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Wife, Mother, Pastor

Pastor Mom Teacher Blessing

Back-to-school time! I’ve enjoyed my summer.  My kids have been home, I took time off from writing and spent time at the beach. However, I’m ready to send my kids back and get into a regular routine again.

This year I’m doing something different. I’m making sure my kids’ teachers feel blessed right off the bat.

Around March last year, I wrote both my school aged kids’ teachers a thank you card. One of which contained a Starbucks card (I still had no clue what my son’s teacher liked). I was blown away by how much this simple act meant to them. A month later, my daughter came down with a cough. Her teacher emailed me and asked if she could give her a cough drop. I said yes not thinking much of it. Later I realized, “She gave my kid one of her own cough drops! With 27 kids in the class, how much more of her own stuff is she giving?”

What does any of this have to do with being in ministry? EVERYTHING.  As Christians, we are called to a higher standard. And as a pastor, you’re held to an even higher standard- whether you like it or not. Though my kids go to a Christian school, and their teachers love Jesus, they as well hold me to a higher standard.  This means they need to know I am on their side.

Being immersed in ministry I cannot be the room mommy, a PTO chairman, or volunteer at every party/function. But I can let my teachers know they’re appreciated.

I chatted with a few teacher friends and here’s what’s going into my teacher bags this year:

Sharpies– all teachers love sharpies.  Who are we kidding? We do too!

Cough Drops– obviously.IMG_0724

Headache Meds– no explanation needed.

Chapstick– for our Arctic Michigan winters.

Chocolate– Duh!

Band-Aids– because if my kids go through a million band-aids, I’m sure what’s given to them in their first-aid kit isn’t enough.

Sea Salted Popcorn– a quick snack to throw in the teacher’s lounge microwave.

Healthy Granola Bars– regular granola bars are filled with sugar; get the good quality healthy stuff (I like KIND bars).

Herbal Tea– not sure if our teachers drink tea, but this will sure be needed after talking all day during the cold winter months.

A Gift Card– maybe to a lunch place by the school?

Tag– I found this cute & free printable at thecraftingchicks.com.

Remember- you’re showing the love of Christ here, don’t go cheap. It’s fine to be skimpy on yourself, but never on those you’re trying to bless. This may seem like a simple act, but look at this as an open door.  “People don’t care about how much you know, until they know how much you care.” (Theodore Roosevelt) Don’t forget a card letting them know you’re on their team and are praying for them- and do it.

PRAY WITH ME SISTERS

“Lord, with everything going on in my crazy life, please don’t let me forget to pray and bless my kids’ educators. Help me to be a blessing to them all year long. To be an ear to listen to, a light and witness.  If my child’s teacher isn’t a Christian I pray that this year would be the year of salvation for that teacher.  Help them to see Christ through me and my child.  Please open doors of opportunity with them.  In Jesus Name, Amen.”

 

What do you think should go in a teacher blessing bag?

KEEP DOING

A short and sweet message from my friend Brenda; a wonderful lead pastor from Michigan.  Be encouraged today ladies!

As mothers and wives there will always be moments in our days we wish we could go back and erase our family’s memory. For me, one of my most embarrassing moments happened to show itself on a family highlight DVD.  Now it can continually be played and replayed by anyone wielding the remote. Life in a Leader’s day (especially a woman’s day) is about a series of decisions followed by another pile of decisions. The decisions we make as a mother are equally as important as the decisions we make as a leader – they both carry consequences that shape the lives of others who will effect the lives of others. So what do we do when that moment happens in our day that did not reflect the best of us? Continue to do. Don’t beat yourself up, pick yourself up. Ask forgiveness quickly if needed and continue on. For leaders to live a life marked by greatness – is not about what you did or have done, but what you CONTINUE to DO.

“Don’t interfere with good people’s lives; don’t try to get the best of them. No matter how many times you trip them up, God-loyal people don’t stay down long; Soon they’re up on their feet, while the wicked end up flat on their faces.”                                 Proverbs‬ ‭24‬:‭15-16‬ MSG

 

LETS PRAY SISTERS

“Lord, though we mess up, though we may fail, its doesn’t equal failure.  Help me today to pick myself back up and do. Give me the strength I need to get back up and move forward.  Thank you that despite my failures, you still love me.  You’re still on my team. I love you God.  Thank you for your unfailing love. In Jesus Name, Amen.”

To The Mother Of My Future Son-In-Law

To the mother of my future son-in-law,

Hello!  My name is Rachael and one day you and I will be ‘related’.  No, we might not share Thanksgiving dinners or Christmas mornings together, but we will share other events.  A wedding, grandchildren, birthdays, graduations, etc.  We will be forever linked.

Let’s get to the point-I love my daughter.  Being female myself, having been married 10 years, and consistently studying the state of our culture, I have some concerns.   Concerns for my fellow man and his male offspring.  At this point, I’m all for arranged marriages.

As a parent I ask myself, “What kind of adults do I want my children to become?  What skills/abilities/characteristics do I want them leaving my house with?”

But since I can’t arrange my children’s marriages (or can I?), I ask of you- the mother of my future son-in-law:

    • Please teach good finances– how to be a provider and a giver. One of the number one reasons for divorce is money.   No matter your view, men want to provide and women want to feel secure. Tithing and giving is the best way to learn selflessness. Budgeting teaches responsibility. Get him a checking account at 16 and budget it. Get him a credit card with a $100 limit and show him the importance of making sure this gets paid off. Allow him to fail in this area under your protection instead of the hard way after he has left. Check out Dave Ramsey on money and kids. This $100 allowance is also my favorite.
    • Teach him how to cook- I’m shocked at the number of young people I meet that leave their homes and not know how to cook (or do laundry, dishes, etc.). Eating is a pretty important skill to have. I wish I could just hand this over to my husband some days. He says, “If you’ll teach me I’ll do it.” A sweet gesture babe, but honestly, I’m your wife, not your mom. I don’t want to teach you how to cook. I’m trying to teach all of our children so they won’t live on Ramen Noodles forever. Your future daughter-in-law will thank you, whether she is my daughter or not.
    • Cut the cord and let him take risks-  seriously. Do we really need to be cutting our 5 year old son’s grapes? Cut. The. Cord. Allow him some freedom-with responsibility.  Let him try to figure things out. Budgeting, cooking and laundry are a start, but let’s take it further. I’m not super mom, don’t mistake me for her. However, all my children make their beds and clean their rooms in the morning before school. And it’s the alarm clock that wakes them up, not me. I just remind myself what I want my boys to be like as adults and I start now. This little thing at a young age will help them become individuals, build self-esteem, and know that I am their mother, not their maid- and their wives will be their wives, not their maids. This leads to-
    • A producer, not a consumer- “I love that my husband plays video games,” said no wife EVER.  I’m not against technology, but we need to help our children navigate it, not allow it to take over. What ever happened to making our children go outside and play with sticks? Oh yea, we’re too afraid of them getting poked in the eye or getting kidnapped that we isolate them inside and take away freedom.  I like my TV as much as the next person, but being in front of the screen allows more time for consumption, and no time to create. If we instill fear in our sons and put them in front of a screen to consume, how do we expect them to ever take any risks for Jesus as an adult?
    • Manners and social etiquette- Manners bring favor and gratitude. Manners like “Please” and “Thank you” and “May I have a snack please? Can you pass the ranch please?” Learning to shake hands with proper greetings. When you as the mom ask a question that they not answer you with “What?” but “Yes, mom?”   It takes time but start early. This is up to you. Yes, dad can help in this, but it’s up to you to respect your son as well as expect respect and manners from him so he knows how to treat the women (and future wife) in his life. Get this book for more help.
    • Prayer and devotions- We all want our children to have an amazing relationship with God, but it starts with an example. I struggle to pray and getting time to pray; but my children see me. They see me praying for the car accident we passed by on the road, they see me kneeling at my bed when I’m lost and don’t know what to do. They hear me fighting the enemy for their souls. I pray with each of them every night. They hear me. I’m still learning myself, but just as I tell the students in kid’s ministry, it’s nothing fancy-it’s just talking to God.
    • Give him something to fight for- We like our causes. We like to protest all sorts of things. GMOs, grain-fed anything. But like my boss/lead pastor says, “GMOs didn’t destroy the city of Detroit.” What did? Drugs and alcohol. I don’t see many protesting alcohol, yet it’s one of the leading killers and destroyer of families in America. What about sex trafficking? Abortion? There are causes out there destroying families and cities. My son is only six, but every night he chooses an unreached people group (a group that has yet to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ) and he prays. Even at six my son can fight a battle. As he gets older the battles will get bigger and harder. They will cost him more.
    • Teach him purity- not just abstaining from sex. You can be a virgin and not be pure. Pornography destroys marriages and intimacy. Oral sex is still sex (did a kid’s pastor just say oral sex?). He may ask, “How far is too far?” But that’s the wrong question. The question is not how far is too far, but, “How far can I stay away as to stay pure?” Part of respecting women is to respect boundaries. We are nowhere near perfect, but my husband didn’t even say I love you until there was a ring on my finger, and we didn’t even kiss until, “You may now kiss the bride.” Does that mean that’s what our kids have to do? No, but I guarantee there will be no regrets. This is part of him learning how to be a protector of a family.

There is so much more, but I hope this helps. Please know that I am working tirelessly with my daughter to be a mature, loving, amazing godly woman for your son. I am praying for you as well as your son!

Sincerely,

Your future daughter-in-law’s mother

HOW MANY SATURDAYS DO YOU HAVE LEFT?

IMG_7548Last week at a conference I got to hear one of America’s great heroes, Jeanie Mayo. As she spoke she shared the story of the old man and the 1,000 marbles.  I heard her share this before 13 years early, but this time it hit me differently.
To read the full story click here.

To paraphrase, the story goes like this: a man in his late 70s tells a young workaholic, missing out on his children’s

J's jar.

J’s jar.

lives, how he learned to cherish his Saturdays. At age 55 he figured he only had 20 years left since the average man lives to 75.  He went to the toy store in town and bought 1,000 marbles, took them home and placed them in a jar. Every Saturday he took out a marble from the jar, carried it in his pocket for the day, then threw it away. Twenty years came and he got down to his last marble, praising God for the extras given to him. He lived his life much differently those 20 years then the 55 before.

This gave me an idea. Instead of figuring out the Saturdays I had left in my life, I figured out how many Saturdays I had left with each of my three children.  I calculated that from now to graduation I had 536 left with P, 640 with C, and 848 with my little man J.

C's jar

C’s jar.

I quickly went to eBay and ordered 2,000 marbles for $30. I counted them all out and placed them in jars I bought from Michael’s. About a $45 investment.  They now sit on my kitchen counter as a visual reminder of the time I have left with each child. I’m literally watching my time with them decrease.

You have about 936 Saturdays with each child (52 Saturdays x 18 years). I figured mine for each child up to the day they graduate.  Depending on their birthday, you may have more Saturdays then others. And if you’re one of those moms who has a bunch of babies and toddlers, ignore this post.  Seriously. Just sleep until they’re all five, then think about their Saturdays.  Don’t put that pressure on yourself.

P's jar.

P’s jar

It’s easy for us women to put ministry first.  We put family activities aside because someone has a crisis.  The phone rings we answer it, we give to those who suck the life out of us.  Instead of leaving the leftovers for our husbands and children, remember how many Saturdays we have left.  Do we fill them with sleeping in, TV, and more church activities?  Or hot chocolate dates, picnics, Ann of Green Gables, and family dinners?

I only have so many Saturdays left.  I’m planning on doing a better job with those then the past 428, 310, and 84.

PRAY WITH ME SISTERS
“Lord I thank you for the short time you have given me on this planet.  I thank you for my family.  Please help me to focus on what matters most.  Help me to make sure I take more advantage of the time I have with my kids and focus on making eternal memories with them.  Give me ideas, provisions and the creativity to do so.  Amen.”

Share with me some ways you, as a minister, make your time with your kids special.

Dear Christians, STOP THE VACCINE WAR.

I interrupt your Facebook reading to bring you an important message- stop. Whether you are for or against vaccinations – STOP.
I will not tell you what I do or don’t do- that is neither here or there. Quite frankly, I don’t want to know your choice nor am I up for a debate- because it’s just that: your choice. My kids are not going to hell either way; but sometimes that’s where we seem to put vaccines- on the hell or heaven pedestal.

In the book of Acts chapter one, Jesus is excitingly (well, in my mind) telling His disciples about the gift He is about to bless them with that will help them share the gospel: the Holy Spirit. In the process of sharing, the disciples almost ignore the fact they are getting a gift and ask,

“Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.

I can almost see Jesus’ agitation as He is trying to give them their new marching orders hypodermic-syringe-and-needle_2818406[1]and their minds are somewhere else.  He quickly answers them, and moves back to His topic- the Mission.  They were so focused on their oppression from the Romans that they had forgotten about the oppression of sin others were living under.

Is that what we’ve done?  Focused so much on our ‘oppression’ (whether we should or shouldn’t vaccinate) that we have forgotten the oppression of others? I know I have.

Why do I highly dislike this subject? Because I see it dividing the Body of Christ. The bible says that unbelievers will know us by the love we show for one another (John 13:35), but it seems instead we are tearing each other down. We are supposed to be an army. An army of love, yet we are dividing ourselves in the name of shots. Shots are not a war I want to die fighting for. I want to die fighting for the orphans, the widows and the poor. I want to die for the mission.

Let’s focus on our mission. What’s our mission? THE GREAT COMMISSION. Instead of us advocating for or against vaccines lets advocate for souls. Three billion people have yet to hear about Jesus. There are women and children who are being sold into sexual slavery every day, religions that abuse themselves so their ‘god’ can forgive them having no idea someone was already abused so they could be forgiven. There are men strapping bombs to themselves to ‘earn’ Allah’s love- and here we sit, in our comfy homes, good food and advocate for or against shots.
I’ve prayed about my decision – a lot. With so many facts and figures coming from both angles, do what’s best- pray. If you don’t agree with my decision then pray for me, one of us will change. As for now- let’s lay our differences aside, unify together and save religious-statuary-1_2109181[1]souls. The Great Commission is this:

“Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.” Mark 16:15

So I leave you with this- STOP. Get focused on our mission. Advocate for what will really matter once we enter eternity. If I showed love to the least of these and if I won souls in the name of Jesus.

You may return to your regular Facebook viewing.

HOW DO YOU DO IT ALL?- Part 1: FOOD

httpwww.someecards.com“How do you do it all?”

I laugh when people ask me this question. I smile and give them all the same answer- I don’t. My house is trashed and the crockpot is my best friend.

My boss (our lead pastor) gave the rest of us pastors the day off today. I was super excited to pray, read a book and work on my upcoming sermon. But what did I do? Grocery shopped and cooked until it was time to pick up the kids from school. Now of course this isn’t bad, it was actually therapeutic to be able to play catch-up; but I still find it a struggle balancing everything. When I asked some of my lady friend pastors what their biggest struggles are as a female pastor, the biggest answer was- balancing ministry and family.

Can I be honest with you? I can’t stand the Titus 2 woman. It says to me, “Cooking and cleaning.” My two least favorite words. So whether I like it or not, part of being a wife and mother is helping take care of my home- and that includes feeding those in my house that call me ‘mom’. Food is a big part of our lives and seems to often fall on our shoulders as the wife so that is where we will begin our series.

Just like you, I’m still learning. I’m no expert, but my desire is for us to come along side each other to help and encourage. As one who may look like she does it all (but really doesn’t) here are a few things that have helped me.


* Shop once a month for all the big items and prepare freezer meals. This has saved my children from starving. It also saves on time, mess and money. I pull something out of the freezer in the morning, and pop it in the oven when we get home.

* Put a bowl of fruit out on the table. Whenever my growing, always ‘starving’ son says he’s hungry I point him to the table. It’s quick, accessible and healthy (and no work for me).

* This bowl is also the ‘before bedtime snack.’ If they say they’re hungry before bed, it’s the fruit bowl or nothing.

* Do crockpot meals on nights when you will be at the church like Wednesday Family Nights or night services.

* Budget in pizza. Once a week or once a month, whatever you do it will bring sanity.

* Make Sunday night soup night. Make a double batch and snack on it all week, especially those nights you forget to pull something out of the freezer.

* Make the same thing throughout the month. Do we really need to have something different every night of the month? Asians eat rice and fish everyday, it won’t kill our families to eat pot roast twice a month.

*On that note, make the same thing every month. This makes shopping a synch. Sure we switch things up depending on the season, but don’t stress out over making something different all the time.

* Keep healthy canned soup on hand. Is is fantastic for nights where I’ve had a long day and don’t want to cook. Keep all natural bread rolls in the freezer and serve with the hot soup.

* Keep canned soup at the church too. Who hasn’t had an unplanned stay with the kids at the office?

* Keep a box of cake or brownie mix in the pantry for those times you end up getting volunteered to make something for your second grader’s class. (I actually don’t do this because I will find any excuse to eat brownies)

* Delegate to your hubby and kids (if they’re only enough). I’ve told my husband, thou he can’t cook, his night is Saturday. It gives me a break and shares the responsibility with him.

* ALWAYS eat dinner together. Lots of things fall through the cracks in our busy lives, don’t let this be one of them. Try your hardest to have dinner together as much as possible. We’ve had many a meal around a pre-school table in the church nursery, even if it was just pizza.

These are just a few things that make my life as a wife, mother and pastor a little more balanced. I’ll post at a later date tips that have helped in my marriage, kids and house. Please comment below what you do. I love learning from others!

Why I Love the Proverbs 31 Woman

house-is-clean-kids-are-fed-all-my-work-is-done-just-kidding-house-is-trashed-pizza-is-ordered-and-work-never-ends--4d4e1[1]I know.  You hate her.  I never heard about women hating Mrs. 31 until I was married with children. Even then I didn’t pay much attention to her until the chapter came up in my devotional time.  You see, at this point in my life I felt so out of place. I was a wife and mom, but I wasn’t like other moms.  I didn’t home-school, I worked, and was going into ministry- not to support a pastor husband, but to be the pastor.  I felt I didn’t fit in with the Christian stereotype of what a woman should be . . . until I read HER.  As I read I felt something totally different than hate; I felt freedom- I hope you do too.

Proverbs 31

15 “She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls.”
Does anyone else not see this?  She has SERVANT GIRLS. I want some of those! We feel we’re failing if we don’t keep a perfect house, or that it has to be all US. I have a woman who comes and helps me clean my house once a month.  Just because someone else is helping me doesn’t mean I’m not taking care of my home; that IS me taking care of my home. Remember- she had help. If you don’t, cut yourself some slack.

16 “She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.”
HER earnings.  Not her husband’s, not the bank’s.  She worked.  She put her family first, but she was able to work and contribute financially to the family.  Love it!

21-22 “When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. . . . she is clothed in fine linen and purple.”
There’s this unsaid way of thinking in the ‘mom world’ that you can’t have nice things.  And if you DO have nice things you’re somehow not doing enough for your kids and need to sacrifice more.  Really?  That sounds like terrible parenting to me.  If you put your kids first all the time, you suffer, build resentment and cannot be a good mom.  It’s ok to get a nice haircut, go to a movie with girlfriends, or buy a new outfit (however, white clothes and kids don’t mix well, maybe that’s why she wore purple).

24 “She makes linen garments and sells them . . .”
Again, she works. She’s using her gifting as a business woman to contribute to society. You may not be gifted in business, but you do have giftings.

28 “Her children arise and call her blessed.”
Ok, it’s obvious her kids are like 35 at this point, not 15 . . . At least I like to think that anyway . . .

30 “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears The Lord is to be praised.”
Not the woman with the clean house, not the woman with organic home cooked meals, the one who fears the Lord!

Am I where God has called me to be? Yes.  Am I doing what He’s asked me to do? Yes.  That’s it!  All I have to do is listen and fear God.  Not fearing the wives, moms, and WIM around me, but God! What a weight off my shoulders!

I don’t believe God put this chapter in Proverbs to condemn or guilt women. I believe He put it in for you to find freedom in who God created you to be as a wife, mother, and Woman in Ministry.

PRAY WITH ME

“God, help us to only fear you.  Help us to not be a people pleaser but a God pleaser.  Help me to not be so concerned with the women around me, but to be concerned with the call you have on my life.  Thank you for where you have placed me and may you be glorified through it all!  Amen.”

After Mother’s Day Plague- Guilt

images[5] 

Mother’s Day has come and gone. Fresh flowers now wilt, handmade cards are in drawers, and all the ‘honor mommy’ craze has faded. Father’s Day cards are in place for the next round and honoring mothers is now past. However, one thing still plagues: GUILT.

Ahhh yes, guilt. All moms have it. It seems when the first born comes into the world a mom’s mind, will and emotions become the devil’s playground. It’s a constant battle that some moms never overcome.  Our culture may honor moms one day out of the year, but judges the rest of the year.

Guilt over your child eating .99 cent eggs instead of the $3 a dozen free range.  Guilt because the dishes are piling, toys are in the hallway, and toothpaste residue cakes on the bathroom mirror.  Or you don’t have time to make dinner, so it’s pizza night, AGAIN. Guilt because you really don’t like those homemade Mother’s Day gifts from church (I can’t be the only one).  And the famous, “You’re pregnant, AGAIN?!” Need I say more?  Your guilt list is cycling through your brain right now.

What about ministry moms? Being a mom is one thing, but being a ministry mom adds on a whole new element. Guilt because you’re on your laptop, again. Guilt because children are crawling all over you while sermon writing and you’d actually rather write than spend time with them. Guilt because you didn’t have time to make birthday cupcakes for class so you bought them. Guilt because your child isn’t homeschooled- they’re IN school (You were thinking it, I’m just sayin’ it).

I feel blessed that I have this amazing, flexible job where I’m able to be there for my kids and they get to be involved with what I do. On the other hand, much of our family/kid time is interrupted. Crisis phone calls, hospital visits, prayer meetings, the list goes on. Everything’s a trade off. Today I was fortunate to go on my daughter’s field trip. I loved driving her and her 1st grade girlfriends listening to Let it Go from the top of their lungs. But, to do that, I bailed out on a staff meeting. Granted I NEVER miss a staff meeting, but I felt guilty. Tonight after dinner I couldn’t wait to get the kids to bed . . . so I could work! But of course, whenever I have work to do, that’s when daddy’s boy actually wants to spend time with mom. *SIGH*

TODAY’S CHALLENGE
If you have yet to read the book, Motherhood: The Guilt That Keeps on Giving, do yourself and favor and do it. Julie Barnhill goes into grave detail about the plague of mommy guilt and how to over come it. It comes down to this:
Are you doing what God has called/asked you to do?
Is what you’re doing effecting your child’s salvation?
Are you doing the best with what God has given you?
God has different plans for all of us, and He gave us the kids we have for a reason. It’s all about examining our lives and making sure we are raising our children to love Jesus. The world may only honor you one day a year, and judge you the rest, but God is honoring you everyday for being the mom He’s asked you to be.

PRAY WITH ME
“God we are so grateful for this high calling called ‘Mom’. Thank you that you hear and answer our prayers everyday, not just one day a year. Thank you that you’ve also called us to the wonderful world of ministry. Forgive us where we have felt guilt due to the world’s standards and not yours. Help us to be the best wives, mothers and ministers we can be with what you have given us, but also help us to put our families first. Amen”

 

How do you handle being a Pastor or Woman in Ministry while being ‘mom’?  Comment below, I’d love to hear from you 🙂

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