Challenge Accepted #2

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It’s Saturday again and I pray you are having a blessed weekend thus far!

I don’t think just one weekend of being INTENTIONAL is all we need.

So again for this weekend my challenge is this…

* Listen to your children.  Pay attention to them.  Look them in the eyes when they are speaking to you.

*Show your husband that you love him.  Get interested in what interests him. (you know this means milking goats and chasing chickens for me, right?) :)

* Get in the WORD!  I don’t care what you read.  It can be a book, a chapter, or you could even jump around from Old to New Testament…just dive in and see what nuggets the Lord has for you this weekend.

As for me?

#ChallengeAccepted

Transparency: Is the church truly ready for it?

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Transparent.

What does that word really mean? And does the church world REALLY want that? Are the Christians truly ready for it?

Transparent
adjective trans•par•ent \tran(t)s-ˈper-ənt\
: able to be seen through
: easy to notice or understand
: honest and open : not secretive

This definition makes my heart skip a beat.

I want to be transparent.  I want to be completely honest and open…but this scares me.

How honest can you be as a Lady in Leadership?

And by ‘honest’ I don’t mean that I am speaking ‘untruths’, but simply not being completely …well, transparent.

Transparency, without a doubt, requires discernment.

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I know that in order for me to transparently share all of my Glorious Mess on this blog, God will, without a doubt, receive all the Glory as I live out JOY in my Journey!  For there is no mess big enough that God cannot defeat!  And I know that every single season of my life is a season to EMBRACE…and learn from…and grow from…and then teach from…and that is how we got here… Confessions of a Blessed Pastor’s Wife.

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My husband and I have been in church leadership for most of our married life.  This blog is not simply for pastor’s wives but for any lady in leadership.  This can mean a pastor’s wife, a pastor, a youth leader, a Sunday School teacher, the church cleaning lady, or new Christians…there is no such thing as too much encouragement or too much JOY!

So as I was doing some research on transparency in the church, I ran across a quote from Ruth Graham:

“My vision is to collaboratively come alongside the Church to help it become a safe place for people (Christians and non Christians) to come just as they are, find a community in which to repent of sin without condemnation and be lead to the next step in their faith journey—basically, a place of outrageous grace and transparency. I believe as people see a transparent community of grace, being real about who we really are, others will see and be drawn into it—the next phase of evangelism.”

 

Now, don’t get me wrong…I’m not one of those preachers that is “ALL about that Grace”  but I DO thank God for GRACE…

Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”Hebrews 4:16

…however, I do not think we should walk all over it either.  Sin is sin…and “we have ALL sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”Romans 3:23 … and others need to be reminded of this.  The world believes they can never walk a Christian lifestyle because they can never be ‘perfect’.  They need to see that we have all sinned…but through the grace of God we have been SET FREE! 

I absolutely believe that when someone gives their heart and life to God, change takes place!

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”2 Corinthians 5:17

Sometimes change happens quickly and sometimes it takes baby steps.  This is OK.  As long as the steps are going forward and not backward.

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But what about all these other things we struggle with as more mature Christians?  The struggle is real y’all…

This world is going to hurt you, this world is going to disappoint you, this world is going to let you down.  You will struggle with your sanity at times, you will struggle with doubt and insecurity at times, you will struggle with hurt feelings and anger at times.  When you stump your toe, it is going to hurt…just like when the world stumps their toe … it hurts!

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Being a Christian doesn’t make us some sort of Super Hero or anything…..but we serve the Super Hero of Super Heroes and no matter what life throws our direction, He is right there to help us back up.  In all our ups and down, the highs and the lows, throughout the good, the bad, and the ugly!

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So, as I begin my journey of transparency, I leave you with this…

It is by yielding ourselves to Christ and saying ‘no’ to the world that we grow into women of God.  We are women who revere the Lord, adore our husbands, and cherish our children.  We are women of faith who believe in submitting to our husbands and being honored by God rather than disrespecting them and flattering the world.  We may stumble but you can’t keep us down.  We may grow weary but will be lifted up.  We simply cannot be women of this world, for we are undeniably women of God.

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From Rescue to Restoration

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Jesus Christ is more about the Restoration than the Rescue!

 

Let’s ponder over parts of Jeremiah 33 for just a moment.

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The Promise of Restoration

‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’

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First of all, we serve a very personable God!

 “{Insert your name here}, call me and I will answer you…I’ve got some really great things to tell you…I’m just waiting for you to initiate the call!”

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‘For this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says about the houses in this city and the royal palaces of Judah that have been torn down to be used against the siege ramps and the sword in the fight with the Babylonians: ‘They will be filled with the dead bodies of the people I will slay in my anger and wrath. I will hide my face from this city because of all its wickedness’

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Destruction is evident…hard times are a given…but when we serve the King of ALL Kings, RESTORATION is the victor!

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But we must first weather the storm before we can experience the rainbow.

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‘Nevertheless, I will bring health and healing to it; I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security. I will bring Judah and Israel back from captivity and will rebuild them as they were before. I will cleanse them from all the sin they have committed against me and will forgive all their sins of rebellion against me. Then this city will bring me renown, joy, praise and honor before all nations on earth that hear of all the good things I do for it; and they will be in awe and will tremble at the abundant prosperity and peace I provide for it.’

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Oh yes, we serve a God who rescues…praise the Lord for that! However, if we never step into His restoration, we are going to head right back into Rescue Mode without experiencing the fullness of the blessings of God in our lives!

*

 

“Give thanks to the LORD Almighty, for the LORD is good; His love endures forever…For I will restore the fortunes of the land as they were before,’ says the LORD.”

The days are coming,’ declares the LORD, ‘when I will fulfill the good promise I made to the people of Israel and Judah…For I will restore their fortunes and have compassion on them.

*

Someone reading this needs rescued…Let Christ be your Hero, and then let Him be your Healer and Restorer!

 

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A Defeated Foe…

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Have you ever walked through a season in your life that your mind just wouldn’t shut down those negative thoughts?

 

You don’t belong there…they don’t even like you…you aren’t good enough…and you never will be…you don’t fit in with those church people…they are judging you…they are purposefully avoiding you…

Well you know what I have to say about that?

 

HOGWASH!

 

Or what about those of us who have served God for years? We aren’t above this STINKIN’ THINKIN’ either!

 

You don’t have what it takes…you are such a mess…how are you going to minster or lead these people?…remember what you did way back when?…you might as well just sit down, shut up, and warm that pew!

BOLOGNA!

 

“You must learn a new way to think before you can master a new way to be.” – Marianne Williamson

It’s time we place that ole’ lying devil under our feet and get about the Master’s business!

 

1 Peter 5:8 says “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”

 

Now why in the world do you suppose this refers to our minds and the devil devouring all in the same scripture?

 

Because Satan knows how to trip us up. Notice I DID NOT say he knows how to defeat us…because we all KNOW that we KNOW that we KNOW that Satan is the defeated foe!

 

Hallelujah!!!

 

It’s time we tell the negative committee that is meeting in our heads to SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP!

 

Do you understand this? WE WIN!

 

However, we can’t just say “We Win!” ,we have to BELIEVE “We Win!”

 

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”Romans 12:1-2

 

We must ‘renew our minds’ by presenting our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable unto God.

 

Take those negative thoughts captive in Jesus name! #SpeakLife over that situation, whatever it may be, however impossible it may seem.

 

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.” Philippians 4:8-9

 

If you want to keep that Stinkin’ Thinkin’, then do not follow the commands in the above scriptures. Go ahead and let that negativity come on out of your mouth…go ahead and join in on that undesirable conversation and gossip, go ahead and listen to that destructive music…go ahead and focus on the adverse…

 

BUT, if you are ready to rid your minds of this Stinkin’ Thinkin’, then go right ahead and surround yourself with positive examples…surround yourself with women who will uplift and encourage you…listen to inspiring music…be intentional with your words…and go ahead and focus on the TRUTH!

 

“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32

 

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Blame it all my roots…that I showed up in…well, at all!

 

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Blame it all on my roots

that I showed up in boots  … that I showed up at all!

 

 

It’s late (if you can’t tell from the text above) :), it’s storming outside and hubby hasn’t made it home yet. He’s at the Chicken Auction…(like we need more baby chicks) :-)

 

Anyway, I’m lying here and my heart is heavy as I think about faithfulness…

 

Where do our priorities lie? What is of utmost importance to us?  What are we teaching our children?

 

I do not care who you are, where you live, how much money you make, or what your position or title is…If there is something (anything) keeping you from your #Mission, your #Ministry, your #Calling…you best #LetItGo.

 

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It is not of God.

 

If something is causing you to miss worship when you normally wouldn’t,  if something is causing you to show up late when you were normally early, if something is causing you to separate yourself from your Christian friends and/or family, if something is causing you to put your spiritual needs on the back burner…

Let.It.Go.

 

These actions show a great deal of where you place your priorities and is also teaching your children what they should hold of utmost importance.

 

I was raised in a home where #Faithfulness to our mission was not only encouraged but expected.

 

I thank God for this.

 

However, I look around me today and see a world full of faithless, lazy, self-centered people!

 

Scripture tells us in the book of Matthew that we are to ‘deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Jesus… which means to ‘die daily to our own flesh and desires’ …   I think we as a people are, as mentioned above, faithless,  lazy,  and self absorbed….dying daily to our flesh means to put away our selfishness!

 

It means standing when we want to sit. It means walking away when we want to rebuttal and defend, it means turning down the late night movie on Saturday if it keeps us from church on Sunday,  it means saying NO to self and YES to God!

 

Will you join me today as I swallow down this hard reminder myself?

 

 

#ThankfulForMyRoots

#ConfessionsOfABlessedPastorsWife

 

 

Let it Rain…

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Y’all, it’s been raining in Southern Oklahoma for 237 days straight.  Ok, so maybe I’m exaggerating just a little but it has rained A LOT.

 

And it’s STILL raining.

 

Homes are flooded, hospitals are flooded, gardens are ruined, yards are now ponds, and the lake is just about to maximum capacity.

 

So what does flooding and the lake and all this have to do with being a pastor’s wife or a woman of God?

 

I’m glad you asked.  :)

 

To fill you in just a little bit about how things work in my neck of the woods, when the area has flooded, on Lake Texoma there is a huge Dam that…well, holds the lake where it is supposed to be…

 

“Impounding 89,000 acres of water, the dam itself is a mere five miles NW of Denison, Texas. It borders on the Texas counties of Cooke and Grayson and on the Oklahoma counties of Bryan, Love, Johnson and Bryan. The Flood Control Act of 1938 authorized construction of the dam which is a rather rare type known as a rolled-fill earth embankment. The length of the dam is 165 feet high and over 15,000 feet long. While the primary purpose of the dam is controlling floods, it also generates electrical power and the lake is an extremely popular recreational destination. Completed 1944, Texoma is today the second largest lake in Texas and the eleventh largest reservoir in capacity in the United States. Its main purposes are flood control, power generation, and recreation. The waters are impounded by Denison Dam.”
(Information gathered from here.)

(Hang with me here…I’m going somewhere with this.)

 

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(Here is a picture of the Denison Dam when the waters are low.  If you will see where the green grass is, that is where all the water will be and when the levels get high enough, they flow (sometimes GUSH over the edge and down stream.)

The water going over the Denison Dam Spillway is not ideal.  There are homes and land down stream that will be effected if this takes place.  So in order to slow this process down, we have something known as the flood gates.

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(Pictured here are the flood gates when the lake levels are low and no threat.)

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(And now…here is a picture of the floodgates OPEN.  They need to release this water in order to minimize the amount of water that will soon be pouring over the spillway.)

Now, to couple this with what the Holy Spirit is echoing throughout my soul

“Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” – Malachi 3:10b

Did you see the picture of the floodgates open?  That wasn’t just a little sprinkling of water.  That was a powerful and mighty rush of water that would, without a doubt, overpower and wash over anybody or anything in it’s path.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary describes a floodgate as “something serving to restrain an outburst“.

“Lord, open the floodgates of Heaven.  I want Your presence to overpower me.  I want You to have complete and total control over me.  Who I am … what I say … where I go … what I wear … what I do with my free time … the way I brush my teeth.  Here I am Lord.  I am willing to accept an outburst of Your Spirit so that it washes away my entire being.
More of you Lord, less of me.
ALL of you Lord, NONE of me.”

 *And here it is!*

May 24, 2015

#Magnificent

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Challenge Accepted Saturday

 

I know it’s Saturday and I haven’t been writing on the weekends.

 

However, ….

 

I have a CHALLENGE for you…

 

I challenge you to FOCUS this weekend…

 

Focus on your husband, focus on your children, focus on your Precious Savior…

 

Put down your phones, try and stay off social media for a bit today and FOCUS.

 

Be INTENTIONAL.

 

*Look at your children when they are speaking to you and pay attention.

They are absolutely begging for your attention.

If you don’t give it to them…somebody else will.

 

*Ask your husband questions. I know life is busy and you’ve probably missed out on a lot this week.

-What was a high point in his week?

-Did he have days a little more troubling?

He would love to see you interested again…

 

*Get in the Word. Period.  It doesn’t have to be anything in particular. Just get in and read.

 

Now…as for myself?

 

#ChallengeAccepted

 

 

 

God IS…and that is ALL that matters.

Confession Time

 

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Life is busy.  I miss my husband.  I miss my kiddos.  I need some family time.  I need some Jesus time.

 

I work full time, I’m a full time Momma, a full time wife, and we hold church in our garage 3 times a week. At this present time we are trying to get our new church building up and active, we have graduations, birthdays, revivals, and chicken auctions to attend.

 

I know that at times I create this illusion that I have it all together.

 

I’m the pastor’s wife after all. 😉

 

But did you catch a very important word in there?

 

Illusion

 

“Woe to the obstinate children,”
    declares the Lord,
“to those who carry out plans that are not mine,
    forming an alliance, but not by my Spirit,
    heaping sin upon sin;
who go down to Egypt
    without consulting me;
who look for help to Pharaoh’s protection,
    to Egypt’s shade for refuge.
But Pharaoh’s protection will be to your shame,
    Egypt’s shade will bring you disgrace…
…They say to the seers,
    “See no more visions!”
and to the prophets,
    “Give us no more visions of what is right!
Tell us pleasant things,
    prophesy illusions.

Isaiah 30:1-3,10 (emphasis mine)

Illusions are not a good thing.  Illusions are not from God.

God is TRUTH.  God is CONSTANT.

God IS.

 

And the truth is right now that I need to get more intentional with my family time and especially my Jesus time!

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Scripture says (and this is Jesus speaking) in Matthew 11:28-29

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

So this weekend, I am going to do just that.  I am going to say “No” to things that simply pass away, and “Yes” to things that are everlasting.

The life I sow into my children and the love I pour into my relationship with my husband is forever…and my relationship with Jesus Christ is ETERNAL.

 

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I think I will.

Finding Joy through a Servant’s Heart

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“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”Mark 10:45

Around our home right now we are learning a lot about becoming a humble servant and praying for a servant’s heart.

 

Ministry isn’t always about cheese and sprinkles! Sometimes it’s ugly, sometimes it’s hard, sometimes it’s about giving more than receiving. No, I take that back. Oftentimes it’s about giving more than receiving.

 

But this is OK. It’s still all worth it!

 

I began Confessions of a Blessed Pastor’s Wife in order to help others find JOY in their journey….to help them navigate through life, not in the mundane but in the EXTRAordinary! But through this, I cannot WILL NOT let my own children lose their JOY in serving others.

 

Not long ago I had a long, heartfelt talk with my 9 year old son about the importance of serving God at full speed.

 

The best approach to loving what we do is to live as Christ and serve others with all of our heart.

 

If you will remember, we currently pastor a church of approximately 75 people (over 100 this last week), 3 times a week in our home. Granted, we are very close (just a few weeks) to getting into our new building but we have been serving God in this capacity for over 2 years. Our bedrooms, living room, and den all become Sunday school rooms every week while our garage is a full time sanctuary. We do not have a nursery so on some days my kids’ rooms are visited by children during service times.

 

This sometimes upsets my son.

 

He may be the pastor’s son but he is human too and has to learn and grow just like the rest of us do. He doesn’t quite understand WHY they think this is ok but more importantly I want him to learn WHY we do what we do and HOW to truly love and embrace this season of our lives.

 

God called us to this ministry and when I say “us”, I do not mean just me and my husband. He called US as a family. I don’t just reprimand my son for being frustrated or not understanding. I desire for him to learn ‘not’ to be frustrated and to understand why.

 

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This picture is of my trash can after one of our church services.  It is filled to the brim with water bottles.  These bottles were strewn all throughout our home.  Austin helped me empty and trash all of these bottles while we had this conversation.  We had fun while doing it and made a game out of it.  I was able to be that walking example of finding JOY in the ‘not so glamorous’ part of our Journey.  It helped. :)

 

I explained to him how God has blessed us with a nice home in order to hold these services and he has blessed them with fun toys in order that they may share their blessings with others. If God did not see our family fit to serve in this capacity, we may not have this big house or all these toys to be able to share with others.

 

My son is beginning to understand this. Will he question seasons like this again? Probably. Is this ok? Absolutely!

 

My children will walk JOYfully in Servanthood, as did Christ.

 

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God gives us spiritual gifts and these gifts require growth…these gifts mature over time…

 

If we bypass these seasons of growth or ‘throw it in the microwave rather than the slow cooker’, we will not mature in our gifts and we will continue to stay as newborns in our walk with God.

 

We must make the most out of our ‘growth opportunities’ so that we can be used at maximum capacity and in the fullness of the power and the authority that Christ has placed within us.

Be the CHANGE you want to see in the world.

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As you read this post this morning my 14 year old niece is just arriving (after a 14 hour flight) in Krakow, Poland for her very first overseas (I do not believe this will be the last) mission trip.

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*Bailee on her first plane ride ever!  14 hours! Yikes!*

 

 

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*Myself and Bailee the night before she left.  Uhggg…my heart is breaking…but smiling at the same time…*

 

 

Words cannot even express the way I feel right now. I am scared, excited, at peace, crazy out of mind, and super-duper proud all at the same time! How is this possible?

 

The amazing thing about this girl? This isn’t simply a ‘fun little getaway Summer trip’ for her. She knows why she is going and for Whom she is going for.  God has phenomenal plans for her and this is just the beginning! 

 

She will be gone for 10 days and then I will post a follow up with Miss Bailee as our guest so we can hear all about this amazing journey.

 

Please be in prayer for the safety of her and her entire group as they do a work for the Lord and also her parents as God gives them a supernatural peace that we know can only come from Him.

“We are settling for a Christianity that revolves around catering to ourselves when the central message of Christianity is actually about abandoning ourselves.” – David Platt

Thank you!