Posted in Associate/Youth Pastor's Wife, Daily Musings, Life Lessons

Edmond Ladies Retreat 2011

My beautiful pastor’s wife Brenda

Went to a ladies’ retreat this past weekend with our church in Oklahoma City.  Quite honestly, it was the last thing I wanted to do this weekend.  I usually have a pretty good time on these retreats, but life is busy right now, and I just didn’t want to go.  It’s been so busy, that my time with God has suffered greatly.  It’s been either rushed or pushed off altogether, which then results in the rest of the areas of my life suffering like my patience, my efficiency, my compassion and my ability to just be nice.  Knowing all of this, I wasn’t looking forward to having to be nice to a bunch of ladies who either think I have answers to their questions or they have fun picking on me.  I also didn’t want to hear from speakers who would tell me what I already know is wrong with me and make me feel even worse.  How’s that for a good attitude?  Sounds like I need a little cheese to go with that whine. 
            I went anyway.  After all, our own pastor’s wife was one of the keynote speakers and I needed to support her. (Actually, I really love to hear her speak so that part wasn’t hard.)  Of course I got just what I needed.  God’s so good about that.  He even used all the speakers to tie in and make his point.  And it wasn’t even really the theme of the event that he was speaking to me about. 
            I might as well be transparent here, it’s not like this blog is one of those “how to” kind of blogs.  It’s more like a “why can’t I…?”  kind of blog.  One of my biggest head battles is that of worth, but not necessarily in the usual way.  I’m not like suicidal, nobody loves me or anything.  It’s more like I wear so many hats (as do all women).  But I don’t have a specialty hat.  I want so desperately to be used of God with my life…I mean desperately.  I don’t need it in a famous kind of way.  Just a way that I can hang my own private hat on knowing I’m doing exactly what God wants me to do in a manner in which is should be done.  But, when I examine the hats I wear, I struggle to find even one that I’m good at for Him.  I get food on the table for my family, but I’m not a very good cook.  I clean my house everyday, but I struggle constantly with keeping it clean and organized.  I home school my kids, but (chuckle chuckle) I’m far from starting a “how to blog” on that one.  I’m a youth pastor’s wife…really struggle with being any good there.  Don’t sing, don’t play piano..blah blah blah, I could go on.  Quite frankly if I ever did write a book I think I’d call it The Art of Self Deprication.
            So, with all of that said you can now understand the mind frame I was in as I went to the retreat.  First up was our own Pastor’s wife.  She really did a great job.  Sharing her passion for wanting to really know God.  Something I also desperately want.  In my life it looks like this.  I push through a crowd of life junk to try to catch a glimpse of him.  Sometimes I even push forward and catch a tug of the hem of is robe.  I have a time of awe and thanks. Then, when I’m just expecting him to turn to me and tell me what he wants of me…he walks on.  Anyway, she shared some alarming trials in her life that have brought her closer to God.  Then, at the end of speaking she sang a song in honor of her mother (also a pastor’s wife and a speaker at this event) for the godly example she provided.  It was precious.  My pastor’s wife can do this amazing thing of crying and singing at the same time that just pierces your heart.  I wondered as she sang if either of my daughters could or would ever be able to sing such a song to me.  Oh we “do right” in our house.  But would my grumpy failing side be more of what they remember or the times of living victoriously?   What kind of memories am I building?  I mean, here I was at a retreat on my oldest daughter’s birthday!  (I did celebrate with her earlier in the week, but still…)
My pastor’s wife’s sister – a.k.a. Theresa
            The next morning, our pastor’s wife’s sister spoke (follow that?)  She too was married to a pastor who just suddenly and unexpectedly passed away last year.  She has a testimony of handling the whole thing just beautifully, leaning into God and his comfort through scriptures the whole time.  I had heard her give this testimony a few months ago, but I was so enthralled with her encouragement to find encouragement through the scriptures.  That’s what I wanted.  Scripture to tell me I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing.  To give me the affirmation that I’m not just somehow touching everything and making it rot for the cause of Christ.
 Wouldn’t ya know that he gave me that in the very last speaker of the day’s message.   The theme of the whole event was “The making of an instrument” which is ironic, because I’m not a musician at all.  Of all the speakers tying this theme in, this one really did.  Showing how we as Christians can be just like an instrument made by and worthy of being used by God.  It was only in one little point of her whole message though that I found the hope I was looking for.  She shared how we are all unique instruments.  That even in an orchestra you can have multiple violins, but each violin is different..there are no two alike.  I know very elementary stuff huh?  But it was the scripture she used that really caught my attention:
The ladies God used last weekend

1 Corinthians 15:10a  But by the Grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain;   Wow, it his problem not mine!  Don’t get me wrong here.  All I mean by that is that it was He who sought me out and graciously chose to save my soul. He has a purpose and He knows who and what I am.  So it is He that worketh in Me.  No matter how dismal my abilities look in my own sight.  I can do all things through Christ…  I realize this is no new revelation or anything, but it sure jumped out at me just when I needed it.  
Posted in Associate/Youth Pastor's Wife, Teens

2nd Man Preaches in Kansas City!

This past Friday my favorite preacher, the 2nd Man, was the special speaker at a youth rally up near Kansas City, KS.   Whenever he speaks out at other churches he really likes the family to come.  So we all piled into the truck and we drove almost five hours.  Oh the sights we saw! 
It looked like this in some areas.
Then it looked kind of like this. 
Also looked like this a little.
 Ah Kansas!  The beauty of the plains
The mean home school mommy in me made my kids do schoolwork in the car.  Sounds harsh, but I didn’t want to sacrifice a day just being in the car.  The schedule rules!  Ha ha just kidding.  They did do some work, but we’re actually pretty flexible.  There was also plenty of Nintendo DS playing and movie player watching too. 
 When we finally got there, it was worth it.  The youth pastor that asked him to come is quite a bit younger than us and we actually used to know him when he was a camper at the same summer camp that our churches went to.  Their church also used to come to a major 3-day rally called Spiritual Boot camp that 2nd man used to put together in Tulsa.   I bring this up because it was really quite flattering that this youth pastor used the same kind of theme for this particular fellowship rally. 
            The theme was “Hold the Line.”  They had funny skits and games like “Let’s make a Jill”
            There was also the sledgehammer challenge.
            He also did some messy games with youth pastors, balloons and shave cream.
After that – the best part… 2nd man spoke.  
Now, I know I’m biased, I’ll admit it.  But he did a great job! (Praise the Lord of course!)   I had heard parts of this particular message before on Ephesians 6 and the armor of God.  However, his focus was on the part where Paul encourages that after having all to stand after putting on the armor of God, to stand (hold the line if you will).  He preached with a vigor and passion that was contagious and encouraging. 
            One of the things I like about when he’s asked to speak out is that it is an encouragement to him.  Other 2nd man and pastor’s wives would understand this.  Our own kids don’t always appreciate him or the work he puts into the messages.  However, speak the same message elsewhere and two dozen or more people come forward to the alter.  It’s not so much a pride issue as it is an encouragement issue to keep going and striving to make a difference.  This is one of the things I find most attractive about 2nd man is that he desperately wants to make a difference in lives for the Lord.  One of the things I find attractive in the Lord is when he sends 2nd man encouragement to keep going and Hold that Line. 
2nd man came back with a renewed passion and vivaciousness in his speaking during Sunday school with our own teens.  I just love that.  I also love that our kids get the privilege of going and hearing their daddy speak.  It raises their respect for him and hopefully for ministry as well.  We really want our kids to experience the enjoyments that ministry can bring.  We want them to know that although ministry can be tough, it can also come with some fun experiences.  This weekend they especially enjoyed the hotel.  We also got to go walk around an outdoor shopping center that was really cool.  At this particular shopping center was a cool restaurant that was all about dinosaurs.  The kids just loved this place.  Overall, a great weekend was had by all.

Posted in Associate/Youth Pastor's Wife, Life Lessons Disciplines of the Faith

Where have I been?

Where have I been?  Hmmmm well, you wouldn’t think that’s such a complicated question to answer, but hmmm.  Ok I’ll start with blaming the 2nd man on this one.  It all started when he preached a nifty little sermon a few weeks ago about murmuring and complaining.  To be exact it was on Philippians 2:14 “Do all things without murmurings and disputings.”  Need I even say more?  You know where I’m going already don’t ya?  My first fleshly response to this marvelous message was “Well fantastic!  I don’t sing, play piano, or any other good preachers wife kind of things.  The one thing I do great in life is murmur and complain and now that’s taken away!”  Just kidding…sort of ahem.    However, summer and the youth pastor’s wife don’t always agree with each other and I had found myself in a wonderful tizzy of disliking people, luggage, yards that needed mowing, flowers that needed watering, our falling apart house and cars, and pretty much anything else that was set in front of me.  To be perfectly honest, I was kind of disliking ministry too.  Now don’t give me that tsk tsk.  I love my Lord and savior.  I love my husband and family, it’s just that everything else was,well…a lot to ask of a worn out melancholy.  So, needless to say, though he didn’t intend on the message being just for me, it was.  I needed a good spiritual Bible slap to knock some sense and love back into this ole girl. 
            With that being said, a small battle of getting my mind and spirit straight ensued and I just couldn’t think of a thing to say on this blog that wouldn’t sound negative.  I’m coming out of the funk now.  School has started and routines are now getting back to our regular abnormal normal (whatever that means). The patience level is rising and the desire to strangle people with stupid questions is waning.  My respect for the Lord Jesus and his earthly ministry is once again full of a renewed awe.  How in the world he puts up with all of us (yes, myself included) is flabbergasting.
            Here’s the negative that’s happened since my last post about our Chicago trip in early July:
·        Another 3 day youth conference (also on the positive list)
·        A bug infested hotel room at the 3 day youth conference
·        My Grandma in Ohio passed away
·        No money to go to Grandma’s funeral
·        Feeling like the worst daughter in the world because of the funeral no go
·        Had to purchase glasses for daughter #1 with no insurance
·        Getting braces on daughter #2 with no insurance
·        It’s been like 105 + degrees for months now
·        No garden production due to the aforementioned heat and drought
·        Our pool finally gave up and collapsed
·        The schedule has been grueling and non stop
·        I’m dealing with some crazy physical pain and extreme fatigue in the midst of all of this
I’d expand and explain, but that would be crossing over more into the murmuring/complaining realm if I haven’t already.
 However, life isn’t all negative and God is good all of the time.  There have been some pretty special positives occur as well in the last month or so.  Here are a few:
·        Another 3 day youth conference filled with wonderful preaching and laughter filled memories with the teens.
·        We were given a non-bug infested room the 2nd night of the conference
·        I’ve talked with my parents more in the last week than in the past two months.
·        My daddy still loves me even though I couldn’t get to Ohio.
·        The church gave 2nd man a very generous raise this year, since last year there were no raises due to the economy.
·        We forgot to cancel our homeowners insurance when we switched insurance companies last year.  Therefore we received a very nice and unexpected check in the mail that will help to cover, glasses, braces and home schooling supplies!! Woot woot!
·        Since there’s such a drought, I haven’t really spent the time caring so much about the garden…even mowed some of it down.
·        The pool finally gave up and collapsed (yes this is a positive from the pool maintenance girl’s point of view)
·        The schedule is now getting more manageable
·        2nd man has started a running program with me to try to break through this pain barrier and get fit.
·        2nd man and I celebrated 14 years of marriage and were able to use hotel points (no cash!) to get away for a day or so.
·        Let’s face it the positives far outweigh the negatives and there are numerous more I could name and I know there are even more I don’t know about this side of Heaven.  Thank you Jesus for taking such good care of us!
Nobody reading this blog probably cares too much about my little lists.  But they are at least started for my benefit to look back on in thankfulness.  I’ve been away, but I’m ready to put on my Christian girl skirt and behave a little better now.  I really do love the people in our church and am grateful for them all.  Yes, really, all of them even the weird ones and the ones with stupid questions because, I’m probably that kind of person to someone else. 
Posted in Associate/Youth Pastor's Wife
2nd man and I have been in Chicago all week with a small group from our youth department.  These were the top 7 winners from our Wednesday night All-Stars program.  For all of their hard work at memorizing scripture, going on outreach, Christian service and Bible reading they won an all expense paid trip to Chicago.  The week was a full one, a fun one and extremely funny as well as an annoying one.  I could give all the details, but hey, who has time to read about that? 
            The funny for the first day was at the Lincoln Park Zoo.  There we ran into some really cute animals.  Ok, so every zoo has really cute animals, but really there were some highlights that are in these pictures.  Apparently the bear here had some sort of jaw surgery so her tongue hangs out like this all the time…cracked me up. 
The meerkats are always good for a laugh.  However, I found this one exceptional looking at us looking at him looking at us.  He didn’t move from this position the whole time.
Another funny was the exposure to all of the random street talent that you find in big cities.  Some are really great and undiscovered.  Others…well they just need a buck.  There was an elderly Asian man playing a violin in the park.  As we walked up we heard him playing “Happy Birthday” to a little girl.  Being impressed with this, 2nd man got out a dollar put it in the mans open case and asked if he could play “You are my Sunshine”  to which he grinned and said, “ya ya”  Then he began to play “Happy Birthday” again…and again…and again.  Yep, a one trick pony took us.
On our second day, we went to the Pacific Garden Mission.   We’ve taken a large group there once before and were so impressed that we really wanted to take this small group to help feed the homeless, clean up wherever we could help and get a tour and testimony as well.   It’s hard to explain the feeling one gets being from a small town and seeing so many homeless people and getting to help out too.   It’s a time to try to bless another and get blessed as well.
All of this did happen, but the funny came when we were working in the kitchen.  One of the workers came up and asked if I had ever been told that I look like some actress named Katey Sagal????????  Apparently she’s been on a recent sitcom called “8 simple rules” However, I only knew her from the 80s when she was on “Married with Children” Ugh!!!  Are you kidding me?  I wasn’t sure how to respond to that.  Peg Bundy? Really?  Oh come on! I said.  I wasn’t sure if I should be flattered or offended.  Hopefully she looks better in the newer sitcom.  He went on to say that he wasn’t the only one that thought so…. AWKWARD!
Later that day we wanted to end the evening at the Navy Pier.  We got it in our heads that we had so much time we’d meander through the city to see some other sites like Buckingham Fountain and The Bean etc.  May I give anyone interested in visiting a large city some advice here?  Skyscrapers really skew perspective.  I wore my pedometer watch all day.  15 miles later we reached the pier and I fear we were too exhausted to even truly appreciate it.  We sat on the grass to have a time of devotions and watch the fireworks and I thought I’d never be able to get back up to get to the bus and subway. 
Which brings me to my next funny…rookies on the subway.  Wowy wow wow.  We got a pretty good handle of it before the trip was over, but I am so thankful to live in a small town without public transportation.  I’m pretty sure it was plain inappropriate how close we were shoved into other people’s bodies when we went to the Cubs game with everyone else in town, all on one subway car.  However, our ride out to the airport every night ended up with just us on the car.  One evening one of our girls fell asleep.  2nd man had the rest of us quietly get up and move to the back of the train car.  When she woke up she was more than a little startled.  It was great; I can’t help but laugh just thinking about it.  Thankfully she’s the type that takes jokes well or we wouldn’t have even attempted it.  Well, maybe that last sentence was a lie.
Speaking of the Cubs game also brings me to another funny of the week.  Lets just say, that was one of the weaker attractions of the week.  No, it’s not just because the Cubs totally stink as a ball team.  But rather, we brought a group of kids who call themselves “the nerd herd.”  I kid you not, I didn’t make that up.  I’d never call a teenager that with my mouth or my writing, but these kids have a face book group and everything.  That being said, they aren’t exactly into baseball.  At one point 2nd man and I looked down the row to see two of them playing on their Nintendo DS games.  We just chuckled and by the top of the 8th inning we figured that the after-game crowds and the “Nerd Herd” group was argument enough for leaving early and getting a good nights sleep. 

I’m so happy to be going home now.  I absolutely love visiting large cities and the small group was great overall, but I miss my kids, my bed, my home, and my small town.  No matter how great a group, a week can be a long time.  We have one in the group (there’s always that “one”) that’s about to drive me crazy.  I can’t even fix my hair without her trying to come up with something rude and sarcastic to say.  Arghh I’m a little worn out with the grinning and bearing it.  She really isn’t the only one.  Overall the group is young.  Like 13-14 year old young.  Like 13-14 year old obnoxious and annoying young.  At the beginning of the week they were 13-14 year old fun and vivacious.  You can tell it’s the end of the week.  Ah glorious trips and glorious trips home.
Posted in Associate/Youth Pastor's Wife, Daily Musings, Teens


All I can say to the fact that I spent three 16-hour days selling fireworks this weekend is…. OUCH!  Who knew a body could hurt this much!  I think I aged like 40 years or something.  Yes, another one of 2nd mans projects strikes again.  Actually, this is one of the best fundraisers to fall into our lap in all the years we’ve been here with this youth department.  I remember, early on in our ministry we ran a concession stand at various events.  Simply said, it was the bane of our existence.  2nd man and I both had worked in the food industry as teens and didn’t particularly like working in it as adults; the planning and prepping, the heat, the crowds and kids, the heat.  Oh my soul, I remember one year being pregnant and working that dumb stand in 100 degree temperatures at a motor cross and a county fair.  I wished for death to come quickly, but alas it never came.   
We actually don’t know who Jake is.  I don’t think there is a Jake, other than a neighborhood dog who kept hanging out around the building.  We felt it only appropriate to name him Jake.
            After that we sold candy bars and all that other fundraising “fun” stuff.  Then a few years ago a fireworks company contacted 2nd man and offered our group first dibs at running their business near our new church building.  The numbers they threw at us were unbelievable and 2nd man was hesitant to jump into another hot, under a tent, kind of fundraiser.  So we had our pastor’s son run it for us the first year.  Since then I’m amazed every year at the amount of money people spend on the 4th of July.  The tent thing went so well that the company built an air-conditioned warehouse just down the street from our church and now, that is what we do for 2-3 weeks every June/July. 
            Honestly, I’m soooo thankful for the air conditioning, this year especially. We’re in extreme drought out here and the temps haven’t been less than 100 degrees in several weeks.  I feel so horrible every time I drive by the poor groups that are running fireworks stands in the little wooden box huts or the tents.  I know they hate us, and probably don’t believe me, but I really do feel bad for them.  It’s no easy task to run the biggest fireworks place in town though and 2nd man just makes it first class all the way.  Scheduling teenagers and what parents would step up is a bit of a logistical nightmare.  2nd man made a plea to our parents and the rest of the church for help, but I think they read that as “if you’d like to help us we will use you.” Instead of  “Help!! Help!! Help!! And please more Help!”  Oh well, the kids did a great job and the parents who did step up were blessings beyond belief.  
This is 2nd man and some other volunteers setting up the giant dragon out front. Or was he driving him???
This was the calm before the storm
I think everyone in town came to our place at least once in the past couple of weeks.   Why, even the Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond’s husband came in on Monday morning.  Not sure if I want to address this or not.  I, well, I, Ok as 2nd man would put it, I locked up.  I knew he looked familiar and his kids looked familiar too.  Then when one of the other ladies turned and mentioned who he was, well…I locked up.  The gawking had to be noticeable.  Then 10 minutes after he left we realized that he left (ok we forgot to put it in his box) a couple packages of giant sparklers.  I immediately went into “how can I meet her” mode.  I jumped on the Internet and sent out an email to the Pioneer Woman offering ways to get these items out to her.  I was willing to drive the 45 minutes out into the country to deliver these $2.00 items if she really wanted me to.  Well, no response came.  Alas, my dreams were dashed and instead I spent the next ten hours running a cash register. 
2nd man does make it fun though.  He puts on fun patriotic type music (ok it’s fun the first five times through the cd) he has the kids all giving one on one attention to the customers and about 10:00pm we all go out into the parking lot to watch the city fireworks show and set some off some of our own.  Our own children, who aren’t even in the youth department yet, enjoy it too.  They either help customers or I find them up in the warehouse shelving.  Simply said a good time is had by all.  So good in fact that 2nd man and I couldn’t move yesterday.  And I’m not certain there will be any moving going on today either.  Recovery is certain, but it may take some time.  Hope everyone else had a great 4th of July out there!   
Posted in Associate/Youth Pastor's Wife, Marriage

Why 2nd Man is the Greatest Man I Know

My 2nd man is the greatest man I know.  I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately and I honestly feel this way. I suppose really every wife should feel this way about her husband.  Here are my thoughts on why I feel this way about mine. 
First and foremost, we (his family) come before ministry.  Some may argue or debate this point and its validity, but I feel passionately that this makes him a great man.  Not for selfish or needy reasons either, but even for his testimony’s sake.  I’ve always struggled with respect of men who are workaholics, even to ministry, but let their family falter.  This includes some really great men of God.   I realize, I may be treading on shaky ground here, however it’s been my impression that a man who goes out to save the world but loses his family, loses part of his testimony.  None of the men I’m thinking about meant for this to happen in their families, I’m confident of this, but, nonetheless, it did happen.
I guess some of my thoughts started recently when we watched a movie about John Adams. (Disclaimer: we watched it on our Clear Play machine, which edits out language and any bad scenes).  Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful for how he pioneered our nation through the revolution and beyond in its earlier years, however, I’m not so impressed on how his wife had to run the family while he was away and his children floundered, even rebelled against what he would have had for them.  That got me thinking about missionary David Livingston.  Again, he did wonderful things for the cause of Christ on the continent of Africa.  However, in my womanly perspective I finished his biography with mixed feelings about him.  His wife and children were left back in England and even were homeless on the streets for a while.  Of course much of it was due to oversights and the fact that he was so far from home and couldn’t take care of the situation.  Then there is the great Billy Sunday, who did mighty things for preaching revivals across the nation, but his own sons rebelled against what he preached.
I don’t have these feelings in a prideful or arrogant way. On the contrary, it humbles me as a wife of a great man. It leaves me to wonder if the above situations were due to the fact that these husbands and fathers were not home to do the job as a husband and father.  I’m torn with the thoughts that they were called out to do a special work, but I struggle with respect of their being married fathers.  It builds my respect and admiration for my 2nd man who is being used of God, but is also fulfilling his duty at home.   Maybe that’s what God called these other men (and their wives) to do, but I’m so thankful that he provided me with a man in whom I can respect.
So, with this in mind, it makes me so thankful that my 2nd man struggles hard to put his family before his ministry, no, not before God, but yes, before ministry.  I am humbled by this and try to make it possible for him to tend to his ministry as needed.  Sometimes for a 2nd man that can be hard, depending on the staff in which he serves.  Sometimes the senior pastor is in a different stage of life and may forget what it was like to have children at home.  Or maybe the pastor is in the same stage, but has a different viewpoint of priorities.  I know my 2nd man struggles with hoping our senior pastor understands his limitations, but ultimately he has to trust God to go before him with his testimony and reputation. Thankfully, when we were hired (years and years ago) our pastor made it a point to let 2nd man know that his family should come before ministry.
Another couple of reasons that I think my 2nd man is the greatest man I know is that there are two things he always works hard on being able to do and say.  They are, “I’m sorry” and “Thank you.”  He has taught me a lot during our marriage about saying these two things and we strive to teach our children as well.   I’ll admit he’s even spoiled me in this area.  I know we aren’t to do things in order to get thanks, but he’s so good at giving it that it has become a source of motivation for me. Just recently I found myself doing some extra work for someone else and was left feeling…well…unfinished, or out of favor because they didn’t even say thank you for all of the work I did.  This made me all the more thankful for 2nd man and his example.  I’ve never gotten paid to teach his kids, or do his secretarial work, or keep his home, but the thanks keeps me motivated to want to please him. 
I don’t deserve the wonderful 2nd man that I have.  Maybe I’ll discuss that someday…maybe not.  But, I’m so thankful for him.  I’m humbled that God allowed me to marry such a man that Loves the Lord so passionately and loves his family with no less fervor.  I’m saddened when I talk to other wives or teens that don’t have the same thing in their homes.  Yes, marriage takes work, without a doubt.  However, the work is worth it and isn’t labor intensive, if kept up with.  Kind of like tending a garden, the weeds come and the sun can beat hard and there can be drought to deal with, but if you keep up with these things the reward can be a beautiful display of God’s handiwork.
My mom used to tell me that there was nothing more attractive than a godly man.  Seems she was right.  One of the greatest things about my 2nd man is that he loves the Lord and so desperately wants to please him.  Even in his seasons of struggle when he’s having dry devotions or he’s feeling a lack of zeal or questioning his usefulness, I still admire him because his turmoil is due to the fact that ultimately he desires to please God.  If that ever changes, so will my admiration.  So, by God’s grace I’ll remember to always lift my 2nd man up in prayer to be humble, able and usable.  Keeping his family as a priority and his testimony strong. 
Posted in Associate/Youth Pastor's Wife

The Stages of a Youth Pastor’s Wife Part III: Accidie

Last month I wrote about going to the pastor’s wives conference in Oklahoma City.  It was there that I learned a new word that really pegged me in some areas at some times.  The word was, “accidie”  (ak sidi).  This I feel needs to be addressed as one of the stages of any ministers’ wife.  The problem with this stage is that it can be recurring.  It is hopefully short lived when it does rear its ugly head, but if not, can become quite a heavy burden for some. 
     According to the Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy, accidie is a: State that inhibits pleasure and prompts the rejection of life; one of the Seven Deadly Sins. Aquinas associates it with turning one’s back on things, through depression or self-hatred, and nicely defines it as a torpor of spirit which prevents one from getting down to anything good (Summa Theologiae, IIa 35. 1). Often it is translated as sloth, which is actually quite different. See also apathy.

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            Being a Baptist, I’m not a big proponent of the seven deadly sins, mind you, but this definition seemed to fit the best.  Some of the others I read limited it to the sloth aspect.  However, it really is more than that.  I’ve found at times when I have been subject to the state of accidie it’s not because I’m being lazy, but rather that I’m being tormented into doing nothing for God.  I may want to blame other people, but it is usually because I’m not in the right mind frame spiritually speaking. It is that feeling when you show up, but you’re not really there.  You’ve become burned out on people and serving or loving them.  Oh you may still do all of your duties, but not with the power or passion of God behind it.  You feel unusable and somewhat in despair because you know that it’s wrong.
            Accidie can sneak up on different people through different ways, but here’s when it tends to strike me.  It’s usually times like right now, the beginning of summer.  As I’ve written previously, summer is not a break for those in youth ministry.  We’ve already been to senior camp, started a fireworks stand fundraiser and last night, we signed up the younger kids for junior camp.  All of this entails dealing with many many parents, all who have their own concerns for their Johnny or Suzy.  I often need to remind myself that I have three Johnny and Suzys of my own, about whom I have concerns.  But, somehow, in dealing with these parents and even the kids themselves, people don’t communicate well.  Some are argumentative, others don’t communicate at all until after the fact, and still others communicate and then recommunicate and then…well you get the picture. 
            For instance, I’m in charge of making up the schedule for the workers at the fireworks stand.  This entails puzzle working for 35 kids!  2nd man wisely had a meeting and asked everyone to turn in a paper with the dates and times they could not work.  Most people did this well and it’s working out fine.  I have one controlling momma that turned in a five-page synopsis of her kids’ schedules.  I spent hours mulling over all of these requests and fitting kids into the schedule so that everyone got approximately the same amount of hours.  Yet, controlling momma still keeps stalking me around the church with problems and wanting more hours for her kiddos.  I saw her sneak into the room last night while in the middle of signing up the junior campers, waiting to talk to me.  I had to quietly and quickly pray that the Lord help me be loving and understanding because I was afraid I was gonna blow.   When I looked up a few minutes later, she was gone.  I firmly believe that was the Lord protecting her and me. 
            I go through all of this because it’s this kind of stuff that gets me down.  I start feeling  claustrophobic  from all of the people that seem thankless and displeased with either myself or my 2nd man.  All I can tend to see are the problems and then the little lies start to get whispered into my mind like, “these people don’t appreciate you or your husband,” or “why even bother, nobody cares about anything except themselves. Why do we even have fundraisers for these kids, make them pay their own way.”  Or even, “Run!  They’re coming after you!”  I get frustrated when I have five people to track down after church, but get stopped in the hallway by four or five others, over matters of little consequence.  What’s worse is that I start to see only faults in people and get blinded to my own.  That’s a scary place to be.  It’s at these times that I’m on the verge of shutdown, a.k.a.  accidie. Oh, I’ll show up to church, but I’m not there spiritually at all.  I’ll do what I have to and punch the time clock so to speak, but I’d rather hole up at home away from everybody. 
            I was just reading in I Thessalonians 2:19-20 “For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing?  Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?  For ye are our glory and joy.  Oh wow, could I say that about the people to whom we minister?  Honestly I probably could in about a month or two from now.  However, the goal would be to say that I felt that way always: That my passion for serving is ever refreshed by my eyes being on the Lord for whom I serve. 
            Truthfully, it hinders me as a helpmeet for 2nd man and could have the possibility of hindering his ministry.  This is why I was so enthralled to learn this word, accidie.  It’s kind of like it put a name on this nebulous stage in which I sometimes enter.  It also, made it a tangible stage in which I should be ever striving to avoid.  Lord, help me and other ministers’ wives to be strong in you and your power to love people even when they aren’t so loveable.  Goodness knows I’m not always loveable, but you died for me anyway and forgave me my sins.  Please forgive me for toying with the stage of accidie, may I mark it and avoid it when at all possible.  
Posted in Associate/Youth Pastor's Wife, Life Lessons Disciplines of the Faith

The Stages of a Youth Pastor’s Wife Part II: The Honeymoon

Now, I’d like to start looking a little more specifically at different stages of being a youth pastor’s wife.  The first I’d like to tackle is the honeymoon stage.  No, not the marital honeymoon, but rather that first exciting year in ministry that is full of fire and energy.  Everyone has this stage whether it is a first ministry or even a move to a new ministry.  People are welcoming and you’re the newest and greatest thing to come along in most people’s minds.  Here comes the warning:  this stage does wear off!  That’s not to be said in a negative way.  Actually, it’s kind of nice when it does wear off so the focus can be off of you and, hopefully, onto the Lord and His work. 
When people think of a honeymoon stage they often think of it in mostly the positive light of a fresh new stage that is full of happiness.  However, just like in marriage, it is also full of learning and stumbling along the way in dealing with others.  We found that it was hardest on the older teenagers who had been under the ministry of another youth pastor for a long while.  They didn’t like change and some even resented it.  I laugh now, because one of our dearest graduates from the first year who is now in ministry himself, talks so kindly and fondly of us.  What he forgets is that he was one of the loudest objectors to change we had that first year.  We often heard the phrases, “But we’ve always done it this way!” or “ We never do that!”  To which we’d just grit our teeth and smile and go on. 
One example that comes to mind is in regards to camp.  Our church had, unfortunately, developed a reputation as a rebel group who pulled pranks all the time.  2nd man and I aren’t fuddy duddies, but we do like to help enforce rules of those hosting our camps and retreats.  Harmless horseplay is one thing, but our group would do nasty things that damaged people and property.  I even slept with a fully loaded squirt gun under my pillow always ready to counter attack the girls. They know now that, though I can appreciate some jokes, I don’t like to lose sleep or have my person wet or dirty due to a prank.  Upon, learning of this reputation, 2nd man made it known to the kids that we weren’t going to be pursuing that route anymore and we’d appreciate it if the kids would refrain from bringing prank items to camp.  We received a phone call one evening, after this announcement, from a mother of one of the older teens.   2nd man expected her to be thanking him; instead, she chewed him out!  “I understand you’re not allowing pranks this year.”  She started, “Yes, that’s correct.”  He replied.  “Well, how do you expect them to have any fun?  This is just ridiculous!”  And on and on she went.  When he hung up we both were astounded.  After returning from camp and exhausted from the week we were awakened at 6 am the next morning to our doorbell ringing…several times.  People wanted to know when our garage sale started.  (This was in the day when beanie babies were all the rage).  People would race to be the first at garage sales selling them.  “I’m not having a garage sale.” I replied to several angry people.   We later found out that the previously complaining mother had put an ad in the newspaper with our address for a garage sale with the beanie babies.  She figured she’d pull her own prank.  The funny thing is, when we had testimony time Sunday evening, her own son got up in front of the entire congregation and announced that he had been disappointed about the whole “no prank” thing, but that this was the first year of camp where he’d actually felt like God spoke to him about some things in his life.  I have to admit, that was a great moment of satisfaction to 2nd man and I. 
As a wife to my 2nd man, I felt very defensive during this stage.  I was excited to help him kick start this ministry, but often felt the need to defend it instead.  I had to establish with others that they couldn’t get to him through me.  Instead, if they had an issue they could make an appointment.  This was when I had to learn to support him in ways I never expected that he’d need.  Just as he was feeling out and getting comfortable with his ministry, I was learning what my part was in it for him.  I was also trying to get used to new surroundings and people.  Sometimes that can be hard on a woman.  He got to go into the office everyday and grew by leaps and bounds in his relationships with the staff.  Meanwhile I was sitting at home wondering what to do and what my place would be.  I had just graduated college and was trying to figure out if I’d teach in the public school system or the Christian school or at all.  I was also trying to weed through the many people who would show up at my door, often unannounced, just to see the newly renovated missions house that the church allowed us to live in for a year or so until we got our own place.  I even had some ladies look in my closets as they toured the house!  I kid you not, it was like a sitcom.  I must have had a dozen or more people offer to help with the youth.  I look back now and laugh at some of the ones who offered.  They said they had a heart for youth, then when I’d see them with their own kids they were like scream machines.  You know, the ones you see at Wal-Mart constantly making more noise shushing their screaming child than what the child makes.   “Uh, no thank you J we have enough help right now, but I’ll keep you in mind if 2nd man says there’s a need.” Became my rote response. 
I had been warned by another woman, who had grown up in the same church as I and had married a minister, “beware the ones that meet you at the train.”  I didn’t understand fully what she meant until a few months into the ministry here.  It seems that there are those who want to be the first to meet and greet you and pick your brains about all things youth.  It would seem, also, that these same people want to somehow have a hand in the control of what you think about the youth.  We had several of these when we first came to Oklahoma, those that wanted to steer different activities, or those who wanted to be youth workers with us, but were constantly handling things amiss.  I’m not sure how many fires had to be put out because of these people, and though we loved and still love them, we’re glad that there was a changing of the guard after a while and 2nd man was able to hand select the helpers. 
That brings me to what I said earlier and that is when the honeymoon is over and how great things start to get.  It is then, that changes can really begin to take place.  People are used to you and more accepting of the changes you want to make.  It isn’t taken as an affront to them or any previous pastor who had been in that position.  It’s when you can make the ministry your own according to how you feel led of the Lord. 
Honeymoons are nice.  When I was first married to 2nd man, I couldn’t believe that I could ever love him more.  However, I look back now and realize how I hardly knew him and had so much to learn.  The same is true in ministry.  The honeymoon is a nice stage, where you feel liked and accepted.  But as time goes on you love the ministry and those you minister to. Enjoy your honeymoon, for sure, but expect and prepare for even greater things ahead!  
Posted in Associate/Youth Pastor's Wife, Teens

Summer Break and a 2nd Man’s Wife

I had a great summer break this week, but alas it is over.  Yes, the “summer break” for some 2nd man wives only lasts for one or maybe two beautiful peaceful weeks and then come activities.  I actually like most of them, so this isn’t a whine.  Tomorrow we leave for senior camp.  I’ve had people through the years give me mixed reactions about this.  Most are sympathetic that I have to be with teenagers for a whole week.  However, this isn’t really all that bad.  It’s more the 14-hour overnight bus ride that really kills me. Once we’re there, I’m golden.  I mean really I look at it this way, I get a week away from normal chores, like cooking, cleaning and Wal-Mart.  I get to hear great preaching that convicts and inspires even us adults.  I get to be around a totally Christian environment without the distractions of the world and I get to be there when teenagers get moved and convicted and want to talk about it.  Also, in my case, my children get to go visit their Granny and Grandpa who are normally a 17-hour drive down 3hrs. to pick them up for the week. 
            Of course it has its downers as well.  Some people think I’m taking vacation.  Well, to that I say, “not exactly.”  For all of the perks, it is still no vacation. Did I mention the 14-hour bus ride?   I also don’t choose to spend vacation outside in 90-degree weather sweating it out to play field games.  Nor do I choose to spend vacation sleeping in a creaky bunk and sharing icky shower rooms and bathroom counters with 19 teenage girls.  I usually pull rank in the bathroom area as I can “paint my barn” a lot faster than these girls.  Nor do I spend my vacations checking hem lengths and cleavage exposure and I do wish that mom’s would do this before they send their girls to camp…grrr…sniff…argh (but I digress).  So, no, it’s not exactly vacation either. 
            After camp, we’re looking at a 3-week stint of running a fireworks stand. Which is the most time consuming of all our summer activities, but provides our teens with a lot of money in their teen accounts to be able to attend most of their activities throughout the year.  During that time we send our two daughters to Jr. camp (which, thankfully, I got out of going to this year).  Then there’s the trip to Chicago with our top 7 winners of our Wednesday night program.  After that a 3-day youth conference before school starts.
            Yes, summer is the busiest time of year for a youth pastor’s family not to mention the poor youth pastor.  However, it can be the most rewarding time as the teens are full of energy and excitement.  I’m curious as to what others experience during this time and what their perspective is. 
So here’s the challenge:  While I’m away this week (I’ll try to post, but am not sure as to the WiFi access or time constraints) I would ask that if you are a 2nd mans wife or any kind of ministers wife or even a youth worker, or even were ever a teen that went to camp, that you’d post a comment or send me an email to  I want to hear about your summer experiences.  Do they just plain wear you out?  How do you prepare?  What are your thoughts on camps?  What’s the best or worst camp experience you’ve had?  Tell me tell me tell me.  I want to hear.  Do you have any great ideas that you’ve learned in your experiences?  Dish it out sister!  So there you go the assignment has been given, please share and I’ll look forward to hearing from ya!  But for now, I’ve got to go pack.
Posted in Associate/Youth Pastor's Wife, Marriage

What exactly is a 2nd Man’s Wife?

   So, I went to a Pastor’s Wives Retreat last week.  Yes, I left the very same day, actually the very same hour after all of our houseguests left, leaving 2nd man with the children and the mess.  This was a great strategy as it gave me a couple of days to breath and unwind while 2nd man cleaned up.  I really must remember this in the future, hee hee chuckle chuckle.  It wasn’t my intention to leave him like this,  but I really like these retreats and always glean greatly from them, so 2nd man didn’t mind my getting away.  The only complaint I had was that all of these other pastor/associate pastor/youth pastor wives kept checking their text messages for two days.  Always looking at their phones awaiting those important messages that affirm that they are important people.  I, on the other hand, got…well…nothing.  2nd man assured me that was because all of their husbands had to keep asking things like, “where are the diapers?”  or “how do you do dishes?” or “what’s there to eat?”  While he, was taking charge and caring for house, home and family for me as a competent husband.  Well, I guess I’ll let him off the hook on that one.  He did do a pretty good job and I did come home to a cleaner house than what I left along with dinner made and dishes done.  Yes, I’m spoiled nah nah nah nah nah.
            Anyway, back to my thoughts here.  I’ve mentioned this before, oh somewhere in this blog, that this is where I first learned that I’m not really a pastor’s wife.  Funny, I would have gone on blissfully naïve had I never attended one of these retreats.  However, I actually vehemently disagree with this viewpoint and go to the retreats anyway.  You may think it odd that I’d even want to go, but despite the narrow views of some people attending these conferences, I still always, without fail, get a huge blessing from the ladies chosen to speak.  I was pleased to see that my stubbornness and my pastor’s wife’s insistence had paid off.  This year there were many other associate and youth pastor’s wives in attendance.  Maybe we started something like a small revolution in honor of our husbands or something…well…maybe we’re not quite that important. J   However, in talking with one of the ladies I’d never met before, I naturally (or so I thought) asked her what “they” did at their church.  To which she responded rather taken aback “this is the only place where I’m identified with what my husband does.”   “Wow,” I thought, “Isn’t that our role and even a privilege?”  I guess I sound very backward and unfeminist-like, but I find perfect peace in being my 2nd man’s wife.  I’m perfectly comfortable being his help meet.  But, then I wonder, “am I a weirdo?”  well, probably yes, but also it’s a battle for most women.  If I were a doctors wife I’d have a different set of circumstances and sacrifices.  However, I’d still have those things in my life because of who my husband is and what he does.  If you’re married, there’s really no getting around it.   You are one with another person.  Though you have your own thoughts and feelings and even career sometimes, you are still laying aside your individualism when you marry…but I digress.
            This stigma, however, does get me thinking about exactly what my role is in the church.  I mean, my husband isn’t the senior pastor and I’m, well, kind of stuck in a no womans land.  Oh, I strongly believe that those in ministry are as responsible as those not full time in ministry to carry out the calling of God in their life wherever he puts them.  It’s a Christian duty and discipline that is universal to all God’s children.  However, there is a little more to it than that when your husband is in full time ministry.  There are still circumstances and people that you deal with that the average lay worker does not deal with day to day.  Here I am even wondering what is the role of any pastor’s wife?  So here are some beginning thoughts on the subject that I’ve started delving into.  This is not the end all on the subject, but this is a blog and I’m sharing my thoughts, not teaching on authority here.  
First, I was thinking about what exactly 2nd mans role entailed:
2nd Man’s Role:
I Timothy 3:1-7  This is a true saying, if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.  2 A bishop then must be blameless the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, apt to teach; 3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; 4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; 5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) 6 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
Though he is not senior pastor, his title includes the name pastor and his education and ordination qualify him.  Therefore, he is still required to hold to these standards.  Rather than a lesser man, he is more appropriately considered a type of specialist.  That’s what 2nd men do, they specialize in youth or music, maybe counseling, outreach etc. 
Titus 1:6-9  If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. 7 For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God;  not self-willed, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; 8 but a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; 9 Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.
Several of the above qualifications are directly related to the family:
·        ruling well his own house
·        husband of one wife
·        having faithful children
·        given to hospitality
All four of the qualifications are indirectly related to me as a wife.  He could not accomplish them as well without me.  That’s not a prideful statement; just a statement of realization of what God has called me to do.  Though 2nd man is ultimately responsible for overseeing this, and of course fully engaged in execution of it, I am also a part of this and helper in these areas.  He could be hospitable without me, but it sure is easier if I can have the home ready, the kids under control and a meal available.  He is responsible and engaged in the rearing of our children and the running of our household, but I’m usually the day -to-day manager of the training of our children.  It’s kind of like I get to be the 2nd woman to the 2nd man.
My role as a wife (any ole wife)
Proverbs 18:22 Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favor of the Lord.
Proverbs 19: 14 House and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife is from the Lord
I want to be a gift from God to my 2nd man
Titus 2:4-5 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 To b e discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.
We often look at this scripture in light of the job of an older woman.  But take a look at what she is supposed to be teaching.  Those are the qualities we are to obtain. Notice these verses aren’t just for a “pastor’s wife,” but for wives in general.  We just tend to get held to the standard more.  I’m going to look further into this area in another post.  As we all know there are scores of verses and books written about how to be a good wife.  The point is that, as a 2nd man’s wife, I, first and foremost need to be a diligent Christian and secondly a godly wife.  From there the priorities start to vary based upon if there are children or an outside job or if I help to assist my husband in his ministry.  More thoughts to come, but until then ladies, realize that your role is important.