Random Thoughts

Every so often I have those days where a number of thoughts chase one another around in my brain.  None of them overly profound, some of them just general thoughts, others related to specific events.  Today has been such a day.  This may be one of my more disjointed posts, but I would like to eventually sleep tonight and getting those thoughts written down somewhere – even if that somewhere is the internet! – is usually a good way to get my brain headed in the direction of quieting down.

Sometimes, at work or in a volunteer setting, you find yourself inheriting a “system” set up by someone else.  This system may be extremely complete and efficient or completely a mess.  Doesn’t matter.  You have to make sure the system works for you.  And sometimes that means re-working the system – throwing out what doesn’t work for you, tweaking the organizational system, etc. – and that’s okay!  Doesn’t mean you don’t respect what came before – just means you want to do the job well!

Occasionally you find your opportunities changing.  Sometimes the change doesn’t feel too good.  There are times that such a feeling doesn’t ever change – sometimes it stinks from start to finish.  But other times?!  What seems to be a negative thing, opens the door to possibilities you hadn’t thought of before.  It’s not that you didn’t love what you WERE doing.  But you can quickly learn to embrace what WILL be happening!

Self-doubt is never productive.  Ever.  Everyone has bad days, everyone wants a do-over every now and then.  But starting to focus on the goofs and the screw ups is never a good way to spend time. Admit mistakes, learn from them, make the necessary changes to move in a more positive direction – but don’t get mired in negativity.  It isn’t good for you or those around you.

Regardless of age, we all need that one place we can go, walk through the door without knocking and say, “I’m here cuz I’ve had a lousy day and I need a hug.”  We were never meant to do this circus called life alone and it can get to be just a bit too much to handle from time to time.  It’s important to find that small circle of super-close friends/family/adopted family that will be there with a hug, some tissues, and your favorite ice cream flavor.

Things Your Pastor's Wife Wishes She Could Say Outloud

This morning I caught a few moments to read a blog entry entitled “Nine Heartfelt Things Pastors Would Like to Say to Their Church Members” written by Thom S. Rainer.  I am not a pastor but I am married to one and I found myself nodding along as I read.

The thoughts I read there inspired a few of my own.  So here are my own “Hard Truths from a Pastor’s Wife”.  These are not specifically aimed at any one congregation hubby has pastored and some of them are inspired by the lives of other pastors wives I know, not my own experience.  **Disclaimer – I have NOTHING against women clergy.  I am blessed to have several of them as friends.  In my home, hubby is the pastor and I am the spouse so this is the perspective I know and can write knowledgeably from.**

1.  I chose this church for VERY different reasons than you did.  I’ve known of pastor’s wives who did not attend the church where their hubby served.  Those pastor’s never stayed for long.  I choose to honor my husband’s work in this particular congregation.  In other words, I chose him, not the church.  There have been some places that hubby served that were absolutely the kind of church I would have chosen to make myself a part of.  Others?  Not so much.  Just to be safe, don’t ask me why I’m attending.  You might not like my answer.

2.  I have gifts and I want to serve but not necessarily where you tell me I should or where your last Pastor’s wife did.  The Holy Spirit is perfectly capable of pushing me in the right direction so let’s just leave the job to him, okay?

3.  My kids and I do not want to be treated like employees.  My husband is on the payroll.  My kids and I are not.  Please do not expect any more from me or them than you would from any other person in the church in our particular age group.

4. Be careful of criticism.  My son was once scolded for slouching in church.  My daughters and I have all been scolded for not dressing for the weather when we dressed in outfits more “summery” than the critic would have chosen.  Mind you, the church in question is kept at a temperature that our “more mature” congregation prefers which usually means I’m in danger of overheating if I dress for the weather.  The point is this – if all my children or I ever hear from you is criticism, it makes it harder and harder to willingly put ourselves in “that building” with “those people” week after week.  No one wants to live with constant criticism.

5.  Pastor’s wives need friends too.  As a pastor’s daughter and now a pastor’s wife, I have seen more and more women in that role who have been soundly criticized for “playing favorites” because they had a close friend in the church.  Everyone needs one close confidante.  Someone around whom you can just be “you”, flaws and all.  But so many pastor’s wives are loathe to find that woman in their own congregation because of the fear that others will feel snubbed.

6.  He’s your pastor, but he’s the love of my life.  Please don’t be offended if you see us out on the town and he chooses me rather than a lengthy conversation with you.  He is trying to find a balance between being a loving pastor and a loving husband and sometimes that means I come first.

7.  If you are talking to me and speak critically of his work as pastor, I will choose to back him every time.  I think that one pretty much speaks for itself.

8.  My family and I really don’t have a pastor.  The man you go to for counseling, the man you can talk to about marital woes, the man your kids can call on for some insight and prayer . . . he’s just “dad” or “hubby” in my house.  We cannot go to him for leadership and guidance the way you do because we have another relationship that takes precedence (and in our case, predates his role as pastor!).  Hopefully we find another Godly counselor outside the church to fill that need!

9.  I don’t always know where he is or what his schedule is.  I am his wife not his mother.  He is almost always in the building before me when there is a weekly service or event so asking me “Where is your husband?” the minute I walk in the door isn’t going to be productive.  I try to keep track of what’s going on with his schedule for family schedule purposes, but that’s about it!

10.  I truly do want to be a part of the church and use my gifts as the Holy Spirit leads.  I am just a woman trying to function in her God-given identity and could use lots of prayer support as I seek to follow the Spirit’s leading.  I may or may not do exactly you think a “good” pastor’s wife should do.  You may or may not do exactly what I think a “good” church member should do.  How about we both cover the other in prayer and believe that God is working in the other even though we may not see or understand exactly how?!  Can that be a thing?!


Feeling Reflective

Maybe it’s the recent New Year holiday. Maybe it’s my age or the fact that I just celebrated my 24th anniversary or the fact that my number 3 child will turn 18 on Sunday. Whatever the reason, I’ve spent quite a bit of time in recent days “looking back”.

Are there regrets? Things I wish I has done differently? Sure. I am human after all!

Were  there situations that were lousy to walk through? You better believe it!

Would I change any of it? Hmmm. That is a tough one. It might have been nice to make fewer mistakes. But what effect would that have on lessons I’ve learned?

Maybe I would choose to avoid some painful experiences. But If I’m being totally honest, some of my greatest blessings resulted from those moments. God closed doors while preparing things for me I couldn’t fathom. He answered some of my prayers with a firm, loving “No” because what He had in store for me was SOOOO much better than what I was asking for.

So what has my period of reflection taught me? Simple: God is good and I can rest fully and peacefully in his never-changing, never-ending love for me. What else could I possibly need to know?