The Jedi’s Epic Adventure

As a mom, when the youth minister interrupts bible study asking for you, it’s never a good thing. This was me last week. Upon being told that my son had hurt his arm (and knowing how he usually acts when hurt) I expected to just be needed to provide comfort.

Enter the gym & immediately find the Jedi not crying, but sitting calmly & the adult looking after him mouths these words to me: “You need to go to the ER. It’s broken.”

Run. Gather stuff. Leave the youth minister to get my pastor hubby (which apparently was interesting, but not my tale), grab the Princess. & gingerly load the wounded Jedi into the van. All the while feeling every prayer being lifted.

The ER techs found the story of the injury quite epic. (First, let it be known that the Jedi was trying to minimize the pain of a broken wrist & fractured elbow. No tears over the pain.) Now, it must always be fun to ask a boy injured like this how it happened. Here is his reply to the question:

Well, there was a low basketball goal & a chair. 

Snickering came from techs and an “I like this story already!”

Apparently he had been jumping from the chair to the goal & either climbing the net to the hoop or grabbing the hoop and swinging. (All boy the Jedi is.) 

When the techs asked if he liked basketball, they guffawed when he replied no. They should have asked if he liked trying to be a ninja, that might have received at least a grin and nod.

Two days later (and while sedated in the surgery area) the wrist was set & the cast applied. 

For now, he’s learning to be a lefty & enjoying being waited on a bit.

I really am proud of my growing boy. Man, he’s getting so growny. I don’t think I’m ready! I love his compassionate heart. The only thing that truly upset him through it all was interrupting everyone’s bible studies. Bless him! ❤️ 

Trying to make his experience as epic as possible! 

    
    
 
Be blessed!

-De

Why We Celebrate

Because on this day, many seem to have forgotten why we celebrate.  This.  This is why.

The Declaration of Independence: A Transcription


IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

 

Be blessed!

-De

 

Stop and Refocus

When I sat down to have my quiet time this morning, I looked at my Bible study book and just couldn’t pick it up.  So after a little prayer, I began getting the kiddos working on their lessons for the day.  I really felt God wanting me to stop and refocus.  Not exactly what I wanted to do this morning.

Here’s a little insight…

Ok, so we’re working to get settled in.  Unpacking is just as much fun as the packing was. Moving-Homes-The-Unpacking-Nightmare-700x466I’m honestly, OVER seeing boxes everywhere.  But, unpacking and living in a place at the same time makes it slow-going.  That’s ok.  It really is.  But, here’s what happened over the past few days.  The hubby has started officially at the church.  He’s keeping regular office hours (and not just across the parking lot), so he’s not around during schooling hours if I need a little assistance.  (That’s really ok, too.)  I, however, during this transition have not been as diligent in keeping the Enemy out of my thought life.  That’s a very dangerous thing!  Little unpacking has been accomplished this week.  All of my time has been spent schooling & cleaning.  (I mean, you have to clean if you are going to live in a place…even if it isn’t unpacked.)  Insert LOTS of frustration over not being able to find items needed for cleaning.  More frustration over being interrupted by children needing assistance while I was looking for missing items needed for the cleaning task I was involved in.  Dishes. Laundry. Creating a home atmosphere. Sweeping. Vacuuming. Dishes. Laundry. Trip over a box. (Did I break my toe?) Try to develop a cleaning/shopping routine.  Realize it doesn’t work.  Try again.  Redirect kiddos back to school.  Etc. Etc. & repeat.

During all of this, the Enemy is whispering: “You are going to have to do this all by yourself.”  “Look at them all, playing around & not helping at all.”  “You’re never going to get anything accomplished.”   See where he was taking me?  UGH!!

Insert God saying “STOP!” “My daughter, I need you to refocus!”

Strength and honor are her clothing, and she can laugh at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom and loving instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the activities of her household and is never idle. Her sons rise up and call her blessed. Her husband also praises her: “Many women are capable but you surpass them all!” Proverbs 31:25-29 (HCSB)

He directed me to read and meditate on Proverbs 31, again.  I love my Abba for times like this!  Sure, I may get overwhelmed at times, but I don’t have to listen to the Enemy’s lies.  As long as I recognize them, I can rebuke them.  God created me for the purpose of “watching over” my household.  That doesn’t mean I have to do it all myself, but I do have to delegate responsibilities & ask for assistance when needed.

Why do we, as women, make things SO much more difficult than they need to be?  😉

May I encourage you, sister, if you are feeling overwhelmed or discouraged with simply everyday life, take some time to stop and refocus.  Pray.  Listen to God.  Obey Him.  Maybe read through Proverbs 31. (And please don’t feel that you EVER have to live up to her example.) Be inspired by her!  Be encouraged by her!  God created you for a beautiful purpose!

Be blessed!

-De

A Much Needed Getaway

When you are a family in ministry, family time is a VERY important thing! We were very blessed to take a family vacation this month, and not just any little vacation, a magical vacation for this family of Disney addicts. 😉  A wonderful week of disconnecting ourselves from the world (aka cell phones were only for trying to reach each other in the park, the “do not disturb” function is a beautiful thing), and enjoying our family.

Here are a few of my favorite memories:

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We opted for the Memory Maker package on this trip, and I really loved it. That allowed my hubby to concentrate on videos (notice his camcorder in almost every pic) for our video scrapbook. 🙂 It’s such a cool way to document our family time. He even let the kids take his old camera & capture videos from their point of view, aka “Kid Cam”.  I’ll share a few segments of it when he’s done editing it.

Be blessed & enjoy your family!

Disney Signature

To the Young Pastor’s Wife

I guess I still somewhat fall into this category, but although the “pastor’s wife” title is a new-ish one for me, being a woman in ministry is not.

Ladies, my heart simply wants to encourage you.  The struggles you feel are very real, and you are not alone in any of them.

Are you feeling any of these:

  • Lonely.  Seemingly every friend you had before ministry now looks at you differently.  They aren’t as open with you.  You aren’t as open with them.  The fear of judgmental thoughts is very real.
  • Like you must walk on eggshells.  Every decision you make is watched.  Your clothes aren’t nice enough…or maybe too nice.  Every word you say must be more than carefully thought out, because everyone, but you it seems, is allowed to wear their feelings on their sleeves.
  • Like you must be the “perfect” housewife.  Your children must fit a certain mold.  Your home must look a certain way.  The budget must always work out perfectly.
  • Like your husband is on loan to you…definitely doesn’t belong to you but to the congregation.
  • Like you have forgotten who you really are deep inside.

I will honestly say, at some point over the last 15 years in and out of ministry, I’ve felt these & many more.  Living the ministry life is not for everyone.  It’s lonely.  It’s very public.  And if you are in it, it’s part of God’s plan for you.

When I find my mind wandering into one of these negative places, it’s easy to dwell there.  Honestly, it’s easy to set up camp and stay a while, and that’s just what the Enemy wants us to do.  If he can bring us down, he can get to our family, our husbands, and destroy the work God is doing.

First and foremost let me encourage you (and remind myself) to suit up each day.  Put on your armor ladies!  Keep the Enemy out of your minds.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. – Philippians 4:8

Second, let’s defeat these lies.  Yes, lies.

  • Lonely.  You will feel lonely, but you are most definitely NOT alone.  Your friends are still there.  True, you may have to be more guarded around some people, but I promise you, there are friends out there for you.  (And you are always free to message me.) 🙂  Confide in your husband how you are feeling.  Let him pray for you.  Don’t worry about burdening him…because you aren’t!  You are in this ministry TOGETHER!
  • Those eggshells.  I know from experience that sometimes you just want to let your feelings fly…ugly and out in the open.  Over the years, I’ve excused myself from many meetings to “refill my cup of water” or “visit the restroom” in order to allow myself time to pray and regroup.  There will always be those who passive-aggressively (or maybe downright aggressively) put down on your husband, your children, and you.  But know that the worth of your family & yourself is NOT directly related to what they perceive.  Only in God can we truly find our worth!

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. – 1 Cor 10:13

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. – Psalm 139:13-15

  • Perfect Housewife.  I laugh at this one often.  I am FAR from the perfect housewife.  I am FAR from the perfect mom.  Still, I find myself feeling expected to be these things.  It never fails,frazzledmom-3 there is always that one church member who will show up on the day you have a double sink full of dirty dishes.  A mountain of unfolded laundry on the sofa.  Kids who look as if they haven’t bathed in 2 weeks. And, you still in your pjs at 3 in the afternoon.  Oh well, right! 🙂  Don’t hold yourself or your family to the expectations of others.  My children are introverted, like both of their parents.  If they aren’t comfortable enough to speak to someone, I know not to force them to.  I can pray with them about being brave, but others will not see this, and that is okay.  I stress lots over budgeting…I’m a numbers person.  If this falls into one of your household responsibilities, know that in most ministry cases…it’s going to be tight.  It may not always be in the black.  But as long as you are following God’s leading & being a good steward of His blessings, relax.  He’s got you!

Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. – Matthew 6:31-34

  • Husband.  Remember that your husband’s calling is a very important one.  If you feel like he is “on loan” to you, please talk to him about it.  If he’s a new pastor, he honestly may not see what you are seeing.  He may simply be trying so hard to “do a good job” that he doesn’t realize this.  Schedule…purposely schedule…off days with him.  Make him put them on the calendar. 🙂  When we were first called to pastoral ministry, one of the best pieces of advice my husband was given was to make family time sacred.  It is scheduled & uninterruptible. His deacons know this.  Our church knows this, and they respect this.
  • Who You Are.  This can be a tough one.  We all have dreams of what we want life to be.  It’s difficult sometimes to realize God may have other plans.  But we also need to remember that verse in Psalms I posted earlier.  God knows us better than we know ourselves.  He gives us desires in our hearts.  We may not know why or how they fit into His plan, but I assure you He has a plan.  Continue to find yourself in Him.  I’m still not 100% sure of His plan for me.  I just follow.  When we started seminary 5 years ago, I knew God was calling me to get a degree in Worship Leadership.  Music is my passion!  He speaks loudly to me through music.  It fit!  He called me to serve as a worship leader for a while, but never opened up worship classes for me to take.  He did however open up women’s ministry training.  Not having a clue as to how He would use me in this, I followed.  I’m still following.  Over the past 5 years, He has taught me so much about myself.  Grown in me a HUGE love for women in ministry.  And, I know He isn’t finished yet.  But for now, I will love on and pray for each one of you ladies!  Remember, you are a unique creation…perfect daughter… of the King.  Put on your crown princesses and hold your heads high!princess

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. – Ephesians 2:10

*Father, I pray for each special lady You have called to be the wife of one of Your leaders.  It’s not an easy calling.  I pray that You will help them learn to guard their minds from the attacks of the enemy.  I pray You will send them friendships.  I pray that You will protect their homes and marriages.  And I sincerely pray that You will show each one how precious they are to You.*

Be blessed!

-De

Mom’s Night Out: Review from a Pastor’s Wife

So, the other night, my hubby and I FINALLY watched Mom’s Night Out.  I’ve been wanting to see the movie since its release, but never had the opportunity to go.

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I thoroughly enjoyed the laughter found in a rare, truly family friendly comedy.

The chemistry between the cast was phenomenal.

Seriously I LAUGHED so hard…much needed after the past few weeks around here.

But, I also cried.  There were several moments of silent tears as I found myself identifying greatly with the story.

I’ve been the frazzled mom…many many times.  I’ve found myself putting the focus in entirely wrong places.  I’ve felt the aggravation over never seeming to have a moment alone.  Children who refused to just go to church and take part in children’s activities while mom had a rare moment of adult worship.  I’ve been there.

I’ve tried not to crush dreams my children have by freaking out when they make messes (and when I say messes I mean the true tornado just destroyed this area kind of messes).  I don’t always succeed here, but I try.

I’ve been in the place of crazy…when I desired the company of girl friends so much that I might do something totally insane if you ruined my plans.  😉

But there was one point that has only just recently become real to me.  One place that I am learning more about how to deal with, and failing miserably.  I really felt myself identifying with Sondra (Patricia Heaton), and in that crying over things I’d taken for granted in the past.

The Pastor’s Wife.  This is where I live right now.  A position that I never fully understood for years.  A position that, like I said, I took for granted for a long time.  They portrayed her well.

-Sunday morning greeter.  Wearing a smile, even though life at home (with children) wasn’t perfect.

-The Encourager.  Ready and willing to encourage the other women, even when deep down she needed a little herself.

-Human.  I was thrilled when they touched on the fact that she was a person who had made mistakes.  Yes…we make mistakes too.

I laughed at the scene in the bowling alley when she felt compelled to remove empty alcohol bottles to protect their reputations…only to be put on the big screen carrying away empty bottles…totally my luck. 😉

I laughed at the looks on her face when forced to enter a “shady” place.  Seriously, we always feel people are looking over our shoulders judging our every move…even if we are doing what’s right, people will turn it around.

But the part that hit me most was back in the bowling alley.  Sondra thanked Allyson for inviting her out for a girl’s night and adding that it was the first time in 5 years that she had been invited to do anything with anyone that wasn’t church related.  *tears*

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Ladies, as a pastor’s wife (woman in ministry) & former regular “Jane” church member, your pastor’s wife is simply a person like you.  She feels like you.  She lives life like you.  She wants to hide from her children sometimes like you.  She needs friends to be friends, just…like…you.

The things you enjoy: shopping, playing games, being goofy together, almost obsessing over Downton Abbey (or any other tv show), hanging out, exercising…really anything… I assure you, she shares some of the same interests.  Pay attention…you’ll see.

I kick myself now for not purposing to get to know so many of the pastor’s wives I’ve known.  Many of these wonderful ladies have impacted my life more than they will ever know.  I honestly never dreamed God would lead my husband and me down this path of ministry.  I’m so glad I had many of these women to be a role-model for me.

*Father in heaven, I pray for each ministry wife that has been part of my life, and all those I’ve never met.  I pray that you will send them joy.  I pray that you will send them rest.  I pray that you will make them strong pillars of faith and strength for their husbands.  I pray that you will fill them with your love.  But mostly Father, I pray that you will send friends to those who need them.  True, trustworthy friends.  Wrap your loving arms around these precious women.  Wrap your arms around their families.  Refill & refresh each one so that she may minister to your people as you need her to. Amen.*

-De

Too Far Removed

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So, I’ve found myself avoiding TV and media in general today.  Mostly because I don’t want to have a cry fest and the images of 9/11 always move me to tears.

But I starting thinking, maybe avoiding the harsh reality that was 9/11 just because I don’t feel like crying today is probably not the best idea.

Why?  What’s wrong with that?  I strongly feel that the farther removed from the tragedy of 9/11 we are, the more forgetful we become.  The more secure we feel, the more we like to pretend it never happened.  Things are great.  What’s there to worry about?  Or the worst… we’re invincible.

I don’t want to be that naive…ever.  I pray that our society as a whole wouldn’t either, but that’s not what we see on the news everyday.

Pondering these thoughts while driving back from town, led me to thoughts of the Cross.  Are our problems in society simply that we are too far removed from the truth of the Cross?

Are Christians becoming too comfortable?  Do we suffer from a false sense of security while sitting on our comfy pews?  Have we lost the urgency to reach a lost and dying world?

The words of Paul are ringing in my ears.  His sense of urgency….

“I solemnly charge you before God and Christ Jesus, who is going to judge the living and the dead, and because of His appearing and His kingdom:  Proclaim the message; persist in it whether convenient or not; rebuke, correct, and encourage with great patience and teaching.  For the time will come when they will not tolerate sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, will multiply teachers for themselves because they have an itch to hear something new.  They will turn away from hearing the truth and will turn aside to myths.  But as for you, be serious about everything, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”  2 Timothy 4:1-5

The words whether convenient or not punch me in the pit of my stomach.  Convenience…isn’t that what our culture is all about?

Father, bring us a sense of urgency to tell people of You!

So today, while we as a nation, remember the fallen & the heroes, take a bit of time and turn back to the Cross.  Remember what Christ accomplished there.  Amidst the ugly tragedy, He purchased eternal life for us.  We will never be able to do anything to deserve that sacrifice, but we definitely live like it.  Allow yourself to get uncomfortable and think about it.  Think about all the ugly of that day on Calvary.  The hatred filled words from the crowd.  The mangled sight of the cross.  Let yourself ugly cry even if needed.  But please, don’t be too far removed from the Cross.

-De