Why a Deaconess to Ministry WIves?

Why a Deaconess for Ministry Wives?
I’m frequently asked the question, “Why a deaconess for pastor’s wives?” My first response is always a bit quick, “Why not?!” Why wouldn’t we want people specifically dedicated to caring for the spouses and families of those serving the church. The devil has his eye on them, so let us, as a church, embrace them and uplift them through the battle.
Beyond that, I could list reasons all day for having a deaconess to serve those in ministry, but for now I’ll give you my three primary responses.
#1 – All women could use a deaconess.
            There is something about sharing your heart and your story with another woman who understands. Hearing the Word, discussing the Word, praying, and receiving encouragement with and from a fellow sister in Christ can be nothing but valuable, no matter what context we are in.
#2 – Loneliness and Isolation
            Being in ministry, we know, can be a blessing in more ways than we can count. We also know, however, that it can be a lonely and isolating existence at times. Ministry spouses often struggle with finding good and deep friendships, feel outside the community, and have families that don’t live next door. In a very small survey I did of LCMS pastor’s wives from across the nation, 67% identified isolation or friendship as one of their top concerns. Ideally, in the Body we would always feel loved and accepted, but sin and personal preferences get in the way and anyone can feel discouraged and left out. For ministry wives, there are all kinds of dynamics at work in relationships and within congregations that can make it difficult to feel truly connected.
#3 – Individuality and authenticity
            Being a deaconess to ministry wives means seeking to build relationships and intimacy within each person’s context and within the community of fellow ministry wives, creating safe places where wives can be transparent and share who they are with no fear. However, it is essential to recognize that each wife is an individual child of God. No one wants to be seen for only one role in his or her life, no matter how important or valuable that role is. I have the lovely benefit, as of deaconess, of meeting one on one with pastor’s wives and other wives in ministry. I love hearing their stories and sharing with them how God values them, as well as encourage them in the challenges of being authentic and true to God and who He has created them to be. Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life and have it to the full!” This is His desire for every ministry wife also.
          Grace Place stepped out and took a leap of faith to support ministry wives in a whole new way. I’m so thankful to them for caring enough to try out something new and different. It may not be enough, there may be all kinds of things that need to be done and ministries to be created, but we’ll let Him lead and support one another in this life together. 






            If you would like to find out more about supporting ministry wives and families, receive some encouragement or support yourself, or have any suggestions or thoughts on the topic, please check out the Grace Place website at http://www.graceplacewellness.org/ministry-to-wives/ or contact me at DeaconessHeidi@GracePlaceWellness.org. 
Commissioning Day with the Grace Place staff 🙂

Oh Christmas Card…

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.       Luke 2:19

I love Christmas cards. I love receiving them, I love giving them. I like gold foil and nativity scenes and family photos. I look forward each year to getting the letters that tell, however brief, our friend’s stories, of their life and their year. 
Each year we also receive a few Christmas miracles. They come in the form of cards that look like this:

Now, sometimes these cards contain little presents and those are wonderful too. This year they made the difference in getting our kids some of their special requests for Christmas. But really, that’s not my Christmas miracle. My Christmas miracle lies in that this card exists at all, and that someone went to a store and looked for it.
Someone stood in front of a card rack and searched for a card 
just for their pastor. 
Someone read through generic cards and decided 
that this one was it. 
Someone wrote a note thanking my husband and our family 
for faithfully serving.
Every Christmas congregational life touches my heart in a new way. I look at my harried husband, crafting sermons, leading services, checking on shut-ins, and eeking in all the extras for Christmas, and then I look around at people and wonder if they notice. Not notice him, or me, or anything earthly. But do they notice that our God is a God who came to them, just for each of them, and it’s a struggle in this world to bear the load of a thousand people who don’t know and don’t care. 
Then the cards come. It goes a long way in a pastor’s heart to hear that what they do makes a difference in someone’s life. That just by being them, by being faithful, by representing a God of Love and Comfort, people have been touched and it has mattered. It goes a long way in my pastor’s wife heart to not be the only one telling him that. 
So thank you card companies and thank you members of the Body. Your Christmas card has a special place in our lives and a special place, treasured in our hearts. 

Please see me for me

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

                                            Galatians 2:20
I am relatively new to the cell phone world. It’s not that I’m a hermit and never knew about them, it’s just that I didn’t own one for years. I semi-shared with my husband because of the cost factor of an extra phone. I stole his when I went on a trip or was “in the city” for the day. Then, I got the awesome opportunity to be his secretary (note the sarcasm), taking messages right and left. So, as a tiny bit of extra income came in, we made the jump to being a two cell phone family. 
Yesterday, I realized I put people in my contacts by who they are to me, not necessarily their proper name. My sister is in there according to her childhood nickname and favorite affectionate title from my kids “Ney-Ney”. My friend Jen is “Jen, Mark’s Love.” (We love her too!) Another friend is in there as “Jaime College.” Obviously these aren’t the only dimensions I see of these people, but they are my primary goggles I evidentially identify people by without even thinking. 
So, a few weeks ago when I went to put my friend Emily in, I found myself contemplating what to put her in under. Her husband is a vicar and we met through a circuit picnic, so it was really tempting to put her in as “Emily Vicar’s Wife.” But would I want someone to identify me like that? No. I wouldn’t. Somewhere deep down, while I love being the “Pastor’s Wife”, I desperately want people to see me as something else, something more, something deeper. 
Being a pastor’s wife is deeply fulfilling. It’s wonderful and scary, and frustrating, and special all at the same time. But it’s not WHO I AM. It’s a role I serve, a vocation even. I love being a pastor’s wife. I love being your pastor’s wife. But please see me for all of me. See me as a mom, a deaconess, a social worker, a great conversationalist, a person with a serious problem with being on time, a not so great driver, but a person with passion and exuberance. 
But where is my real identity? It’s not actually in any of that. I pray that when you see me, you see Christ. Because that’s the real and true Biblical truth- I am Christ living in me. That is me.
What do you wish people saw in you, or do you wish they saw if they looked beyond the title pastor’s wife? I’m sure one thing they see is Christ. That is what we live for, sisters. This life I live, I live not just in service to Him, but as His body on earth. He lives in me and shines in me, and I am a little less me every day and a little more Him, which is a good thing.
All that said, when you go to put your pastor’s wife in your phone, put her in as Sue She Who Rocks a Cheesecake or Mary She’s Super Thoughtful, or even better Elizabeth My Friend.
And if you want, you can put my name in your phone as Heidi Crucified with Christ. I take it as a great complement. 

Jen and I – She is a beautiful and precious pastor’s wife-to-be.