Acting Up – Speech Season

It won’t be long and I will find some of my time occupied with teenagers preparing for Speech competition. Large group contest is up first which means I will be spending time working with groups of students preparing to compete with musical theater pieces. Staging, music, storytelling . . . the whole package presented for adjudicators with the goal of making it from District Competition to State. Once large group is over, it’s on to individual performances which means some one-on-one coaching with performers.

But what makes this speech season extra special is the fact that my youngest daughter will be coaching a team of her own! She is in her first year as a teacher, working at the local Catholic school where she will also be in charge of the speech team. As a first year coach, she has already warned her former coach that she will be asking all kinds of questions and, needless to say, her former coach is more than happy to help! And I’m looking forward to seeing her at speech events!

Biting My Tongue

No, I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth!  I’ve been caught in this weird state of contradiction where I have all kinds of things I want to say and cannot figure out how to articulate ANY of it in a way that others would understand.

But I have landed on one thing that I think needs to be shared.  Be patient with me as I slip on my kid gloves and try to make sure that I don’t tread on the toes of others too harshly.

In a perfect world, the fact that I am a pastor’s wife wouldn’t have any effect on my ability to speak up in settings where the church family have gathered.  The fact is, however, that every thing I say undergoes extra scrutiny.  Other women in the church can speak their mind with impunity – often being downright rude – but if I speak up, I risk subjecting my husband to a chewing out!  Nevertheless, I’m going to risk it and say exactly what is on my heart.

In the not too distant past, I made a comment about having four kids and a woman in my church said, “Honey, you’re married. You have five kids.”  This is a woman who claims to be a follower of Jesus Christ and she has no problem bashing a fellow follower simply because of his gender.  I wish she was the exception but, sadly, male-bashing is far too prevalent in the church today.  As a woman – and a wife who desperately wants to be respectful and loving to the man in my life – it makes me angry when a woman in the church bashes on men simply because they are men.

By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.

John 13:35

How is it loving to bash on men?!  (Disclaimer – there are probably men out there who bash on women but I am not a man so I do not feel called to address that issue!)  Can you imagine what would have happened if there had been a couple visiting our church on the day that the woman I mentioned above made her statement?!  What kind of an impression would that have made?

My husband is not perfect.  Neither is yours.  Guess what – you and I aren’t perfect either!!!  So why don’t we stop taking shots at those we profess to love and start building them up!  We might be pleasantly surprised by the results!

So if we ever spend time in one another’s presence, consider this your fair warning – I will not participate in male bashing activities.  If you and I are chatting and you start trashing husbands, I will walk away and I cannot promise to excuse myself politely before I do so.  I may just walk away while you are talking and offer no apology.  I’m not trying to be rude, I just don’t trust myself to open my mouth!

Just a Word

I have been thinking quite a bit about words lately.  They can heal or hurt, build up or tear down, encourage or frustrate.

It’s easy for me to identify those times when others hurt me with their words.  But I tend to justify my own use of words as weapons. After all, . . .  oh, who am I kidding!  I’m certain my words have done damage to others.

In James 3, the tongue is described as a fire and a poison. But it is also called a fountain and a tree of life.  The key is to look for ways to speak life-giving words rather than letting all of the negative thoughts we think come spilling out unchecked.

I won’t give you the details just yet but I’ve been challenged to take some specific, deliberate action.  What I can tell you is this – I’ve often heard that it takes 21 days to stop or build a habit.  Therefore, this personal challenge is set to last for 21 days.  Ready, set, go!