Devotions

Only 3 Left!


Be the first PW in your state to get a free copy of Sunday’s Promise.  Just email me your name, mailing address and the church/ministry you are affiliated with.  The first 15 who respond from different states, will receive a copy of the first book in the  A New Day series for free! Just send an email to: janicetpw@msn.com

To date I have mailed out 12 copies of the book to women in South Carolina, Florida, California, North Carolina, New York, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Arizona, Ohio, Illinois, Michigan and Virginia.  Live in a different state from these?  Send me an email and be one of the last 3 winners.

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Power Struggles

Here’s a newsflash for you: churches have power struggles. (I’ll bet you were surprised.) Often novice ministers are unprepared for this fact of church life. This is why a mentor is so important because it is usually at the first board meeting our husband’s discover that sheep bite, and that supremacy in a church’s power structure is very important to some members.
Church members sometimes take on the characteristics of children. This makes sense when you realize we are their spiritual parents. One of their childish practices is to pit one pastoral partner against the other. It can be done in several ways, but one is by seeking the power of private knowledge: “Do not tell anyone about this, not even your wife (husband).”
We have found it levels the playing field in church politics by rarely agreeing to keep confidentialities from each other. When Michael is cautioned, “Let’s just keep this between ourselves,” he generally inquires why. We are one before God and therefore feel that free-flowing information is important to our ministry. It doesn’t mean that we do share it, just that the confider needs to know that we might share it with our spouse. The advantages are:
1. It keeps someone from gaining emotional superiority. Knowledge is power, and manipulators exult in the feeling that comes from being privy to information even the spouse doesn’t know.
2. It keeps both our eyes open to what’s going on in the church.
3. Two of us praying over a situation are better than one alone. This does not mean that I know everything. Michael is very wise in knowing what information I can emotionally handle and what needs to be kept to himself. It is not that I have to or do know everything, it is that when a situation arises in which little antennas go up and common sense demands: why shouldn’t my spouse know this? that we civilly inquire, why not? Just something to think about.

Pastor’s Wife A, B, or C

I had been a pastor’s wife for about three years before I discovered there aren’t two types of pastors’ wives (as I’d assumed), but three:

• Type A is the PW with her own specific call to ministry. I assumed she soared — anyone with their own “God-mantle” surely didn’t battle the same doubts and fears that I did.
• Type B married a man with a specific call to the ministry. In this category are actually two sub-categories: those who are thrilled to share their husband’s call and those who feel that their husband’s call is just that — their husband’s – and spend their life busily drawing the boundaries between his call and their life.
• Type C, however, are pastors’ wives who didn’t marry a pastor at all. They married an electrician or an accountant, maybe a bus driver. However, sometime after the marriage their husband admitted to or received a call to the ministry and their life changed drastically.

I have great empathy for what they must go through. It is one thing to get on the road of life and aim your car for a specific destination. The road may be bumpy, but there’s security in knowing where you’re going. To suddenly be driving to one destination and have the driver wheel onto an exit and head in exactly the opposite direction must be catastrophic to the emotions. Jill Briscoe, in “Renewal on the Run” has encouragement for those who fit Type C. She uses Peter’s wife as the example. This is a woman who married a fisherman. It was a lifestyle she knew, it had a stable income and was socially accepted. However, God had another agenda for Peter’s life and took him down another road.

What this boils down to is it does not matter if you have a personal call, you’re sharing a call or whether you were drafted mid-season, for in whatever situation you find yourself you can rest in the knowledge that God foresaw it, even foreordained it, and with His help you can succeed.

Peacemakers

Are you a peacekeeper or a peacemaker?  You may believe they’re the same, but they are not.
Peacekeepers believe in peace at any price.  Peacekeepers are parents who won’t admit the myriad of symptoms their teen exhibits mean he is doing drugs.  Peacekeepers are wives who excuse their husband’s brutality as stress from his job.  Peacekeepers, sometimes, are pastors’ wives who assert that their church people always love each other and never have any problems.  Peacemakers, however, admit conflict happens and openly confront the problem to bring about a resolution.  Peacemakers know a period of discomfort is the price of healthy, honest relationships.
 
Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God” (Matthew 5:9).  So why, if the Bible says that peacemakers will be called children of God, isn’t that what people call me?  Is it because my version of peacemaking has been to find the quickest, least troublesome solution?  Do I believe maintaining status quo is more important than admitting there’s something wrong and dealing with the problem?  Could it be because when I finally get around to peacemaking the situation has reached such a fever pitch that the parties are in a full-scale war and aren’t interested in reconciliation?  Maybe it is because I concentrate more on people’s opinions than in following what Jesus tells me to do.
 
One of the most difficult responsibilities of leadership is correcting sheep gone astray.  It is so much easier to give warm fuzzies. Yet gentle correction is as necessary in God’s family as in our own. When you have to confront a wrong, remember to be obedient to God’s principles. Facing tough situations by adhering to God’s Word will keep you from taking sides. Make sure you speak the truth in love.  Something more easily done when you’ve spent time in prayer preparing for the encounter.  Finally, address problems while they’re small.  It is easier to deal with one small blaze than a whole forest fire. Be committed to peacemaking, not peacekeeping.
[Reprinted by permission from Brynwood Publishing.]

Tangled Speech

I come from a family of avid readers.  Long ago, we discovered that we didn’t need to waste time looking up an unfamiliar word in a dictionary.  No siree.  We knew it could be figured out by the way it was used in a sentence.  Unfortunately, when we’d have occasion to speak this new word, we just assumed we knew its correct pronunciation.  Not always.  Like the time my brother announced at dinner that he didn’t like a particular acquaintance because his holier-than-thou attitude made him seem “pee-us.”  There was a moment of stunned silence before we all jumped in to explain that the word is pronounced, “‘Pie-us,’ David, ‘pie-us’.”
I was in college before I knew that a false appearance wasn’t a “fuh-kade” but a “fuh-sod.”  Sometimes I discovered that I preferred my own pronunciation to the correct one. For instance, it was disappointing to find the synonym for complete disorder — chaos — was pronounced “kay-oss” because I thought my version of “chay-ose” sounded more chaotic (if you know what I mean).
By now, you’re probably wondering where I’m going with this.  I’m talking about tangled speech.  The Psalmist says “Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word fitly spoken.”  Try as I may,  my speech inevitably resembles peach pits in tarnished brass.
My verbal offences, while sometimes humorous in retrospect, often give others an untrue impression of me.  While I’m quick to apologize when I’m aware of transgressing, I know I don’t catch them all.  Therefore, I’m qualified to state that most people do not intend to be insulting.  Comments you take as intrusive almost certainly are simply one person’s way of showing interest.  This year, give your church members a break and learn to laugh at what appear as roughly spoken, snoopy, or rude comments.  Being accepting of others foibles will reap you wholehearted love from those around you.  There’s nothing nicer for your people than knowing you’ll accept them graciously, and that they don’t need to measure and examine each word before it is uttered.

[Reprinted by Permission from Brynwood Publishing]

Red High Tops

As I rounded the endcap at Wal-Mart, there they sat:  red canvas high-tops.  Laceups, exactly like the ones Doug bought when sent to buy sturdy shoes to support Sharon’s faltering steps.  His wife loved them.  Their sporty appearance seemed to cheekily say, “Come on!  You can do it!”  They were her emblems of hope; she was ours.  The lessons we learned that year are forever written on our hearts.

We became friends when I, the mother of two toddlers, discovered I was once again pregnant.  Sharon provided support for my bouts of morning sickness.  She became “auntie” to my kids – sitting with them during church services while I played the piano, babysitting while I ran errands and encouraging me in my mothering trials.

When Jenny, the new baby, was only four days old, we bundled her in a blanket and made the 60-mile trip to Denver to be with Sharon while she had an MRI.  The unexplained numbness spreading down the right side of her body was discovered to be a form of spina bifida — undetected since birth.  With the passing years it had degenerated her spine to the point that she needed surgery or would die. The surgeon assured us it was a routine operation.  She could expect to be home a week after surgery.

However, it didn’t go as planned.  In disentangling ganglia from her brainstem, the surgeon had to cut more deeply than he intended thus erasing her motor skills.  In the waiting room we listened to his report. “Will she recover?” Doug inquired steadily.  Not easily upset, he just wanted to know what to expect.  “Of course,” the surgeon assured us, “it just means she will need intensive therapy before she can go home.”

All through the long summer, Sharon stayed at Rose Medical Center, attending therapy sessions several times a day.  Each visit would bring an improvement.  She first learned to control her flailing limbs, then to feed herself, followed by sitting, crawling — the red high-tops laced snugly around wobbly joints.   She’d laugh and say, “Jenny and I are twins, we learned to crawl at the same time.”

Four months after the surgery, she was allowed to go home on the condition that she would return for therapy three days a week.   Doug, a school administrator, had already taken many hours off in order to be with his wife.  With school starting there was much he needed to accomplish to get ready for the upcoming year.  Once September came he couldn’t leave his job three days a week to transport her to the doctor.  There had to be a solution.

I sat in our women’s Bible study the week Sharon went home and laid out their dilemma:  There wasn’t insurance coverage to keep her in the hospital; it had to be outpatient  therapy.  Doug couldn’t transport her three times a week; what could we do?  The Bible is practical, it says, “Whatsoever your hand finds to do, do it mightily unto the Lord.”  So we did.  We formed a carpool.

If you drew lines between our church, Sharon’s house, and Rose Medical Center, it would create a near perfect equilateral triangle, each side approximately 45 miles long.  On Monday mornings, at 7:30 a.m., with Jenny strapped  into her car seat and three-year-old David in his (leaving behind five-year-old Jana to wait for the bus with Dad), I would head out Highway 105 to Sharon’s house.  Upon arriving, I’d help her into the wheelchair, pulling it awkwardly out the door, over the rocks and tufts that pass for grass in high-altitude Colorado, maneuver her into the front seat, fold up the steel and leather contraption, wrestle it into the trunk, and set out for Denver, another 45 miles away.

Once at the medical center, the kids and I would wait in the waiting room.  If the weather was nice, we’d go to the park or do a little shopping.  At the end of her session, we’d repeat the trip in reverse, arriving back at our house about 2 p.m.  An entire day that exhausted the kids, Sharon, and me, but necessary to her recovery.

John and Mary, a retired couple in the church, made Wednesday their day.  The most faithful of friends, they never missed one week of taking Sharon to therapy.  Upbeat and optimistic, they provided a lot of encouragement when progress seemed slow.  On Friday, Karen, a home-schooling mom, and her three children did the trip.  The kids practiced times tables or spelling in the car and continued lessons in the waiting room during Sharon’s sessions.

Whenever regulars had other commitments there was an assortment of friends to step in.  Sherrie or Donna was happy to pinch hit.  A second Karen took over halfway through the year when home-schooling Karen needed a break.   By hook or crook, we saw that Sharon got her therapy.

We shared in all her firsts:  First time standing alone, first steps, first time fixing dinner for her family.  The first Sunday she returned to church was a milestone for our congregation.  Doug wheeled her up the stairs and down the main aisle, the high-tops peeking demurely from under the edge of the lap quilt.  We stood and cheered; exuberantly congratulating ourselves for the part we had played in her recovery thus far.  As the months progressed and she got stronger, the sessions were reduced to two days a week, then one day.

One long hard year later, she was finished.  Every time I see Sharon walk, I am reminded of loyal friends who stood staunchly beside her, putting aside their own pursuits for a year to help her regain her life.  I see in living color, love in action: the growth of a church body that learned when a member is hurting, we all hurt, and in order to be whole, we all must engage in the healing process.

[Reprinted by permission from The Pastor’s Wife newsletter]

The Problem with Pedestals

It catches me off-guard whenever it happens. And it happens in varying degrees to all pastors’ wives. What is it? I call it the Pedestal Syndrome. It’s the belief by some that the pastor’s wife is, or should be, perfect. They’re shocked to discover that you and the pastor fight … struggle spiritually … can’t do or don’t know everything.

When comparing this attitude between younger and older Christians, age isn’t necessarily a factor. Although, older parishioners may believe this myth more because of the silence that was common between ministers and laity in the past. Decades ago, pastors suffered in silence (and died young) for their stoicism.

As much as it dismays me to find parishioners who want us on a pedestal, I’m even more concerned when I meet a pastor’s wife who believes it’s her obligation to be perfect. I’m saddened to think about the struggles and pain she’ll face alone. For one of the tragedies you’ll endure by placing yourself on a pedestal is isolation.

Pedestals are lonely places. They don’t lend themselves to horizontal sharing. They circumvent emotional access between you and your sisters. When you live on a higher plane, you can’t admit: “I’m depressed, please pray with me,” or “I’m struggling with my kids, can you help?” It also works against you by forcing your parishioners to keep a distance. They’ll avoid sharing their battles because they assume you can’t understand their problems.

Pedestals also become a spiritual stumbling block. Just as some people may not come to you for help because of your perfect ness, conversely others may come to you for the solutions to all their situations, circumventing seeking God’s answer for them. They may look to you for approval and accept it as God’s approval. It has happened before when people followed their earthly shepherds, even into heresy, because they didn’t have their eyes on the Great Shepherd or their feet firmly grounded in God’s word.

You can check your pedestal position every once in awhile by asking yourself these pertinent questions:

1. Am I acting honestly in my relationships?

2.  Do I serve people in order to point them to God or to gain their approval?

Just something to ponder,

God’s blessings,

Janice

[Reprinted from 1998 TPW]

Chosen

Merry Christmas from Mike & JaniceLast night, Mike and I were watching the news regarding the latest fiasco of the rich and famous, specifically, this week, Tiger Woods.  I was once again struck by how sad it would be to have your husband cheat on you.  Infidelity rips a hole in the sacred fabric of a marriage that no matter how meticulously it is mended still leaves an indelible scar on the soul of those affected most by it.  When a spouse cheats on their partner, they are sending many messages, but the core lesson is you are not important to me.  And being the central, most important character in the story of a marriage is paramount.

When I think about everything a woman is seeking from her mate, the fundamental desire is the realization that out of all the women in the world, he chose you.  Romance is good, laughter is wonderful, shared goals and dreams are essential, but knowing that he will choose you every time over everyone and anything standing is what gives us our security.

When a husband is a workaholic, the extra hours are not what cause the pain, it is that he chose his job over you.  It does not matter what is substituted, the damage is caused because we have come in second place. And my heart went out to Tiger’s wife and every wife who has thought she had been chosen by her lover only to discover that he didn’t have the same definition of choose that she had.  I still get a thrill when Mike walks into a room and our eyes meet.  That connection reminds me that I am the one he is searching for first.  That I am important to him.  Each time it happens we reinforce our emotional bond.

This Christmas Season, dwell on the fact that you were chosen by God.  That everything that played out down through the ages was done in order that you might be chosen by Emmanuel to be His love. And allow it to burn brightly within and comfort you.  Blessed are you among women for God chose you.

Have a very blessed and Merry Christmas.

Janice

John 15:16 You did not choose me, but I chose you.

Procrastinator — with a capital P & that rhymes with T & that stands for Trouble!

At the weeping rock in Zion National Park
At the weeping rock in Zion National Park

I am a class-A procrastinator. I could teach evasion tactics to black-ops (yeah, a lot of my time is spent reading espionage thrillers if you couldn’t tell). Which of course explains why it took me two months to get a new program up and running on the website, not to mention why I just got my box of winter clothes stored away – just in time to take them out again, and why my Fourth of July decorations stayed up until September 1st.

Despite what my family and friends believe, I do not like being a procrastinator. I long to be organized; an on-top-of-everything woman. So in search of a solution, I logged onto Amazon to search for a book I could order (someday) and read (later) to help me curb this problem. I found, The Now Habit — A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination. I punched the button on my new Kindle reader. In less than 60 seconds the book was downloaded and ready for me to read. Well, how is that going to help a procrastinator? Having it right here means I need to read it right now. So I did — or scanned it, I guess I don’t need to add lying to my problems.

Imagine my relief when I learned from the book that I really was not lazy. Yes! I am actually a perfectionist who avoids completing tasks in order to stave the inevitable poor self esteem that will result from not completing said task perfectly.Obviously that was not the whole theme of the book. It did have some helpful hints for me, and I am glad I paid $4.99 for it; it was worth my time.

However, the popular glossing of unpalatable truth brought to my mind how un-Politically Correct the Bible is. The Bible reduces problems to their bare essentials, strips away subterfuge and, in my case, identifies my personal procrastination problem succinctly as lazy [Prov. 6:6-10].

Unfortunately for me, the Bible is right. First of all, I know beyond a doubt that perfectionism is not something with which I struggle. I procrastinate because I’d rather: smell the flowers, read a book, take a walk, go for a drive, surf the internet. It is true I also procrastinate when too many things pile up and I am immobilized because of the weight of what awaits me. And there are strategies to help me, however, most of the solutions start with not procrastinating, so you see the cycle I’m dealing with here.

However, when you’re really ready to deal with a problem, it is comforting to know that the advice you receive is direct and true, whether it’s couched in pretty language or not. Excusing a drinking problem with explanations of stress or abuse with excuses of a bad childhood yourself, keeps us locked in our destructive cycle. God’s Word calls it what it is and offers the solutions. How comforting.

Listen… Don’t Assume

Janice HildrethApproximately three years ago, I began a Saturday morning Bible study breakfast for some friends with whom I’d been building relationships, hoping to lead them into a relationship with God and/or be an encouragement to their relationship with God.

It was a lot of fun. We rented an apartment clubhouse and I’d go in about 7 a.m., make my mother-in-law’s Famous Egg & Sausage Casserole, brew up coffee, slice fruit and generally get prepared — praying over each chair and table as I set up. By 8:15 they began stumbling in, still sleepy, but willing to get out of bed early to meet on Saturday. We played ice breakers, handed out door prizes, ate, laughed and got to know each other.   I brought a 45-minute Bible lesson and we managed it all in one and a half hours, start to finish. In the span of a few years I had approximately 40 different women who came through the door and were taught and mentored.

Then last fall we had a series of events that occurred in our church in which a large portion of our already small congregation moved out of state for new jobs, due to high unemployment in our area. This occurred at the same time that the apartment association of the clubhouse we were renting doubled our fees.  Suddenly we couldn’t afford to pay the rental fee for the club house. I brainstormed all sorts of scenarios: moving it to the church – something I didn’t feel was what God wanted me to do because I knew many of the women  would not attend. I considered asking for a small donation to help pay for the rental, but again, didn’t feel that was what God was directing.  So, as a last resort, I simply asked God what I should do. His answer was simple: Stop.

Stop? Stop a Bible study? But it’s going too good, God. Who will minister to these unchurched women? I’m having success here why would I quit?

Again, I heard: Stop.

So I made the announcement and stopped the Bible study. It was a very hard decision to explain, even to myself.

So, six months later, I look back on that decision and ponder what I learned from it.
1. I realize I am learning to trust His instruction even when it doesn’t make sense to me.
2. I find confidence that whatever God planned to be accomplished through the Bible study had been accomplished for this time and it was time to stop.
3. I understand that a plan that is birthed by God can be stopped at God’s discretion — ie: we should not beat programs (and ourselves) to death keeping something going past the time that God has decreed.

Too often, we can take a program that was birthed by God and when its time has been accomplished, and God allows obstacles to enter, we don’t ask if its fulfilled its purpose we – by hook and by crook – keep that program going.

The God who starts something is also able to say it’s time to stop. Listen carefully to what God is saying.  Don’t start something unless God has told you to do so and definitely, do not keep it running longer than he says it should.

God Bless,

Janice

Expectations

My Heart
Jan-March
2009
In 2009 my prayer for you is the fulfillment of a dream you’ve held deep in your heart for a long time. Dreams are fragile, easily destroyed by a puff of disbelief or skepticism.
A New Year has always seemed full of hope to me. Like a new snowscape, the days spread out before us pristine and unmarred. I don’t know why I view it in this manner since I’m facing the same situations I was just a few days ago. But for a day or two, the advent of a new year makes me believe that the old ugly past is really done and finished. Today all those situations that, just yesterday, frustrated and defeated me seem surmountable, doable, and fixable.
That’s the great blessing of Hope. God gave us many great gifts, but to me, Hope is the brightest ornament on the tree, the red on the candy cane, the frosting on the cookie – the extra touch that makes it most special. Hope transcends time, bringing reality to the present while existing in the future.
For each of you, in whatever situation you find yourself, I pray that
• The dream you’ve been dreaming will be fulfilled this year.
• The dream you’ve been afraid to dream will gain substance and form in your spirit.
• The dream you’ve abandoned will be reclaimed
May God bless you in 2009
Janice
The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:
The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.
And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel, and I will bless them.
Numbers 6: 24-27
Copyright 2009 Brynwood Publishing,
All Rights Reserved
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What they don’t tell you about pastoring
We’re not totally green to pastoral ministry, but this is clearly the first time we’ve been on staff in a church of this size, let alone been the senior pastor. While we knew what we were getting into, the details have been hitting us the last week and it’s been a bit grueling. It’s a busy season between all the services and Advent preparations, filled in with the extra year end office stuff such as finalizing next year’s budget and calendar and doing annual reviews. We have a lot of entertaining to do, which we enjoy. We also have some seriously ill members and some who are dealing with new and serious diagnoses. The daily load on my Beloved is daunting and although I’m on the sidelines, I feel his pressure and share his burdens when I can, mostly by earnest prayer and being a listener.
I think what they don’t tell you about pastoral ministry, and probably couldn’t explain to those who haven’t experienced it, is the emotional resiliency required
to move back and forth between talking to families who are broken-hearted about their children’s
choices and celebrating with new parents who are dedicating their baby to the Lord. In one day Beloved will visit a terminally ill member in a local hospital, talk to family members who are dealing with aging parents or struggling with a call to missions, work on sermons for current and future weeks, and come home to our children who pile on him squealing with joy because daddy is home. Moving back and forth between the joy and pain that people experience in various situations in life and finding a balance between coping by just disconnecting, and in serving your congregation by sharing their pain and joy (Gal 6:2) is a challenge that you don’t learn about in Bible college.
As a wife I pray for my husband to have strength for the duties and to serve with a full and generous heart. I make an intentional effort to allow him to be free to do so. As a mother I work hard to make sure my children don’t feel that the church takes too much of daddy’s time and mental/emotional energy. We are very deliberate about planning family time and yet sometimes the duties are just there and must be done. We want our children to understand that it’s an honor to serve this church, and that a life of service is an offering to the Lord. We’ve always prayed that we would be poured out as a pleasing offering to God (Phil 2:17) and love being a shepherd for this flock.
A dear friend regularly prays over Jared, and it means a lot to us. He prays that God would give Beloved the strength to bear the burdens he has to bear, and to let the burdens go that he does not have to bear. There is so much wisdom in this, and something I have been praying too.
[Keri Stoner is a pastor’s wife, mother and artist. You can read more about her by going to her website: http://www.bread-of-angels.com. She and her family have a website: jesse-trees.com This creative website offers a distinctive way for parents teach their children the scriptural basis for Christmas. They offer heirloom Advent ornament sets to purchase or kits you can make yourself.]
Copyright 2009 Brynwood Publishing, All Rights Reserved
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Purse Exchange!
The women’s group at Northview Church of God, Boise, Idaho, meets on Thursdays for a Bible study. That is every Thursday, except the first one every month. That week they have a special program – sometimes they learn a craft, sometimes a special speaker comes. Once a year though, they have a purse exchange. Everyone brings the purses they no longer use to exchange with someone else. You get a number for every purse you bring – if you bring three purses, you get to draw three numbers. Just like Christmas exchanges, if you like a purse already
chosen, you can choose it instead when it’s your turn. It may only be stolen until the third person holds it; then it is considered frozen and that person gets to keep it.
Copyright 2009 Brynwood Publishing, All Rights Reserved
Fund-Raiser
The women in your church need an easy fund raiser?
Personalized Valentine’s Cookies are a great way to earn
a little extra income. Sell a dozen, decorated/personalized
heart-shaped sugar cookies.
That’s a Bright Idea!
Do you have an idea that has worked in your church or women’s group? Send it to me at janicetpw@msn.com and I’ll pass it along to others.
Do you have someone special in your church who has gone through a hard time – maybe a divorce, loss of someone close, or an illness – who you and your friends have wished there was something special you could do for her? Why not redecorate a room in her house? You could do a take on Trading Spaces from HGTV and pick two people so that there would collusion going on to make the transformation the best ever!
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Ministering to Women
As the pastor’s wife, you may be involved in planning the programs for your women in the upcoming year. Consider these perspectives in order to enable you to better minister in the upcoming year.
1. What age groups and demographics are represented? Are the majority middle-aged married women or mid-thirties single moms? To minister to these two groups your goals will be diametrically
opposite. Become a listener to your women’s conversations — what are they frustrated about? What takes up most of their time? What makes them sad, angry and happy?
2. Think outside the box. Would a lunch-hour Bible study better serve your women than an evening meeting? Speaking for myself, when I worked full-time and had small children, I was not interested in attending any evening meeting.
I felt like I was gone from my children too much as it was. I would have been interested in either a breakfast or lunch meeting, or an evening activity that allowed both me and my children to do something together. Maybe a book club, sport club, or mentoring program would be what your women would be willing to invest their time attending
3. Be real. I have always had a hard time with pretense. I have always insisted in being honest with my women and hopefully, you will be honest in broaching subjects that real women deal with in an open and biblical manner. Create an atmosphere in which real temptations such as lust, abuse, sex, career, infertility, exhaustion, temptation — the list goes on — are openly shared and prayed over. The first step will be for you to demonstrate openness yourself.
4. Affirm the power of God. Take time to pray — in groups, openly, and honestly. Minister God’s love with each other.
If your women attend simply out of loyalty that speaks well of them, but it is not the best reason to invest time and energy in a program. Pray and think and try something new.
Copyright 2009 Brynwood Publishing, All Rights Reserved
Please tell me what you are thinking. What
encouragement, resources, or ideas, are you
interesting in finding at PastorsWife.com?
Email me below with your thoughts and ideas.
janicetpw@msn.com
My Heart Rejoices in the Lord
ictuals from the
icarage
5
Hash Brown Casserole
A perfect dish for a prayer breakfast or a work day at the church. [Preheat oven to 425 degrees]
8 frozen hash brown squares or 2 cups frozen loose hash browns
2 cups shredded cheddar or Colby jack cheese
1 cup chopped onion
1 dozen eggs
2 cups cooked bitesize, ham, bacon or sausage
½ cup half & half
2 Tbsp. parsley
1 tsp. salt & pepper
½ tsp. garlic powder
Mix eggs, half & half, spices in bowl and beat lightly. Pam large glass baking dish. Spread potatoes
on bottom, then meat, cheese & onions. Pour over with eggs. Bake 40 min. Makes 8 generous servings.
5 Minute Chocolate Mug Cake
4 Tbsp. flour
4 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. cocoa
1 egg
3 Tbps. Milk
3 Tbsp. oil
3 Tbsp. chocolate chips (optional)
Small splash of vanilla extract
1 large coffee mug
Add dry ingredients to mug, and mix well. Add the egg and mix thoroughly. Pour in the milk and oil and mix well. Add the chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla extract, and mix again.
Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes
at 1000 watts. The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don’t be alarmed! Allow to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate if desired.
EAT! And why is this the most dangerous cake recipe in the world? Because now we are all only 5 minutes away from chocolate cake at any time of the day or night!
Copyright 2009 Brynwood Publishing, All Rights Reserved
Valentine’s Romance for You and Yours
Start by making him his favorite dinner. We never go out on a holiday because the service and food at restaurants is too often inferior because of the crowds. Find a CD of his favorite music (my guy’s is Bread, if you can believe it, and yes, he has a copy of their top recordings in his car so it will be easy to find). Then, make notes you will post in the house, taking him from the front door and room to room, until he ends up where he will discover you, candlelight, music, and a wonderful meal. Make the notes little quizzes and add a piece of candy to each. A twist would be to have a picnic in your living room in front of the fireplace on a blanket.
Something New…
In the book 20 Wishes, by Debbie Macomber, a group of friends compose individual lists of 20 things they wish to accomplish before they die. It’s a take on other like books such as 100 Places to Visit Before you Die. However, how about composing for yourself 20 Wishes for 2009? Make these not of the “lose 20 pounds” variety, but 20 new ways to look at something or 20 new spirit-lifters for 2009. Some suggestions to get you started:
When you apologize – do it face-to-face and look them in the eye
Cultivate niceness – it’s a much neglected trait
Volunteer in a non-church organization
Read more, watch TV less
Take an elderly acquaintance to lunch
Borrow a preschooler and go to the zoo
Take a picnic lunch and spend an afternoon flying a kite
Challenge yourself: walk a half-marathon, run a marathon …
Find scenic trips within 100 miles of your home and take as many as you can
Take a gourmet cooking class
Set a reasonable health goal and accomplish it
Learn a new skill: piano playing, sky diving, tatting…
Meet everyone on your block – schedule a block party
Get eight hours of sleep every night
Whenever possible walk to work, take the stairs, and park way out at the mall
Join Facebook/MySpace and reconnect with your old gang
2 Timothy 2:15 (New Living Translation)
Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth.
No matter what you’re dealing with this year, concentrate
on making sure your life is approved by God. When you know what you’re doing is what God has asked you to do, then rest in his approval and do not allow yourself to be stirred up, upset, or frustrated because you encounter disapproval from others. Learning to listen and follow God is key to achieving peace in your life that will allow you to weather the storms that ministry will bring your way.
Copyright 2009 Brynwood Publishing, All Rights Reserved
6
The Pastor’s Wife Editor: Janice Hildreth
The Pastor’s Wife Newsletter is published as an on-line publication. Copyright 2009, Brynwood Publishing.
Direct all inquiries and submissions
via email to: janicetpw@msn.com
If you need to contact me by phone, one of these three numbers should always reach me:
Home: 208-377-5955
Work: 208-377-6306
Cell: 208-602-9649
Copyright 2009 Brynwood Publishing, All Rights Reserved
7
ORDER SHEET
Resources
Costs for shipping are for U.S. orders only; contact me for international shipping.
Cost Ea. Sub-Total
A Note from the Pastor’s Wife Notecards
English – $ 6.00 _____
Spanish – $ 6.00 _____
An Ornamental Christmas – $ 8.00 _____
(a one-woman Christmas soliloquy)
My Heart Belongs to the Pastor Tote
Pink – $ 27.00 _____
Navy – $ 27.00 _____
Hunter Green – $ 27.00 _____
What Would the Bible Say? $ 8.00 _____
Women’s Meetings Vol. 1 – $ 5.00 _____
Women’s Meetings Vol. 2 – $ 5.00 _____
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TOTAL: _____
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Brynwood Publishing LLC
P.O. Box 4791
Boise, ID 83711
(Phone: 208-377-5955)
(Please do not email your credit card information to my website as it is not secure)
To view products, go to Resources at www.PastorsWife.com

From My Heart

May 2009

I am the poster child for late bloomers.

My first kiss finally occurred at age 23.  I had my first child when I was 32.  My first publishing contract came at age 53.  You could say that delayed gratification is programmed into my DNA.  It’s just too bad that patience isn’t.

Anxious to accomplish my goals, I ponder the ramifications of hope deferred.  I rationalize: Doesn’t the Bible say it makes a heart sick?  Doesn’t sound good; probably should be avoided.  There isn’t an intrinsic value that augmentally increases every day I  languish waiting for my dreams to be fulfilled.

I am not alone in my impatience.  As a society, we tend to take shortcuts to acquire what we feel is critical to our happiness.  Sexual purity is thrown aside, character is brokered for promotions, marriage and family are sacrificed to personal fulfillment.  The Bible is full of examples of morally derailed people, such as Esau who traded his entire future in order to fill his stomach, or King David who jeopardized his friendship with God to fulfill a middle-aged sexual fantasy.

This is why I have to continually remind myself that an eternal focus is important – for the person in the pew or the pulpit.  We can whine and gripe or we can conclude that God’s agenda is the most important.  That is why Matthew 6:33 is a Christian imperative.   Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you.  We all have goals, dreams, and hopes; filtering them through God’s will is the only way to deal with disappointment when they don’t materialize or inflated egos when they do.

Regarding myself, I pray and acknowledge that no matter how strongly I believe I deserve to have my dreams fulfilled, following God is more important.  And for the gazillionth time I lay down my desires and acknowledge that He is Lord of my life.

A friend from Bible study made a profound statement.  She said, “If you want to follow your dreams you shouldn’t be a Christian.”  Took awhile to get my mind around it, but when I did I had to agree.  Our life is not our own.  The gifts He gives us are not an entitlement to pursue our own path, but rather are subject to His direction.

This is a good reminder for us in the ministry.  Your dreams for ministry, even ones fueled by God’s breath, are subject to God’s will and timing.  Go in peace

Janice

Hope

From
In 2009 my prayer for you is the fulfillment of a dream you’ve held deep in your heart for a long time. Dreams are fragile, easily destroyed by a puff of disbelief or skepticism. A New Year has always seemed full of hope to me. Like a new snowscape, the days spread out before us pristine and unmarred. I don’t know why I view it in this manner since I’m facing the same situations I was just a few days ago. But for a day or two, the advent of a new year makes me believe that the old ugly past is really done and finished. Today all those situations that, just  yesterday, frustrated and defeated me seem surmountable, doable, and fixable.

That’s the great blessing of Hope. God gave us many great gifts, but to me, Hope is the brightest ornament on the tree, the red on the candy cane, the frosting on the cookie – the extra touch that makes it most special. Hope transcends time, bringing reality to the present while existing in the future.

For each of you, in whatever situation you find yourself, I pray that

•   The dream you’ve been dreaming will be fulfilled this year.

•   The dream you’ve been afraid to dream will gain substance and form in your spirit.

•   The dream you’ve abandoned will be reclaimed

May God bless you in 2009

Janice

The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:

The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:

The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.

And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel, and I will bless

them.

Numbers 6: 24-27

Copyright 2009 Brynwood Publishing, All Rights Reserved

Reaching Out

I have worked outside our home and church for a large portion of our married life. And except for four years with Focus on the Family and three teaching in a Christian school, it has always been in the secular workplace. If you work in a secular workplace, you too may experience the same ambivalent feelings that I did for many years. My place of choice would always have been safe inside the walls of the church I love, but since circumstances forced me out there I longed to share God’s love with the unbelievers I met every day. Unfortunately, the only method I knew was to invite them to church.

I have this mental picture of me leaning out from the safe walls of my church building/life, waving to everyone, “I have Good News for you!” Is it any wonder nobody ever accepted my invitation?
I continued in my sincere desire to share God’s love, with the same fruitless results, until I learned to build relationships. I began to invest my life in the people I met. I had compartmentalized my life — This is me 40 hours a week with my co-workers, versus This is me after work with my family and my church. I hadn’t realized the two worlds could co-mingle. It took me a long time to realize I would never influence anyone for God’s Kingdom with my us/them mentality. That is why God commanded, “Go into the entire world and make disciples…” “Go into the highway and byways and compel them to come in.”
Because we invest so much of our time and resources into a church building or a church program, we have a hard time wrapping our brains around the truth that there isn’t anything intrincisally spiritual about them. Their only value is the truth of the message and the people who carry them.
As a pastor’s wife we are often happy living in our safe environment. We know church people. We understand them. For all their dysfunction, they are safe. But even pastors’ wives are called to the Great Commission, and most of us hide inside our churches, consumed with caring for the flock.
I challenge you to build one relationship with an unbeliever. It will be good for you, it may have eternal changes for them. My husband’s focus for years has been to train our people to recognize
that each person has a circle of influence –a group of people only they can influence for God.
Open your eyes. Ask God to point you to someone with whom you need to build a relationship. Remember these small important points:
1. Relationships take time. You will spend lots of hours with them without preaching. As
St. Francis said “Preach the word at all time, if necessary use words.”
2. This relationship is not an evangelistic campaign, i.e: attack and conquer, take a long view
and realize you’re in it for the long haul.
3. Enjoy yourself. This person will be a friend for life.
4. If you’re not sure where to start, look next door. Most of us have unsaved neighbors.
Scout out the coffee shop you frequent, the PTA, or the soccer mom on your kid’s team.
Janice
Copyright 2009 Brynwood Publishing, All Rights Reserved