Called to be Free – Ministry life at it’s best

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.

Galatians 5:1 speaks truth to our hearts.

God created each of us as unique  individuals. He formed us with His own two hands, and knit us in the womb. He has big plans for us. He calls us worthy and loved. But, He also calls us Free, by the death and resurrection of His Son. He doesn’t just call our husband’s free, or our children free, or those sitting around us free. He calls each of us Free. We are free to choose, and to do, and to be, ourselves.

This can be an especially important message in ministry –

You don’t need to fulfill any church member’s expectation of what a  ministry wife or woman in ministry should look like.

We don’t  even need to fulfill our own expectation of what we need to look like.

We only need to fill God’s and He calls us Free.

Pastor’s wives, ministry wives, and women in ministry everywhere come from a wide variety of background, from all corners of the earth, with various types of education, different passions, different skills, and different weaknesses. This passage reminds us that we are free to live and breathe our very own testimony that God is writing in our lives. We are free to rejoice in who He made us, even when that doesn’t look quite like someone expected.

This is a verse I recommend women everywhere paste to their refrigerator, their bathroom mirror, or their day planner- or all of the above! We daily need the reminder that God’s invitation to live what He has already given us, is new every morning. Live free!

Be you.

Let Him perfect you in this race, not the image someone else thinks you need to be.

May He complete this good work, which He has already began – Freedom!

My New Year’s “Things I Don’t Do” List

My friend gave me one of Shauna Niequist’s books recently,

Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way.

It’s worth a read! The book was really helpful to me during a really difficult period of my life. But…this isn’t a book review. 🙂

One idea the author shared was that she started a “Things I Don’t Do List.”

She talks about her struggle with comparing herself to everyone around her, trying to “measure up”, and do all things well.

Oh boy, did this strike a cord with me.

I have perfectionist tendencies to say the least, that have gotten better (I think!) with 4 kids, graduate school, and life happenings that leave me well aware of the complete lack of control I have in most things. Surrounded by expectations, mostly of my own making, most days I felt a bit harried, under appreciated, and outside the community, of friends and the church, God intended me to be in.

All that said, the “Things I Don’t Do List” sounded just like a good idea of celebrating doing what I do well, and leaving some stuff out that just isn’t me, and that’s O.K.

Things I Don’t Do:

1) Make delectable potluck dishes… It’s a fact. I can cook, I love having people at my table. I just can’t get it together for a potluck. I bring chips, multigrain. Yum.

2) Act as my husband’s secretary… I don’t take messages. I know it may seem easier, but I will forget because a baby will need their diaper changed or someone will hit their sister or a youth group member will share about a life changing event. I just am no good with messages.

3) Ask my children to be completely quiet in worship… I don’t believe in this. They are loud children. Sometimes I wish we were quiet people, but that’s not our strength. I will ask them to be respectful of others, participate fully, and give their whole heart to worship. They will not always sit and stand at just the right time, they will ask lots of questions and I will remind them to ask more quietly, and they will belt out “This is the Feast” even when they don’t know all the words.

4) Read less… I love books. I love them like no one’s business. I carry a book around for stolen moments of quietness. I’m not going to judge myself for spending time reading.

5) Debate financial, educational, and relational choices with strangers…we make the best decisions we can for our children and our family, regardless of other people’s opinions. We take the church into account and society’s general opinions, but beyond that, it’s us and God, and moving in the direction we feel He points us.

6) Eat mediocre chocolate…I need to stop wasting my calories. I love dark chocolate, good wine, yummy food, and good friends to share it with.

7) Hide my testimony… I come from a lot of dark and difficult places. God has brought me from the pit. Redeemed it. Made it Holy. Given it purpose. It’s meant to glorify Him, nothing more, nothing less. May it be so.

What would be on your “Things I Don’t Do List”?

I’d love to hear your thoughts, silly, serious, or anywhere in between!

Oh Christmas Card…

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 from people who took a bit of extra time to hand select a card, just for my family.

Someone stood in front of a card rack and searched for a card just for their pastor.

Someone wrote a note thanking my husband and our family for faithfully serving.

It blows my mind to imagine it and it touches my heart to be a part of it.

Every Christmas congregational life refreshes my heart in a new way.

I look at my 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?  It’s a hard reality in this world – there are thousands 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. These cards are no small thing.

Thank you for building up, reaching out, and including us, every year.