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Wife, Mother, Pastor

THE SUMMER SLOWDOWN

“Mommy, why can’t I be like all the other kids?” My daughter asked me during our evening run.
“What do you mean?”
“All the other kids in school get to be in lots of activities, like basketball, gymnastics, and baseball. And they do them all the time. Why can’t I be like them?”

A good question for a nine year old. I wasted no time making this a teachable moment during our run (which was us practicing for her after school activity, Girls on the Run by the way). I explained that during this time in her life it was more important for us to spend time as a family than to be driving from here and there constantly being involved in something. Us running and practicing for Girls on the Run was good because it was us doing it together. That final 5K bonded us.

I reminded her that in Jr. High and High School there will be plenty of time to be involved and she will likely not be home much.  We need to make the most of the time we have together during the younger years.

“Our summers are so busy!” “Summer always goes by so fast!”  Have you said this once or twice? It goes by so fast because we are so busy doing instead of relaxing.  Busy summers are ingrained in our culture and we look at it as normal, but it shouldn’t be.  The busier we are, the more our families suffer.

Pastor, woman in ministry, mom- I beg you. Make this summer a memorable one. Ministry is busy enough. Our kids are involved enough with doing church with us that they need a break too. Dig out your summer calendar.

Look at it. What do you see?

Is it full of running from here to there? Is it full of time spent in the car? Those can be good times too, but take this next week and purge. Between sleep away camps, day camps, VBS, baseball, graduation parties, weddings, is there something that can go so you and your family can rest?

Whether you work full time or not, you can still make this summer a time to remember. Relaxing together with picnic dinners at the park, camping getaways, Friday night hot dogs over bonfires just you and your family. No electronic devices allowed. And really, aren’t we supposed to be taking Sabbaths anyway?

Here are seven ideas to have a Summer Slowdown this year:

1.) Look at your calendar and purge at least one summer activity.

2.) Commit to at least one day a week that you all do something together that is relaxing and forces you to talk face to face- block those dates out in red on your calendar right now.

3.) Create a summer bucket list with your kids.

4.) Start a traditionours is cinnamon rolls every Saturday morning.

5.) Commit to being at home at least four nights a weekhard I know, no one said this would be easy!

6.) Commit from 6 o’clock on all media, iPhones, tablets, etc. will be put away for the night.

7.) Read a series together- we’re doing Chronicles of Narnia.

Creating margin in your summer saves you money, creates family bonding time and teachable moments, makes you the number one influence in your child’s life, and slows your summer down.

Don’t expect your child to be happy. They may buck the fact you are going to purge 4-H this year, but years from now they will thank you for creating a more relaxed family atmosphere.

LETS PRAY
“Lord, thank you for the gift of relaxation. Forgive me where I, and my family have not honored your gift of the Sabbath. Show me how to bring margin into our lives and slow down. Show me and my husband what needs to go and what needs to stay. I pray for a relaxed, refreshing, memorable, slow summer. In Jesus Name, Amen.”

Dealing With Difficult Church Members

As a wait impatiently for my ‘unhappy church member scolding’,  I find myself nervous and anxious.  They’re understandable feelings, but I have also found feelings in me that I don’t like. Pride, arrogance, and anything else that will put me on the defense.  When I feel I have been wronged I want to make sure my offender knows I’m right.  I want them to know my side and how they’re hurting me.
Having church members upset with us is never fun.  We took our positions to help and love people. To lead them closer to Christ.  When a member feels you are doing an inadequate job without understanding all sides, it’s hurtful.  Why is it so hard for us to brush these opinions and false accusations aside?  Why do we care? We care because
A.) We feel they are untrue- who wants people believing lies?
And
B.) We work really hard at what we do for the Kingdom.

I asked some ladies for some encouraging scripture as to how to deal with difficult Christians in your own church.  How do you handle situations knowing there are faults accusations and no compassion to accompany it?  A beloved lead pastor Ruthie, posted these scriptures.  The points are not my own, I have only expounded on them.  This is what The Lord showed me through Ruthie:
1 Peter 2:21-23 (NIV)

21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.

22 “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.”

23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.

  • Part of my calling includes suffering.  This does not mean fiery darts from wicked men, it may mean well intentioned Christians right in our church. We must learn how to deal with it, it’s not going away.
  • The one to run to is Jesus.  The more we get to know Him, the more we get to understand the ‘thorn in our side’ as well as learn how to deal with them.
  • My heart may be right with God, but that doesn’t mean accusations won’t come. The same thing happened to Jesus, enough said.
  • I need to learn to be like Jesus. Jesus never threatened or sought justice. He sought to live justly, as should we.
  • Entrust myself to the Ultimate Judge.  He knows me, it’s His opinion that matters.  Whether our accusers are right or wrong, I need to trust that if I’m surrendered to Him, I will hear His voice. This voice needs to change me whether I am right or wrong.  To either change my ways, or to be more compassionate to the situation/people.

These scriptures brought great relief and peace over me.  Suddenly I wasn’t living in fear.  I soon remembered God has my back, and He has yours.  Take it to Him, meditate on what He says and know He is by your side and in control.

PRAY WITH ME SISTERS:

“God, I need your help when my accusers- Christian or not.  I need help understanding their side and to see them through your eyes.  Help me to stay humble, teachable and more like Jesus. Help me to be slow to anger, slow to speak and quick to listen.  And help me to know you are with me and to trust you. Amen.”

How do you deal with difficult Christians?

“God, Why Did You Choose Me?”

image“God, why did you choose me for this?”  I often wonder in my current position (as I’m sure you do too).
I struggle with feeling inadequate as I navigate through ministry. I’m often criticized for not doing things a certain way (sometimes rightfully so).  I wonder why I feel God using me to go a different direction than the norm. I look at certain tasks that need to be done and wonder why didn’t God put ‘Spiritual Susie’ here, ‘Wisdom Wendy’ or ‘Gifted Gail’.  I look at these women and see that they are way more qualified than myself.  They’re more equipped, have more experience, and for crying out loud- they LOVE the area that I’m struggling so hard in so why aren’t they here when they’re so gifted???

I don’t know.  I don’t have all the answers, but here is my theory:

  •  He does it to keep us humble.  If I had all the answers my ego would get inflated, but when I don’t know what I’m doing half the time I can’t get full of myself. Pride comes before the fall.
  •  Reliance on Him.  I hate this.  Really; if someone struggles with children why did God place them as the Kid’s Pastor?  Why does He put people who are not Mercy motivated over benevolence? My only guess is that sometimes He wants to change us for the better and the only way we can do that is to rely on Him.
  •  To teach us more about His heart.  I’m learning in ministry more and more about God’s heart.  People that maybe I’ve looked down upon (or still do) are precious to Him.  Jesus died for them too. We are to love “the least of these” whether we like it or not. I would never know these things if it weren’t for where I am.
  •  He’s giving others a chance to minister and mentor you.  No, He doesn’t always call people completely out of their comfort zone to do a task, but when He does He brings others who do have the experience or wisdom you may need to learn from.  Thus, giving them a chance to minister to you.

I started this blog a year ago not because I have wisdom and experience to thrust upon women behind me.  No.  I’m a young, inexperienced minister and I started this blog to grow with and experience ministry along side you.  I don’t know what I’m doing half the time, and I’m sure you may feel the same but rest assured that God is walking along side you.

PRAY WITH ME SISTERS:
“God, I’m struggling.  I’m struggling because at times I’m  inadequate, inexperienced and do not have the wisdom as my older counterparts.  But I’m resting on knowing you are changing me to be more like you. Help me to be moldable and teachable. Thank you Lord. Amen”

SO YOU’RE A WIFE, A MOTHER AND A PASTOR.

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Welcome!  I’m really excited to get to know you.  So- you’re a wife, a mother and a pastor?  Great!

My whole life I knew I was different.  I never really had an ‘in’ crowd in school or my work places.  Once I became a Christian and ventured into the journey of marriage and family I still felt different, as if I were an outsider.  Surrounded by a wonderful church family and wonderful people in ministry, I still felt different-and sometimes lonely.  It was because I wasn’t like all the other mothers and wives I knew.  Yes, many of us are called to ministry, but normally our husbands are the leaders and we are the supporters in their ministry.  However, my husband is not a pastor, I am.

And you know what?  That’s okay!  I’ve learned the hard way that, yes, I really have heard from God and that I am in His will for my life.

Back in the spring I was completely overwhelmed.  I felt as if I were drowning.  Between the demands of ministry and family I felt there was no way up to get air. I wanted help and refreshing.  I wanted to be ministered to.  I did some digging online on female pastors. Hoping to find videos, websites or blogs on women pastors.  Something with little nuggets of advice for what I was going through; only to find TONS of articles and blogs on pastor’s wives or why women should not be pastors.  I LOVE that there is a huge industry dedicated to ministering to pastor’s wives, it’s needed. However, I’m not one.  I am the pastor, my husband is the ‘pastor’s husband”.  He is the leader of our home, but supports me in ministry.

Instead of having self pity of nothing for “me”, I figured I’d start something. I’ve waited in hesitation for a while for several reasons.

  • One– Fear.  Fear of being overly exposed, overly vulnerable, and failing. What if I offend someone at my church? What if I mess up theologically?
  • Two– Inexperience. I’ve been in the church scene a while, but not as a pastor.  What do I have to offer? I know other female pastors that are more experienced, better speakers, and more theologically sound than myself.
  • Three– Humility. Am I being arrogant by posting pictures, sermons and details about myself? I hope not.  My purpose is to serve you and for us to sharpen each other.

I can sum up these questions with one word: Jesus.  Yes, I could fail- but failure isn’t fatal. Yes, I don’t have a ton of pastoral experience.  But isn’t that what I want, to walk through this journey with you? To be real and vulnerable together? And yes, posting my life could seem arrogant, but I have to remember: we are on this earth for two reasons- to know Him and to make Him known. God gives us abilities to glorify Him with.  If my ability to speak, be real and raw will help you breath a little easier and drawn you closer to Jesus, then I’m doing what He’s asked me to do.

I’m excited to walk this with you. Praying for all who read and listen that you will be anointed, filled with wisdom, and blessed beyond all measure.

Blessings to you who are living the life of a wife, a mother and a pastor (or a woman in ministry).

Pastor Rachael

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