Saturday, January 31, 2009

"How do you do it?"

This question stopped me in my tracks as I was leaving the women's lobby area in the restroom at church. I was already at the door, pulling it open, when the quiet voice behind me wearily whispered these words, "How do you do it?"

At first, I wasn't sure the woman was speaking to me, but as I turned around, I realized there was no one else in the room.

"Excuse me?" I said.

And she repeated, "How do you do it?"

"How do I do what?" I asked, genuinely not knowing what she was referring to.

"How you do it all? How do you get up and get here every Sunday, looking all put together, with good kids and a good marriage? How do you get it all done and do it so well?" she asked.

If she hadn't been so sincere (with a sigh of hopelessness in her voice), I would probably have laughed out loud and said,
"Are you talking about ME?" because I couldn't for the life of me figure out how she thought that I had it all together. Although I knew this woman as an acquaintance, we had never had a true conversation. She looked at me and compared herself and her struggles to who she thought me to be.

"You don't know me very well," I said,
"because if you did, you'd know that some days are a struggle. I don't do "it" very well much of the time."

We women have a tendency to compare ourselves to others. This woman mistakenly believed that because she sees me sitting in the front row of church with Dave that she knows what my life is (and has been) like.  She did what so many of us do; we assume everyone else has it more together than we do. We think we just don't measure up.

In case you were wondering, just because I'm married to a pastor doesn't mean that I have it all together, and I'm usually the first to try to dispel that notion. Sitting in the front row on Sunday mornings with my husband doesn't give anyone a true picture of who I am and what my life is like, just as seeing others at church doesn't give me a true glimpse into who they are. Seeing me at church for one hour on Sundays might make it easy to believe that my life is perfect and that I can't understand where others might be coming from.

Pastor's wives can find it difficult for people know who they really are because they can't always personally know everyone who goes to their churches.

I can't get up and spill each and every detail of my life every Sunday just so people won't make assumptions about me.

This topic came up a couple of days ago when I was at lunch with a friend of mine. We don't know each other all that well, and something came up that she didn't realize was an issue I have had to deal with. I shared that I don't keep those things secret, but I wonder, how do I let people know that I understand pain and struggle without wearing a sign that tells everyone up front what issues I have faced or am facing? 

Don't get me wrong; I am a living testament to the goodness, power, and love of God and the life-change that He makes possible, and I thank Him for the many, many blessings He has poured out on me, my marriage, and my family in spite of me. But...... my life isn't (and hasn't been) perfect. I am definitely not complaining, but I regret that people may look at me and think that I don't understand how hard life can be, that I can't sympathize with where they are, and that I have it all together.  

My dear friend, I am just a fellow traveler on this journey.  No one has "arrived" and we are ALL becoming.  

How do I do it? Well, I'll share some things in next couple of posts, but for now, this was the suggestion of my friend....

You should just show up at church with your hair all ratty and uneven. :-)

Is that all it would take? If so, perhaps I should try it sometime.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Servolution 2009!

Mark your calendars now; you know you don't want to miss it! May 9, 2009 - Servolution-Love in Action!

I know I've posted this video before, but it's worth seeing again. This year, Servolution will serve even more people in our community with even more volunteers. YOU can make a difference! Visit the SERVOLUTION website!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day

(1 Timothy 2:2)

Pray for President-Elect Obama

Monday, January 19, 2009

I Love These Gals! (Now that we're grownups, I guess I should say, "women," but that doesn't sound nearly as fun!)

I truly believe that we can learn something from everyone we encounter in life, not just what we shouldn't do and be, but also what we can do and be. We often don't look closely enough at people in our lives to put ourselves in a position of learning, but if we will stop and think, really think, there are lessons God will use to transform us more into his likeness.

Once a month, we staff wives get together for a time a sharing and fun. It occurred to me when we were together last time sitting around a table at Starbucks that I have learned so much from each of them; each one is a beautiful woman, filled with the spirit, who brings joy and a smile to my heart when I see her or think of her. They live out Christ's love, day in and day out, serving in ways no one else (but God) will ever see. I sit with these beautiful women, and I think, "They are such gifts in my life!"

I have learned (and continue to learn) so much from each one of the staff wives, or more aptly, my friends. From Tricia, I have learned the value and joy of the spontaneous, heartfelt "I love you." From Sherri, I have learned greater compassion and empathy. And Jennah? Well, from Jennah, I have learned how to be real and accept others as they are. A deep, quiet understanding of grace has been Cheri's lesson to me. And from Cindi, I has seen encouragement in action and learned the value of random acts of kindness and a smile.

I pray for each of these women, their husbands, and their families, and I invite you all to pray for them also.

Pray that the Lord will continue to bless them and meet their every need. Ask God to pour His grace, peace, and love over them and their families. Pray that their marriages would be protected from the schemes of the evil one who seeks to divide and destroy. Pray safety for their families. Pray that they will continue to seek the Lord, first and foremost, to meet their deepest needs and to become the women He has created them to be. And pray that they would be blessed as greatly as they have blessed others.

Well, today is off to a great start! Dave and I are home alone (how often does that happen?), and we've had time to have our devotions, read the paper, drink some coffee, and relax without any interruptions. (That's the reason I am able to get a post written today, and also the reason why I don't get posts written more often.)

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day! This day is subtitled, "A Day of Service," so how can we serve someone else today? I think pondering that question is a great way to start the day.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Please Continue to Pray for the Gonzales Family

As many of you read in the paper, saw on the news, or heard from Dave on Sunday, Army Spc. Tony J. “T.J.” Gonzales from Newman was killed by a roadside bomb while serving in Iraq. I do not know the Gonzales family personally, although they have been attending our church, but I have been praying for them almost continually since hearing about the death of their son.

They need to know that we are thinking of them and praying for them. You can go HERE, HERE or HERE to leave your condolences and prayers for the family of Tony J. (T.J.) Gonzales. And please, don't forget to continue to pray for them. Write their names (parents, Tony and Marlynn and sisters, Tammy, Megan, and Shaula) in your prayer journal or Bible so that you are reminded to pray often. There is not enough that we can do to honor the Gonzales family and their son for his sacrifice.

God, continue to hold this precious family close and comfort them in this time of great sorrow. Give them the strength they need to go on, and let them know that they are not alone. Amen

If you have a loved one serving in the military, please email me with their name so that I can add them to the list in my side bar on this blog.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Tears of the Saints - by Leeland

My friend's son posted this video, and I just thought I'd pass it along. I haven't done a video Sunday in a long while, so here you go:

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Interesting Article

I just found this article, As an Athiest, I Truly Believe Africa Needs God, and I find it fascinating. If you have a few moments for an informative read, check it out.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Happy New Year

Hello, dear friends and Happy New Year to you all!

I am sitting near my window, watching the rain fall outside and it is so peaceful (even with six children in the house).  What a great way to start a new year; I love it!

My prayer is that 2009 holds greater revelations of who Christ is and deeper understanding of the love He has for us. May we experience and acknowledge His grace towards us and may we extend that grace to others.  May we hold on to the good and release anything that would cause bitterness or ill-feelings towards others.  May we choose the higher road in all relationships, releasing others from our judgment.  May we rest in the peace that He gives, and may we grow in His love.  

Today, I am directing you to one of my all-time favorite blogs, Holy Experience, to read the wisdom posted there.  As I begin a new year, I find myself thinking along these very same lines.  Perhaps Ann's words will resonate with you, also.