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Wife, Mother, Pastor

Why am I Credentialed?

“What am I credentialed for?”

Have you ever asked yourself this question in the midst of motherhood?

I had the privilege to preach the Mother’s Day service this month.  It was called Feminine Empowerment-the difference between feminine and feminism. I had been so nervous for this weekend. After the three services were done, I knew God had shown up. Though I felt like it was completely unorganized and jumbled, I still felt God’s anointing.  I had many ladies afterwards share that it was one of the best Mother’s Day services they’d ever been to.

I had to ask myself, what does this all mean?  I know that I’m in this place today for a purpose.  Yes, I get to have a career and that’s awesome.  I get to preach now and then, I get to lead, I get to earn money for our family.  However, it is still hard at times because I want to move forward, I want to do bigger things.  I must remind myself that the mommying I am doing is also very big.  It doesn’t feel like it today as I see my house a mess after just cleaning it yesterday.  It doesn’t feel like it since my almost four-year-old son is still not potty trained.  And as I write this my boys are fighting in the background over Legos.

The Dixie Chicks song, Cowboy Take Me Away keeps playing in my head.  I just want to be swept away on an adventure. But what the Dixie Chicks song doesn’t tell you is that when you get swept away by your cowboy, life still happens. Dishes need to be done, laundry piles up, kids crawl all over you and it seems there isn’t any quiet.

So again, as I look back on the weekend, and in the midst of all the ladies’ responses, I have to ask myself, “What does this all mean?”  I’m where I am supposed be now, but with the responses, with the anointing, I just wonder what the future holds.

Lately I feel as if God is telling me He wants me to dream.  I’m scared to dream.  He has reminded me over and over the vision he gave me when I was 20 in a little church service in Palenbang, Indonesia.  In the vision, I was on a big black stage, microphone in hand, preaching.  This excites me, but I hold back just in case it’s not what I think it is.

“Do you put a Christmas wreath on your door in July?” 

This was a questioned posed to a Facebook friend of mine, Ruthie when she was like you and me.  A young mom, raising her babies, knowing she had a call to ministry on her life, credentialed, filling the pulpit once in awhile, yet watching others around her live out the dream she had.

“No, that would look really stupid,”  she said.

“It’s so important to recognize what is best for each season in our lives. Christmas wreaths in July just don’t work because they’re out of their season. They make everything just a little bit uncomfortable.  When they’re in season, they’re beautiful, but when they’re out of season it just feels a little bit off  . . . Christmas wreaths have to wait their turn.  And when it is their turn they are going to make everything beautiful. But there are certain times in the life of a Christmas wreath where it gets put away into a box in a dark closet when it is not doing and shining for what it was meant for.”

Ruthie, now with grown babies, gets to live her ministry dreams. All while enjoying grandbabies- you know, the reward God gives you for not killing your own kids (so I’ve heard).

Mother’s Day makes me think that I was created for more than just preaching once or twice a year.  But for now, I’m where I’m supposed to be.  Cuddling my kids, sweeping up Legos and trying not to swear- because they’ll all be gone one day. I’m where I’m supposed to be doing ministry “part-time”, watching and encouraging others to live out their dreams, filling a pulpit a couple times a year- because one day the house will be quiet, and I will have time to make those dreams into reality.

PRAY WITH ME SISTERS

“Lord, I understand there are seasons and it won’t always be this way.  There won’t always be diapers and hormonal teenagers.  I know that one day the Christmas wreath will be taken out of the closet and placed on the door in its due season. Open those doors of opportunity for me now to grow in you and in my gifting.  Help me where I feel discouraged in my season, and help fill those gaps. In Jesus Name, Amen.”

Love you, ladies!

8 THINGS YOUR CHILDREN’S PASTOR CAN’T TELL YOU- but wish they could

Normally I write strictly to women in ministry. However, I am convinced that Children’s Ministry and Family/Parent Ministry is one of the most important ministries in the church.

I wanted to know more of what was going on inside a Children’s Pastor’s head. I reached out to a large number of CPs on social media and the response was enormous!  They are trying, but here are a few things they’d like to tell you, but feel they can’t.

“We’re tired.”  Why?  Because CPs are normal people just like everyone else.  Having the word ‘pastor’ in front of your name doesn’t mean possessing some magic super powers.  We are human and we mess up.  If there is a problem, please do not talk about us behind our backs (especially in front of your children) but approach us.

“You’re too busy, and so are we.”  The number one concern from those CPs I reached out to was busyness. Especially sports.  No one seems to be able to serve or be discipled due to sports. Pastors are not against sports and extracurricular activities, our kids do them too. However, it seems that when something better comes along, commitments get broken and ministry goes out the window. The Kingdom of God is suffering because everyone is so ‘busy.’  In turn, pastors are burning out because they have to fill the gaps.

You are the number one influence in your child’s life and we want to help you.  If you need help in how to best marginalize your time, ask! We love helping families, not just kids.

“Children’s ministry isn’t childcare.”  Even in the nursery, volunteers are focused on not only making sure your child gains knowledge of God’s Word, but that they have an encounter with the Lord too!  I know this goes against popular belief, but pastors don’t only work Sundays.  It takes CPs weeks, months and years to prep for lessons, retreats, Christmas programs, Easter services, and discipleship.

“Ask before donating your ‘treasures.'”  Oops!  Are we allowed to say that?

When someone out grows a material item in their home, their first thought is, “I know, kids church can use this!” Please ask first. I find stuff all the time dumped in our kids area because a good hearted person wanted to help. Once I had a donation of blocks.  Harmless, right?  Until my two-year-old opened the package and the smell of cigarette smoke poured out.  So . . . yeah, ask first.

“One piece of GMO candy a week will not hurt.”  I’m a mom too, I get wanting to make sure your child is/stays healthy. Once I had a parent tell her child to give me back the (very small) piece of candy she earned because their family didn’t eat candy.  I was heartbroken.  Not for the rejection of my gift (ok, kinda), but for the child. You could see the brokenness in their eyes.   I understand not having a halloween sack of candy being brought home every Sunday, but candy is a child’s love language.  Please allow us (and them) this small token of fun. If you are still not ok with candy (or the CP really does give out too much), approach them with these Yummy Earth candies.  They have suckers, hard candies, and jelly beans. Our kids church doesn’t give out candy often, but when we do, these are parent approved alternatives.  They taste AWESOME.  If they are too expensive for your small church’s budget, maybe offer to purchase some for them.

“Please stop asking your kids if they had fun when you pick them up from service.”  Do we want them to have fun?  Of course!  But remember, we are fighting against an entertainment culture.  Children’s churches are trying the best they can to be interactive, engaging, all while hoping they have an encounter with Jesus. Children’s Pastors are up against music, social media, TV, ipods, ipads, gaming systems, and so on.  How can we complete? We can’t.  The more screen time a child has, the more ‘stuff’ they have, the less ‘fun’ church is.  Please help by cutting back on screen time.  Instead of asking if church was fun, ask what God taught them.

“We love you and your kids!”  All pastors have a heart’s desire is to see your child grow into a full functioning adult. Children’s Pastors are not just thinking about your child this week.  They are thinking about what they want them to be like 10-15 years from now.  That’s why they do what they do, and teach what they teach.  To help them later as adults.  And parents can’t do it alone, that’s what’s so great about kids church.  Someone other than mom and dad reiterating what is taught at home.

The hope is that relationships will be built with your child, so when you are going through the tough middle school and teen years, you have other adults who have your back.  When my daughter turns 16 and there is a boy who catches her eye, I hope she will trust me enough to talk to me.  However, that might not happen.  How awesome will it be that she has relationships built with our kids ministers from a young age that she can confide in.  Ministers that I trust that can help lead her in the right direction.  Kids will go somewhere to talk to someone- either inside the church, or outside. 

Thank you for taking the time to understand a Children’s Pastor’s world for just a few minutes.  You may never walk in a CP’s shoes, but thank you for trying them on.  Just remember that all Children’s Pastor’s want to serve you as the parent and see your child grow into a full functioning adult that is on fire for Jesus.

We love you!

 

 

 

 

 

The Anti-Feminist Loving the Feminist

Before you stone me for saying I’m not a feminist . . .

Unless you’ve been living in a hole, there have been a lot of protests in the news lately.  Mainly focused on the Million Women’s March (I think . . .).  I roll my eyes because we as American women have so many rights it’s crazy.  I listen to women yelling cuss words and think, “Is this how we get what we want anymore?  Temper tantrums?”  I listened to Madonna share that these protests were about love, then a few minutes later tell those that don’t agree, “F*** you!”

At first I was angry.  How hypocritical . . .

But then I was saddened as I remembered Jesus’ words: They are blind.  They have no idea how deceived they are. I can’t expect them to understand they’re stepping on our feet when they can’t see. These women are screaming for love but are so blinded by Satan’s deception and bitterness that they don’t know what love really is or what it looks like.

We as Christians know Jesus is the one who gives us our rights and validation, not the government, not man.  He approached the woman at the well that no one else would talk to, saved a woman from stoning, and healed women that no one would touch.  Women were the ones who discovered His empty grave and were the first to spread the Gospel.

In God’s image He made us male and female.  When Adam and Eve were created, He said it was VERY good because we’re better together.

As I prayed about my small voice in this huge world, I wondered if I should voice anything.  My opinions, facts, etc. This is between you and the Lord, but for me at this moment, Silence is Golden.  I feel that if this generation of protesters want love, that is what they should get. Could you imagine a surge of evangelicals loving on those that are lost? Oh the confusion that would happen!  It would be amazing to see their faces when confronted with those bestowing kindness and listening ears.

I am still praying as to how to accomplish this, but one thing is for certain- my opinion is white noise.  My memes will only cause anger and harden hearts towards the Gospel.  My facts will not change anyone’s mind, just make them more bitter.

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud  or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.  It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.  Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” 

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Love is what will enhance the Kingdom.  Love is what will change the hearts of men (and women).

PRAY WITH ME SISTERS:

“Lord, thank you for making me a woman.  You are the one who opens doors for me. It is because of YOU I have freedom and validation.  I pray that through all the noise of the media, politics, fake news, and social media that you will show me how to truly love people.  Help me to stand up for truth, but show kindness to my fellow men and women, because it’s your kindness that leads us to repentance. Use me in a mighty way this season in our country’s history.  And help me to keep praying for those that are serving the White House, whether I agree with them or not. In Jesus Name, Amen.”

I’d love your opinion and ideas.  How do you think we should show love to these women?

Recommended Reading for 2017

As we say goodbye to 2016 (and George Michael, Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds . . .) it is at this time we start to ponder the following year.  Have you thought about how you will grow in 2017?  One of my biggest growth spurts comes from books. Books help us become more well rounded, give us understanding and expand our knowledge in different areas of ministry. Here are some that I highly recommend for your 2017 reading list:

 

EPIDEMIC- How Teen Sex is Killing Our Kids: An older book that is relevant in our day.  Dr. Meg Meeker lays out the dangers of teen sex and how to appropriately help our kids navigate through our sex driven culture.

GOOD PICTURE BAD PICTURES- Every parent, pastor, and child need to read this.  A book made for children as young as 7 to help them understand what pornography is and why it is dangerous.

THE FLIPSIDE OF FEMINISM- What Conservative Women Know and Men Can’t Say: One of the best books I’ve ever read.  I knew I wasn’t a feminist, but I couldn’t articulate why.  These ladies give you the scoop on feminist history and how it has damaged our society today.

HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE-  Because who doesn’t want to be better with people while working in ministry?  Enough said.

WHAT HE MUST BE IF HE WANTS TO MARRY MY DAUGHTER- A great book that helps parents on the importance of marriage in our society as well has the importance of a parent’s role.

HOW TO BEAT THE COLLEGE DEBT TRAP- Getting a Degree without Going Broke:  This book by Alex Chediak, is written for teens about ready to embark on the road to college.  However, this is a must read for every pastor and parent.  It is loaded with information high schools, colleges, and banks are not telling you.

ITS YOUR KID NOT A GERBIL- Creating a Happier and Less-Stressed Home:  Our lives are way too busy.  God did not design our lives to be this crazy.  We have no time for Him, and we certainly have no time with our family. Psychologist Dr. Kevin Leman does it again with his last born of the family humor, helping us learn to slow our kids down.

THE PRICE OF PRIVILEGE-  This is a great book explaining the damage affluence has done to our children and culture.  Affluence is not bad, it only becomes bad when do not glorify our God with our abundance.

WITHOUT RIVAL- Lisa Bevere knows women well.  Here she digs right into the roots of our insecurities and how we can see ourselves as God sees us.

PRAY WITH ME SISTERS:

“Lord, I thank you for growth.  I thank you ahead of time for the growth that will happen in me in 2017.  Show me areas of my life that I can best help my spouse, my children, and my ministry.  In Jesus Name, AMEN.”

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