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Showing posts from 2016

Still So Much To Learn

I haven’t learned all I should, but I want to keep working toward that day when I will finally be all that Christ wants me to be – and saved me for.
I read those words in my devotions this morning and had to pause. Is that my heart’s desire? Do Paul’s words reflect my life’s pursuit?
The first part is easy – I haven’t learned all I should. That is without a doubt very true! The second part is where I had to take a moment to reflect. Is the desire of my life to work toward being all that God created me to be?
I definitely want to be in God’s will, and I definitely want to be the best me that I can be. The sticking point is whether or not I want to keep working toward that goal. While the temptation toward complacency or straight up laziness catches my attention from time to time, I do genuinely want to “press on.” I sincerely want to “be all that Christ wants me to be,” but in no time at all – and often without warning - that purity of motive can quickly deconstruct into selfish motives…

Pink Sparkles

She was dressed in pink – sparkly, velvety pink. The cuffs on her sleeves were a band of white fur as was the trim on the bottom edge of her dress. She was missing her shoes, but her little toes were kept warm with her stockings. I held her, she cuddled. I changed her, she smiled. I laid her in the crib, she made sweet noises.
‘I would have missed this, Lord.’ This little blessing dressed in snuggly pink and sparkling with life. I could have so easily missed this blessing. ‘Thank you, Lord, for allowing me to hold this precious little infant this morning!’
Mary’s baby wasn’t dressed in pink sparkles, but I wonder if she too had a moment when she looked into the eyes of Jesus and thought, ‘I could have missed this, Lord.’ Mary’s obedience to the call of God on her life held a tremendously significant role in history and had an irreversible impact on humanity. My obedience, however, to help care for this sweet child took minimal time and effort. Both babes needed someone to care for them…

The Dilemma

There is a reality in ministry – some serve and some are served. As a pastor’s wife, what category do you typically fit into?
To have a healthy balance in life we should all sometimes be served. If we are to live a life as Christ did, we must learn to serve sacrificially as well. We must let go of our own desires so that others might benefit. When the ‘joy of the Lord’ is not spiriting us on toward good works we have a choice. We can serve with an attitude, or we can take on the attitude of a servant.
One of the times in life when it is most difficult to choose to be a servant is when there is something special going on at church – like at Christmas or Easter. Everyone wants to see the kids in the program or hear the Cantata. After all, we need to take time to ‘hit pause’ during the holiday madness to focus on the Savior. You can’t blame anyone for wanting to take some time off from their responsibilities – especially those who faithfully serve in one area of the church year round.
The …

Traditions

Do you struggle with some of the traditions, or lack thereof, at your church? If so, my best words of wisdom are to embrace what is meaningful to you while doing your best to experience and understand the traditions of others. Without realizing it, I came into our marriage with a lot of traditions – many which my husband had never experienced – let alone my new church family!
My heritage came from a long line of Swedish ancestors. On one side of the family, I am the granddaughter of immigrants and from the other side - a great granddaughter. Every Christmas we had a traditional smorgasbord meal with many imported foods and Swedish dishes. We danced around the Christmas tree – at least in my early years. We learned Swedish Christmas carols. We enjoyed Lucia celebrations, and we even attended some Christmas services that were spoken in Swedish. I’m a Swede, and that’s what we do.
Reality hit once I got married and moved away from a community that had a large Swedish population. Over time,…

It is a choice.

In my previous post, I spoke of the angel’s statement to Mary that "Nothing is impossible with God." (Luke 1:37). The reality of that truth can be applied to so many situations in life, but it hit home for me this week within the topic of forgiveness. 

Ugh! That again? I thought I’d learned how to love my enemies. I’ve walked this road before. I’ve seen God’s mighty hand making the impossible, possible. Forgiveness has come. But, here it was again staring me in the face. Was I holding a grudge? Was the grievance just in my imagination? Was I making a mountain out of a molehill?
Then today as I was finishing up the third book in a trilogy I had indulged in over the Thanksgiving week, I was struck again with conviction as I read the words of the main character as she struggled with the issue of forgiveness. Specifically, forgiveness with someone she was unable to speak with face to face. Her words are not exactly my thoughts, but I can totally relate.
“I forgive you. I mean…I’m s…

With God…

She was wiping tears away as she walked quietly out of the sanctuary. I understood. Her father had just passed away, and we were singing of Heaven. “Filled with wonder, awestruck wonder at the mention of His name.” For a moment, I continued singing and then I considered checking on her just in case she needed anything – even just a hug. I slipped out of the sanctuary and found her in the hallway with tear-filled eyes but a welcoming smile. She shared that the first hymn of the morning had been played at her father’s funeral earlier in the week. Then, when the Revelation Song began – that was it. She needed a moment to gather herself and reign in the overwhelming emotion that had come bubbling to the surface. I gave her a hug. She breathed deeply and wiped a few more tears away. Bittersweet moments. The promise of heaven partnered with the reality of letting go of the known for the unknown.
Was that what it was like for Mary, the mother of Jesus, when Gabriel broke the news to her about…

So many things to be thankful for!

I am so thankful to see God’s mighty hand at work in my life even though it is not uncommon to sense an unwelcome tug toward discontentment from time to time. Some days, thankfulness comes very easily. Other days, it is an intentional choice. Having a thankful heart keeps my priorities on track and keeps my focus on the One who deserves all our honor and praise!
One thing I am thankful for this year is that I have never had a doubt that God placed a tremendous call on my husband’s life to be a pastor - and oh does he have a pastor/shepherd’s heart! I am also thankful that he was called to be a ‘preacher,’ a name many of the locals have come to call him through the years. I can’t say I ever doubted that part of the call, but there have been several specific moments that God confirmed in my spirit that he has been called not only to pastor, but to preach.  
One of those moments surfaced after we had weathered some particularly rough ministry years, and God gave me a new prayer for my husb…

Sunday Morning Madness

Every Sunday morning I have a choice – and so do you. How flexible will I be? When the exit timeline takes a hit, do I have the tools to quickly recover? What damage will be done in my Christian witness or personal sanity when the unexpected delay hijacks a peaceful home? How quickly will I embrace a ‘make it work’ mindset so that I can successfully get out the door?
While embarrassing to confess, my recent ‘make it work’ moment brought me face to face with whether or not I was going to choose an ungrateful attitude. What was so traumatic? Well, as I was in the five minute countdown to head out, I realized that there was no electricity running through the bathroom sockets. Apparently it had been disconnected when our doorbell was replaced earlier in the week. How the bathroom and the doorbell are connected I don’t fully understand, but I needed those last few minutes to finish my hair and get out the door! Silly vanity, I know. This schedule delay and the energy it took to deal with th…

We're In This Together

Do you find Sundays are both a blessing of soul and a challenge to your heart and mind? It is no doubt a challenge in all of our lives to successfully prepare and get ourselves – and our family – out the door and ready for a morning of worship and ministry. Some Sundays come with more challenge than others. When I'm in the shower and the phone rings, I never know whether to brace for chaos or a simple request. Did the computer crash? Is there water in the basement? Or, will I hear my husband’s calm voice saying “Making sure you were up!”

Whether everything is running smoothly or if we're feeling a bit frazzled, I’m convinced that the enemy is always watching for ways to throw a kink into our day of worship. I'm sure it comes as no surprise that some Sundays I'm much better prepared than others. Can you relate? The goal is always to find ways to bless and encourage those I encounter each Sunday, enter into a time of corporate worship and to participate in or lead a minis…