Have you ever stopped to assess your pastoral sisters and pondered why some of us thrive in the ministry while others flounder? When someone we’ve known and respected makes choices that are unexpected and devastating, we seek answers. If for no other reason than to prevent ourselves from taking the same tragic course. Appearances are deceiving, and as we gain experience and wisdom we learn not to unconditionally accept what appears to be. Because what appears to be is not the whole story, God looks directly into our heart for the accurate picture.
An illustration on this truth was brought home last summer when a huge wind storm hit Boise. Boise’s nickname is City of Trees. We have a long love affair with trees and every yard, corner lot, park and sidewalk flaunts wonderful speciments that add beauty to our town. In a span of four hours last August, a devastating number of our trees were destroyed. Morning light revealed them lying on the ground, leaning against houses, crushing roofs or cars, and blocking roads.
While the winds had exceeded gusts of eighty miles an hour, we had withstood winds like that and stronger in previous years, so we asked Why had this wind brought down so many trees?
It was discovered that modern irrigation was the culprit. A practice of watering our lawns regularly had trained the trees to spread out their roots and drink the surface water instead of drilling down to drink from the water table. The deep nourishment that would have provided roots for stability was not accessed. And in adversity they toppled.
Keep this lesson in mind this New Year. We can sit in the pew all polished and pressed, attend conferences smiling brightly, but if we do not have any spiritual depth, we will fall when the storm comes. Nourish your spiritual roots this year and remain strong.
And if you’ve already been aware of the necessity for this in your life. Tell us, what do you do to nourish your spiritual roots?
The Thanksgiving holiday this month reminds me that a grateful heart is a healthy woman’s best emotional vitamin. It makes the continual adjustments we inevitably face in the ministry easier to handle. Gratefulness is a comfortable compassion. It enriches our lives manyfold, allowing us to enjoy any size blessing, not just the biggies.
Gratefulness accepts each situation at face value, allowing us to see how it enriches our lives. For instance, it reminds me each Monday how blessed I am to be able to do my laundry in the comfort and convenience of my home instead of lugging piles of dirty clothes to the laundromat. Interestingly, if I was at the laundromat, gratefulness would remind me how blessed I am not to be pounding my dirty garments on the rocks of the river bank. Gratefulness isn’t visionary, it accepts what is instead of longing for what could be. Gratefulness cannot dwell in a heart filled with bitterness.
Like internal smog, bitterness obscures our spiritual sight. It keeps us from enjoying what God has given us. As long as we allow bitterness to dwell within we can never be grateful for the laundromat experience because we feel we deserve the washer/dryer in our home. We’ll assure ourselves we’ve been cheated and list all the ways life has shortchanged us.
But if we daily pray, “Create in me a clean heart, Oh God, and renew a right spirit within me,” we will rid ourselves of this disease of discontent. By repenting we allow the Holy Spirit to wash the windows of our heart. And then we can clearly see all that God has done to bless us.
They’re Gone! Thank you to all of you who wrote in for your free copy of Sunday’s Promise. I will post a second contest in about a month to give away copies of the second book, Monday’s New Beginning. Be sure to look for it.
1. I always thought I’d be a writer when I grew up. Then I hit the half-century birthday and discovered I’d overshot my goal without hitting the mark.
2. I swore I’d never marry a preacher.
3. I wasn’t sure I ever wanted to have kids, so I had three just to try it out.
4. I am not, never have been, do not intend to ever become a perfectionist.
5. The pursuit of money is a tiresome taskmaster and not worth losing family, health, or sleep in order to gain.
6. I look forward to growing old with my hubby.
7. Teenagers are a whole lot more fun than toddlers.
8. My greatest ambition is to become organized. (Coincidentally, this is also my husband’s greatest ambition for me.)
9. Purses are my passion.
10. A great find at a garage sale makes my day.
11. I drink my caffeine cold – a cola to start my day!
12. I love being a pastor’s wife.
13. Until I met Neree I had never known a happy PW, so initially becoming one was not a pleasant prospect.
14. I love church and the Church.
15. I just joined Romance Writers of America — whodathunkit?