The Other Woman

envy

Every day I challenge myself to get to her level. I stalk her to see what she has that I don’t. In many situations, I find myself asking ‘what would she do?’ She is everything I’m not but aspire to be. I asked myself what is it about this particular woman that forces me to examine who I am. Here are the top 3 reasons I came up with:

1.) Her strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. Proverbs 31:25 (NIV)

2.) She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue Proverbs 31:26 (NIV)

3.) She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Proverbs 31:27 (NIV)

Who is this other woman? The other woman is ME! It’s the ‘ME’ that GOD called me to be. It’s the ‘ME’ that presses toward a higher calling in Christ Jesus.

FINAL WORD OF ENCOURAGEMENT Proverbs 14:1 (NIV) The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.

My only competition is ME.

Be Blessed. Be Encouraged

this Pastor’s Wife

Girl, please…

mistakesSometimes it’s so easy to blame others, a past circumstance or situation for our bad behavior and poor choices. When does personal responsibility kick in? One of my favorite sayings is ‘Everyone has a story.’ I’m sure I use it too much but it’s the only statement I can think of to adequately describe what we all have in common.

One thing I’m learning to do is to debate fairly with John. Whenever John brings to my attention something that I’ve done wrong, my instinct is to defend. Typically my response starts off something like “Well…if you, he, she or it had not… “The funny thing is, I actually facilitate a class titled ‘Communicate This.’ One of the objectives of this class is to teach attendees how to effectively listen to others in order to enhance the conversation. This is a classic case of knowing what to do and not actually doing it. One of my standard comments when I facilitate this class is in order for your management to get the maximum return on their investment in sending you to this 3 ½ hour class, is to create an environment where you are able to apply your newly acquired skills.

Every day life provides endless opportunities for me to apply the Word that I receive on Sunday morning, in bible study, from my daily readings and favorite songs. Now the question is, do I? Honestly, I try. Some days are better than others.

Here’s a silly but classic example of not taking personal responsibility for my actions: I actually blame John for my lack of discipline when it comes to eating too much. I often tell him that if he didn’t bring certain foods into the house, then I wouldn’t be tempted to eat them. And yes, I have convinced myself it’s his fault.

Another classic: Speaking without thinking. My momma warned me that once you say something, you can’t take it back. No matter how many times you apologize, oftentimes, the damage is already done. I am guilty of popping off. When I’m done with my reckless and emotional outburst, I’ll say something ridiculous like you know I didn’t mean it like that – I was just mad because YOU ….. Seriously?!

These are just a couple of the many examples where I blame someone else for my craziness.

Girl, please… As Tamar Braxton would say, I really need to get my life.

FINAL WORD OF ENCOURAGEMENT 2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.

You know better. Do better.

Be Encouraged! Be Blessed!

 this Pastor’s Wife

Overload: The Struggle is Real

imagesTypically when an electrical power outlet becomes overloaded, it will shutdown. This is a safety feature designed to protect against potential harm.  Most power outlets have a reset button. To get the power outlet back up and running, you simply press the reset button. When life becomes overwhelming, much like an electrical power outlet, I shutdown so that I can reset.  This self-preservation response can get a little tricky when you’re a Pastor’s wife because some will misconstrue this as being anti-social. Because I’m an introvert, I generally do not gravitate towards crowds. I’m most comfortable in smaller settings. Typically in larger crowds, I become an outlier. I can do crowds on occasion but it gets a bit much if it happens often. Also, I’m finding that I need a certain amount of ‘off duty’ time in order to function at my optimum. Otherwise, I will get overloaded and run the risk of harming my Christian witness. For me, shutting down is necessary so that I can reset, refresh and refuel.

I wouldn’t necessarily say that John is the type of person that has to be on every scene; however, he is definitely more comfortable with being around crowds and he doesn’t schedule ‘off duty’ time like I do. It’s a good thing too because, after all, he is a Pastor. There is still SO MUCH for me to learn about being the type of Pastor’s wife that GOD wants me to be for this Pastor. I don’t believe one size fits all. I recognize that being a Pastor’s wife is a special assignment and must be handled with care. It’s weird when people address me as ‘First Lady’ or ‘Elect Lady.’ I’m not really comfortable with the title. I’m not quite sure why. Perhaps it’s because I know I’m just John’s wife.

When I think about Pastor’s wives from back in the day, I think of images of the graceful, spiritual powerhouses that sat in the Amen corner wearing fierce Sunday hats.  I’m so far from that.  There are times when I wish I had a Sister-Pastor Wife to take this journey with. In my perfect world, this person would be the wife of a grassroots Pastor who is a little older, wiser and further along in her assignment as a Pastor’s wife. In the 8 years since being this Pastor’s wife, I have yet to meet another woman travelling a similar journey. I often pray for a divine mentorship.

I struggle with who I am and what HE has called me to be. The struggle is real. I desire to be the best person, wife and Pastor’s wife that I can be – in that order.  I can’t do better than my best.  In that perfect world that I spoke of earlier, I would have successfully reached my level best as a person and wife before focusing my efforts on becoming the best Pastor’s wife. LOL is what I’m sure GOD did at that simplistic plan. Life has not been that orderly for me. But that’s ok. HE knows that I fall short but HE also knows the desire of my heart is to be and do better.

Even though life gets a bit overwhelming at times, I wake up and go to bed each day with a prayer of thanks. I thank HIM for what HE has done, what HE is doing and what HE will do.

FINAL WORD OF ENCOURAGEMENT – 1 Thessalonians 5:18  Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Give thanks ESPECIALLY in the struggle.

Be Encouraged! Be Blessed!

  this Pastor’s Wife

HE’s Pleased!

danceThis past Thursday night we had a surprise pre birthday celebration for one of my sister-in-laws. HAPPY BIRTHDAY LC! It was fun and she seemed genuinely surprised. At the beginning and end of any family activity, we pray. Well…Thursday night was no different. However, what stayed with me and made me laugh loudly then and has me smiling now is that the birthday girl launched into a praise dance before the closing prayer. Now, please understand, this is normal for our family but what made it next level joyous is my baby sister-in-law, with her head bowed and eyes slanted up towards the birthday girl, she said, “HE’s pleased.”

Oh how true that is. GOD is pleased whenever and however we choose to praise HIM. In my humble opinion, I don’t think GOD really cares about the ‘how’ as much as HE is concerned about the effort. No matter the circumstance, there is always a reason to praise HIM. The fact that HE sent HIS SON to bear ALL the sins of the world on Calvary is all the reason you need to shout HALLELUIA!

Praising HIM, Pleases HIM. Enough said!

FINAL WORD OF ENCOURAGEMENT – Psalm 150:6 (NIV) Let everything that has breath praise the Lord . Praise the Lord!

Praise HIM because (fill in the blank)_____________________.

Be Encouraged! Be Blessed!

 this Pastor’s Wife

P.U.S.H.

prayPray Until Something Happens is a familiar acronym to many Christians. Well, what happens when you get tired of praying because you’re not sure GOD is listening? Why does it seem as if the more you pray, the more crap happens or the crap you’re dealing with gets worst?

Honestly, I don’t think anyone can satisfactorily answer these questions in a way that will soothe the natural mind. John preached a message titled Have You Lost Your Mind? The general message was you have to lose your natural mind to be a Christian because GOD will ask you to do things that make absolutely no sense to you. I had to face the harsh reality that the way I think, act, and feel is often contrary to God’s Word. Obviously HE knew this would be the case because HE tells us in so many words, you have to get your mind right to live as HIS disciple in this world. At least that’s my interpretation of Romans 12:2(NIV) Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Wouldn’t it be nice if once you accept JESUS as your personal Savior and as the LORD of your life, then the days of frustration, confusion, etc. become a thing of the past?

There are days when I feel confident, strong, and ready for battle. Then, there are the other days…

P.U.S.H. is good but praying without ceasing is critical. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (NIV) pray continuallyWhy? Below are my top 3 reasons:

Prayer

  • Keeps you focused on the ONE who knows all and is all
  • Strengthens
  • Through JESUS CHRIST is direct access to the FATHER

I remember in my home church, Mount Olive Baptist – Fort Mitchell Alabama, the deacons would go down on one knee to pray during devotion. I use to think to myself, is that how I’m suppose to pray? What I have learned, praying is simply having a conversation with God. Once I understood that, praying didn’t seem so intimidating. Of course, as a child, lots of things were intimidating and confusing. Even though praying ‘like the deacons’ was so far out of my reach at the time, my parents made sure I knew the Lord’s Prayer and Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. Regardless if I understand or see immediate results, prayer has and will always be the solution.

FINAL WORD OF ENCOURAGEMENT – Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

When you P.U.S.H., B.I.D. – Believe It’s Done in JESUS name!

Be Encouraged! Be Blessed!

 this Pastor’s Wife

In Between

churchThis week I started my physical therapy for the bulging disc in my neck. Thankfully it’s nothing serious, yet. The physical therapist shared that my issue is simply bad posture. He said this is common considering that I’m glued to a desk for hours at a time. I’m the type of person when I get in ‘the zone,’ I can sit for hours at a time and work non-stop. Working is good. Sitting at a desk with your shoulders curled in a hunchback position – not so much. I purchased the UP24 fit wrist band and programmed it to vibrate every hour to remind to get up and stretch. In addition to getting up and stretching regularly, I have to be mindful of how I am sitting. Otherwise, just call me Quasimodo from the novel The Hunchback of Notre-Dame. Bad habits are hard to break.

In addition to the in office sessions, the physical therapist gave me a regime of movements to do at home to address my poor posture. If I follow the directions and do the work, my posture will improve and I shouldn’t have any more muscle spasms and finger tingling. While under the watchful eye and the constant encouragement from the physical therapist, I perform the prescribed movements obediently. When I leave the session, I feel accomplished. It’s between the sessions where the issues occur.

In my humble opinion, this is like going to Sunday service. You listen to the preacher, write down scriptures and key points knowing that if you heed the message and make the effort to apply the Word to your life, your life will improve.

I find it exciting to learn more about GOD’s promises and easier to engage in praise and worship while I’m in the midst of fellow worshippers. However, when I get home, it’s a different level of effort that’s required. In the past and still to some degree today, I think this is where I have shortchanged myself out of experiencing the abundant life GOD promised. I would go to church, take my notes and think nothing about them until the next Sunday morning session. This is precisely why I was showing little progress in my spiritual walk.

Just like my physical therapy, in order to get the most out of this gift called life, I must do the work between Sunday morning sessions..

FINAL WORD OF ENCOURAGEMENT – Philippians 4:9 (NIV) Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

It’s the effort ‘in between’ that makes the difference.

Be Encouraged! Be Blessed!

 this Pastor’s Wife

Easier Said than Done

images0U78QYODCarpe Diem- Seize the Day! The online Merriam Webster definition of Carpe Diem is ‘the enjoyment of the pleasures of the moment without concern for the future.’ Living in and enjoying the moments of each day is easier said than done. My parents raised me to be self-sufficient. In other words, they wanted me to be able to take care of my day-to-day needs and also be able to handle the ‘what ifs.’ Evangelist Maggie spoke about some of the ‘what ifs’ in life in her inspiring message she delivered on March 29th to Christlike Fellowship and friends. We were blessed by her message.

What if my car needs an unexpected repair, what if I get sick, what if my parents are no longer here to help me out if I need it, etc. When I was growing up, daddy use to say we will make sure you have what you need and we will give you some of your wants. He also told me that I would take a step down when I started taking care of myself. I was a bit offended when he said this and in my mind I saw it as a challenge. I was determined to continue to live the same life I was accustomed to. Well…that was easier said than done. But God… by HIS GRACE, momma and daddy were able to achieve their goal of making sure that I was self sufficient.

Here’s the thing, because I am self-sufficient, I have a tendency to get caught up in tomorrow and the ‘what ifs. I believe as a responsible adult, it is my duty to take care of me and mine. But, I run into issues when I allow this duty to rob me of enjoying and appreciating the current moment. It’s tough to turn off the noise in my head. The noise of will I be ok if and when the inevitable ‘what ifs’ happen? One truism in life is that stuff happens and worrying about it today won’t stop it. The Word clearly says in Matthew 6:34 (NIV) Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

I don’t think I will ever successfully stop all ‘the noise’ in my head but I am learning to ask GOD to help me enjoy my moments because each moment is another gift from HIM.

FINAL WORD OF ENCOURAGEMENT – Psalm 118:24 (NIV) The Lord has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad.

Stop, Breathe, Enjoy!

Be Encouraged! Be Blessed!

 this Pastor’s Wife

Is it Me? Probably

ask a questionIntuition, gut feeling, sixth sense, are just a few names I’ve heard to describe discernment. I struggle with distinguishing between the gift of GOD-given discernment and what I call ‘my extra.’

As I mentioned in my first blog, I’m an introvert. Years ago I took the Myer’s Briggs survey. This survey is designed to give insight into your personality. It was a 3-part questionnaire comprised of 93 questions. I took this survey because I didn’t understand this ‘feeling ‘I got when I interacted with certain people. It wasn’t anything I tried to do – it just happened. I’m learning to examine myself first before I quickly decide it’s the other person that has the issue. Here’s the thing, what I have learned is that if you keep experiencing the same thing with different people, you need to ask yourself – what is the common denominator? It might just be you.

Based on the answers I provided on the Myer’s- Briggs survey, my personality type is INFJ – Introvert, Intuition, Feeling, Judging. According to this survey, “INFJ’s are often quiet observers of people and the human condition. They have an ability to capture the essence of an interaction, a people situation, and to be aware of the timeless qualities of the human condition.”

When I read this I was like YASSSSS that’s me!!! But here’s the struggle, when I sense that someone is not authentic, insincere, patronizing, negative, mean-spirited, haughty in spirit, just to name a few, I have a tendency to distance myself from them. I tend to do this because I’m really uncomfortable with as the elders use to say ‘putting on airs.’ In other words, being fake. I find it extremely difficult to deal with people who ‘I feel’ are not authentic. Now don’t get me wrong, everyone has a bad day or a bad season. I’m thinking in terms of general character. I would venture to say everyone has the ability to identify these traits in others. For me, it seems that I’m ‘extra’ sensitive to them. It’s a burden because I don’t know what to do with the feelings.  I don’t know if it’s discernment or ‘my extra.’ What I do know is that distancing myself is probably not the best way to respond when you are a Pastor’s wife.

In general, I take people as is because I would want the same courtesy. I truly believe that all people are good- we just do bad things sometimes. To quote Joyce Meyers “Don’t confuse the who with the do.” Or, perhaps in some cases, people are products of their experiences which dictates how they interact with the world. The world can be harsh.

I believe most people, including myself, want to have healthy, mutually satisfying, respectful, and supportive relationships. I heard someone say, if you have one ‘true’ relationship you are fortunate. If you have two ‘true’ relationships you are blessed.  When it comes to relationships I have two main prayers  – GOD, please  help me to distinguish between YOUR gift of discernment and ‘my extra’ and  help me be a person that I would want to be in relationship with.

FINAL WORD OF ENCOURAGEMENT 1 Kings 3:11 (KJV) And God said to him, “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right,

Check yourself before you blame others

Be Encouraged! Be Blessed!

 this Pastor’s Wife

Today, I Need Encouragement

prayGOD brings to your remembrance when you’re in need.

I wrote this poem in 2010 and it encouraged me today.

I pray whoever reads this post will be encouraged too.

 

In the Midst I Remember

Sometimes the struggles seem more than I can bear

Sometimes the burdens are so heavy – “OH GOD”- please send someone to share

 An uphill battle is all I see in sight

I pray to God “please help me, please help me fight!”

 But in the midst of the battle, I lift my head

In the midst of the trouble, I meditate on what He said-

 “All things work together for good to them that love God”

So I continue to press, and through it all I remember to Thank God.

So when I’m tempted to murmur, complain and ask God why?

I must remind myself His ways are not my ways and resist the urge to cry.

In my natural mind, it seems crazy to give thanks

For battles that leave me bruised and battered

But in the midst of it all, I remember, I am called ‘according to His purpose.’

And “Praise God,” that’s all that matters!

vfc 030110

FINAL WORD OF ENCOURAGEMENT Romans 8:28 (KJV) And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. –

All will be ok. In Jesus Name. AMEN!

Be Encouraged! Be Blessed!

this Pastor’s Wife

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We believe in the POWER of PRAYER. Please submit your prayer requests directly to Pastor Crayton, Minister Lee  or Minister Barber at the emails listed below. If you have questions or comments about our church, please feel free to contact us using any of the information below:

 

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Pastor John F. Crayton Sr.

Cell: 727-366-4168
Email:  pastorcrayton
@christlikefellowship.com

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Holiday, FL 34692

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