Wednesday, June 10, 2009

My #1 Battle

Lately, I've been in a hurry.  We've had a lot on our plate, which is to be expected, but my hurry hasn't been very productive.  This week it finally caught up to me.  Sunday after church, I met up with a sitter (Cassie--love her!) to watch the boys while Ricky and I had lunch with some friends.  I got Camden out of the car and, while turning to talk to Cassie, shut the door.  Only, I didn't get my finger out of the way in time!  Ouch!  It's been three days and it's still swollen.  In a few more days, I'm sure the nail will give way.  Yay.  
That, among many other things, has had me rethinking how I go about my day--and my life.  You see, I'm not one of those people who are highly organized--the kind of person that can't go to sleep until the dishes are done.  You might be one of those lucky people.  I've seen your kind.  You have a place for everything and everything in it's place.  Trust me, I LONG to be like you.  I just have no idea how.  I'm frustrated by the behaviors that cause the chaos around me.  I know that most of the time it comes down to my lack of planning, or keeping up with tasks while they're still small.  I've always been a shoot-from-the-hip kinda girl.  Yes, I know, that makes the care-free, fun-loving type, but at some point you've got to grow up, right?  While I know that I've improved considerably over the years, I'm still hitting this wall everywhere I turn.  I HATE this!  If I could change anything about me, it would be this.  
I know that the difference between myself and person A goes all the way down to the difference in the way we think.  I look at those dirty dishes and feel an insurmountable weight, a motivation to sleep, eat, or anything but take care of that mess.  Person A looks at those same dirty dishes and is motivated into action and gets it done.
And it's here where a holy conviction comes in.  I'm certainly not trying to compare myself with anyone including Person A, but I know that God has better for me.  First of all, "God is not a God of disorder" (I Cor 14:33)--hello!  Secondly, Christ came to set us free (see New Testament!).  I don't want to squander that gift.  I know I could do better for myself, my family, and Christ's Kingdom if this one area in my life were free from this.  So that's my goal, my focus.  If I can work to run a half marathon, I can work to change the way I behave.
How's that for authenticity?  

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Few of My Favorite Things...

In the last several weeks, things have been a little crazy.  I spoke for the first time on Mother's Day.  It was an experience that I truly cherished, although I was insanely nervous about it.  Two days later, I found myself in an ER after experiencing what we now figure to be an anxiety attack.  Me?  An anxiety attack?!  Seriously, I'm one of the most laid back people I know.  However, considering the pressure I allowed myself to feel, it becomes a lot more understandable--not to mention the fact that I'm a mother of two young boys, my husband and I just started a church, and our income changes like the wind (to name just a few).
So, for my post today, I'd like to take from Philippians 4:8 and "think on these things"...a few of my favorite things in life (warning: don't take this too seriously!):
  • Laying my head down on the pillow to drift asleep.
  • That first sip of a tall caramel mocha (Starbucks, of course).
  • Cale grabbing my face, turning it to one side, and kissing me on the cheek.
  • Camden singing his heart out.
  • My (still) living flowers in my otherwise horrendous flower bed.
  • The arrival of my Real Simple issue.
  • When both of the boys are peacefully napping at the same time (these are too rare!).
  • Pappasito's steak fajitas.
  • Date nights.
  • Being all.  By.  My.  Self.
  • Buying something already on sale and finding out it's another 25% off when you get to the counter!
  • The day those jeans finally fit again.
  • 75 degrees.
  • Hearing from a friend.
  • Making a new friend.
  • The moment people from my past realize I'm not the girl I used to be.
  • Thus, second chances.
  • The smell of honeysuckle that's so great this time of year.
  • New life.
  • Being the one to find something that's been lost.
  • When people laugh at my cheesy-ness.
  • When the flashing lights behind me go around me!
  • Having a good laugh.
  • Having a good experience shopping at Walmart with my kids.
  • On-line grocery shopping.
Alright, that's all for now.  There's much more, but I'll spare you!  Have a great day!

Thursday, April 30, 2009


Okay, I'm gonna warn you.  This is a tough post.  I'm not an expert on anything I'm about to write.  However, I wanted to share a little thought that came my way this week.  I'd love to hear your comments or experiences you may have had with this too!
My brother-in-law sent a text this week to Ricky about John 15 really speaking to him.  So we decided to read it ourselves.  I'm pretty sure we all got a little something different from it.  I've read this passage many times, as well as, heard many messages about it.  This week, something new leaped off the page at me.  It says, "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.  He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful." (John 15:1,2)
Have you ever been at a place where you felt like you were finally "getting it right"?  Whether it be with your health, finances, marriage, whatever, it was something you were really putting all your best efforts to line things up with God's plan.  Then, whoosh!  The rug got pulled out from under you.  You're left feeling like things were so much easier not doing things God's way.  Well, I can definitely say I've been there.  Take finances, for example.  I remember a time when Ricky and I really started to get things lined out.  We had made a lot of dumb choices in the past and were determined to live responsibly and tithe intentionally.  Although things turned around quickly for us, it took awhile for the turn around to start.  Another occasion was when we were really beginning to see the plan God had for us with The Well.  It seemed like a matter of days after that we found out that Ricky had a tumor.  Had it been malignant, the doctor would have given him 6 months to year to live!
For most of my life, we've attributed these things to the enemy.  Perhaps you've heard people say, "Well, you must be doing something right for Satan to be attacking you like that!"  While I believe that could well be the case, I'm not so sure it always is.  That's where this scripture comes in.  It's easy to understand when God cuts off the branches in our lives that aren't bearing fruit, but did you catch that He prunes the places that ARE bearing fruit?  I never realized until I read it this week, that some of those set backs that happen to us when we're doing the right thing, might be God getting us further down the road.  It's irony at it's best.  
So if you've found yourself mad and frustrated because you're in a place like this.  Take heart!  Keep at it and don't give up.  God doesn't waste these moments and neither should we.  You're growing!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Not So Much Afraid

Depending how you look at it, this may or may not be a continuation of my last two posts.  However, it's something that I've found myself thinking about a lot lately when hearing some of the struggles of the people around me (including my own).  What is it?  In a word:  fear.  It's a horrible little four-letter word that has taken up residency in too many of us.  It's truly causing so much destruction in our lives and yet we're not even seeing it.  Here are some of the ways I've seen it played out in myself and others: 
  • not living up to your best for fear of failure
  • unable to be authentic for fear of not being accepted
  • not tackling finances head-on and suffering financially for fear that you really can't afford the life you want to have
  • not cleaning up life's messes for fear it will take too long or require too much effort
  • allowing our physical bodies to deteriorate for fear that diet and exercise will be too great of a sacrifice
Those are the big ones, but fear rules us in little, everyday things too.  I'm not writing all of this out of a heart of judgment (I'm talking to myself too, ya know).  This is coming from a heart that's breaking over the damage it's caused.  I'm truly compelled to preach you and me a message in the form of a blog!
II Timothy 1:7 tells us that God did not give us the spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, of love, and a sound mind.  Have you ever noticed that when you're dealing with the things that make you afraid, you feel powerless and can't even think clearly?  Honestly, it's rational to behave normally around people and not try to put up a front.  It's rational to open up a bank statement.  It's rational to add in a few fruits and veggies.  Now, I realize there's usually a lot more to it than the picture I'm painting.  But just imagine how much more prepared we could be when going into battle with our struggles if fear weren't in the picture! 
I hope we'll both take hold of the fact that God has given us power, love, and a sound mind.  We can access this at any moment, any time, in any situation.  When we are being overtaken by fear, we can know it's not from God.  We can, through His help, overcome ALL of these things in our lives.  "...In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us."  (Romans 8:37 NIV)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Lost and Found: The Easy Road pt 2

Hey, at least I warned you there'd be more!
Have you ever thought something like, "I know I'm supposed to be myself, but who am I?"  In my journey of trying to be authentic, I had to face this one head on.  There's a mythological character that works so hard to be someone he's not, he ends up forgetting who he started out being.  That's sort of how I felt.  I had worked for so long being who I thought everyone wanted me to be, I completely lost sight of Me.  
I started reading the gospels for the answer.  Seriously, if the Bible had a google page, you could type "How to find myself" and it would site Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John!  Who knew?  Anyway, here's one of the many examples I found, "Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self.  What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself?" (Matthew 16, The Message)  So, yes, it's just that crazy--when you lose yourself to Christ, is when you actually find out who you are.  It's so hard because it requires a loss of control on our part.  Think of how many things we want in an effort to make ourselves feel better.  We're always left wanting more and our self-esteem continually being robbed, not to mention other areas in our lives.  
Give it up today--I know it's not so easy, but the first step never is!  Give up your life, your whole life, to Christ and finally live the enriched life your heart truly desires.  It's the most amazing thing I've ever done!

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Easy Road

I've been doing some thinking lately about this "quest for authenticity".  It seems like I end up talking about it to so many people around me.  We all struggle at some level with happily being who are.  My journey has certainly been a long one.  
My issues with a low self-image and insecurity became so severe in college that my roommate (psych major, no less) told me I should get professional help!  She was right and I knew it.  I recall going to set up an appointment with the school counselor only to find that she was booked for the rest of the semester.  I felt so hopeless.  Although I'm a big fan of professional counseling, I look back and see that God had a different plan for me.  He took me down a road where I could accept myself, even before I really knew myself.  This road has had it's share of ups and downs, but it's been worth it.
I remember times where I would envision what life would be like without worrying what people thought of me and it made me afraid.  It seemed so hard to live that way!  There were simply way too many "what if's":  what if I'm not concerned enough about the way I look and end up a frumpy mess?  what if I don't care enough about what I say and sound like an idiot?  what if I don't live up to their expectations and they're left with a big disappointment?  I could go on, but you get the idea.  I was truly afraid that if I let these insecurities go, I would become less of a person I already felt I  was.  What I know now, is that those thoughts were lies that held me down like chains.  The truth is this:  when you accept yourself for the creation God has made, you begin to see who you really are.  It's then that you can behave authentically.  And let me tell you, it's WAY easier!!!  I can have a conversation without being flooded with a million thoughts that cause me to fear or feel badly about myself.  What's more, is that I can be a pastor's wife (there, I said it!) and not worry if people will like me or even come back to the church because of my 'performance' (or lack thereof).  I can just go about my day free to be me and focus on far more important things. 
I have a feeling there may be a part II to this one...there's just so much more to say...

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Label

If you've read just a few of my blogs, you would know that I'm not crazy about the title "Pastor's Wife".  Just too many connotations (see past blogs) come to mind when I hear it.  However, this past Sunday, something changed.  Although it only consisted of two letters, it had a monumental impact in me.  This is what happened:  Ricky and I went out with a couple who have just started coming to The Well.  She was telling me about a recipe I had given her that she brought to a party a few days prior and it was a big hit.  She said, "I told them I got the recipe from my pastor's wife."  Boom.  There is was.  She couldn't have paid me a greater compliment by placing that teeny little word in front of my most dreaded title.  The word "my" made all the difference.  It was something I never expected.  In that one word, I go from the untouchable, "perfect", churchy woman to a person of significant, spiritual leadership.  I went from someone who had to meet expectations to a woman who would rise to the occasion.  I wanted leap over the table and hug her.  Instead, I just sat and savored the moment.  It's funny, she has no idea what her words meant to me.  I suppose I should tell her.
This is who I grew up wanting to be.  Although the many life experiences caused me to run from it for awhile, and although I'm having to redefine what it means to me, I can now say that I'm proud to be a pastor's wife.  For I know that I'm not just any pastor's wife, I'm their pastor's wife.