Part 7 of 7_Get Your House in Order_Last Wishes and Priceless Inheritances

This is Part 7 of 7 of Get Your House in Order. Topic:Last Wishes and Priceless Inheritances

Being a Wife Can Be Challenging

Being a wife is tough. Being a Proverbs 31 type of wife is tougher. Being a Pastor’s wife is the toughest. When I married John, he was an ordained minister. It wasn’t a selling point or a deal breaker. To be honest, I didn’t give it much thought as to what impact it would have on me or our marriage. To me, it was just a fact. It wasn’t until I noticed the reactions of other folks to me being married to a minister that caused me pause.

People have preconceived ideas and expectations as to what a Pastor wife should be, how she should act and how she should speak. It’s as if you as a person cease to exist once you marry a minister. Please don’t misunderstand, I’m not complaining – I’m simply sharing my thoughts and experiences. Remember, this is the ‘Diary of this Pastor’s Wife.’

Even to this day, I do not share the fact that I’m a Pastor’s wife because quite frankly I’m not interested in being judged by their definition of a “Pastor Wife.” However, as I mature, I have accepted that people will judge because that’s what we do. And it’s ok. But as I mature in God’s Word, I’ve found peace in the midst of it because He is the only judge that matters. I know this and now I’m learning to live my life as if I’m on stage with an audience of 1.

What a great revelation?! This revelation has freed me to really start enjoying the fruit of our marriage. My focus shifted from them to HIM and as a result – it has blessed our union. We vowed to love, cherish and support each other in and through the ups and downs of life until death. And in this journey, we’re growing together, fighting for our abundant life and having fun at the same time!

To see how we’re fighting for our abundant life as a couple by using the Word of God, check out our guide ‘Enjoying the Fruit of Your Marriage.’ You can get it in eBook or paperback.

Also, watch our new video series by the same name starting on February 10, 2018 on our YouTube channel Christlike Fellowship. It will be a 9- part series.

WORD OF COMFORT OR CONVICTION Galatians 5:22-23(NIV) – 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Be Blessed!
this Pastor’s Wife

Women Have the Power?

In one of our many conversations about relationships, the Pastor Hubby once said – women have the power but some of them just don’t know what to do with it. What exactly did he mean? Was he low key throwing shade?

I had to pump my brakes and get out of my feelings and think. Why does it appear that some women who seem to have it all – always end up alone? It’s baffling because they never have trouble attracting the opposite sex. As a matter of fact- they always seem to have a man. Or, at the very least, a person who is anatomically correct.

Now that I’m in my late forties, I view things differently. A blogger out of Brooklyn wrote a book titled– Don’t Waste Your Pretty. I think some women should adopt that as their mantra – Stop Wasting Your Pretty!

Sometimes I think we as women get caught up in the messaging we receive on a daily basis – especially in this age of social media. It seems that we forget or perhaps really don’t understand that our true power is not only about our physical attributes. Please don’t misunderstand, I’m not naïve to think that a good optic can sway opinions and open doors.

When I think about what the Pastor Hubby said – he said women have the power. He didn’t say some women, slim women, curvy women, women that society labels as “pretty” women, women who slay, “lit” women, you get my point. He simply said women. So, that tells me, the power he spoke of – must be something that God gave each of us. What is this “power?”

When I think about some of the relationships that I’ve seen up close and from a distance that seemed to have stood the test of time, I have often wondered, what makes that woman different? I’ve always been intrigued by the women of the relationship because I’ve often heard people say- behind every good man is a strong woman. Notice I said a good man- not a perfect man. Because if any of us were perfect, God would not have had to send His Son Jesus to die for our sins.

I mean the world saw it when Barack looked at Michelle. A look of admiration. That look of extreme pride and appreciation. I recall reading an interview he did and he referred to her as “exquisite.” What woman would not want a man to love her the way he seems to love that woman. Not as an object to be possessed but as a spirit to be treasured.

I recognized the look Barack gave Michelle because it was the same way my daddy looked at my momma. I remember my daddy use to say no matter how much weight I gained – your momma made me feel like a king. He said it was his pleasure to work extra hours so that he could see her face light up when he said “We’re going out to eat!” And the more I think about it- it was obvious that my daddy found my momma attractive but when he spoke of her – he would get this look that said- I would do anything for that woman.

The similarities in character that I saw in Michelle Obama from a distance and what I saw in my momma daily was grace, the ability to support their man without losing a sense of self, the art of subtle persuasion and a quiet but effective level of authority as their man’s confidant.

Hmmm… you know what, I think that’s the power the Pastor Hubby was speaking of… REAL power comes from God. The ability to use this power, lies in the strength of my relationship with the One who gives the power.

WORD OF COMFORT OR CONVICTION Proverbs 31:28 (NIV) Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her

Be Blessed!

this Pastor’s Wife

The “Real” Pastor Wife of Tarpon Springs

Hi! My name is Vestina and I watch Real Housewives reality shows. They say the first step to recovery is to admit you have a problem. Ok, I’m being a bit extra. But for those who know me- being extra is not out of my character.

If you watch or are willing to admit you watch any one of The Real Housewives reality TV shows, you may get a sense of what the subject of this post will be. If you don’t watch any of these shows, DON’T START!

I had to question why I or anyone would find these shows entertaining. They do nothing to celebrate the “true” beauty of being a woman or a wife but yet they are wildly popular and that makes them profitable. Why is that?! Why do we enjoy the over-the-top, unnecessary, “ratchet” behavior of these women and men? These shows make me feel schizophrenic because I am appalled at the behavior but I can’t help but watch. And when did it become ok to call yourself or your girlfriend a female dog as if it’s a term of empowerment or endearment?

So I ask myself again, why do I watch these shows? And…after some thought, I came to the conclusion that maybe – just maybe- the characters are a reflection of how we act or how we want to act.

Whatever the motivation is, I recognize that watching these shows are in direct conflict with a person trying to live like Christ every day.

On to the point of this post….

When I watch these shows, I see them as a form of entertainment. And yes, some would question how I could find them entertaining. And my response at this time would be – if you read this far, I’ll remind you that I started this post admitting that I have a problem- LOL!

One of the greater issues – in my humble opinion- is what impact do shows like these have on our young girls today? I do not have any biological children but I have a heart and a sense of responsibility to do my part by living my life as a woman who believes in Christ. The bible clearly says in Titus2:3-5 (NIV) “Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4 Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.”

Whether you’re a wife, Pastor’s wife, housewife, former wife, or ‘wanna-be’ wife, I challenge us as Christian women to examine ourselves against the Word of God so that we can be the best example for the young women that we are privileged to influence both individually and collectively. Because more often than not, it is what we do – not what we say to do – that our girls will do. Please reread and meditate on that last statement.

WORD OF COMFORT OR CONVICTION Proverbs 12:4(NIV) – “A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones.”

Be Blessed!
this Pastor’s Wife

My Husband is M.I.A.!

Yesterday I texted the hubby and asked him what he was doing. I text him every day because I am that kind of wife – LOL! He replied “Going to the store for Chief. He’s not doing well. He said he may have to go to a nursing home.”

Chief was our neighbor from a previous home where we lived. He lives alone and has no family in the area. Please don’t get it confused – I think Chief preferred it that way. He is the true definition of an Ol’ Salt. He is an 87 year old retired Navy widower. He would visit us every evening to give treats to our fur baby Bindi and bring us the newspapers that he had read for the day.

Needless to say, I had to inquire further by asking, “Did Chief call you?” the hubby replied, “Yes.” Instantly I felt sad because I knew what that meant. Back when we were neighbors, Chief was in his 70s. He was independent, tough, had no filter, yet he was sweet and generous. He loved chatting it up with the hubby.

Since moving, we have kept in touch. However, not as frequently as we did when we first moved. So, it was unusual for him to call. And, it certainly was completely out of character for him to call and ask for help.

When I finally got home from work, the hubby shared with me the condition that Chief was in and it broke my heart.

I shared this story to say this – in the midst of the hubby telling me the events of his day with Chief, God dropped in my spirit the title of this post- My Husband is M.I.A. – Ministry in Action.

Here’s the thing, since knowing my husband, he has ALWAYS been willing to help whenever anyone calls and needs a hand. And nothing has changed 14 years later. As his girlfriend, that was one of the many characteristics that I fell in love with but as his wife…let’s just say my perspective has changed. Don’t misunderstand, I still love him dearly because of his beautiful heart to serve and I know it is his calling and I completely support it. But sometimes, his calling and his wife meet at the crossroads- LOL!

God has called all of us to be M.I.A. – Ministry in Action. If you say you believe in God and have accepted HIS son Jesus as your Savior and Lord, then shouldn’t you be M.I.A. too?

Strive to be a Christian that provides active service and not just lip service.

FINAL WORD OF ENCOURAGEMENT – Mark 10:45 – “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Be Blessed!

this Pastor’s Wife

I’m a Recovering Christian

charlie brownIn my opinion learning to live like Christ everyday is like being a recovering alcoholic – it’s a 12 step process.

Click the following link to read the 12 Steps of a Recovering Christian

FINAL WORD OF ENCOURAGEMENT -Ephesians 4:29-32 (NIV) 29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

It’s a process. Get up and keep trying.

Be Encouraged! Be Blessed!

this Pastor’s Wife

Life is a Calendar

thYR9LGTQXMuch like the weather, life has seasons. time and date.com defines seasons this way -“Seasons are periods in a year marked by specific weather conditions, temperatures and length of day. Most modern day calendars around the world divide the year in 4 seasons: spring, summer, fall (autumn) and winter.”

In March I posted Change Happens, Seasons Change. Since then I’ve thought a little more about seasons.

Depending on where you live in the world, seasons can be distinct. Just by looking at the calendar you can get an idea of when a season will end and begin. Although, living in Florida challenges that thought because oftentimes it feels like summer NEVER ends regardless of what the calendar says.

I started thinking about life in terms of seasons. If I had to divide life into 4 seasons it would be birth, development, growth and death. I believe these seasons are occurring every day, all day. It’s bittersweet that every season has an end because there are some seasons I wish would last forever and then there are the others.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a life calendar to get an idea when certain seasons will begin and end?

Sometimes I think if I knew when a tough season will end, I could endure in a more “Christlike” way. It’s ONLY because of Christ who lives in me that I am able to press through with expectation the various simultaneous occurrences of birth, development, growth and death of life.  Romans 8:28 says And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Here’s what I’ve accepted about the seasons of life – it’s the before and in between of each season where I need to pay attention and go to work. I refer to these times as the prepping stages. I now know that how well I prepare will determine how well I will endure.

Please understand – seasons will happen whether you’re prepared or not. One of my favorite sayings is ‘Life happens to everyone.’

My 3 Step Prep:

STEP 1 – PRAY –  As a Christian I know that prayer is simply having a conversation with GOD in JESUS’ name. I’ve learned to make time to talk to HIM. Sometimes I don’t know what to ask for or how to ask for what I need or want. HE knows. In faith, I mediate on scriptures. Praying is where I find strength.

STEP 2 – LISTEN AND BE OPEN TO RECEIVE HIS INSTRUCTIONS – It’s been my experience HIS instructions come in a variety of ways. It could be from an encounter with an acquaintance, Sunday worship or even in a morning sunrise.   It’s HIS prerogative how HE gets it to you.    HE knows exactly how and when to get it to you.

STEP 3 – BE OBEDIENT – This is probably the toughest step for me. Struggling with obedience? Go back to STEP 1.

In my opinion and experience, your life is a calendar of 4 seasons – birth, development, growth and death. My calendar started August 4, 1969.  Since then, my seasons have consisted of the birth of challenges that resulted in opportunities, development of my spiritual muscles in the face of adversity, growth because and in spite of hard knocks and the death of unfavorable situations and circumstances.

I don’t know what year my life’s calendar will end. All I know for sure is that it will end. But in the meantime, I will strive to embrace every season with gratitude.

FINAL WORD OF ENCOURAGEMENT – Ecclesiastes 3:1(NIV) – There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:

NEVER stop prepping because life is seasonal.

Be Encouraged! Be Blessed!

this Pastor’s Wife

46 and counting…What Have I Learned?

thOn August 4th six years ago, I joined the 40-Club. I mentioned in a previous post that I’ve never been a person that has a mini breakdown when I turn a year older. Honestly, I never really gave it much thought beyond the fact that on that date, I was born into this world. However, since joining the 40-Club, I’ve made the effort to look back over the previous year. During this time of reflection, I ask myself “What did I learn?” Here are my top five for this past year:

1.) Reflect on Mistakes but Don’t Pay Rent to Them

Don’t spend too much time replaying a decision that did not yield the best results. In my opinion, it’s advisable to reflect on your mistakes for informational purposes only – what not to do next time.

2.) Wisdom Doesn’t Always Come with Age

It’s been my experience wisdom is gained when you STOP doing the same thing and expecting different results. I’m not sure who said that but I’m starting to get it.

3.) Don’t Hold Grudges

Grudges are silent killers. If you hold grudges, start planning a funeral for your peace and joy.

4.) Every Day is My Birthday

Each day that GOD wakes me, is the birth of another opportunity to try and get it right.

5.) Life is a Birthday Party

Being born is the invitation. It’s up to you to accept it and join in the celebration.

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

Enjoy life – one moment at a time.

Be Encouraged! Be Blessed!

this Pastor’s Wife

 

Should Church Workers Get a Sunday Off?

th205QKOU4This past Sunday our church was invited to another church to celebrate Family and Friends day. It was a blessing to my soul. I was able to sit in the congregation and enjoy the Word through song, a praise dance and the Minister’s message. As the Pastor’s wife of a small grassroots ministry, sometimes you don’t get to enjoy worship service as much as you would like. I think the primary reason, at least for me, is that you are more concerned about the worship experience of others. This is not a bad thing. As a servant of GOD, we know it’s our duty to tend to the needs of others. However, I firmly believe you can’t serve at your best if you are not at your best. I think it can be challenging at times for any active ministry worker to truly immerse themselves in worship service. It’s so easy to get caught up in the ‘order of service’ that you miss the experience of it. I believe that no matter how large a church is, generally speaking, it’s a core group of people who keep the church going. These folks work in front and behind the scenes to make sure any and all services happen.

So…I ask the question, should church workers get a Sunday off? My response may be a bit much for some but I say ministry leaders should allow and encourage these core folks to take a Sunday off and visit another church. I think it’s a good practice because it allows the core group to rest, revitalize and focus on their own worship experience. It pushes the leaders to train other members to move into those roles. Sometimes and some may argue many times, it’s out of necessity that churches lean heavily on this core group of members. However, you run the risk of stifling growth, resisting change and burning out your faithful few.

Most work places provide the benefit of vacation days. Shouldn’t we provide the same for our faithful and hardworking ministry servants?

FINAL WORD OF ENCOURAGEMENT – Exodus 34:21 “Six days you shall labor, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during the plowing season and harvest you must rest.

Everyone gets tired. Even Jesus rested.

Be Encouraged! Be Blessed!

this Pastor’s Wife

Life is Not a Layaway Plan

layawayI was enjoying a leisurely stroll through one of my favorite consignment shops this past weekend and there were some interesting canvas artwork for sale. I found myself stalking a particular piece. I asked the merchant if they had a layaway plan. Yes, I’m that girl. He said he felt confident that the owner would consider this payment option depending on the piece. I got excited about the potential of having that artwork hanging in my house. But, it wasn’t the same excitement that I would’ve felt if I could’ve just removed the piece from the wall, said thank you and walked out the door.

Merriam Webster defines layaway as a way of buying something in which you do not receive the thing you are buying until you have paid the full price by making small payments over a period of time

This got me to thinking about how some people live their life. We live it like it’s a layaway plan. We make payments with our time Monday – Friday in anticipation of enjoying our life Saturday – Sunday. We get up Monday and start all over again. That’s foolishness! Something is seriously wrong with that picture. There’s no doubt that every day is not going to be a walk in the park. Let’s be honest, some days you wish there was a ‘do-over’ button. Regardless, it’s still your life. My belief is you only have one life to live. Live it every day. Take the good with the bad, the bitter with sweet.

As I mature in wisdom, everyday, even in the midst of my grumbles, I take an inventory of the things I’m grateful and thankful for that GOD allows me to enjoy. In my last post, I listed just a handful of those things. Believe it or not, as simple and silly as some may seem, I really get excited about experiencing each one. I’ve learned that you can enjoy life every day because life is about the moments in between the beginning and the end of each day.

 FINAL WORD OF ENCOURAGEMENT – John 10:10 (NIV) The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

Your life has been bought and paid for in full – ENJOY IT!

Be Encouraged! Be Blessed!

  this Pastor’s Wife

Thankful for These 12 Simple Things

20150607_064844
8

 

20150712_183606
2
20150713_165540
3
20150713_170011
12
20150711_183553
1

In no particular order, I took a moment to list some of the simple things I enjoyed this past weekend. What simple thing(s) did you enjoy?

Please list at least one in the comments. I’ll bet you’ll smile…

  1. Organized office closet
  2. The hubby laughing at Bindi playing with her toy in her new FSU jersey
  3. Colorful fruit in a glass bowl
  4. A fully stocked snack center
  5. Fresh flowers in a cobalt blue vase
  6. Window consignment shopping

    1amazing find
    6
  7. Cleaning and displaying seashells collected by the nephews

    20150713_173738
    7
  8. Watching the sunrise
  9. Fresh linens

    20150713_165351
    9
  10. A properly folded fitted sheet
  11. Hazelnut coffee in a clear mug
  12. Watering my plants

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

Be Thankful. I am!

Be Encouraged! Be Blessed!  

this Pastor’s Wife

 

20150713_170533
10
20150713_165846
5
20150713_165523
4

 

20150713_174312
11

 

 

Why Am I Here?

th5EJHVPS9I believe with everything that I am that GOD divinely designed each person to do or be something specific in HIS master plan. I believe we were created by HIM for HIM. Mark Twain said it best “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Discovering why I was born has been one of, if not, the most challenging thing in my life.

Like many, there have been times in my life where I felt like I’ve made a difference, albeit small, a difference nonetheless. However, I know there is more to living this life than just experiencing sporadic moments of worth.  There are people who wake up with purpose and are driven by that purpose. If every person was created by GOD, surely, we all should wake up and be excited about our contribution to this world. This next statement is a sweeping generality but it seems man measures worth by what is seen and celebrated by the masses. The question is, for me, how much does this influence the decisions we make on how we live our lives? What do we pursue? Why do we pursue it?

Unfortunately I chose to pursue a degree based heavily on the reaction I received from others. Sad but true. People ‘seemed’ impressed when I shared what I was pursuing a degree in. Truth be told, at 17, I had no clue what I wanted or should have studied in college. I had no idea what my gift was or how to discover it.  If I knew what I know now, I would have approached my college career differently. I’m sure there are plenty of folks who would cosign that sentiment.  I may get some grumbles about this next statement but it’s my opinion based on my personal experience. I don’t believe college is for everyone. For some, I believe attending a 2 year college before attending a university is the best option and I don’t necessarily agree that going to college directly out of high school is the best route to take. Yes, I went to a college preparatory high school and I’m grateful. However, I must say, the guidance counselor at that time provided very little guidance. My perception was that the high scoring students received the attention.  All students need guidance.

Higher education is vital regardless of where and when you choose to acquire it.  Everyone should be a lifelong learner. However, I believe more attention should be placed on helping a person discover their gift at an early age. Too often people are forced into a life designed by man and not by GOD. In my humble opinion, this may explain why there are so many unhappy, unfulfilled, unsatisfied ‘successful professionals.’ It’s never too late to begin searching for and living the life GOD intended for you. I’ve learned not to fret too much over the time that’s passed because it serves no purpose. What I’m trying my level best to do now is make the most out of the days ahead because Romans 8:28 says ALL things work together for the good

FINAL WORD OF ENCOURAGEMENT – 2 Timothy 1:9 – (NIV) He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time,

You deserve the life GOD planned for you.

Be Encouraged! Be Blessed!

  this Pastor’s Wife

Content or Complacent?

thUGIE6AAZI’ve come to realize that motivation is the difference between being content or being complacent. According to Merriam Webster, Contentment is the state of being happy and satisfied and Complacency is a feeling of being satisfied with how things are and not wanting to try to make them better.

There are aspects of my life that I would like to improve. As of late, I’ve started analyzing this inventory of ‘needs improvement’ by deciding if I’m content or complacent with it. Once I started really looking at each item, I noticed there were some things that I had to question why they were on the list. I once heard someone say, we spend too much time trying to please people who don’t really care about you. Why is that? Now that I’m in the 40 club, I’m proud to say, for the most part, I’ve learned not to waste energy on what ‘they say.’ However, I’m human. In my first post, “Will I Ever Catch Up? ,’ I talked about my desire to be a better Pastor’s Wife.

Now here’s the thing, I want to be me. I’m good with me. In my humble opinion, being authentically you is the greatest gift you can give to the world. If GOD wanted us to be like one another, then HE would have made us all the same. And…that would be incredibly boring. This is where it gets a little slippery – being ‘me’ sometimes fight with what I believe the role of a Pastor’s wife should be. Pastor John preached about motives this past Sunday. It got me thinking about what really is my motive for wanting to morph into what I believe a Pastor’s wife should be. Is it to please others or to please GOD?

Ok, so what do I believe a Pastor’s wife should be? Here’s a short list: compassionate, selfless, helpful, loving, approachable, ready to embrace all GOD’s children, gracious, kind, ability to share wisdom without judgment, etc. Being all these things, ALL the time, comes with heavy responsibility. Because, Lord forbid, if you’re having a bad day and you’re not presenting your best self…whew… let’s just say, ‘church folk’ can be brutal. A good friend of mine said’ We don’t allow people to be human’. Shout out to CA! Truth be told, as Christians, we should all strive to exhibit these characteristics – Pastor’s wife or not.

I had to get real with myself. I’m not all those things ALL the time. The question is – am I content or complacent with it? I don’t know. I’m still trying to figure it out.

FINAL WORD OF ENCOURAGEMENT – Galatians 1:10(NIV) Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Not satisfied? Ask yourself why.

Be Encouraged! Be Blessed!

  this Pastor’s Wife

Dear Tina,

thank youIn my last post I mentioned what an incredible and amazing woman my momma was. She laid down for her final rest when I was 26 and she was only 46. Besides the obvious pain of losing my momma, what hurts most is not having the opportunity to get to know her as a woman and friend.  As I continue to go through my growing pains as a woman and wife, I’m painfully aware of the absence of her presence. I’m blessed to have a strong family support system of wonderful women. But, nobody is like momma.

Years prior to her passing, she wrote individual letters to me and my two brothers. We received these letters after she passed. This letter written so many years ago is by far one of the most precious things my momma ever gave me. It gave me insight into her love for me – just me.

I encourage every momma or daddy to take the time to write those things down that you want your child to remember. There may be things you want to share with your child in your own words such as I love you, principles of life, maybe you want to explain something, recall a memory, whatever….PLEASE DO IT! It will mean so much to that child. Whether you are the short-liver or not, sharing your thoughts with your child is more valuable than I can capture in words.

In my opinion, my momma’s life was too short. However, because my parents introduced me to Christ, I’m able to live with her early and unexpected passing. I’m a firm believer that you NEVER get over the loss of a loved one – you just learn to live with it. I don’t know what inspired my momma to write the letters. Perhaps, it was simply her love for us. Whatever the reason, I’m grateful that she did because to this day, I read her words and they bring me comfort.

FINAL WORD OF ENCOURAGEMENT – Philippians 1:3(NIV) I thank my God every time I remember you

Thank you momma…

Be Encouraged! Be Blessed!

 this Pastor’s Wife

If You Love Your Family, PLEASE READ!

familyThis is a long and tough post but I truly believe it’s worth the time to read. For two reasons, May is and forever will be a hard month for me. It’s the month we celebrate mother’s day but my momma is no longer physically here and it’s the month we laid my daddy to rest. I share this not for sympathy but to share a message that may be a little rough to read but the intent is to encourage and inspire action. When I think back on my parents’ life individually and collectively, to this day, I’m still learning valuable lessons. One day I will expound on that thought.   It’s amazing how even though they are no longer physically here, they continue to raise me. I specifically remember during my dad’s illness I said ‘Daddy you have to get better because you haven’t finished raising me yet.’ He just smiled. Little did I know, 4 years later, he’s still raising me.

When I started this blog one of my primary goals was to encourage others. I pray this post in particular reaches as many people as possible because I believe it is a message that many should read.

If you have loved ones, show them by getting your house in order before you are laid to rest. No man knows the day or hour when GOD will call them home. It was unexpected when my momma passed in 1996. No warnings, no clues, no nothing. In so many ways life as my daddy, my brothers and I knew had changed in an instant. But I firmly believe with all that I am, it was her time. In just 46 years, she completed her assignment. Make no mistake, we are all put here to complete an assignment, once it’s done, it’s done. There is SO MUCH I could share about my momma – she was an incredible and amazing woman. I will share parts of her story at a later time.

My momma went to sleep on January 1, 1996. I moved to Florida January 15, 1996. Imagine what my daddy must have felt. Even though his life was turned upside down, daddy got busy making sure my brothers and I would be ok when GOD said it was time for him to take his final rest. It took my momma’s sudden passing to solidify the reality that he too would have to go and he wanted to make sure ‘His 3 thangs’ – which was one of my dad’s affectionate ways of referring to me and my two brothers – would be ok. I remember each time I would come home to visit, he would always say something like ‘if anything happens to me, this is where you can find this, that and the other.’ Of course at that time that was the last thing I wanted to discuss. I would simply say ‘ok daddy.’ In September 2010 daddy got sick. This was another sudden event because my daddy didn’t get sick. I vividly remember getting the call from my brother saying daddy was in the hospital. WHAT?! Life as we knew it once again changed in an instant. We had no clue that daddy would not fully recover.

Here’s the message of this post. When daddy got sick, our only concern and focus was getting him better. When he was healthy and strong daddy put provisions in place that in the event he was unable to care for himself, we would have access to resources so that we would be able to manage his business. He communicated with us in such a way that when the time came, we knew what to do and he had empowered us to do it. Too often families cannot focus on the immediate health needs of their loved one because the person that‘s experiencing the crisis did not make it a priority to get their business in order. One truism in life is that sickness and death will touch everyone.

Here’s the thing, the person that’s sick oftentimes doesn’t have the capacity to deal with the day-to-day beyond their illness. They should be able to focus all their energy on getting well. The last thing they should be concerned with is whether or not they have the resources to take care of their needs without putting undue stress on their loved ones.

 It is such a tragedy to see families destroyed because they have to go through extraordinary means to take care of a loved one in crisis.   Please understand – I do believe families should be there for one another. But let’s be honest, some family are family in name only. Some are willing but are unable to help. There are those that only show up with their hands out. Or they show up with unsolicited advice and criticism. And, there are some family you prefer didn’t help out because you never hear the end about their good deed or they expect something in return. These folks you wish would pray from a distance.

Another thing I believe and perhaps some who may read this may feel some kind of way but…I don’t believe it is the responsibility of the whole family to make sure your needs are met. Yes, having family outside your household help out when you are in need can be invaluable and greatly appreciated. However, don’t rely on others to do what you should do for yourself. Family or not, folks will get tired because they have their own lives and families they are responsible for.

My brothers and I are so BLESSED to have had the parents we had. They taught us to be self-sufficient. This does not mean we will not reach out and ask for help when we need it. However, as adults, we have been taught to take care of our business. After all, we have no excuse – we had excellent role models.

While you are physically, mentally, emotionally capable, love your family enough that, at a minimum, make every effort to put provisions in place to take care of you in sickness and death. Let your wishes be known to the appropriate person or people. Whoever you trust with this responsibility should be someone you can trust to do the right thing according to your wishes. Please note: the person who you entrust with handling things on your behalf doesn’t have to be a blood relative. Sometimes people outside your immediate family can be the better choice.

One thing I can tell you is that decision by committee typically doesn’t work well especially when there is no direction. So, in the event the unthinkable happens, those who are left to attend to your affairs are in the best position to do so. Only you know your situation. Do your level best to equip your loved ones with the reality of your situation. Trust me – it’s easier to deal with tough situations if you know what you’re working with. Don’t stick your head in the sand and think it will all work out. Yes, it will work out one way or the other but at what cost. It’s selfish to leave your family saddle with the burden of taking care of your business without your help.

 FINAL WORD OF ENCOURAGEMENT – 1 Timothy 5:8 – Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

Love is action.

Be Encouraged! Be Blessed!

  this Pastor’s Wife

 

Don’t Rely on H.O.P.E.

happy girlDon’t rely on Having Other People Encourage you. I believe everyone at some point needs encouragement from other people.  It’s nice to know that others are rooting for you. However, like anything in life, don’t let the approval and opinions of others become a crutch or a hindrance.

WOW – as I was listening for GOD’s guidance on what to write next on this issue, Encourage Yourself by the Tri City Singers started to play.

Sometimes you have to encourage yourself. Sometimes you have to speak victory during the test. And no matter how you feel, speak the word and you will be healed; speak over yourself, encourage yourself in the Lord.

Speak over yourself.

I’m encouraged. I’m encouraged. I’m encouraged. I’m encouraged

I’ve heard this song many times before but what stuck out to me is how the song starts with ministering to you and ends with you ministering to yourself. Nobody but GOD!

I know that GOD is always listening and HE answers prayer in HIS time. But it really takes you to another level when HE quickly gives you the green light on the direction you believe HE told you go.

GOD is so AWESOME! When I started this blog, my intent was to document my journey as a girl, woman and this Pastor’s wife. I prayed that one or two other folks would relate to my struggles and be encouraged along with me as GOD guides me to and through HIS Word. I promise you, I have reread each one of these posts at least 3- 4 times since I started. It’s weird, it’s like I’m reading the words of someone else.

Thank you Father. I got it. I am encouraged to continue to write and post even if it is only to encourage myself.

FINAL WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT – 1 Peter 5:7 (NIV) Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

There is a Reason. Trust the Process. Stay the Course.

Be Encouraged. Be Blessed.

this Pastor’s Wife

IT Happens

frustrationIT Happens

In my last post I mentioned that my only competition is the ‘me’ that God created me to be. Now here’s the issue – in order to get to my best self, I must go to work. This is where I fall short. I’m lazy.  I’m pretty confident in what I need to do but I struggle in actually doing it. Well… that’s not entirely true.  My problem is maintaining and sustaining.  I get excited about the possibilities of a better me. This excitement is enough to fuel my efforts for a couple of weeks, then IT happens – lack of motivation and laziness.

Every time I’ve made a true effort to make a positive change, I’ve had favorable results. So, why is it so difficult for me to stay motivated?  I’m really frustrated with my lack of ability to maintain positive changes until it becomes business as usual. What is my problem?!

I know that change is a process and it can be challenging. What’s crazy is that you would think my level of excitement would increase or at least stay the same because of the good results I achieve. But it hasn’t.  I’m tired of starting over. I want to learn how to press through. I want to learn how to stay in the game.  It’s true insanity to continue to approach change the way I have. It’s just not working!

I am frustrated. I know that frustration is a trick of the enemy but I can’t give him credit for this. I recognize and understand this trick. The enemy is a one trick pony.  This is all on me. It’s on me to keep meditating on Philippians 4:13 – I can do ALL things through Christ which strengthens me. This is one of my default scriptures. I know this scripture. So what’s the problem? As I type Matthew 17:21 (NAS) comes to my remembrance – “But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” Is this what HE is telling me to do?

HE’s spoken.  Now what am I going to do?

FINAL WORD OF ENCOURAGEMENT – 1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

Obedience or sacrifice? The choice is mine.

Be Blessed. Be Encouraged

this Pastor’s Wife

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

Is My Marriage Normal?

wedding ringsKeep on living is what the elders say. As I get older, I’m starting to better understand what that means. Growing up I didn’t think about life outside of the rural community I grew up in. I grew up surrounded by family. It was a really good life. It was normal.

Since being married to John, I had to ask myself – what is normal? His normal is not my normal. This fact became crystal clear when we started living as man and wife. We are different in so many ways. Our backgrounds are very different; therefore, our perspectives are different. He is generally mild manner and laid back – I’m not. He can go with the flow and I’m comfortable with structure. Oftentimes our disagreements stem from the fact that we are different because our life experiences are different. But one thing that is our normal and has been from day 1, is our belief in GOD. We both know that there are many ways to CHRIST but only one way to GOD and that’s through JESUS CHRIST. 2 Corinthians 6:14 (NIV) Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?

Although John and I have and continue to work on defining our normal as husband and wife, one thing that is not negotiable is serving GOD. John and I know in order for our marriage to stand through better, worse, richer, poorer, sickness and health, we MUST keep GOD as the head and serve HIM.

As I keep on living like the elders say, I’m learning to appreciate other ‘normals.’ I understand that my normal is not right and that other ‘normals’ are not wrong – they’re just different.

If I had a chance to give myself something to think about before I got married it would be – Getting married is easy. Being married can be tough. Staying married is a choice.

So, to answer my own question – Yes, my marriage is normal.

FINAL WORD OF ENCOURAGEMENT Joshua 24:15 (NIV)“ …But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

If serving GOD is normal, then serving each other will be normal too.

Be Encouraged! Be Blessed!

this Pastor’s Wife

The Hokey Pokey

hokey pokeyYou put your right hand in, You put your right hand out, You put your right hand in, And you shake it all about, You do the hokey pokey and you turn yourself around –That’s what it’s all about.

For those who are unfamiliar with this little game, here’s a YouTube video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZinb6rVozc. I love me some YouTube!

This was one of the many fun games I played when I was a child attending St Joseph Elementary, Holy Trinity Alabama. It got me to thinking, if my Christian walk had a theme song, this would probably be it. If I had to change the lyrics it probably would go something like this.

You change your mind here, You change your mind there, You change your mind here, And you shake it all about, You do the go to churchy and you turn yourself around –That’s what it’s all about.

Too often I found myself being wishy washy about what I was going to believe GOD for. I believed HIM for my salvation, but I wasn’t sure if HE would take care of that situation at work. I believed HE died and rose on the third day but I wasn’t sure if HE would handle my finances. I’ve always heard that if it matters to you it matters to HIM. James 1:6-8 (NIV) says But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

The hokey pokey was a fun child’s game but I’ve learned that you simply need to believe. No ifs, ands or buts – I must believe! For every situation there is a Word. I have to do the work and study HIS Word for myself and ask GOD to reveal HIMSELF through that Word. I must meditate on HIS Word. By doing this, my faith is growing and now I’m finding that I’m beginning to believe HIM for EVERYTHING!

FINAL WORD OF ENCOURAGEMENT: Hebrews 11:6 (NIV) And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

BELIEVE!

Be Encouraged! Be Blessed!

this Pastor’s Wife

Is it Time for a Diaper Change?

diaper

I was watching one of the family vloggers on YouTube. For the sake of clarity, a vlogger is a person who videos their daily life and posts it online. It’s a video blog. I enjoy watching these vloggers because it’s so much fun watching young families raise their children. It’s like watching a sitcom. This particular family I was watching has a toddler and a set of infant twins. Needless to say, there’s a fair amount of diaper changing discussions. It’s funny to watch the parents’ reaction when there is a need for a diaper change. The parent’s know there’s a diaper change needed because in addition to the less than pleasant smell that launches an attack on their noses, the child may walk and act differently.

The mind is like a diaper. It is the dumping (pun intended- crass, I know) ground for all the words and images we allow into our ears and eyes. I can’t necessarily control all the information that I am exposed to but I can manage and monitor what goes in and more importantly what stays in my mind. Much like a dirty diaper, negative information can sit in our mind and if it’s not removed it can cause, to quote Joyce Meyer, ‘stinking thinking.’

One of my guilty pleasures is watching the Lifetime Movie Network (LMN). John has said on many occasions that I need to stop watching that stuff. I think he is concerned because there’s a significant number of shows where a woman goes over the edge, loses control and takes revenge out on someone. Typically the husband is the recipient of her rage. I would tell him, “Oh honey, it’s just entertainment.” But I started thinking – is it really just entertainment? Not to be overly spiritual but I’ve heard it said the mind is the enemy’s playground. Every negative or positive action, started as a thought. Each time I hear a news report, I’m sadden by most of what I see and hear. The senseless acts of so many, I believe, started as a thought.

To this day, I still watch a LMN movie here and there but I don’t watch nearly as much as I use to. Back in the day, I use to have Saturday movie marathons on the regular. I’ve noticed the more positive things I watch, read and listen to, the more peace and joy I experience. Please understand, it can take a tremendous amount of effort to change and much more to maintain. However, Philippians 4:13 (NIV) says I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

In my humble opinion, the world has an insatiable need to be entertained. And because much of the world is driven by the all mighty dollar, entertainment industries are willing to do whatever it takes to keep us coming back and wanting more. More foolishness = more ratings = more money. Entertainment in it of itself is fine. The problem I see is with what we find entertaining. I believe what we find entertaining is directly related to how we think.

Much like a dirty diaper, when I start speaking and acting like I don’t know Jesus, I know it’s time for a change.

FINAL WORD OF ENCOURAGEMENT: 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.

Start the change, It’s worth it!

Be Encouraged! Be Blessed!

this Pastor’s Wife

The Witness Protection Program

witnessThanks to my momma and daddy, I’ve been in church all my life. I was raised with solid values and discipline. My parents did their job to the best of their ability. As a child I really didn’t know why it was important for me to go to church. All I knew was that it was part of our life and it was non-negotiable. When I was a teen, attending church on Sunday morning was the deciding factor on whether I could go to the skate center Sunday evening. My daddy use to say, ‘People who can’t go church, can’t go to the skate center either.’

As I’m moving through my ages and stages, attending church has become more than just the building where I go on Sunday morning or the thing I must do before I can do something ’fun’ later. Truth be told, it wasn’t until my 30s when attending church became more than a religious act. It was during this time where I really started reading the Word for understanding and application. In my humble opinion, reading the Word without seeking to understand so you can live victoriously and be all that GOD created you to be – is POINTLESS! I’m no longer ignorant to what God expects of me. Sometimes I wish I was because in some instances, ignorance is bliss. As you learn and grow, you realize there are some inherent issues with that statement – that’s why I say some instances. 1 Corinthians13:11 (NIV) says When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.

I do not, by any stretch of the imagination, claim to be a model witness for Christ but what I can say – I’m working on it. It was this Pastor’s wife assignment that was the motivation for me to enter the witness protection program. Every Christian, regardless of what assignment they have been given, is called to be a witness for Christ – Mark 16:15 (NIV) He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. More often than not, a person will believe your actions, quicker than your words. Although I don’t get it right every time, I can definitely say that I am mindful of my behavior as I carry on with my day. Every situation and interaction with someone can be a potential opportunity to be a witness for Christ. Here is just a sampling of the questions I ask myself on the regular to check and protect my witness: Why are you complaining? Did you show compassion? Who are you to judge? Where’s your gratitude? There are plenty more.

My parents accepted the responsibility to introduce me to Christ. However, they didn’t stop at the introduction, they made sure that I was surrounded by opportunities to establish a relationship with HIM. They created the foundation for the relationship to grow. Until they were laid to rest, through their ups and downs, I was able to witness the benefits of having a real relationship with Christ. Now, that I’m an adult and have been for quite some time, it’s MY responsibility to continue to strengthen the relationship and protect my witness. Here’s a tip: as you strengthen your relationship, it will be easier to protect your witness

Final Word of Encouragement: Matthew 5:16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Will you draw anyone to Christ with your witness?

Be Encouraged! Be Blessed!

this Pastor’s wife

24hrs

clockOn my desk I have the following 3 statements: No Excuses. Trust the Process. Stay the Course. I’m an impatient person who procrastinates. This is a mess of a combination. What this translates to is when I finally decide to do what I need to do which typically requires the assistance of others; I have the nerve to get annoyed because they don’t move as quickly as I think they should.   What kind of foolishness is that?

I have such an admiration for people who make a plan and work their plan. I think some people are naturally goal and task oriented. It seems they are wired with this ‘special’ gift to accomplish a multitude of things. Arguably, everyone has their own unique gifts, skills, and talents but one thing we all have in common is 24hrs. The question is, how should I spend that 24hrs? One thing is for sure, people can disagree on many things but they can’t disagree that once time has passed, you can’t get it back.

Here’s my quandary. I don’t want to occupy my 24hrs with busy work but instead with focused and purposeful work. Sometimes it’s necessary to invest time and energy in determining where you should focus your efforts because all good ‘busy’ work is not necessarily GOD work.

Back to the 3 statements I mentioned in the first line of this blog. I am the queen of excuses. There are times when there are legitimate reasons. However, I should be ashamed to say this but to be honest; there are times when I just don’t want to. I’m unmotivated, uninspired, undisciplined, and a host of other pathetic excuses. That’s why it is so important to be prayerful about everything. Especially when it comes how you spend your time. When GOD puts something in your spirit that HE wants you to accomplish, there should be NO EXCUSES. Psalm 32:8 (NIV) I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.

It’s been my experience when GOD instructs you to do something, typically, it’s not an easy task. Once I conjure up enough nerve to take a step forward in obedience, because I’m an impatient person, I expect immediate results. However, it RARELY happens this way. I know my GOD can do things suddenly but, in my case, that just doesn’t happen often. What HE is teaching me is that I must TRUST THE PROCESS. What I’m realizing is that, more often than not, it’s not about the end result but it’s about what HE is working in me. I believe GOD is not going to trust me with HIS best until HE knows I have the character to handle HIS best. Proverbs 3:5 (NIV) Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding .

Now that I’m diligently working to grow spiritually, I’m asking GOD to renew my mind through and in accordance with HIS Word. By doing this, I am better equipped to deal with the disappointments, setbacks, missteps, frustrations, hurt feelings, etc. GOD sees and knows all. I truly believe that every tear that is shed while doing what HE called me to do, will not be wasted. When I’m faced with challenges, I remind myself to STAY THE COURSE because Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) says For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

FINAL WORD OF ENCOURAGEMENT: Proverbs 12:24(NIV) Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in forced labor.

Make every moment count.

Be Encouraged! Be Blessed!

this Pastor’s Wife

What I’m Learning from Queen Elsa

forgivenessIs it me? Probably. Does it seem that people are always reading between the lines? Sometimes it’s necessary – especially in the workplace. However, the ability to read between the lines can be an occupational hazard. Sometimes an apple is just an apple. I find it exhausting to constantly have to monitor what I say and how I say it because of the concern of how the person will receive it. Right or wrong, I tend to distance myself from people who think they know but often they don’t. I do believe you should be mindful when you speak and you should listen to wise counsel*.

But I ask myself the question, why do people read between the lines to the point where it puts a person on the defense or alienates them? So where does this come from? Is this a personality flaw? Is this a learned behavior? More importantly, do I do this to people?! I pray that I don’t and if I do , Lord help me!  I wonder if it’s a survival tactic developed in response to a past hurtful experience(s). You know the old saying, First time shame on you, second time shame on me and it ain’t gon’ be no third time.

*FOR THE RECORD, wise counsel typically does not alienate or put you on the defense. It may sting a little if correction is involved but it is received gladly because the motive was pure.

It’s tough to have a true relationship with someone because of the baggage we carry. I believe we are so afraid to enter into a meaningful relationship because there is a level of vulnerability that needs to exist. I totally understand this because people will mess up and people will hurt you. But, the beauty of being a Christian is the ability to forgive and move on. It takes a lot of unnecessary effort to carry around all the intentional and unintentional transgressions that people have made against me. At this stage in my life, I don’t have the bandwidth or the desire to carry extra strife. If not checked, unforgiveness can turn into bitterness and resentment. Hebrews 12:14-15 (NIV) Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.

I will forgive because I pray that I will be forgiven. But, I have the right not to forget. Not forgetting helps me to determine what type of relationship, if any; I should have with that person moving forward. I call this wisdom.

Holding on to past hurts, in the long run, only hurts the person that’s holding on to it. I am learning to take the advice of Queen Elsa – Let it Go, Let It Go… Yes, I was singing as I typed. And for those who don’t know, Queen Elsa is a Disney character from the movie ‘Frozen.’

FINAL WORD OF ENCOURAGEMENT: Matthew 6:15 (NIV) But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Forgiveness is tough but living with unforgiveness is tougher.

Be Encouraged! Be Blessed!

this Pastor’s Wife

The Challenge is Worth It

dog on leashThis morning Bindi took me for a walk. If you have a dog, you know exactly what I mean when I say she took me for a walk instead of saying I took her for a walk. I enjoy walking with Bindi because she challenges me to keep up. The walk keeps her in shape and helps get me into shape.

I was listening to a Joel Osteen message and he said he read that the reason golf balls have dimples is because it helps the ball travel faster and further. I’m sure there’s a more complex explanation but I thought to myself, in that case, I should be a speed walker. Dimples only look cute on face cheeks. And, how come muffin tops look good in bakery display cases but not on my waistline? Sorry, I digress.

When Bindi and I go for a walk, I keep her on a leash. This helps to keep her from getting too far ahead but far enough out of reach where I am challenged to move quicker than a leisurely stroll. This accelerated pace is enough to get my heart rate up. It’s in the increased heart rate where I am getting the most benefits for my overall health.

I believe the same concept holds true for my spiritual health. It’s important for me to surround myself with people who inspire, encourage but more importantly challenge me to be better. When you aspire to grow, you may need to assess the company you keep. I’ve often heard people say that if you are the smartest person in your circle, then you may need to expand your circle (Proverbs 13-20) Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm. Be careful, you want to be in relations with people who challenge – not intimidate. Much like my walks with Bindi, I’ve reached a point in my spiritual health where I enjoy and welcome challenge because I know the benefits will be worth it.

I’m learning to rely on GOD to bring the right balance of people in my life at the right time. Because, HE knows who I am and HE knows what shape I’m in.

FINAL WORD OF ENCOURAGEMENT: Proverbs 27:17(NIV) As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.

Pray for divine relationships.

Be Encouraged! Be Blessed!

this Pastor’s Wife

I Just Look at the Pictures

manuelI don’t like reading instructions. I have this bad habit of buying items that require assembly and I won’t read the instructions that come with the packaging. I just look at the pictures. There are VERY rare occasions when this approach works. John on the other hand, actually reads the instructions. And as I type, I really can’t think of an instance where his approach did not work. If it didn’t work, it was because the item was defective. Now, one would think that I would change my approach because the number of times my way worked compared to John’s way, well…Needless to say, my approach beget wasted time, sometimes loss of money, the ‘I told you so’ look from John because he would never actually let the words come out of his mouth, and frustration. All because I didn’t want to take the time to read and follow the instructions.

Truth be told, this is how I was treating my spiritual life. I wasn’t doing the work that was required to get the most out of this gift called my life. I just didn’t want to take the time to read the Bible which I heard someone say is the instruction manual for Christians. I’ve also heard it said this way; the Bible is our Basic Instruction Before Leaving Earth. Nowadays, Bibles have beautiful illustrations and different translations to help the average Christian understand the inspired Word of GOD. Although some of the translations concern me.  

This Christian walk is a lifelong journey. On this journey, we will encounter plenty of experiences -some good, some not-so-good but all with a lesson to be learned. How you respond to and learn from these experiences will give you a good indication on where you are in your spiritual walk. Sometimes the difference between good and not- so-good is how much time I spend reading and studying my instruction manual. There are times when I’ve read my manual and not understood anything I read. I’ve learned to be ok with those times. Because the beauty of being a Christian is that we have the help of the Holy Spirit. He is there to help and guide Luke 12:12 (NIV) For the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.” However, you have to give him something to work with. So…I’m learning to not just look at the pictures.

FINAL WORD OF ENCOURAGEMENT:  Psalm 119:105 (NIV) Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.

Doing the work upfront is better than a redo any day.

Be Encouraged! Be Blessed!

this Pastor’s Wife

 

Beware of MS!

20150312_113649A couple of weeks ago, I purchased the UP24. This snazzy wrist cuff is designed to help you learn more about your physical fitness. It tracks your daily activities such as the number of steps taken, sleep patterns, etc. The goal is to track your daily activities to get a picture of where you are and based on your patterns, it will offer suggestions on how you can improve. Now that I’m 45, things are changing and I need all the help I can get. Because it’s only been a couple weeks, I’m still learning how to get the most out of it. There are many features but, to date, my favorite is the ‘Idle Alert.’ You can set an alarm to notify you when you have been idle for a specified period of time.  I set mine for 1 hour because I have a tendency to sit for hours at a time. After 1 hour, the wrist cuff will vibrate to let you know it’s time to get up and move.

My motivation for purchasing the UP24 was my last doctor’s visit. In my humble opinion motivation is critical to start, continue and finish any task.

Life has a way of beating the motivation out of you. It is so easy to give up and throw in the towel. I have heard so many times before from different people that no matter how great or small, you should be careful who you share your dreams and aspirations with. I use to think the primary reason was because folks just talk too much. But what I’m finding is that intentional or unintentional some people can be MOTIVATION STEALERS (MS).

Beware of MS!

Here are some of the ways they can steal your motivation: They

  • Don’t share your enthusiasm
  • Tell you all the reasons why it won’t work
  • Share their unsolicited opinion
  • Laugh at you
  • Are dismissive
  • Remind you of your last failure
  • Share with you how they tried it and it didn’t work for them
  • Are just plain ol’ negative

All of these responses can kill your motivation. I don’t care how spiritually mature you are, responses like these, can really bum you out.

But wait a minute… I am a child of the MOST HIGH! I should not and will not let people rob me of my motivation to press towards a higher mark – Philippians 3:14. I’ve noticed that as I grow in my relationship with Christ, HE’s giving me a boldness that I can’t explain.

When you are solid in your motivation, you will seek out ways that will help you accomplish your task. You will try new things. You will get excited and energized about the possibilities.

After my primary care physician shared that Arthur (arthritis) had stop by my house, I was motivated to find ways to make his stay a brief one -hence, the purchase of the UP24.

If you believe in your heart that GOD told you to do something, don’t let the MS in your life stop you. When they come to visit, and they will, just make sure their stay is brief.

FINAL WORD OF ENCOURAGEMENT 1 Corinthians 15:58 (NIV) Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

You are responsible for doing what GOD told you to do.

Be Encouraged! Be Blessed!

this Pastor’s Wife

Tired and Frustrated

closet

The master bedroom closet is one of my favorite rooms in the house. It’s organized. Shoes, handbags, shirts, pants, accessories, all neatly displayed…. Everything has its place and everything is in its place. I think I’m in love with my closet. Yes, I’m a little extra. It’s ok. I own it. My closet wasn’t always this way. I never gave closets much thought because, to me, it was just a place to hide my crap. One day I was inspired to get my closet in order. I was tired and frustrated with not be able to find what I needed. In this case, frustration worked in my favor because it forced me to make a permanent change. I say permanent change because many, many times before, I have organized my closet but I was never able to sustain the effort. It’s been years since I made that permanent change and now every closet, cabinet and drawer in my house is organized. And keeping them that way, gives me pleasure. Ok, it may be that I’m a little OC (obsessive compulsive). But, who cares, it works!

I’m learning to treat my spiritual being much like the closets in my house. Day by day, sometimes moment by moment, I try to get my spiritual house in order by transforming my mind. 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.

It’s been a slow but deliberate process. I found that in order for me to make a permanent change, I had to get tired. I mean REALLY tired. I was tired of letting my emotions control me. I was tired of giving my energy to things that don’t matter. I was tired of worrying about things I couldn’t change. I was tired of not having peace. I could go on…

Being married to a man of GOD, has been one of the main inspirations for me to continually work on my spiritual clean up and maintenance. When you get serious about making a permanent change in your life, GOD will always provide the help you need.

FAN GIRL MOMENT – I have often said, if I wasn’t married to John, I would want to know him. John makes no excuses for his missteps. When John falls down, he repents, gets up, and presses on in the name of JESUS. He does not sweat the small stuff because he knows WHO is in control.

Back to the point of this blog. I have reached a stage in my life where I want to live a victorious life and be a better witness for Christ. In order for this to happen, I have some cleaning up to do. And, I can’t neglect the areas that I have made some progress. Like the closets in my house, I need to become OC about the condition of my spiritual being. I just think about the happiness I feel every time I walk into my closet. With the help of the HOLY SPIRIT, imagine the benefits of getting and keeping my spiritual house in order?! Oh, how different life can be.

FINAL WORD OF ENCOURAGEMENT Acts 1:8 (NIV) But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

Tired yet? Ready to live victoriously? The Holy Spirit will help.

Be Encouraged! Be Blessed!

this Pastor’s Wife

My Legacy

20150309_181843I was watching the ducks glide across the pond and the tracks they left in their wake reminded me of Sundays’ message. Guest Pastor WFB asked the questions, “What will be your legacy? What will you leave behind?” Although I could barely see the ducks as they moved to the far end of the pond, I could clearly see the tracks they left behind.

Over the years, I really struggled with this question – what will I leave behind? I’m an average person with no particularly special gifts or talents. I remember when I was younger, either my Uncle J or Auntie P – I can’t remember which – said, ‘You just brown. Brown skin, Brown hair, Brown eyes… You just brown.’ Please understand, I love my ‘browness’ but let’s be real– who gets excited about the color brown? Yes, I know that I’m fearfully and wonderfully made because Psalm 139:14 says so. And I also know, GOD placed a gift/talent in everyone. Some have few, some have many. Some are obvious while others are subtle. However, all are equally important in the eyes of GOD. They must be. I just don’t think GOD created anything just for the sake of creating it. GOD is not random. Everything HE created has a purpose. And, I believe the purpose is to serve others.

But what does this average ‘brown’ girl from highway 165 have to offer? Well…I’m still trying to figure that out. One thing I know for sure, there’s something I’m required to do because I’m still here.

I was introduced to Zipporah through the book Legendary Women of the Bible and the Lessons They Still Teach Us. Remember I said that GOD is not random? I truly believe GOD wanted me to purchase this book so I could read about her and be encouraged. Zipporah was the wife of Moses (Exodus 2 and 4). She thought she was going to have a simple and quiet life with a simple shepherd. Moses was a shepherd but his life was anything but simple. God had a calling on his life and Zipporah was along for the journey. As the wife of the Pastor of a grassroots ministry, I can relate.

I’m not sure what the rest of my journey holds but my prayer is that this ‘brown girl’ leaves a legacy of service that is acceptable in the eyes of THE FATHER. When I meet HIM, I want to hear HIM say “Servant, well done.”

FINAL WORD OF ENCOURAGEMENT 1 Peter 4:10 (NIV) Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

Ask God to show you what your gift is and when HE tells you – use it for good.

Be Encouraged! Be Blessed!

this Pastor’s Wife

Cheese with that Whine?

girl whiningI remember one day back in the 90s, I was whining and complaining about something to my co worker. She listened. When I came up for air, she simply asked “Do you want some cheese to go with that whine?” I never forgot it. Shout out to MM! It’s true, life can be tough. Crappy things happen to good people. Sometimes ‘stuff happens’ that will rock you to your core. But at some point, you have to deal with it, get over it, and move on.

When the unfavorable and unthinkable happens, it’s ok to express whatever emotion that gets you through. I even believe it’s ok to have a pity party. It can be comforting and therapeutic. However, like any party, there should be a start and end time. Don’t get stuck in a ‘woe-is-me’ mode.

Now that I’m in the 40s club, I’ve had my share of pain, heartbreak, disappointment and failure. When my mom and dad were laid to rest at ages 46 and 63 respectively, it would have been easy to get stuck in the ‘woe-is-me’ mode. Truth is – there are still times when the reality of them no longer physically being here is so overwhelming, that I want to curl up in a corner…but God. HE said in Matthew 5:4 (NIV) Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Generally speaking, I think most people have the ability to feel compassion. However, even the people who have the gift of compassion will get sick of hearing you whine.

The issue I see with whining is that it will eventually lead to what I call life paralysis. In my opinion as I mentioned in my previous blog, good or bad situations are experiences with a lesson to be learned. Staying too long at the pity party will stop you from moving forward. At this stage in my spiritual journey, I’ve decided the best thing I can do is accept what has happened, ask God what I should learn from it, respond appropriately and get ready for the next level. Situations come so that we can grow. Philippians 1:6 For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.

Please understand, I still have an occasional pity party – some impressive ones I might add. But now, I work very hard not to stay too long. I try to do like the gospel song says – I’ll have a little talk with JESUS. I’ll tell HIM all about my troubles. I know HE’ll hear my cry. I’ll trust that HE will answer by and by.

FINAL WORD OF ENCOURAGEMENT:  Isaiah 41:10 (NIV) So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Stuff happens. Tell Jesus.

Be Encouraged! Be Blessed!

this Pastor’s Wife

 

If It Don’t Fit, Don’t Force It

square peg“If it don’t fit, don’t force it Just relax and let it go Just ‘cause that’s how you want it Doesn’t mean it will be so… If it don’t fit nah don’t force it”

This morning I started singing Kellee Patterson’s song from back in the 70s. Of course I didn’t know all the words but it didn’t stop me from making up my own. Typically I would just butcher a song and move on but for some reason I was curious about the actual lyrics to this one. So, I did a search online. Not only did I find the lyrics, I found a YouTube video! I love me some YouTube.

I started thinking about how many times I’ve tried to force something in my life only to be rewarded with frustration, hurt feelings, tears, and the list goes on. Because I want to start making better choices, I find that I’ve really started searching the Word of God to understand and deal with this thing called life. Dearly beloved we are gathered here today 2 get through this thing called life…’ Sorry, It just felt right -Thanks Prince!

Back to my thoughts. God knows everything about me. HE created me. HE knows every wrong turn I would and will make. The cool thing is, in Romans 8:28 (NIV) it states And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. I REALLY like the word ‘all’ in this scripture.

I’m learning to change my perspective. I try not to see situations as good or bad but rather as an experience with a lesson. However, I would like to minimize the missteps. What I am finding is that when I trust the Holy Spirit that lives in me and step out on faith, HE gives me grace.

Grace is God’s unmerited favor. To me, this means if I follow HIS guidance, there will be a favor of ease. Simply put, I won’t have to force it. I’m not saying this is an easy thing and I will miss the mark sometimes, but it’s OK. I’ll just remember Romans 8:28.

 FINAL WORD OF ENCOURAGEMENT 2 Corinthians 12:8-9 (NIV) Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

If you insist on making it work, at all cost, it may just work. But, it might hurt a lot. Sometimes persistence equals pain.

Be Encouraged! Be Blessed!

this Pastor’s Wife

I Talk Too Much

mouthThere are days when I feel like I gave my mouth an enema. I know, crass, but appropriate in this case. It’s the only word that accurately describes what happens when I start running my mouth. My mother wrote a letter to me in 1987 long before she was laid to rest in 1996. It was full of a mother’s love and wisdom. Among many things, she wrote ‘once you say something, you can’t take it back.’ So true momma, so true.

Words can build up and tear down. Proverbs 18:21 (NIV) The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

I heard someone say, God gave you two ears and one mouth so that you can listen twice as much as talk. Perhaps if I listen like I talk, the scores on my Fruit of the Spirit scorecard I mentioned in my last post, would be higher. Hmm…

Among many things, I ask God to help me keep my words few. What I am learning is the more I talk, the more I run the risk of unintentionally offending.

I have a R-n-R issue. Rambling and Repeating. I’m such a fan of a person who can keep their words few, relevant and impactful.  Whether it be for correction or celebration, this person has a way of getting their point across without belaboring the issue. In my humble opinion, that’s a gift.

I love this thought : Say what you mean, mean what you say, just don’t say it mean.

I have to admit there is something addictive about positive feedback when I stumble upon making a good point. Instead of just stating the point and moving on, I just keep going and going and going and going and going… Lord help me! It’s funny because I can tell when I lose someone during an R-N-R episode. Their eyes glaze over and they politely nod their heads hoping that I would shut up.  If I’m talking on the phone, the person on the other end gets quiet. Not because they are listening intently, it’s because they’re saying to themselves – here she goes again.

Remember when the enemy tried to tempt Jesus after his 40 day fast (Matthew 4:1-11)? Jesus simply said ‘It is written….’ stated HIS point and moved on. Gotta love Jesus!

Final Word of Encouragement – Ecclesiastes 10:12 Words from the mouth of the wise are gracious, but fools are consumed by their own lips.

Use your words sparingly, others will appreciate it. And, it will keep you out of trouble.

Be Encouraged! Be Blessed!
This Pastor’s Wife

What I Learned from a Flower

lilyI love fresh flowers in the house. This week’s choice was lilies. I intentionally select flowers that have blooms that have not opened yet. These tend to last longer. Now here’s the thing, I purchased the flowers on Sunday and was annoyed on Monday because all the blooms had not opened. I went on a mini rant because I was sure I had selected some ‘bum’ flowers. But lo and behold, when I went to inspect the flowers this morning, I noticed the blooms were starting to open. I was so happy. Pretty flowers make me smile.

Awhile ago I made a promise to myself that no matter what the day brings, I would find something to smile about. Having fresh flowers in the house helps me keep this promise.

I started looking closely at each of the blooms because now I was intrigued about the various stages of each bloom. Just a few days ago, I was frustrated because the ‘bum’ flowers were not opening as fast I would like. But now, my frustration had turned to excited anticipation. Now, I’m eager to get home because I want to see how each bloom is progressing.

The same frustration I had over my ‘bum’ flowers, is much like my frustration with my personal development of the Fruit of the Spirit. Ok, below is my personal scorecard – according to me.

FOS Scorecard4Galatians 5:22-25 (NIV) 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

Christlike Fellowship’s motto is Learning to Live like Christ Everyday. What this means to me is if you develop the Fruit of the Spirit in your character, you will live a victorious life. This does not mean troubles and problems will be a thing of the past. Actually, it’s been my experience that trouble and problem got married just to have kids so they could send them over to my house to raise. It’s Ok. I realize that troubles and problems help me develop the Fruit of the Spirit. Once the enemy knows you are actively studying and applying the Word in your life, his sole purpose is to steal, kill and destroy any effort you make. And, he will use whatever or whomever he needs to get the job done.

Back to the chart. As you can see by my chart, I’ve got a lot of work to do. And you know what? I’m ok with this because I’m willing and diligently working to develop the Fruit of HIS Spirit that lives in me. I recognize that I’m a work in progress. My God is patient and merciful. He is a God of many chances. HE knows exactly where I am and HE knows that I sincerely want to be and do better.

So what did I learn from what I perceived to be my ‘bum’ flowers?

As I continue to work towards developing the Fruit of the Spirit, I‘m realizing that each fruit will bloom at its own pace. I’m learning to appreciate the progress of each. So instead of getting frustrated because I’m not further along –by the way, frustration is a trick of the enemy- I will keep pressing in Jesus name and wait with excited anticipation to see how each Fruit of the Spirit develops. The good news is, I have my whole life to keep working at it.

Final Word of Encouragement – Philippians 3:14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Don’t give up, don’t give in – keep pressing!

Be Encouraged! Be Blessed!

This Pastor’s Wife

Joy in the Freedom to be Me

clip-art-illustration-of-an-african-american-school-girl-playing-hopscotch-by-pams-clipart-386During my walk around the block yesterday morning, I started smiling and laughing out loud. Nothing in particular happened. If any of the folks driving by noticed, I’m sure I probably got the hairy eyeball. Later in the day, it dawned on me why that sudden burst of happiness erupted in my spirit – it was joy.

As I understand, joy is a calm delight regardless of your circumstance. So, where did this come from? There are things happening in my life that I pray that God’s promises manifest sooner rather than later. But, in the midst of it all, I’m experiencing a ‘calm delight’ that sometimes borders on hilarity. I can’t explain nor can I adequately describe it but one thing is for sure, I’m enjoying it. Perhaps it comes from the acceptance that I wrote about in my last post. The difference in this instance is the acceptance of just being me.

Dare I say, I’m finding joy in the freedom to be me?

Years ago, I started my natural hair journey. It wasn’t something I purposely set out to do. Quite the opposite. It was a reaction to the many years prior of what I like to call the ‘perm and burn’ phase of my life. It was a vicious cycle: Braid – Healthy Hair- Perm- Burn- Breakage- Back to Braids. I was over it. So, one day, I grabbed the scissors and Voila – TWA (teeny weeny afro). Little did I know, this was the start of getting to the joy of being me. For those of you who have embarked on this ‘natural hair’ journey, you understand how frustrating this path can be. It can be tough and a lonely road to travel. And EXPENSIVE! Y’all know – all those products you must try. My Hair Equation: W+O=H3 Moisture is key! [Water (Moisturizer) + Oil (Moisture Sealant) = Happy Healthy Hair].

But, I have to say my hair issues was the catalyst that prompted me to start learning more about myself. Long story short, I went to the Word of God. And, HE brought me to Psalm 139: 14 (NIV) I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

Some may read this and think, Girl. It ain’t that deep. Perhaps. But in my experience – it is, unfortunately, that deep. This scripture helped me embrace what was growing out of my scalp. This may seem strange but through this one scripture, I started to develop boldness and rubber skin. Rubber skin? Yep! When I stopped hiding my hair under weaves and wigs, some family and friends…well…let’s just say, they weren’t feeling it. Make no mistake, to date, some still aren’t feeling it. It’s Ok!

By the way, I still have my wigs and I will rock a weave and braids when I feel so inclined. Years ago, a friend of mine use to switch up her looks all the time with wigs, half wigs, extensions etc… She said, ‘Girl, hair ain’t nothing but an accessory.’ I don’t know if I ever told her but that statement opened my mind to a whole new world – yes I was singing when I typed that. Shout out to KP!

Back to my morning walk. I’m in Florida so that means humidity. Back in my perm/burn and earlier natural hair days, humidity was the enemy. My hair is very soft. That means, any moisture in the atmosphere make the hair on my head shrink like roaches running from the light.

But now, YOLO (You Only Live Once)! Remember Psalm 139:14? I believe my kinky coily hair was fearfully and wonderfully made. Now, I know why I was smiling and laughing out loud during my morning walk. It wasn’t too long ago that I would have passed on going out for a wonderful walk because I feared the inevitable return of the TWA.

Learning to love all that is me, started with my hair. But, that’s not where my story ends….

Final Word of Encouragement: Genesis 1:27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

Discover the joy in the freedom of being you – I am.

 

Change Happens. Seasons Change.

thKYDQ6LJXIt feels like I’m in the middle of another shift. I have come to a conclusion – my  physical body’s change cycle is on a 10 year rotation. I’ve never been one of those people who have a mini melt down because I’ve grown a year older. Honestly, I’ve never really thought about it beyond the fact that another year has passed. However, what sticks out in my mind are the changes my body has gone through. I distinctly remember after I turned 35, I couldn’t eat a large ‘The Works’ Papa John’s pizza, in a single sitting, without having to hide the evidence in my ‘pleasingly plump’ clothing. Yes, I have specific articles of clothing that are accomplices in hiding my crime of gluttony. Don’t judge me.

Now that I’m 45, I’m no longer a MRI virgin. I had my first MRI recently because for a couple of months I’ve been experiencing tingling in my right arm – from my shoulder to my fingertips. And…to top it off, I shared with my primary physician that I was having this pain in my left hip when I wake up in the morning. She nonchalantly commented – Yep, that’s arthritis. Really?! Make no mistake, I’m not complaining. Quite the contrary, I’m acknowledging that there are changes.

Change happens. Seasons change.

Ok, I have acknowledged these physical changes – now what? Wait a minute…there’s more. I’m sensing a change in my mental and spiritual being. What I have found in my personal journey, God gives you signs long before the change manifest. For me, two things I notice when I’m nearing the end of a season and getting ready for the next. #1 – HE starts moving people. #2 –  I experience an unusual restlessness that nags me until I deal with those things that I have purposely ignored. Procrastination is bad.

In the past, I have denied the obvious, made excuses, and tried to keep things as they were. Only to find that it made things uncomfortable and prolonged unnecessary stress.

The change that I’m sensing in my mental and spiritual being is the gift of acceptance. I’m grateful for this gift. So much so, that John and I celebrated by expanding our personal family this weekend.  We welcomed 20150303_060821a new child – Mr. Bosley! Remember Charlie’s Angels? Mr. Bosley is a betta fish –      aka Siamese fighting fish. I’ve always wanted a pet named Mr. Bosley. I don’t know why – I just have. Of course, John didn’t know that ‘we’ were celebrating. He just knows that he has another mouth to feed.

To me learning to accept change is a gift and worth celebrating. Change is going to happen with or without you. You can choose to ignore it but it won’t stop it from occurring.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NIV) says ‘There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: speaks about seasons. There is a time for everything under the sun.’

At this stage in my spiritual journey, I find myself asking God to give me strength to let things and people go. Letting things go is not as tough as letting some people go. But, if God says it’s time, I will trust that it’s time because apparently those things and/ or people are not part of my next season. It’s OK! This life has a shelf life.  I’m learning to not waste time. I don’t know when my expiration date is but I’m going to pray that God helps me to move forward with only what I need for my next season.

FINAL WORD OF ENCOURAGEMENT –   Philippians 4:13 “ I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

Is He telling you to let go? Know this – God’s timing is perfect timing.

 

 

Dare To Do Something!

DISCOVER‘It’s doing nothing that’s the enemy” is a line from the miniseries Downton Abbey. This statement resonated with me because I thought about how often I have done nothing because of the fear of being judged. What I have found, more often than not, those that judge, ridicule and laugh at those who dare to ‘do something’ are struggling with their own insecurities.

DON’T give those people any energy. We ALL have insecurities.

When you dare to ‘do something,’ please understand there will be family and friends who will not support, celebrate or embrace your efforts. It’s OK! DON’T waste your time trying to get people to understand what you believe God told you to do. It’s draining and unproductive.

That’s one of the many great  things about Christlike Fellowship – we are a small, non-denominational grassroots ministry that welcomes and encourages anyone who wants to ‘do something’ in the kingdom for HIS name sake. We strive to create an environment where people feel comfortable to discover, nurture and share their own unique gift.

Both the Pastor and I are blessed to come from rich spiritual foundations. John was reared in the Apostolic and Baptist doctrines. I was raised Baptist but received my primary and secondary education within the Catholic faith. I share this information to make it clear that we are well-versed in the order of service within the structure of established church denominations.

John and I are both grateful for our history. Our spiritual life and moral compass was built on this history. However, since my assignment as this Pastor’s wife, what has become disturbingly clear is that I have to consciously fight to not judge. At this stage in my spiritual growth, I am strongly convicted when I am impatient and sometimes critical of  someone who dares to ‘do something.’

When someone:

  • Sings off key.  Psalm 100:1 Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.
  • Reads slowly or mispronounces words as they read a scripture out loud. Ephesians 4:2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
  • Shares a testimony that may be a little lengthy in delivery. Psalm 22:22 I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will praise you.
  • Needs special prayer at EVERY altar call. 1 Chronicles 16:11 Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his face continually.

To myself, fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, please be kind and remember where you started your journey. I believe this faith walk is about your relationship with Christ. As my relationship grows, I am finding that God is giving me the confidence to step out and ‘do something.’ And, I trust that HE will guide me. I pray that I will be sensitive to HIS directions. If I have to stop and turn around because I took a wrong turn…so what?!

Starting ‘Diary of this Pastor’s Wife’ is my effort to ‘do something.’ I don’t want the enemy of ‘doing nothing’ to rob me of my privilege and responsibility to ‘do something’ in HIS kingdom.

Final Word of Encouragement: Timothy 1:7 ‘For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

What are you waiting for? DARE TO DO SOMETHING!

Be Encourage! Be Blessed!

This Pastor’s Wife

 

 

 

Will I Ever Catch Up?

0511-0905-2605-2039_Black_Woman_Shouting_in_Fear_clipart_imageI’m still trying to figure out this Pastor’s wife assignment. Let’s be honest, there are days I struggle with being a Christian. In May 2011 when my dad was laid to rest, I had to come to grips with the fact that I was really an adult- what a rude awakening.

Here’s the thing, I don’t think my personality is suited for being a Pastor’s wife. I’m not a people person – whatever that is. I’m an introvert who is most comfortable with being home with my husband and dog. Crowds drain me. There are days when I wish I could take a vacation from myself!

Being a part of my husband’s vision and calling to pastor a grassroots ministry has been tough but fulfilling. With anything in this life, there have been ups and downs. For me, the ‘ups’ have been witnessing the individual growth of our faithful few – I love them all.

Please understand grassroots ministry is NOT – I repeat – is NOT for the young in faith. This is why I believe with all that I have and all that is in me that my husband is a true FAITH WARRIOR. If you haven’t guessed, I am a fan of my husband. Since the birth of the ministry in 2006, John’s faith has never wavered. In the face of low attendance, broken commitments, members coming and going, health challenges etc., his faith continues to stand strong. John’s response is always – this is God’s business and I will press forward in obedience, stay the course until HE says it’s done. I can’t say the same for my faith. One of my many prayers is that God helps my unbelief and that my faith does not fail. The Word says in Matthew 17:20 (NIV) “He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you caPresentation1n say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.’He said that you need only to have faith the size of a mustard seed.”

Well God, I am encouraged because a ‘mustard seed’ faith is about all I have.

As I continue on this path of learning and growing into my assignment of being this Pastor’s wife, I have embraced the fact that this Christian journey is a faith walk. There are days when I feel as though I am so far behind that I often ask – ‘Will I ever catch up?’ But one thing I know for sure, God knows who you are, where you are and what you were designed to do.

Final Word of Encouragement – Ecclesiastes 9:11 (NIV) ‘I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift  or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.’’

heartland-clipart-Runners-multi-colored

I may be pulling up the rear but I am proud to say, I AM IN THE RACE!

Be Encouraged! Be Blessed!

This Pastor’s Wife

Weekly Schedule

Worship Service

Sundays
10:00 AM

Midday Prayer

Wednesdays
Noon – 1:00 PM

Midweek Worship & Bible Study

Wednesdays
6 PM – 7:30 PM

Contact Us

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:

 

General Questions

Office: 727-937-0675
Email:  info
@christlikefellowship.com

Pastor John F. Crayton Sr.

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

Elder Albert J. Lee Sr.

Email:  ministerlee
@christlikefellowship.com

Elder Todd E. Barber Sr.

Email:  ministerbarber
@christlikefellowship.com

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 3100
Holiday, FL 34692

Connect with Us!

We're in all the usual locations...

© Christlike Fellowship 2019
dong sucking dude jizzed.free wank