Reflections

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“O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.” ~ Psalm 34:8

“I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.” ~ Psalm 91:2

“It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O Most High: To shew forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night…” ~ Psalm 92:1-2

“It is of the Lord‘s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” ~ Lamentations 3:22-23

It seems almost unreal to me, but it is now December 31, 2015. In just about 12 hours (in the Eastern Standard Time Zone), another year will be history. It has been quite a year for us! It has been a year of struggles and sorrows, but also one of blessings and joys. We have spent most of this year praying and waiting and praying and waiting and praying and…well, you get the idea. Though it has not been the year we had hoped and planned for, we have seen God answer prayers and provide in ways we never could have imagined.  Allow me to give you just a few examples: Continue reading “Reflections”

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

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Ah, Christmas! It is almost here! Christmas break began last Friday when school let out. For the children (and probably their teachers, too), it could not come fast enough!! Already, my children have been busy trying to guess which presents are theirs (No, they’re not labeled – more on that later!) and talking about our Christmas morning breakfast! The excitement in the air is almost tangible! As we prepare for this special holiday, I have been reflecting on some special traditions from my childhood, as well as the new ones we have started with our children. Continue reading “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year”

One Big, Happy Family: Making the Holiday Season Enjoyable for Your Staff

christmas-554720_640Before I offer some practical ways to make the holidays enjoyable for ministry families, allow me to say that this is written primarily to help and encourage the pastor’s wife as she seeks to develop strong bonds with the wives of the men who serve alongside her husband. These “family” ties will be vital to the success of the ministry. Though your husband bears the majority of the responsibility for leading the staff, you can play a key role in helping the wives be active, excited participants in the many ministries of the church. Continue reading “One Big, Happy Family: Making the Holiday Season Enjoyable for Your Staff”

If I Never Had a Sorrow

sun-and-rain-shannon-story-7250I am currently mulling over a few different topics for my next article, but I thought I would share a couple of blogs that have been an encouragement to me recently. My husband has begun writing a series of articles about dealing with hurt. He has posted the first two already, and I have been blessed by what he has written. You can view them at his blog, http://www.iknowwhom.com. Several weeks ago, I had the opportunity to make a quick, last minute trip up to Avon, Indiana, to see Jennifer, a college friend of mine who was in town for a pastor’s wives meeting. Though we only had a little while to chat (while we shopped at Goodwill – Who can beat that combination?!), I thoroughly enjoyed our time. She introduced me to another wonderful pastor’s wife named Leah, who blogs at http://embracingrace.com. I believe this was a God-ordained meeting, as I needed some encouragement that day! Leah, Jennifer, and the other ladies in their group were and have continued to be an answer to prayer! Last Sunday, a special speaker at church read this poem at the conclusion of his message. (It was written by his wife, Ashley Allen. You can check out her blog at http://lcid-counsel.blogspot.com) It spoke to my heart, and I thought maybe you would enjoy it, too. Continue reading “If I Never Had a Sorrow”

Suffering in Silence: Ministering (Part 3) – Reach Out to Help

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Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2

“I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak…” Acts 20:35

 “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love…” Romans 12:10

“Remember them…which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.” Hebrews 13:3

As Christians, we are to follow the example of Christ by willingly serving others (Philippians 2:7). Our relationships in this life, both with other Christians and with the lost, are to be characterized by charity, kindness, brotherly love, and any of the other virtues that we would want bestowed upon us in our time of need (Luke 6:31). Sometimes, in our service through the ministries of the church, we look for ways to help behind the scenes. (Who puts up the seasonal decorations you see when you come in for services? Who cleans the nursery or the bathrooms? Who vacuums the hallways or changes the lightbulbs?) These areas of service are necessary and important to the work of the church, and those who do them should not be overlooked when we are giving out our thanks. Investing in others, however, will often require that our service literally become more hands-on! No matter what our insecurities or fears, we must reach out to offer support to those who are grieving loss. Continue reading “Suffering in Silence: Ministering (Part 3) – Reach Out to Help”

Suffering in Silence: Ministering (Part 2) – Realize Their Struggle

woman-crying11It was a beautiful fall morning in my classroom. My 3rd-5th grade students were busily putting their homework into their assigned baskets and getting their supplies ready for class to begin. Just before we officially began the day, someone popped into the classroom to say, “Pray for Mrs. X. She is at the hospital now and will hopefully have the baby soon.” One of her older children was in our class, and we were all excited to meet this new member of the family. There was an extra special excitement in the air now. We said our pledges, and I bowed my head to lead the class in prayer. I asked the Lord to bless our day and keep our minds focused on what we needed to learn. I began to pray for the mother in labor with her precious baby, and that is when I lost it. With a very shaky voice and eyes filling with tears, I quickly ended the prayer. I hurried to the door and closed it behind me, barely making it out before the tears began to flow freely. My baby would have been due in a matter of weeks! Continue reading “Suffering in Silence: Ministering (Part 2) – Realize Their Struggle”

Suffering in Silence: Ministering (Part 1) – Recognize Their Loss

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“I lost my first baby in mid April. I dreaded Mother’s Day that year for obvious reasons. A very kind mother/grandmother from church came to talk to me…she told me that I was still a mother though I didn’t have a child on earth. Sometimes, just one person truly acknowledging your grief can comfort you in ways unexplainable. I will forever be grateful.” ~~A Miscarriage Mommy~~

“I would like others to know that it’s OK to say something about my son and that you won’t hurt me by talking about him; actually quite the opposite. It is nice to know that he is remembered by others.”  ~~A Stillbirth Mommy~~

“For me 7 years later, having people bring up (my son), not pretend it never happened, is healing.”  ~~An Infant Loss Mommy~~

The words you read above came from three different mothers I know who have lost children, and they echo the sentiments I have read and heard from so many others. The first step in beginning to minister to those who are grieving the loss of a child is to recognize their loss. Whether they miscarried early in their first trimester, brought a “sleeping” baby into this world, or gave birth to a child only to lose him months later, all of these mothers lost something. They lost a precious, specially designed creation of God. Continue reading “Suffering in Silence: Ministering (Part 1) – Recognize Their Loss”