aren’t – be confident in who the Lord knows you are. He builds us up, He heals our wounds, He lifts the humble. “…The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love,” (Psalm 147).

IMG_7659 2

Advertisements

“Help Me To Be”

Standard

We are blessed to have sweet Nancy as a member of the church here in Dripping Springs. She is from Fort Worth, and, as a matter of fact, she and my mother knew each other as children, because Nancy’s mother and my Grandma were friends. Nancy has been blind since birth, and she has some other impairments as well. Her father and mother have both passed from this life.  Nancy now lives at Hill Country Care, the same healthcare facility where Grandma (who will be 102 on August 3) resides.

photo (75)

Nancy is not bitter in the least about her condition. If you ask her how she’s doing, without fail she will reply “Hap-PY!” with decisive emphasis. She loves Lawrence Welk, and she LOVES to sing. She sings her heart out. Bless her heart (and you know, when a southern girl says “bless her heart”, something uncomplimentary might follow, but I mean this sincerely) she sings with gusto – the kind of gusto that makes small children turn around and stare.

We sat in front of Nancy yesterday, and as we sang the song “Purer in Heart” I couldn’t help thinking to myself that there might not have been a purer heart than hers in that assembly. As she warbled her way through the song, with some squeaks that might not have been pleasing to human ears – I thought that God’s heavenly ears must have been pleased with her pure, heartfelt worship.

In fact, there are probably other aspects of worship that aren’t pleasing to us that are pleasing to God. Looking back to Old Testament worship – sacrifice in particular, I wonder what it was like to be present as animals were slaughtered. It’s hard to imagine a pleasant scene – but numerous times it is described as a “sweet savour” or a “pleasing aroma” to God (Exodus 29:18,  Leviticus 1:17, 8:21 and many other places). I’m thankful it’s different today.

But who am I to have a different opinion than God? My opinion is unimportant. He is seeking people who will worship Him in spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24). Nancy’s voice may not win any singing competitions, but she is not competing for any reward except for God’s favor. Shouldn’t that be the goal of every Christian?

One of Nancy’s favorite songs is “Amazing Grace”.  “I once was lost, but now am found – was blind, but now, I see.” I wonder if perhaps Nancy doesn’t see better than any of us.

Camp

Standard

When Micah was little bitty, he and I stayed home while John took Jordan and Jake with him to camp. Not being much of the outdoorsy, adventurous type, I preferred to stay in the relatively bug-free air-conditioned comfort of home. I never quite “got” why John and the big boys seemed to be so changed – on a higher plane, if you will – when they returned home.  But I get it now.

By the time Micah was about five years old, John and the big boys were begging us to come along and make it a family experience. My choices seemed to be (1) have another baby in order to stay home from camp, or (2) go to camp. Since the first option seemed a bit extreme, I decided to bite the bullet and spend a week at Camp Hensel.

Hensel, for those of you who haven’t experienced it, is not quite a five-star resort. It isn’t the Marriott. It’s not the Holiday Inn Express. It’s not even Motel 6. It’s more along the lines of the Bates Motel. Let’s just say Hensel has been around for a long time – so long, in fact, that I think some of the bugs stuck between the windows and rusty screens of Cabin 2 have been there since before I went as a child in the 70’s. The shower house for the boys is something straight out of the House of Torment: rusty nails, scary spiders and all. The Road House has a raccoon family in residence.  So I am firmly convinced, every year that our group returns relatively unscathed from a week at Hensel, that God has kept His protective hand over us.

Yes, there is heat. Oppressive, humid, sweaty heat. And bugs. And dirt – lots of dirt.  Shower shoes are a must. People tend to smell a little musty during their week at Hensel. We may occasionally get a teensy bit irritable. And maybe it’s because we only get about four hours of sleep each night.

BUT! There are the absolute best people in the world. A week spent away from the cares of the world and focusing on what is truly important. Lessons rich from the word of God, from men who have a gift for imparting His message. Meals eaten side by side with some of our best friends in the world. God’s beautiful creation evident all around us.

There are little boys (most likely wearing the same clothes for three days straight) whose ratty bed-head is absolutely adorable . Little girls who run around hand in hand, like these two:

2013-06-13 002 2013-06-13 003

There is time to bond with young men and women – away from their telephones and iPads and any other electronic device. I  find it fascinating that they often come into the cabin on Sunday afternoon with a reserved demeanor (and sometimes downright distrust,) but by the end of the week they run to you with open arms, because the powerful word of God has entered into their hearts, and because we have been given the opportunity to show them that we truly care about them. These were most of mine and Denise’s girls this week – how I love each of these young women!

2013-06-14 001 2013-06-14 002

There are times to pray, alone and together. Times to catch a glimpse into the sweet relationships between mothers and daughters; fathers and sons. Time to reflect on how blessed we are to be able to minister to others and for them to minister to us.

2013-06-11 001 2013-06-11 004

And the singing! Can you imagine nearly 250 (dirty, sweaty) people crowded into a medium sized (un-air-conditioned) dining hall, windows and doors closed (because the acoustics are better) and singing for an hour? Andy Baker always encourages and reminds us to concentrate on the words of the songs and remember to Whom we are singing. This must be what heaven sounds like.

2013-06-14 001 2013-06-14 005

The most beautiful sight was to see the compassion and care from so many when an individual had the courage to step forward and ask for prayers. They were immediately surrounded by so many – and not just their closest friends, but people they may not have known so well. What an amazing group of tender-hearted young people we spent the week with! I saw God in their compassionate, sympathetic tears.

2013-06-13 001 2013-06-13 006

If you haven’t been, it’s hard to explain, and I hope someday you’ll know. I know we aren’t alone with our experience at Hensel – other camps provide the same experiences as well. I only wish that everyone could spend a week away, digging deep into God’s truths and retreating from the world.

Some of my favorite quotes from the week:

“When God uses you as His instrument, it doesn’t matter if you’re outnumbered.” Todd Crayton

“The Bible never gives us something to subtract from our lives without giving us something to add in its place.” Andy Baker

“If you’re against God, who can be FOR you?…Going to heaven is not easy, y’all, but going to heaven is worth it.” Mike Bonner

After a young lady had responded, Wayne Jones said that “her tears are a reflection of her heart.” What a beautiful statement.

When we arrived at Hensel, a dead feral hog was discovered in a stand of trees near the creek. Each time we walked to the creek for a baptism, the odor was overpowering. But John pointed out, in yet another teachable moment, that it was the “smell of death – and we don’t bury living people. In baptism, we die to our sins, are buried, and raised to walk in newness of life.” 2013-06-12 002 2013-06-12 011

I overheard Michaela Bonner comforting a fellow camper (whose grandmother is near death,) saying “You’ll see her again someday, and you’ll be even happier than you are now!”

We laughed a lot, too. A LOT.  Gretchen said “If you tried to stop some girls from talking, their heads would explode!” There are too many funny things that our girls said this week for me to record – and anyway, they’re just between us girls. 🙂

Coming home from camp is so bittersweet. I can’t wait to sleep in my own bed. Not have to stand in the sun with 250 people before I eat. Not have to wait in a line of 100 people to eat lunch. Sit with my elbows on the table. Have the bathroom to myself.

But I’m going to miss my brothers and sisters. Back to living in the world – a world that needs Christian light. And hopefully we have all better prepared ourselves, and those with whom we spent the week, to reflect the light of Jesus to a lost and dying world. I’m praying for those young people who have to face reality again. I’m praying that they’ll remember the strength and encouragement they received at camp when they’re faced with inevitable temptation.

I’m glad my boys all encouraged me to experience camp with them. It’s been life changing. I hope you’ll someday have your life changed, as well.

Bacon Makes Me Happy

Standard

Last Sunday, John made us miserable but today he made us happy. 🙂 One of the things that he said that stood out to me was this:

“The world promises a lot, but delivers little.”

Isn’t that the truth? We love to be given gifts and pampered and showered with adoration and praise – we think THAT is what makes us happy. But God gives a much better picture of happiness:

“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.” (Psalm 1:1-3)

We also think that being skinny will make us happy. But today, Oreo Balls and Holiday Bacon Appetizers made ME happy – at least temporarily. Here is the link for those of you who asked:

FN_Thanksgiving-Live-Ree-Holiday-Bacon-Appetizer_s4x3_lg

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ree-drummond/holiday-bacon-appetizers-recipe/index.html

They don’t look too pretty, but they were tasty!

Food log today – cottage cheese and one scrambled egg for breakfast, and about 10 almonds. Lunch – 4 oz meatloaf (made with 96% lean ground beef), 1/2 of a baked potato with a Laughing Cow swiss cheese (you can have TWO for ONE point!), green beans. A 1X2 slice of Tim’s birthday cake. Supper…finger foods at our Care Group meeting. I had 3 of the bacon appetizers, some pita chips and hummus, two boneless Wild Wings, some carrots, and a naked Oreo Ball (no chocolate coating – probably cut the calories by a little bit!) 🙂 Not a great food day. Oh, well – tomorrow is another day.