My husband the preacher



“…And how will they hear without someone preaching?”
                                                                                    Romans 10:14
My Husband the Preacher
My husband was preaching Sunday on THIS day being from the Lord. This day being an opportunity to focus on Him. Each day being filled with joys and sorrows that remind us of His mercy and grace, and His love in our lives. He must have said “this day” about 50 times in his message.
The sermon wasn’t necessarily more exceptional than others, but a new thought dawned on me…
Every Sunday I go to church. Sometimes will bells on, and sometimes reluctantly, I admit. It’s a workout, with four kiddos who each need something different, need to be in different places, or who just have needs. There are a million people to see and check in on each Sunday. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the life of the church, blessed by it truly, but overwhelmed by it.
Sunday, I sat in my pew and listened to my husband’s message. The message sat in my heart and God spoke in His Word a new kind of gratefulness to me, in my vocation as pastor’s wife.
Wow! This is the day I get to hear the Word from my husband’s lips. 
How many other women get to do this, and so frequently?
Sometimes as a pastor’s wife, I feel a bit robbed of a pastor. It’s true. If I have a need, who do I call on? My husband? He’s busy with a million other needs. In addition to that, he hears with husband ears when I speak, not necessarily pastor ears- objective, grace giving, third party ears.
And it’s so easy as a pastor’s wife to feel a little left out of the flock, or to focus on the negatives of the church. We, after all, often have a behind the scenes glimpse of all the beauty and ugly that can be found in our congregations.
But what God reminded me on this day, is that I am in a small but mighty group of ladies that hear the Word of God directly spoken over them by their husband on any given Sunday. I have no doubt where my husband’s heart is. He is praying earnestly to have the message of God heard clearly by the receivers. I can gratefully be one of those participants.
Kids in the pew, needs all around, a bit of loneliness creeping in. Yes. But blessings tucked into the chaos. Oh my, yes!

THIS is the day His Word goes out. This is the day my husband gets to be the container pouring it out. This is the day I will rejoice and be glad in exactly where He has put me, and trust that every little day is part of His plan.

At home date night- Just Do It!

Romans 8:23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 
When the spies went into Canaan, they came back with a single cluster of grapes so large that they had to carry it on a pole between two of them (Numbers 13). That is a mighty fine bunch of grapes!
We also have firstfruits like none seen or experienced before, in the Holy Spirit. The Spirit in us creates real and vibrant faith, the Spirit comforts us in our weaknesses, the Spirit wells up in us to go and to do His work in the Kingdom. All of which we could never do without the Spirit.
Matthew Henry states in his commentary on the New Testament that
“We, having received such clusters in this wilderness, cannot but long for the full vintage in the heavenly Canaan.”
One of our favorite at home date nights is two wine glasses of red wine, a tiny square of dark chocolate, and some British TV. While this may not be your ideal date night, you can appreciate the idea of relaxing and feeling satisfied in the presence of one another and in His bounty. Date night isn’t just valuable because it’s fun or a break, but it’s valuable because it give us a chance to sit together as one flesh and take a breath and recognize the Spirit working in our lives and moving in our marriage. Our marriage growing is the mirror for the bride growing more and more into the head, which is Christ. Therefore date night isn’t just an extra to be tacked on when we have time, it is the very work of the church.

The table of the Eucharist also beckons us to partake in His fruits in a very real way. It unites us with Him and one another. It gives us a foretaste, and we long for that full vintage found in the New Creation. In longing, we also have assurance, the Spirit is working, growing us, and growing the church. We wait eagerly for the feast. We hunger for it, and for Him, and we will be filled.


*I’d love to see pictures or hear about your at home date night! Tell me about it in the comments or send a picture to deaconessheidi@graceplacewellness.org and I’ll share it in blogs to come. 🙂

Heart and soul…or Bring me a friend, Lord!

“Do all that you have in mind,” his armor-bearer said. “Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul.”                                                                         
                                                          1 Samuel 14:7
   This verse came up in my Bible study this week, in the beautiful story of Jonathan’s faithfulness, trusting in God’s intervention in his life. The author really wanted me to get a specific idea from the Scripture passage – trust and listen, God intervenes. It’s a good message and completely Biblical. However, it’s not the one I heard. 
   
    The whole time I was reading this passage, the last part of this verse played like a loop in my mind. 
      “Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul.
And in my pastor’s wife heart the old longing sat, calling out to God….
       “I just want a friend. One single friend.”
This is what we all want, isn’t it? I mean, all of us on this round planet, searching for someone to understand us and love us “heart and soul.” This isn’t a romantic verse. It’s a verse about going into battle…together. It’s not about our husband’s being our soul mates. It’s helpful to remember that God is always enough, but this verse shows us that God is not only enough of a friend, but He’s a friend that cares. He values people and relationships in our lives and works through them. 
 
    Time and time again I hear pastor’s wives tell me, I just want one friend. Someone who sees me for who I really am, who’ll invite me places, and most importantly invite me into their life and want to join in mine. Friends who reside in the tri-state area, not spread hither and yon by clergy life.
 
    When we first moved to our call, I thought that friend would never come and then… I went to library story time. Weird, but true. I meet Lani, who was also looking for a friend. She was willing to open her heart and her time for me and what a difference it made! Lani moved away, 2 short years after we met. (Tears.) But her gift to me was that gift of the armor-bearer of Jonathan – 

“Do all that you have in mind…I am with you, heart and soul.” 
Lani opened her heart, so that I can open mine now to others. I can make myself vulnerable and risk all the yucky rejection, because she was willing to be my armor-bearer, my first friend in a strange new place, giving me strength in the battle against isolation and loneliness.
 
Do you long for a good friend? 
Can you be that friend for a pastor’s wife? Not just saying hi on Sundays and praying for her family, but inviting her in?
 
God is surely enough, but He also surely cares about the very desires of our heart, including bringing you a friend. Lift it up to Him, sister. He hears. He doesn’t just give us the armor, but He gives us people to bear the armor with. It might be His timing, but He has a friend in mind. 


 

The woman in the pew next to me

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
                                                               Ephesians 4:32

My supervisor left a sweet note in my box the other day:
    Heidi,
      I saw this and thought of you. 🙂 

(A generally good way to make someone’s day is to leave a note like this!) Attached to the note was a small magazine with a post-it note marking one tiny article that ran down the side of a page.

The article was entitled “The Women in the Pew Next to Me.”
I didn’t even get a chance to read the article before my mind was working over time. How often do we notice what is happening in the world of the woman sitting next to us on Sundays? 

Who knows if her marriage is happy?
Who knows if her heart is breaking over the decisions of one of her children?
Who knows if she’s losing her house?
Who knows if she’s waiting for a diagnosis from a doctor?
Who knows if she’s working two jobs?
Who knows if if she grew up losing her self-worth slowly to sexual abuse?
Who knows if anyone ever told her she’s beautiful?
Who knows if anyone told her God loves her despite her past, despite her present?
Who knows if she’s exhausted…chasing little people, slogging through laundry, sacrificing dinners out for family time in?
Who knows if someone’s words cut deep into her heart?
Who knows if she feels insignificant- searching for a friend who will listen and laugh, cry and hug?
Who knows if she lost one of her children to heaven in the early stages of her pregnancy?
Who knows if she struggles to control her weight, her beauty, her emotions?
Who knows if she still cries silent tears from the abortion so many years before, or just days ago?
Who knows if she struggles to care for a child whose needs seem more than she could ever fill?
Who knows…


At the risk of sounding too law oriented- have we taken the time to notice, to care, to ask about the tears, real or silent rolling down her face? This, my friends, is the church. This pew is where Christ meets us in the form of people who love us, hold us up when we have no strength, and laugh with us in our deepest joys. 

What if that person is your pastor’s wife? What if one person asked her out to coffee or invited her over for a moment of friendship? What if we included one another in our lives to the degree that we open in our hearts and let Christ do His great big work of Love, and Forgiveness, and Compassion, and Kindness through those of us sitting in the pew together. 



*The original article given to me by my supervisor was in Vol. 7, Issue 1 of Touchpoints (2011), put out by the Columbus Coalition Against Domestic Violence. and written by Poppy O’Guin Steele.