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Sunday, January 30, 2011

IN REMEMBRANCE

Every January, our church has a time of remembrance during the worship services to remember those members who have gone on to heaven during the past year.
They flash their picture and date of birth and death on the big screen with music playing softly in the background. It's a very sad and somber time. Yet, we do rejoice for those who are now in the very presence of our wonderful, Savior and Lord and Almighty God! They are happy, it is we who are sad because they are no longer with us. We lost at least 3 very dear friends this past year and one of them was remembered today at church. It is our responsibility as Christians to take care of widows and orphans but I feel we also need to take care of widowers.
All 3 of our friends left husbands here who loved them deeply and are having to try to go on with their lives. After the funerals are over, many of those left behind are soon forgotten or just ignored by their church family. This is not intentional, they just kind of get lost in the day to day needs of other members, etc. If your church does not have a ministry to widows and widowers, especially those who have just recently lost their spouse, then please start one or find someone else with the gift of compassion to head this up. The last church my husband served in, our pastor's late wife once had the idea for the MW's in the church (there were about 10 of us) to give a tea each year for all of the ladies who had lost their husbands during the past year. We did this for several years, even after our pastor's wife had passed away. One of our Bap. Women's group got involved and helped us make gifts for them one year. We used the good china and teacups and tried to make it a very special day for them. We had it in some of our homes some years and at the church some years, depending on the size of the group. Each MW was assigned a lady to invite and to stay in touch with after the tea. Years later, I still try to stay in touch with some of those ladies. We tried to get the Bap. Men to do something for the widowers and they said they would, but they never did. Hopefully, you can find a person or group in your church who will do something special for these men. Just a phone call, a card, or especially a personal visit will brighten their day. Invite them over for a home-cooked meal (especially the men) or take one of the ladies out for tea or a lunch. Let us not forgot those who have gone before us, nor the ones they've left behind!

Friday, January 28, 2011

JOY

JOY. The American College Dictionary defines joy as: " an emotion of keen or lively pleasure arising from present of unexpected good; exultant satisfaction; great gladness; delight. "
Joy to the world, the Lord has come. Let earth receive her King.
In the NIV Bible, Proverbs 15:30 says "A cheerful look brings JOY to the heart and good news gives health to the bones." The same verse in the Good News Bible states it this way: "Smiling faces make you happy, and good news makes you feel better." What gives you joy? How can you bring joy to someone else? Nobody likes to be around negative, complaining people. It makes them feel bad and brings them down,too. When you're around a joyful, positive, happy person it makes you feel good and lifts your spirits. Find someone like that to spend your time with. Their joy will be contagious and then you can spread it to someone else. Have a joyful week-end!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

SEASONS



Well, it's still winter! I love watching it snow when I can stay inside and sip my hot tea and watch the pretty flakes as they gently float to the ground and cover it with a beautiful, white blanket. But, on the other hand-I really dislike the cold and having to drive on slick roads. A friend told me that it was only a little over 80 days until Spring. The crazy robins that covered my backyard twice last week must not have gotten that message! I am soooo ready for warmer weather and to see the trees and flowers come to life again. Summer will be even better with warm sunshine, green grass, and daylight until 9:00. Then, Fall will arrive with its cool breezes and leaves turning vibrant reds and radiant oranges. I am privileged to live in this beautiful valley that is surrounded by the the Blue Ridge and Shenandoah Mountains. Our home is right under the Blue Ridge Parkway, so we have a glorious view of the gorgeous picture God paints with those trees in the Fall. Each season has it's good points and it's bad points. Life is the same way.
We have different seasons in our lives. There is childhood and the teenage years.
Then there is college or just starting out on our own. Marriage and having children is another season. Raising those children or having a career could be considered the next season. After children are grown or we hit middle-age we enter still another season. Then we begin to move into our Senior-Adult years.
Just as Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall have their good points and bad points, the seasons of our lives have ups and downs. The way we deal with the "downs" has a-lot to do with our attitude. We can complain about the cold or we can choose to enjoy the beauty of the snow. We can wallow in self-pity when we go through unpleasant times in our lives or we can choose to seek God's help and keep our chins up and make the best of whatever life throws at us. Even though seasons change and seasons of life change, we can be assured that God does not change. He is always there for us and He never changes. Let him guide you through whatever season of life you are in right now. I will try not to complain about the cold and just look forward to snow days when I get to stay inside!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

YouTube - God's love letter

YouTube - God's love letter

ADVICE TO PONDER



A very good friend forwarded me something called Handbook 2011 today. It had some great advice in it so I would like to share it with each of you.
"HEALTH:
Drink plenty of water, Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a beggar. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and less food that is manufactured in plants. Live with the 3 E's--Energy, Enthusiasm and Empathy. Make time to pray. Play more games. Read more books than you did in 2010. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day and sleep for 7 hours. Take a 10-30 minutes walk daily and while you walk, smile. PERSONALITY: Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about. Don't have negative thoughts or worry about things you cannot control, instead invest your energy in the positive present moment. Don't over do. Keep your limits. (this is especially true for MW's!). Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does. Don't waste your precious energy on gossip. Dream more while you are awake. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need. Forget issues of the past. Don't remind your husband of his mistakes in the past, that will ruin your present happiness. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Don't hate others. Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present. No one is in charge of your happiness except you. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime (I don't remember anything from Algebra class except my teacher was very patient and answered all my questions-I even got an A). Smile and laugh more. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree. SOCIETY: Call your family often. Each day give something good to others. Forgive everyone for everything (this is really hard but remember God will help you do this). Spend time with people over the age of 70 and under the age of 6. Try to make at least 3 people smile each day. What other people think of you is none of your business (I know this one is especially hard for us as MW's. , but, as I've said before, we can't please everyone. Just be the good Christian example God wants all Christians to be.) Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch with them. LIFE: Do the right thing. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful. (this doesn't include your husband or children! Just kidding!) God heals everything. However good or bad a situation is, it will change. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up. (unless you are sick). The best is yet to come. When you awake alive in the morning, thank God for it. YOUR INNER MOST IS ALWAYS HAPPY. SO, BE HAPPY." Think about these words then share how you feel about some of it with me. If you want to forward this (without my comments), just let me know and I can e-mail it to you. I forwarded it to some friends and family this morning and it made my sister-in-law take time to get in touch with me today. I look forward to hearing your thoughts. Have a great night!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A QUOTE TO PONDER

A friend posted this on Facebook the other day and I wanted to share this with all of you. "A person's most useful asset is not the head full of knowledge, but a heart full of love, an ear ready to listen, and a hand willing to help." -Status Shuffle
Let's all use our hearts, ears and hands today!

Monday, January 24, 2011

WAIT PATIENTLY

Waiting is hard for us. Being patient is hard for us. Waiting patiently seems almost impossible for us,doesn't it! We live in a fast paced society. We cook or heat food in our microwaves in seconds or minutes, we go to fast-food restaurants to get meals quickly, we can access information from the other side of the world with a click of the mouse. We hate sitting at stoplights and click through commercials because we don't like waiting for our favorite show or movie to come back on. If you are in a situation where you are waiting for God to give you an answer about something or where you want God to change a situation in your life, this probably will not happen immediately. God is not on the same wave length as we are when it comes to timing. When we want or need something, we want it NOW not later. To our dismay, the word wait is used over and over in the Bible.
There was a time when I had to wait for God to get us out of a miserable church setting or drastically change the circumstances there. It seemed like He took forever to do this. A little book called "You're Late Again, Lord!" by Karon Phillips Goodman helped me get through this waiting period. I've marked many verses that are in this book about waiting on the Lord. Here are just a few: "Show me Your ways, O Lord; Teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; On You I wait all the day." - Psalm 25:4-5 and "I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I do hope." -Psalm 130:5
"Therefor humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you." 1 Peter 5:6-7 and one of my favorite verses in the entire Bible: "But those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint." Isaiah 40:31. In her book, Karon asks these questions: 1) How do you react when you have to wait for something? 2) How does your spirit and strength suffer when you're waiting? and then she says "Think about how you want to mount up, run, and walk into a closer relationship with God." I'd love to hear some of your answers to these questions.
Remember, God has not forgotten you, He is just waiting for the right time to help you soar like an eagle!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A GOOD SUNDAY

To follow-up on my previous post, I had a good experience at the church where my husband spoke this morning. There was nobody assigned to sit with me, however, a very nice, older lady in the church invited me to sit with her while I was walking around greeting and meeting folks in the sanctuary before the service began. Her row was full of people and I'm not sure where I would have sat, but it was still a nice surprise to have her ask me. I had already placed my coat and purse on a seat on the 2nd row where I could sit with my husband until he went up on the platform to speak. Everyone was very nice and several people spoke to me even before we walked around saying hello to people. The church treated us , and some others who have an interest in taking some of our classes through the Leland Center, to a very nice lunch after the services. It looks like we may have another teaching site to begin in the Fall! Praise God! I hope each of you had a great worship experience today!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

A STRANGER IN A FOREIGN LAND

Have you ever gone to a new church and felt like a "stranger in a foreign land?". I know what the Israelites felt like in Egypt! (I'm kidding-it wasn't quite THAT bad). Thankfully, when a minister has their first Sunday in a new church, the members (or at least some from the search committee or deacons) will speak to his wife and make her feel welcome. I did go to a Sunday School class on my first Sunday in a new church one time and they didn't know who I was. Several members were already there but the teacher wasn't. Nobody spoke to me. I found a seat and sat alone. Others talked among themselves, ignoring me. As more members came in, they all avoided me. I felt so alone! Eventually, one of the deacon's wives I had met the night before came in and she sat with me.
I'm sure many of you have had similar experiences. Tomorrow, my husband is going to be a guest speaker at a church in another town. I'll be going with him. These experiences are always awkward for me. Usually, someone is assigned to meet him and give him instructions. They are sometimes friendly to me and sometimes just barely speak to me. I usually end up sitting alone on a row near the front of the church or sometimes get to sit beside my husband on the front row if he doesn't have to be on the platform the entire service. We both usually go through the congregation and speak to the members before the service begins (especially in smaller churches). Rarely, have I ever had anyone invite me to sit with them. I always feel very awkward and out of place in these situations. Tomorrow may be a little better since the pastor of the church will be in attendance. Hopefully, his wife will at least invite me to sit with her. One thing we can all learn from this is to ask our husband to assign a lady to greet any visiting minister's wife and invite her to sit with her during the services. Another is, we should treat all visitors the way we would want to be treated if WE were the visitor. Please pray for me and my husband tomorrow and I pray each of you will have a wonderful Sunday!

Friday, January 21, 2011

THANKFULNESS

Go to GodVine.com and look at the video "7 Year Old Singer and 5 Year Old Pianist Perform You Raise Me Up. " Just click on the picture of the girls to hear the video. I tried to post it on here but was unable to get it to work. The little 5 year old girl playing the piano is blind; it will touch your heart.

After I saw this, two things came to my mind. 1) We need to thank God if we are able to see and for all the other things we take so much for granted. Three years ago this month, I fell down seven, hardwood stairs in my house and broke my left hip and a finger on my right hand. (I could have been hurt so much worse or I could have been home alone when it happened-but thank God I wasn't.) I never thought much about being able to just get out of bed and walk to the bathroom or anywhere until this happened. There were so many things I couldn't do that I took for granted before I fell. I thank the Lord so much that I can now walk and write and do almost everything I could do before I fell. 2) The courage this little 5 year old showed in learning how to play the piano and get up and perform for others and not just give up because she was blind really inspired me. It should give us each the push we need to try something we've been wanting to do but didn't feel like we were good enough or able to do. God can use all of us in some way, regardless of our physical limitations. I don't have a soloist's voice but I am able to sing. There have been times when I had laryngitis and could not talk, much less sing. I was so thankful when I was finally able to talk and sing once again. Being able to sing praises to God is a blessing to be cherished. So, let's all thank God for being able to see and walk and sing praises to Him today! "Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness, come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations."

-Psalm 100

Thursday, January 20, 2011

PRAYER REQUEST

Please pray for Debbie Duvall. She is the wife of a pastor here in Roanoke and had major surgery on a broken foot today.

LAUGHTER


We can all benefit from laughter. It increases the amount of endorphins your body releases. According to About.com , endorphins are chemicals produced in the brain in response to a variety of stimuli, and they may be nature's cure for high levels of stress. In addition to decreased feelings of pain, secretion of endorphins leads to a feeling of euphoria, modulation of appetite and enhancement of the immune response. With high endorphin levels, we feel less pain and fewer negative effects of stress. I read in "Decorating Your Heart and Home-God's Design for Joyful Living" by Brenda Gay Shumaker that she buys some really funny things in shops and sprinkles them around her house in unexpected places to make her guests laugh.

She has a stuffed bear on the bed in he guest room and when someone picks him up to move him, he snores. On the windowsill over her kitchen sink she has a little sign that reads "My Three Favorite Words, LET'S EAT OUT." In her family room she placed a funny frog dressed in an apron and dust cap. On the front of the apron are the words "Housework Makes You Croak." On the sill next to her ivy sits a little wooden bunny with a shirt that says "HOME OF THE DUST BUNNIES." The ones she says that's received the most attention is the one in her office which reads, "Behind Every Successful Woman Is a Surprised Man". Proverbs 17:22 says "A merry heart does good like medicine." Watch a funny movie or cartoon, place a cute sign or animal in your house (I have a bunny that laughs when you squeeze his tummy) or read a Garfield book. Not only will you smile and laugh but you will actually feel better mentally and physically. Find something to add laughter to your life!


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

FLOWERS FOR YOU


"Flowers leave some of their fragrance in the hand that bestows them." -Chinese proverb.

Don't you just love to receive flowers! It makes you feel special and helps to brighten up your day and each day that you get to look at them. I find that giving flowers makes me feel as good as receiving them. If you know someone who could use a little "pick me up" give them a flower today. It doesn't have to be an expensive arrangement from a florist, just one little rose, carnation, or daisy from a grocery store would be just as good. I wish I could send each of you a flower today to thank you for all that you do but since I can't, I'm sending you these pretty "virtual flowers" and hope they will add some joy to your life just as you add joy to so many lives that you touch in your churches. Have a great day and remember Spring is almost a month closer than it was!

Monday, January 17, 2011

DO YOU FEEL LIKE A FISH?

I saw a large aquarium full of beautiful fish at a restaurant the other day. I enjoyed watching them swim around and all the different colors and species of fish while waiting for our table.
I even told Gary that maybe we should buy a fish for a pet. We don't have any other pets since he's allergic to dogs and I'm allergic to cats and our yard is too big for us to have fenced in. In reality, even a fish wouldn't be realistic since we have to go out of town alot for our ministry. I do have a stuffed dog named Kringle that has become my pet. Getting back to the fish-do you ever feel like a fish? As the wife of a minister in a church, I lived in a fishbowl and so do you.
Everything you say and do is watched by your members. This can be very annoying and also put alot of pressure on a person. After awhile, I learned to just be myself and not worry about what other people expected me to be. I know we have to use good judgment but if you live your life like any other committed Christian should, then there should be no problem. There will still be those that don't like something you say or do but you can't please everyone. Lifeway Christian Resources organized a "Between Us Ministers' Wives" equipping event in March of 2009 and held a panel discussion with MW's from a couple of different states. They talked about some of the issues they face. Here is some of the advice they offered: "Be real. Be who God designed you to be." "Your first call is to walk with God. Your second is to take care of your husband and your family. Your third is to the ministry." "Remember that you are only responsible for you. I can't control anyone else's spiritual growth, passion or anything. Seek God first every day." So, even if you are a fish in a bowl being watched-be the kind of fish God created you to be, not the kind someone else thinks you should be! Keep on swimming dear fishes!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

GETTING RID OF CLUTTER

I read in Better Home and Gardens the other night about how to de-clutter your home and office. I have to confess, I am really bad at this! My husband calls me a pack-rat. I do have trouble throwing away or giving away stuff. It just seems that every time I get rid of something, the very next week, I'll need it! However, I do occasionally make myself go through and give away clothes, shoes, etc. I even go through my paper/magazine stacks and get rid of outdated issues and coupons and throw away information I no longer need. I'm much better at keeping my office desk clear and clean than I am with other areas of my home. Too much clutter gets overwhelming and makes me feel like it is taking over my space. Do you ever feel that way?

Our lives can get too cluttered,too. As Ministers' Wives, we can add too much clutter to our lives even if it is with good things. I find it hard to say no when asked to take on a task at church. I feel guilty. However, over the years, I have learned not to overload myself. We can serve God and our church much better if we do a few, or only one thing really well and it is something we are gifted to do. Don't take on a job just because you think nobody else will do it. I've found when I've said no, someone else has always been found to fill that position. You might even be robbing another person of a blessing by doing a job that God really intended for them. So, let's start off this new year trying to de-clutter our houses and also our lives!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

CHOICES

I read in So. Living Magazine that coffee is actually good for you. They said that it may reduce your chance of developing diabetes, helps reduce muscle soreness after workouts, is a great source of antioxidants, increases short-term recall and if you drink 3-5 cups a day you are 65% less likely to develop dementia and Alzheimer's disease plus it may reduce your risk for developing colon and breast cancer.

I guess if you prefer coffee, this is good news. As you may guess, I choose tea over coffee. I'm sure if I did some research I could find some good things that tea does. If you know of any, please share them with us! Everyday we are faced with choices, many much more important than whether we drink coffee or tea. Remember to always pray and seek God's guidance before you make those choices. You will feel much better knowing you did what He wanted you to do or not to do. Then, celebrate with a cup of tea! (or coffee if you prefer).

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

"Shout for joy, O heavens, rejoice, O earth; burst into song, O mountains! For the Lord comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones. But Zion said, "The Lord has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me." Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me." Isaiah 49: 13-16

During one of the most difficult and uncertain times in our ministry, a dear pastor friend shared this passage with us. He especially emphasized verse 16, "See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands." The reality that Almighty God loved me so much that He had MY NAME engraved on the palms of his hands and would not forget about helping me made a huge impact on me. Whenever I would start to doubt or fear the future, I would remember those very special words. God brought us through that experience and did some amazing things for us.
If you are going through a hard time right now and need a reminder of how much God loves you and your husband, highlight these verses and meditate on verse 16. It will strengthen your faith and renew your spirit!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

UP AND RUNNING

I now have permission from the Va. Baptist Mission Bd. to "officially" kick off this Blog for Ministers' Wives in Virginia! It's taken a long time but there were alot of legal issues to be worked through for the V.B.M.B. I hope you all are having a great start to the New Year!
One of my favorite little devotional books is Joy for a Woman's Soul-Promises to Refresh Your Spirit. I'd like to share a portion of one of those devotions with you, written by Peggy Benson.
"One of my favorite early spring flowers is the Johnny-Jump-Up. It is a first cousin to the pansy. They have sweet smiling faces, each with its own personality. Each morning, the sweet smiling faces of the small flowers look up at me as they settle their roots into the earth.
I smile back as I see in them the faces of my "jump-up" friends-people who have come into my life over the years at just the exact time I needed to see a friendly, smiling face. They are people who believe in me and let me know it in many ways. They are quick to send a note of encouragement, make a phone call, or surprise me with a birthday gift. What a tremendous rescue team!" It is my hope that you will meet some "johnny-jump-up" friends through this Blog. Let's all be encouragers to someone today!