Sunday, October 22, 2006


Countdown to Christmas Starr!

Monday, May 22, 2006

a divine arrangement

Originally uploaded by Divine Decor.
found this on flickr. by Divine Decor (May 3, 2006)

Thursday, April 06, 2006

The Life of a Pastor's Wife

I really think I should write a book someday, with a title along these lines:


The first thing I want to do in this column is to express my love and appreciation to you and offer my prayers for a blessed Holy Week. So many will come under your influence who do not understand the cross — or redemption. Please help those you serve this next week to grasp how "high and wide and deep and long" is the love of Jesus (Ephesians 3).

The second thing I wish to address is the emotional and spiritual health of your spouse.

With so much attention being given by the media to the tragic death of Pastor Matthew Winkler, including a recent article in USAToday (4/3/06), I thought it appropriate to give some thought to the mindset of a pastor's wife who was so frustrated — depressed, maybe — that she would shoot her husband in the back.

I admit I do not know any more than you do about the motive of Mary Winkler, but I do interact a great deal with clergy wives. And I sense their concern — and even, at times, their futility.

Oh, I realize that not all clergy wives struggle with the challenges presented when you share your spouse and family with a congregation. But I have not met many who have not had their moments.

Here is what I hear: "Our family needs more balance. It seems we are owned by the church." "Sometimes, when I see how my husband is treated by the church leaders, I wonder if it's all worth it?" "I'm concerned about my husband's health. He does not sleep well, eat well or find time for himself."

When they talk about themselves, so often it is in the area of their own identity or relationship. "I'm not sure who I can trust." "So many of the expectations for me are unrealistic." "If we didn't work here, I'm not sure we would even attend this church." "Sundays are my roughest day of the week." "I feel a heaviness in my heart that I can't describe."

Well, you know the rest. As couples in ministry, you must keep talking, keep observing the one you love. Don't be afraid to ask how the other is doing, and take time to be together. And, if you have a problem — please get help!! Call us on our toll-free Pastoral Care Line at 877-233-4455. Ministry should be a joy — full of love and respect for one another.

Happy Easter! —HBL

Taken from: The Pastor's Weekly Briefing
"Focus on the Family -- Pastoral Ministries"
Volume 14, Number 14 April 7, 2006

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Songs that Still My Soul

The words to some precious old hymns appear on this post, "Words That Shake My Soul". I like to think along the lines of calming, and quieting my soul, rather than shaking my soul. Hebrews 12 talks about an "Unshakable Kingdom", but only after the author urges entering into rest. Hebrews 6:19(NIV) says, "We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure."

I believe we are in a time when all things that can be shaken will be shaken. But there is rest for our souls, if we have HOPE in Christ.

The Hymn-writers knew that kind of hope. "It Is Well With My Soul - Be Still My Soul - I've Anchored My Soul (Haven of Rest), etc., etc.." It was that kind of hope that made the musicians play "Near to the Heart of God" as the Titanic was sinking.

To whom or what would your soul cling, if you were surrounded by such tragedy and chaos, as the recent ferry-boat sinking, the 9-11 explosions, or the Katrina flooding?

"Seek the LORD while He may be found; call on Him while He is near." Isaiah 55:6

Hebrews 12:25-29 (The Message)

25So don't turn a deaf ear to these gracious words. If those who ignored earthly warnings didn't get away with it, what will happen to us if we turn our backs on heavenly warnings? 26His voice that time shook the earth to its foundations; this time--he's told us this quite plainly--he'll also rock the heavens: "One last shaking, from top to bottom, stem to stern." 27The phrase "one last shaking" means a thorough housecleaning, getting rid of all the historical and religious junk so that the unshakable essentials stand clear and uncluttered. 28Do you see what we've got? An unshakable kingdom!

Thanks be to God!

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

The Message at Navpress NavPress

Tuesday, March 07, 2006


I love these promises; and I love God's perfect timing to encourage and excite His people!

March 7, 2006: Ask of Me, and I will show you great and awesome mysteries, and I will uncover those things, which have been hidden from your understanding. You will no longer be kept in the dark with a lack of knowledge of that which has caused you to fall short of victory. And, I do call you forth into great success in your struggle. I will equip and empower you for every occasion. Do not doubt that I will remove the blindfold that has kept you in obscurity. Be alert to receive new revelation of solutions to old problems, says the Lord.

Isaiah 45:3 I will give you the treasures of darkness and hidden riches of secret places, that you may know that I, the LORD, Who call you by your name, Am the God of Israel.

Spirit of Prophecy Bulletin
Small Straws In A Soft Wind
by Marsha Burns
Faith Tabernacle Website

Our church has begun a corporate time of emphasis on Bible-reading, during the season of Lent. We started the new year in prayer and fasting; now we're kicking up a fervor for feeding on God's Word, turning up the dial of intensity in this spiritual discipline.

I have a feeling that God is not just pleased about this direction toward devotion; He is loudly cheering! "I can't wait to show you great and awesome mysteries, to give you treasures and hidden riches--Come on, dive in to the Word, start digging around, just ASK ME to uncover the truths that have been obscured. Surprise! You won't believe your eyes!"

Are you ready to go on a treasure hunt?!!!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

"Touch not my anointed one"

Curt Hendley, "The Happy Husband", has a blog celebrating marriage. He also has a section of the blog dedicated to "ministering to pastors". I appreciate his writings on both subjects, marriage and ministry. Here is an excerpt from his page on ministering to pastors:

My request to you is that you respond with a blog post (or a link to a post if you’ve already written one) listing some practical ways a congregation can encourage their pastor. If you’re reticent about revealing that sort of thing on your own blog, I would be happy to post something you write on my blog and remove your name from it–sort of an "advice from an anonymous pastor" kind of thing. I really want to know this, and I want the flock to stop being unaware of their shepherd’s humanity and needs. If you decide to write a post about this, please let me know so I can read it and link to it.

Here is a practical bit of advice for congregations: If you are tempted to send an email to your pastor, please don't flame him. Don't say things you will regret having expressed, when you go to church the next time. And, please, before you press the "send" button, consider what effect your words will have on the reader(s). Remember that e-mail is not a private means of communication. The words you write may be read by staff members and family members of the pastor, including the pastor's wife!

Someday, perhaps I'll write a book: "Dear Congregation," sub-titled, "Everything I've always wanted to tell you, and you've always wanted to know, about being a pastor's wife." The thing that always amazes me most is that people don't realize how badly their words can hurt. It's like they think that pastors are so spiritual they can take anything people dish out to them, even if it's inspired by the devil himself. They don't seem to understand that the devil uses their words to attack and destroy men of God.

God understands, though, and He keeps account of every evil word spoken against His servants.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

"Hey, I resemble that remark!"

And I believe it is sad, but true.

Ted Haggard: "Pastors are the Single Fattest Group of People I Know"

brought to you courtesy of Monday Morning Insight Weblog, by Todd Rhoades on For What It's Worth.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

True Forgiveness

My husband, a pastor, both preaches and lives the concepts of true forgiveness. I have heard him pray for people that have deeply hurt him, with words of blessing, grace, forgiveness, and love.

"Lord, help me to love _____ the way you love _____."

I, on the other hand, struggle greatly with holding on to offenses that really were not even directed toward me, but toward my husband. I need to stop reading his "hate-mail" because it really is hard for me to look at people in church on Sunday knowing what they wrote on Thursday in an e-mail to my husband!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006


I'm still working on this... step further
I heard an interesting addition to the process of forgiveness today. I was watching "Luggage", a Rob Bell NOOMA DVD, and he suggested that until you are able to look at someone who has wronged you and wish them the best in life, you haven't truly reached a state of forgiveness. It's one thing to say "I forgive you". Not that that's an easy step either. That step alone could take years. But to then look at the person (either figuratively or literally) and tell them that you want the best for them and that you hope their journey is 'blessed'--that's a whole different thing. Our natural inclination is to wish they get what they deserve, and not in a good way. We usually want that person to suffer for what they've done, or at least pay the toll. But that's a call for vengeance. That's a sign that you haven't truly let go of your bitterness or resentment. You haven't really forgiven them. Would we want God to treat us that way after we've completely disappointed or hurt Him? Would we want Him to forgive us and then say, okay, now hopefully something bad will happen to teach you a lesson? Doubtful. We'd want Him to forgive, let go of the wrongdoing, and move forward with good things for us. It's a good final step and a good test to see if we've truly reached a state of complete forgiveness. Not sure if I've reached that place in all areas of forgiveness in my life.
posted by Kelvin @ 1:23 PM

Sunday, January 22, 2006

A Beautiful Testimony

This is a very good description of what it feels like to be depressed. It is taken directly from a post entitled, "Diving for Pearls" which was posted on my birthday.

I was hit with a wall of depression. I was physically and emotionally exhausted. It was at this time that I experienced the real grief and loss of my Dad in addition to all the other areas of loss I was dealing with. I had no experience with grief of this magnitude. I felt like part of myself was gone and it caused me to question myself in all area of my life.
-Who am I now?
-How am I living or not living my life?
-What is important to me?
-Where am I in my relationships? Etc., etc…

I was overwhelmed. I felt like a cat hanging from a cliff by its fingernails. I wasn’t sleeping or eating well and I was losing weight. I remember being afraid, confused, sad and hard on myself. With the help of counseling, medication, the support of friends and my faith, I slowly came out from the weight that was holding me down.

I searched the bible and wrote down every verse I could find on fear. Courage was my theme! I hung on to scripture and especially these words from Isaiah 43:1-5 “…this is what the Lord says – He who created you ….He who formed you…”Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; and you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass though the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior….since you are precious and honored in my sight because I love you….do not be afraid, for I am with you.”

Anne Lamott, in her book “Plan B”, says “Fear is the worst part….but underneath the fear I keep finding resilience, forgiveness and even grace.” She also says, “When God is going to do something wonderful, He starts with a hardship. When God is going to do something amazing, He starts with an impossibility.” She urges us to “practice radical hope.”

I remember praying one night asking God to take controls of the veritable “plane” that was going down again, surrendering it all to Him. I thanked Him for His power and presence in my life and for His unfailing love even thought I didn’t know where all of this was going. It’s at this point that you hang on to God’s promise that He has a plan for you and that it is good. I had a visual image of a “pilot light”. I thanked Him for keeping the pilot light on in my soul. That is all that I felt was there but it as there.

Another quote describes what I was experiencing come from a book by Ann Grahm Lotz called “Why?”, It says, “The burden of suffering seems to be a tombstone hung about our necks, while in fact, it is the weight necessary to keep down the diver while he/she is hunting for pearls.” During that time, God gave me the power to hang in there and remain deep as I searched for these pearls. Even though I was in a depleted and sort of “suspended” state, God was good. In the midst of my pain, I experienced a new capacity to trust God and know His grace!

I have received so many unexpected gifts during this season of loss ; too many to mention, but here are a few:
-A new appreciation for the support of women friends. They are critical for our survival!
-The importance of the gift of music in my life which brings me joy and connects me to God.
-The ability to slow down and look for God’s presence in all areas of my life.
-A depth of appreciation of simple moments of beauty and the presence of “the sacred” in “the ordinary”. It is like my vision and heart have been expanded for these things.
I loved the beautiful illustration of suffering as a "weight" that is necessary for divers to find pearls. I may have to do a study on the "weight of suffering".

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Happy New Year!

Top Five Priorities:

1. Read the Word
2. Pray
3. Worship
4. Witness
5. Love

Goals and Dreams:

1. Continuing Education: maybe start a M. Div. or work towards a counseling license or degree.
2. Finding More Treasures in the Darkness: the treasures are God's jewels, His people.
3. Seeking more inner healing and soul-care; to learn more about how to reach out to others.
4. Get a Hysterectomy: or at least, fix some of my "female problems".
5. Get more physically healthy. I HATE the word, "diet" as much as the act of dieting. But, I hate the consequences of ignoring genetic propensities even more: the ultimate consequence, of course, is to "die".

"To diet, or not to die: that is the question."
"Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow--we diet!"

Prayer for Loved Ones:

1. Deeper commitment and stronger faith in God.
2. Growing desire to serve: to get "beyond ourselves"
3. Wisdom for life's decisions and courage to make the right choices.
4. A greater love for each other: how can we say we love God if we hate our brother?
5. Spiritual Fortitude in troublesome times. When all things that can be shaken will be shaken... to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand fast!