My Heart
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
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
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
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
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!
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.
My Heart Rejoices in the Lord
ictuals from the
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
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
Costs for shipping are for U.S. orders only; contact me for international shipping.
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A Note from the Pastor’s Wife Notecards
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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 _____
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S&H (20% Of subtotal)
TOTAL: _____
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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


3 Replies to “Expectations”

  1. I find myself here all the time. It is so easy to get focused on what I want to do with my life and what my goals are right now. I get so selfish, and when they don’t work out the way that I want, I often step back and say, huh, I guess I wasn’t in Your will, was I? I end up getting peace about it, even though they didn’t work out to my specifications. 🙂

  2. Sometimes we find it difficult to surrender our will, hope, aspiration and dream to God! What a wonderful experience if we make His will our dream! Our selfish desires usually lead to stress and frustration, when we step back and allow Him to lead, things work out better than our expectations

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