Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Ultimate Mentorship

I have learned a tough lesson in the last couple of months but can not express the gratefulness of my Savior and the gentleness He chooses to use to mentor me (and others who call Him Lord and Savior).
I have been like the children of Israel and Judah....His servant and yet so blind!  I'm the person who has read in Isaiah and thought to myself, "How could they be so close to God and see so little?" And our ever so patient mentor says:
"Who is blind but my servant, and deaf like the messenger I send? Who is blind like the one committed to me, blind like the servant of The Lord? You have seen many things, but paid no attention; your ears are open, but you hear nothing." Isaiah 42: 19-20

Man....such a downer Mrs. Pastor!   PLEASE, stay with me.  I promise not to leave you on this note.  be patient and walk through this lesson my mentor was so gentle in walking with me.
I had what we call "partial blindess".  We see but we don't take the time to understand.  That word "understand"  is huge.  If anyone is in Proverbs long enough you read it often.  Understanding takes time, energy, and outside our little brain.  It is possibly seeing things differently like you never have before or connecting pieces from other sources.  I am speaking from a teacher now.  I encounter little brains everyday that must challenge their minds to understand.  Sometimes understanding comes easy and often it's a challenge.  I often pray my students will hang with me and not give up but the reality is that some do give up.....and THIS IS WHERE MY LESSON COMES IN.

In my 22 years of ministry and 15 years in education I have taken ownership of my work and efforts. I have used passion, hard work, and committment to help define who I am.  I have taken the product and have made it a reflection of me.  If the product fails, I have failed.  If the soul turns away from Christ, I have failed.  If the student doesn't excel on every level, I have failed.  If the marriage doesn't work that we have helped, I have failed.  PATHETIC isn't it?  How could I be so blinded?  Why did I feel like I needed to take on such responsibility? I have only hurt myself and others along the way.  Some of this I know goes way back to childhood.  The hurt that I had to cover up as a child as a victim of a word I still cannot type out.  Then shortly after my world turns even more upside down, my parents divorce, and I move halfway across the country.  I was "determined" to be someone successful and yet I was still so lost.

BUT my mentor had plans for me.  He would be patient with me, teaching, guiding, and whispering to my heart even at the age of 44.  He continues to place people in my path and is hoping and cheering for me every step.  Today, I stand on this scripture (and hope you will do the same):
"Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice (the right things in the right way) to the nations (His people).  He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets (do it in his own way and take it on himself) .....

This is what God The Lord says- he who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and all that comes out of it, who gives breath to its people, and life to those who walk in it; (He's reminding you who He is ) I, The Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand (meaning He doesn't expect you to take on the outcome...just be His servant) I will keep you (you are safe) and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles (you will show people Jesus) to open the eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness."  Isaiah 42: 1-7

I'm so regretful of situations I could have handled differently, but so thankful at the same time for the love, grace, and patient kindness of my mentor Jesus.  I will go into this new year with a lighter step and joy in my heart.  I will follow the example of my mentor in order to mentor others.  I will stay connected to His word and in prayer and intercession listen to His voice.  I will seek to understand, which will require things of me I'm not familiar with or comfortable.  I will go to another level spirituually in order to accomplish His purpose in my life.  I will seek compassion on a level I have never known before.

praying for you all to have a mentoring moment!
The Mrs. Pastor

Saturday, December 6, 2014

I Have a Question.....

If I had to make a top 10 list of the biggest struggles in our world, #1 would obviously be sin but a close #2 would have to be personality conflict.
So I have a question....How is it that we were all created in God's image, can have faith to move mountains, have compassion for the lost and hurting, go to other countries on a missions trip and yet we butt heads with our neighbors, co-workers, family and extended family.  Don't get defensive, I'm talking to myself as well.

This is a topic I would like to do a deep study on and teach.  So for now, the scripture I go to is this:
Psalms 139:23-24
"Search me, O God and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."

I am responsible for me.  Nobody else but me.  We all know this but it doesn't make it any easier. Lately I've been put in situations that have been difficult for this mrs. pastor.  It's so ironic that God had this path for a little girl that struggles with social skills.  I've used my silence most of my life to protect myself and yet it backfires and comes across in a negative, unapproachable way.  So, I pray to God to give me the strength to break this pattern that can be offensive to others.  Then there is my high expectations regarding work ethic.  I expect this from my own children and my students at school.  This comes from being raised in a single parent home and being on my own since 17.  I wasn't going to get anywhere sitting around and making excuses or blaming others.  If I wanted to be successful then it was up to hard work.  Then I became a Christian and learned that it was in His word to work as unto the Lord, to let your light shine so others could see your good works and glorify your father in heaven, to be trusted with little and God would give you much more.  But, this isn't always taken well either.  ugh!  conflict.

I know there was personality conflict in the bible.....paul and barnabas decided to part ways on their missionary journey.  Both godly men.  We know it happens and can happen peaceably but sometimes not and we have to be ok with that too.  I have to be ok with me, and be completely open to an honest evaluation from the Holy Spirit....not the critics because there will always be critics (even loved ones).  We need to be careful not to  become critics ourselves.  BE RESPONSIBLE FOR ME.  
Hebrews 12:14-15
vs. 14 "Make every effort to live in peace (only you know if you're putting effort) with all men (did you get the "all" part?) and to be holy (that means like jesus); without holiness no one will see The Lord  (no excuses, you either are or you aren't). "

Now wait for it.....

vs. 15 "See to it that no one misses the grace of God (hmmmm misses?) and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many (hmmm defile?)"

So it isn't that easy.  It takes much effort and digesting of God's word.  It's the only way.

make every effort,
the mrs. pastor

Thursday, November 27, 2014

On a Scale From 1-10

"What is your pain on a scale from 1-10?"

This question has probably been asked of all of us at one time in our life.  It is a difficult one for those who like to be exact.  Each person has their own level of pain. I've seen a child fall to pieces over a scrape on the knee and a grown man not able to function over the flu.....and then I've seen a women receive a toxic chemical in her body to fight cancer and go to work that very same day.  I've experienced a level of pain that I'm positive if you asked me at the time I would have said 10, but looking back I can see God holding me saying " you're ok, I've got you."

The Lord not only grows us during these times, but is showing us how important discipleship is in our Christian walk.
"If you falter in times of trouble, how small is your strength,!" Proverbs 27:10

I was in a spin class the other day and the instructor tells us to turn it up to a 7 or 8.... Then after so many minutes she'd tell us to bring it down to a 4 or 5.  This can be difficult.  I question myself and think, " is this a 7?" How small is my strength? What is a 10?

I'm thinking a 10 is "I can't function".  So.... Unless I'm dead, and even then, I'll be in the presence of my Savior, I'm not at a 10. In all areas of my life, I don't want anyone, especially my Lord, to say, "how small is your strength!"

This is why time in His word is so vital. Not the word that the pastor gives on Sunday morning. That's just extra. It's our personal, one on one, focused time with God that prepares us for that question " what is your level of pain?" Again, everyone's perspective can be so different unless we see things through the lens of God. Look at Jeremiah as he questioned God because of the trouble he faced. God asked how he ever expected to face big challenges if the little ones tired him out ( Jeremiah 12:5) this tells me God must have had a different perspective than Jeremiah.  Jeremiah must have thought his pain level was an 8 or 9 and God was saying.... "Let's try a 3 or 4!"

We can't do this thing called life without Him my friends! I often ask myself how people do it without Christ. The answer is, they do.... It's just so sad, such a struggle and a mess and it doesn't have to be.  Let's not think just about ourselves and help others have this same perspective.   But before we can help others, we ourselves need to be healthy in this area.  This holiday season feed yourself on God's word.

In His Strength,

The Mrs. Pastor

    Wednesday, November 5, 2014

    It's a choice

    One thing that we all have in common is choices.  We have to make them everyday.  Some choices are just so natural we don't even think about them, while others may take deep thought and courage.  I wish I could say that as we got older we make very little wrong choices but this isn't always the case either.
    In order to make the best choices, to walk in His wisdom, knowledge, and understanding, we must die to our "human" nature.  That means to be in-tune with His spirit that lives within you.  Sometimes we will need to do things that just aren't natural for us.
    "I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart;
    I will tell of all Your marvelous works.
    I will be glad and rejoice in You;
    I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High." Psalms 9:1,2

    It just seems weird to praise when we are surrounded with conflict.  It isn't natural to tell of His marvelous works when tragedy strikes.  I don't jump up to sing when circumstances look hopeless.  How can I be glad when I'm looking at sad?

    Answer: I choose!  I depend on my Lord and Savior with all my heart.  I look my circumstance in the eye and say " I will".  I die to myself and plead for The Lord to take over where I have no strength in myself to handle it in the best way possible.

    At the end of the day, I just want to represent Him well.  Will I mess up? yes.  Am I perfect? no.  Will some people seek out to find something to fault in me? yes.  But everyday I fall on my face and ask my maker to forgive me for anything I've done to bring shame to Him and ask Him in His grace to continue to mold me in His image!

    I will.......
    will you?

    -The  Mrs. Pastor

    Friday, October 17, 2014

    Where do I go from here?

    HEEELLLLOOOO all my faithful readers.  Did you think I fell off the planet?  We've had a few changes in our family dynamics....One moves out for college and my niece moves in to finish her senior year with us.  So, two senior girls and one 16 yr old ready to get her license in the Lee house.  Never a dull moment!

    But let's get to the good stuff.  The stuff I love to share....God's word.  His powerful, life-changing, inspirational, strengthening word.
    Today's scripture reading:
    "How much better to GET wisdom than gold,  to CHOOSE understanding than rather than silver"
    Proverbs 16:16

    What I love about this blogging thing is that it allows me to have a platform to live out what I have such a passion for: being a student and a teacher.  The GREAT teachers are also great students themselves.  They are constantly making observations not only of their own lives but that of others. These intentional people then use that information to educate themselves on how they can better educate their students.  That was a mouthful..:)

    This brings us to our verse today.  Every single moment of our day is a lesson, an assignment if you will.  We are either brainstorming (we call this reflection) ,drafting (we call this just living), revising (we call this repenting and making some changes) or we are presenting our final piece (this is a God ordained moment that He has prepared you for).

    In each of these stages you have to make an effort to GET, to physically, spiritually, mentally "do". You have to make a CHOICE to understand the process leads to the product.  It has taken me a long time to put such great importance on the process when all I wanted to do is see the result.

    So, to all you "students" out there....can you slow down and GET this?  Can you accept some instruction from this teacher?  Here is my challenge:
    1. make time in your day to understand the lesson or assignment.
    2. once you understand, do something with it.
    3. ask your teacher (The Lord) questions and for guidance.
    4. be teachable and make changes, revision, when necessary.  That's part of the process.
    5. embrace the learning process and walk in complete confidence in your God-ordained moment!  Publish your piece (whatever that looks like for you), He's got you covered!  

    Where do you go from here?  Forward!  It's a purposeful place to be moving....forward!

    Thanks for not giving up on me during this last month,
    The Mrs. Pastor

    Sunday, September 14, 2014

    WARNING !!!

    The signs are all around us: on road signs, on our appliances, on our beauty products, our cleaning products and much more.

    My mind is going back several years ago when we had a plumbing product, that you can buy at any hardware store, that had a big skull and X that said DANGER.  I'm thinking we didn't take that as serious as what it was trying to tell us on the bottle because it ended up putting my husband in the burn center for 10 days with a skin graph.

    God's word is full of warnings to protect us from what is DANGER.  How can this happen?  There are several reasons:
    1. We get relaxed....in our routine if you will.
    2. We get careless...leave the door cracked.
    3. We get distracted.....with our daily responsibilities.
    4. We are inconsistent....our personal time with Christ is all over the place.
    5. We let pride settle in our vessel.....it's in all of us and if you can't admit that You are prideful!

    I'm reminded this week how powerful and consistent our enemy's plan is.  But that shouldn't surprise me and it shouldn't surprise me that he can use us....YES CHRISTIANS to be a part of his plan.  That is the hardest thing to write in words and even confess out loud but it's true.  It doesn't mean you are not a Christian it just means you probably were #1-5 above.

    Let me give you some of our enemy's attributes and if you find yourself clinging to these....rebuke it quickly and run to God's word!
    Doubt: makes you question God's Word and his goodness
    Discouragement: makes you look at your problem rather than at God
    Diversion: Makes the wrong things seem attractive (this could be an action or attitude) so that you want them more than the right thing.
    Defeat: makes you feel like a failure so that you don't even try.
    Delay: makes you put off doing something so that it never gets done.

    Let me challenge you with some questions.  Have you let any of these attributes in your life?  Did you leave the door cracked where the enemy could stick his foot in and welcome himself in your vessel?  Can't we all see that when this is going on in our lives it is holding back what GOD wants to do in us personally and collectively?  There is abundance right now in God's hand waiting for you, your family, your church, your job, your purpose....but can we be trusted with it?  Can we accept the challenge to heed the warning signs and take care of business quickly before any of these attributes find a residing place within us?

    I think we can!
    The Mrs. Pastor

    * just so you'll know, as I write this I hear screaming teenage girls at the back of the house....I had to set this down, give them this message and remind them who we are and that we are allowing the enemy to use us to bring himself in our home.

    James 3: 16
    For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice (and yes, this applies to Christians!)

    Sunday, August 24, 2014

    Don't Blink

    Kenny Chesney got it right when he sang the song "don't blink".  If you haven't seen the music video and don't mind being vulnerable to getting choked up, you should check it out on YouTube.
    If you will go with me for a minute.....close your eyes (after you read this of course) and think back on your last 20 years.  I personally just blinked and think, "where has it gone?"
    It was 26 years ago I was moving into my college dorm on the fifth floor and I blinked and now I'm moving my daughter onto the same college campus in the dorms on the 6th floor.
    It was 20 years ago this month that Steve and I drove to our church to "try out" as youth pastors and then I blinked and we are now the lead pastors.  In those 20 years God did so much.  I wish I could write a book for you to see the growth that took place, the struggles and triumphant victories.  I know if you took a moment, you'd have the same story to pen on paper.  I encourage you to do some reflecting.
    It was one year ago that I started this blogging thing and then I blinked and here I am the Writing/Language Arts teacher in 2nd grade this year!  Who would have thought?  I never thought of myself as a "writer" or that my thoughts were even important enough to share with people, and yet God and my friend Jill saw something different.
    If there is one thing I've learned in these 20 years (I've learned way more, but only sharing one) it's that I don't have to know the future, only that it will get here soon enough.  My responsibility is to do something with the present.  I will blink again and I want to be at peace with what I did with each moment, word, action, adventure, opportunity....
    I'm taking this opportunity to thank God and all who have been a part of the last 20 years.  Each one have played an active part in my story.  God uses people to fulfill his plan.

    Loving where I am,
    The Mrs. Pastor

    Thursday, August 7, 2014

    You Don't Scare Me!

    I live at "that" house where there is NO WAY to kill the wasps.  Seriously, they find every crevice in the rock on the front of the house.  They even sneak their way into the bushes and prickly cedar trees (evidence in the winter).  They leave early in the morning and return around 5ish each evening....that is weird that I even know that.  They have frequently tried to threaten visitors and even house sitters while we've been out of town.  One friend doesn't even use the front door anymore, instead it's the garage or back door.

    This brings me to this spiritual comparison (which has been argued by my friend since she is allergic to wasps).  The wasp is not leaving but I don't even flinch because IT'S MY HOUSE....well maybe a time or two when it buzzed right next to my ear.  Now, before I go any further, just know we've gone through more cans of wasp spray than I would like to admit.  My point is that the wasp doesn't decide what I will do or where I will enjoy my resting spot.  It doesn't decide when I will water nor if I will take my morning stroll to enjoy my flowers.  It doesn't touch me.

    There is a different kind of wasp after us all.  It has residency, maybe not in your house, but near it.  We have to have a resolve that we are God's most precious gift and NOTHING is strong enough to move us.  We might flinch because it's so close to us, but we won't move...as a matter of fact it will make us mad.  It will propel us even more to draw strength and power from God's word.

    Now, please don't stop reading because my last example is action packed (but possibly rated PG for violence)  So if you're an animal activist of moles you might NOT want to read any further.
    These moles have taken up residency with our family for YEEAARRS.  Let me make a side note, we have a manicured lawn....you know, with the lines all going the same direction.  Steve actually caught it when the girls were small but NO WAY would they let daddy kill the animal.  So daddy put it in the ditch with the culvert.  The little fellow must have been so thankful for saving his life that he even invited more friends.  It was when one of them thought they had the freedom to dig under our house, find a hole under MY TUB, and fill the area completely with dirt, that NOW I was freaked out.  How did I know this you might ask?  I look down and see some dirt and open the doors under the tub and it's PACKED with dirt....I SCREAMED!

    My point to this story is that now the threat came INTO my house.  NO YOU DIDN'T!  The war was on.  I'm happy to say....this summer, one early morning, I go out to see that my little "frenemy" did some damage.  It was fresh, so I knew it was near.  I did what any strong , proverbs 31 women would do, I got the hose and stuck it in the hole to drown that puppy.  I knew it would be crawling to the surface for air so I got the shovel and waited.....in a few short minutes I saw it's beady nose....I was shaking.....I was scared (me? kill an animal) BUT THEN the spirit of David just took over and I hammered that thing. This was MY HOUSE!

    So friends, don't you let anything, anyone, any circumstance threaten you.  The enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy BUT GOD came to give us LIFE and LIFE ABUNDANTLY!  Thanks for hanging in there with the story....You really needed the anaolgy.

    Now go and drown out the mole and wack him with a shovel!
    The Mrs. Pastor

    Sunday, July 27, 2014

    Seed Producing

    Luke 6:45
    "The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good. And the evil man out of the evil in his heart brings forth what is evil.  For his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart."

    It's just plain common spiritual law: a human seed produces a human seed, an animal seed produces an animal, an apple seed produces an apple, etc.  This is the case in every area of our lives.  We have a natural term we like to use called "reflection".  What we produce is a reflection of ourselves.  This is something I've found that not everyone agrees with.....especially when it comes to school.

    I'm that teacher that has high expectations....I'm that mom who has high expectations.....I'm that Christian who has high expectations (of myself, my girls, and who they choose to allow in their inner circle of relationships).  Sometimes I wish I would just keep my mouth shut and this would be less controversial.  I just believe that we are a reflection of our actions.  As a Christian, you represent the seed that is inside of you...Christ.  But even if you aren't a Christian, your actions still represent who you are!  I tell my students that their work is a reflection of who they are. If you turn in a sloppy paper, this is a reflection that you don't care too much about the paper or the outcome of the grade.  It's called "work ethic".  On the other hand, If I turn in a paper and have given my very best, have proof read it and even went the extra mile to have someone else proof it, this says something about who I am.  Can you believe people are offended by this?

    I wonder, do they disagree or just offended?  I can say for me, if my house is a pit and my laundry piled high, this is a reflection that we don't have balance in our lives.  If I get a sunburn, this a reflection of too much sun or not enough sunscreen.

    As I ponder on this idea of reflection, seed producing seed, I think on God's wisdom.  The Hebrews believed wisdom not to be so much of knowledge but more of what you do with that knowledge...meaning your actions.   The point of this post is to stress that your actions matter.  Be responsible for what you do.  If you can't see things for what they are, you'll never be at the best place God has prepared for you.  If He can trust you with little, much more will be given to you.

    What will you produce this week?  What is that reflection?
    The Mrs. Pastor

    Sunday, July 6, 2014

    practice makes progress

    Whoever was the man that said "practice makes perfect" I'm sure had good intentions...it was probably a school teacher back in the 1800's and it has stayed with people today.  The problem is that we have created a pinnacle type of thinking.  That if you work hard enough, set goals and stay focused, you will reach that pinnacle (aka the top of the mountain).  What happens when you get to the top of the mountain?  That's right, pure satisfaction, a sense of pride if you will.  But then.... that wears off and you either need another mountain to reach a pinnacle or you drop off that mountain and are so exhausted that you stay right there at the bottom.  WHEEWW, who wants to do that again?

    Our culture needs to change this mentality (including me, I'm a school teacher and I'm guilty!) There is nothing wrong with having goals and staying focused on a task, that is what got me through college.  We should hone our craft, that's just a no brainer that you need to better yourself.  Unfortunately, this can take us to a place of finality, in other words, to a finish line.

    I  work hard to be intentional and take advantage of the summer and grow myself at an even greater level spiritually, physically, and professionally.    In the past I've taken several classes, read some really challenging books, gone to powerful conferences.   These experiences open up doors of revelation, not only with this thought of a finish line, but the vocabulary we use that could possibly have a negative stigma attached. When I say the word "homework" it naturally brings a damper in the room.  I become a real downer.  And yet if I say practice it seems much lighter, less forceful (this probably doesn't apply to  physical exercise/ athletics but it should).  What I have come to realize is that my philosophy, my foundation, hasn't changed but the approach on how to deliver it has.  I believe in practice, no matter what skill it may be: literacy, the fine arts, athletics, parenting, marriage, speaking, solving conflict, healthy living, discipleship, teaching, etc.  I will stand toe to toe with anyone and be very bold to say if you want to be better at anything you must practice....not that you will arrive at a pinnacle but that you will continue to better yourself.  Yes, a work in progress.  This means practice outside the realm you are using it in.  Russell Westbrook is an incredible professional basketball player, not just because he is talented and works hard, but because he puts in extra "practice" to better himself.  Again, it's a process.  I don't think he wakes up and says "I am now perfect.  I have arrived".

    This needs to be our mindset with every area of our life.  We practice and we make progress.  It may not be a huge progress but it's progress.  If we want stronger progress then we put in stronger practice but we are not looking for the finish line here on Earth.  Our finish line is heaven!  So until then, we continue to better every area of our life.  I will challenge myself to do things I've never done before in education in order to better prepare a generation for a different way of learning.  I will never stop learning myself.  I will dig deeper spiritually in order to be a godly mother, wife, mrs. pastor, in order to lead people to their own deeper level with Christ.  I will take every opportunity given to me to speak in public to better myself as a communicator.  I will make a more intentional effort to lead a healthy, balanced, right- minded thinking lifestyle in order to minister to people.  If my only goal is to arrive at a certain place or number, once again....I will slide right down that mountain and lie there.
    So, What do you think?  Can you do this with me?  Can you change your thinking of crossing a finish line and focus on the quality of the run?  Can we ask ourselves the question at the end of each week....did I make progress this week?

    Let's do this thing!
    The Mrs. Pastor

    Monday, June 30, 2014

    surviving or thriving

    In today's post I want to look at these two words first in isolation.
    Survive: meaning to live beyond another person, thing, or event.  My intentions are not to bring a negative connotation to this word but to use it's meaning to have a greater impact on the illustration of this post.  I understand the deep significance for people who are survivors of anything.  There is much strength in overcoming something so monstrous in your life.  I would venture out to say most people have something significant that they have survived and came out alive.....wounded, scared, hurt.....yet alive.
    Thrive:  to prosper, to grow vigorously, to flourish.  If you could go ahead and picture something in your mind.  Whatever that picture might be, it should put a smile on your face because not only is the process unbelievable to watch but the "product" itself, whatever that is in your mind, brings such peace and satisfaction to your soul.
    Both of these words have substantial power and yet only one was meant for you to remain in.
    John 10:10
    "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." 
    When we "survive" anything, it was not God instrumental in making that happen.....it was the prince of this world, the thief.  Now, God obviously might allow, but He is quick to say in His word that He will never leave or forsake you.  I know this is too big of a subject for some people.  They can't understand why God would allow it.  You need to just remember that God is sovereign and we live in an imperfect world.  When I think of surviving my childhood nightmares, I do not wish to return.  When I think of surviving a rough season of marriage, I do not wish to return.  When I think of people whom I love and watching them walk through tragedy, I do not wish for them to return.
    But when I think of "thriving" it releases energy to my soul.  It is inspiration to my heart and sunshine to my world.
    So why this post?  What brought this thought to life through these written words today?  Too many times we get caught in a vicious cycle of "surviving".  We do things to just do them because that's what we are supposed to do.  We get through the day.  We get through an event.  We check things off the list (I'm a list checker....so no shame in that).  We lose the purpose of the moment. When you think about surviving, it is exhausting.  Your mind usually thinks of a dark cloud before it can think of sunshine.  It's like the wilderness before you get to the promise land.  Who would choose the wilderness over the promise land?   But to THRIVE... this takes things to another level!
    For example, I could write a post in this blog just to be writing, to check it off my list, to only focus on how many people are reading this blog OR I can hear from God through His word and prayer and write powerful words that will be food to someone's soul.  I can write and see how the Lord is taking me personally to a deeper place on so many levels (not just in isolation).  Now that is thriving!  On a more elementary level, I could clean my house so methodically I feel as though I'm dog paddling....aka "surviving" or I can see how God is using a routine to develop a servants heart.  I can actually take God's word and apply it; "working unto the Lord".  I do understand though that "thriving" takes effort...It's like taking the stairs, it's so much easier to walk down the steps than to walk up.  Anyone relate?  Those legs are burning with just a few flights....but man you feel good when it's over.

    I choose to take God at His word and live life full.  I understand there will be difficult seasons and even days but I choose not to stay there.  I choose to change my thinking and my words to line up with His words.  I choose to deepen my walk and seek his wisdom and understanding.  I choose to remove myself from drama and people who try to suck me into that vortex. I choose to recognize the thief and use the spiritual equipment that I dress myself in daily.

    Go out and thrive!
    The Mrs. Pastor

    Monday, June 16, 2014

    Happy is the Man

    You don't have to be in full time ministry to see the frustration and hopelessness of so many people.  It has bombarded our media with all the reality shows.  I have to keep a tight boundary on this at my home.  Why would I want my girls to watch a show with nothing but turmoil when I work so hard to have peace in our lives.  It 's just more confirmation of how much I would love for the Lord to return and take us to a perfect place.  BUT for now.....

    Here we are in this world.  The Lord meant for it to be a perfect place but then plans changed.  Man chose to cross the boundary that was made and everything changed from there.  The Lord actually meant for Adam to be the keeper of the garden.  This was his responsibility but the moment he crossed the boundary he forfeited that right over to someone else, Lucifer.  The enemy is now the prince of this world.  He does have great influence but we have a choice.  This is not an easy task.  As a matter of fact, nothing worth keeping really is an easy task.  It all requires effort.  Some even more than others.

    This is where we as Christians must know His word, His character, His voice and not blame everything on the enemy.  Some things are just the influence of evil and what we are fighting against is our own flesh.  I love what Rick Renner said, "The devil's attacks against our lives wouldn't work if our flesh didn't cooperate".  That's where the study of His word comes in (don't put that word "study" in a box....it's just a quiet time of you reading His words and letting that sink in your soul).  This is where Colossians chapter 3 comes to life, asking us to put to death sin (fleshly nature) and clothe ourselves with the very nature of Christ.  It is POSSIBLE or else He wouldn't have put it in the word!
    You are asking yourself, "How do I get to the other side of hard?"

    "Happy is the man who finds (that means effort on your part to seek it) wisdom, and the man who gains (this means you retain it and make it applicable) understanding; For her (meaning wisdom) proceeds are better than the profits of silver, and her gain than fine gold.  She (meaning wisdom) is more precious than rubies, and all the things you may desire cannot compare with her.  Length of days are in her right hand, in her left hand riches and honor.  Her ways (meaning wisdom) are ways of pleasantness, and ALL HER PATHS ARE PEACE.  She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, and happy are all who retain her." Proverbs 3: 13-18

    Do I need to say anymore?  That's why God's word can stand on its own....that will preach!

    Wisdom: the ability to think and act using knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense, and insight.  No wonder Solomon chose this of all the things he could ask for.  Happy is the man....

    -The Mrs. Pastor

    Sunday, May 25, 2014

    Happily Ever After

    This post will be like the closing ceremony at Disney with fireworks all over the place.  Not because it's so powerful but because I have so much on my heart.  

    If you could see me right now, my fist is in the air because I did it....I made it it through (successfully) the last two weeks of school, hosting my family from California in tight quarters, balancing blended family, entertaining (which required decorating), and finally ending with celebrating Morgan's graduation.  And it was good.  I sit here now and smile.  This is one moment of many others that I can describe as a "happily ever after" moment.  Many don't believe in happily ever after.  It's fantasy, not real.  BUT as for me and my house...we do!  We believe it here on earth and in eternity with our heavenly father.  We believe God's word to be true and that "He came to give us life and life abundantly".

    We choose to make "happily ever after" moments that make us smile.  Many don't get our family and our Disney moments.  (We often tell our girls not to share because of that reason but sometimes they just can't hold back their happy.)  Our "happily ever after" moments are the special moments that bring out God's love and are engraved in us forever.  

    One of those for us is our vacation time.  From the start of our family, we have made family vacation a must.  Every family is different but for us, we chose to live conservativly throughout the year in order to get away in the summer.  The  vacations have evolved over 18 years but have certain elements that are the same.  Each one will have at least one if not all of the pieces: good food, a beach (or some water), disney signature, laughing, pictures, travel time (in the sky or on the road) and great memories!  As a matter of fact, some of the greatest memories have been on our vacation.  That is why we love Disney, but the world sucks the fun out of our "happily ever after" moments.  They say Disney supports things we don't...that they have an agenda.  People...we don't put our faith in a mouse!  Our faith is in Jesus Christ.  We just enjoy a clean, family environment where people are encouraged to smile and laugh.  We enjoy time on the beach to admire God's creation.  We have memorable conversation over great food and entertainment.  

    Listen, life is full of evil.  We are surrounded by negative people.  We live in a world that if you smile at someone it makes them uncomfortable and you have an agenda if you want to do something kind for someone.  But here's the deal....it's your choice how your moments end.  They can end hopeless or "happily ever after".  

    As for me and my family, we live in a world of sin and hurt but we choose to make our moments here count "happily ever after".  

    As for eternity, we believe in Jesus Christ.  We have made Him Lord of our lives.  We have asked for His forgiveness.  We grow daily in His word and accept His grace.  Therefore, we really live "Happily Ever After".

    p.s. don't suck the fun out of someone's "happily ever after".  Everyone's doesn't look the same.

    The Mrs. Pastor

    Sunday, May 4, 2014

    The Reaping

    Everyday of our lives we turn the page of our story that is written by God (and ourselves).  My friends, I am about to turn a chapter.  I am close to seeing my oldest leave the nest to know and trust God at a level she has never known before.  I'm not sad because I've taken the advice of a friend a long time ago...."enjoy every stage".  But I am a little emotional because she is, along with my other two girls, my greatest ministry.  Nothing...and I mean NOTHING else matters in this world if my children didn't learn the most of Christ from me and then own it themselves.  Every great work I have done in this world is in vain if I didn't teach my children the value of hard work, respect, and the importance of their fruits being displayed out loud for the world to taste.   If God's word was only text on a page and not applied daily, I failed them.  
         As the days are getting closer to graduation I've had several confirmations from friends regarding Morgan's character.  We have been blessed to raise our girls in one place where hundreds of people have watched and been an influence on them growing up.  Yesterday, I received a letter in the mail giving affirmation to Steve and I of how proud we should be of Morgan.  She works and develops relations with others as "unto the Lord".  
         Now, I'm not an emotional person....but that one got me!  It was directly from God.  Then, as I'm sitting in my peaceful place on the front porch taking it all in, I push "shuffle" on my iPod and what song should come up first?  "Like My Mother Does" by Lauren Alaina.  Ok, now I'm a mess.  
         That moment was a reaping moment.  A moment that was confirmed through scripture in Proverbs 11.  This chapter is a summary of reaping and sowing.  It's our choice of what kind of sowing we do.  

    vs. 24: There is one who scatters, yet increases more....
    vs. 25: The generous soul will be made rich, and he who waters will also be watered himself.
    vs. 27:  who earnestly seeks good finds favor....
    vs. 30: The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life....

         I have to allow God to write her story.  I have been responsible with what God has given me and now I continue to pray and watch it all unfold...and do this all over again next year when Lauren leaves!  

    My challenge to you all is to go and scatter good seeds.  If God allows you to be the one to water...then water.  If not, trust God to bring people along to do that.  KEEP SCATTERING GOOD SEEDS!  The reaping is a promise!  

    The Mrs. Pastor

    Saturday, April 26, 2014

    The Road to Deception: idols

    Psalm 135:15-18

    "The idols of the nations are silver and gold, the work of men's hands. They have mouths, but they do not speak; They have ears, but they do not hear; Nor is their any breath (life) in their mouths. Those who make them are like them; So is everyone who trusts in them."
    The writer of this psalm referred to "our God", "our Lord above all gods". The Jewish people spoke of "our God" to form the seperation from the false gods of the nations around them.
    Our people today, no matter what nation, have been so blinded by this one. This could be one of the biggest forms of deception because we just aren't seeing it (that's what deception is).  We have confused the fast paced, progressive, techno- savy world of modernization with our basic needs.
    We can not see the comparison of a "golden cow" that people made with their own hands to something of today.  I mean we would never walk around and around a cow and put our faith in it. We can not relate to crying out to a form of something, giving our blood, sweat and tears to see something change, that it physically effects us (as in the prophets of Baal on mount carmel) Oh no, we would NEVER do that (sarcasam).
    If something consumes you more than God himself does, it's an idol. This is where it gets tricky because we don't THINK it consumes us. Let me ask you this, if something tragic happened and it was taken from you, would you change as a person? Would you make an adjustment and continue walking in His steps and not miss a beat? I'm gonna let you stop and think on this...stop reading and write some thoughts down......

    I'm going to list a few just to get you thinking, this list could be never ending:
    Physical fitness
    Power (leadership) (ways to dominate others)
    Social media
    Cleanliness (to an obsession)

    Is Christ our center? Is He our source? Is everything else just extra? Can you go a week or month without becoming depressed, having anxiety or constantly thinking of it?
    From the words of Billy Graham,  in Approaching Hoofbeats, " you don't have to practice vodoo or be a follower of a strange cult to be deceived, anything that entices you away from a wholehearted commitment to Christ, is being used by Satan to deceive you".

    What does God say about idols? It must have been a big deal even from the beginning to be in the "top ten".
    Exodus 20:3 " you shall have no other gods (little g) before me".
    The bible says He is a jealous God. He is not going to compete for your affection. When your heart is divided, you are ineffective. The bible says you are neither hot nor cold but lukewarm, and He will vomit you out of His mouth.
    I know that people who don't know the Lord may think that sounds harsh but He's a just God not a pushover. He has expectations because He loves you and wants the best for you as He already knows the plans He has for you, and what deception can do to mess those plans up.

    Take a moment of self-reflection. Anything other than the Lord should be extra, you could take it or leave it.  Remember, that's a tough question for our culture today.

    The Mrs. Pastor

    Sunday, April 20, 2014

    The Road to Deception- Justification

    1 Thessalonians 5:19-22 (God's Word Translation)
    "Don't put out the Spirit's fire. Don't despise what God has revealed. Instead, test everything, hold on to what is good. Keep away from every kind of evil"

    Today's road sign is "justification".  This has blinded so many of us because no one likes conviction.  Matter of fact, we avoid it.  We would rather feel warm and fuzzy, having people giving us praise and flattery. (that's another deception we can talk about later)
    HEY, WAIT A MINUTE, you might say.  The bible says there is no condemnation for those in Christ.  You are absolutely correct.  There is a difference between condemning and conviction.  Condemnation brings nothing but guilt while conviction  brings confession of sin and change to be in the likeness of Christ.  It brings freedom and life.  All of which is a huge threat to our enemy.
    Why do we see so many situations that seem hopeless?  It's because the enemy has made a big yellow road sign that says: JUSTIFICATION.  My friend, your God has a bigger symbol that pictures the cross.  This symbol represents forgiveness, change, new beginnings, death of self and risen in a new spirit.
    On this Easter morning, I can't help but think of the people involved in the most cruel death of Jesus.  The same people who were praising him one minute are so easily swayed by some insecure, jealous religious leaders that they can turn so quickly.  Yes, I understand  that Jesus had to be the sacrifice for all man's sin, but to see it unfold in that manner is disturbing.  It shows us all how ugly sin is and why God can have no part of it.  It shows us what mankind is capable of without Christ.  Let's look at how easy it can be to justify our actions:
    Judas: handed Christ over for some extra cash
    Peter: denied knowing him because of fear
    Pilate: stuck to Roman law that denied Jesus' release because he refused to defend himself (knowing he did no wrong)
    Samson: touched and ate things he was instructed not to and had relations with one he should have been far from  (oh, this one could preach)
    Jonah: found his plan more appropriate than God's plan  (how did that work for him?)
    Abram: couldn't wait on God's time schedule, so he took matters in his own hands and made it work
    David: liked what he saw and had his men do his dirty work....because "technically" he didn't kill Bathsheba's husband
    Uzzah: when the ox stumbled and the arc of God started to fall, he reached out and took a hold of it.  Now this one is tough because most people are thinking...man, kinda harsh to be struck dead when he was just trying to help, BUT the bible explains that they were irreverent.  They forgot and took for granted the holiness.  It should have never been transported that way.

    There are so many other examples I can use but I think you get the picture.  I want to remind you that when you are led by the spirit of God you have less temptation to walk in your flesh and take this road called justification.  For example, Joseph could have easily justified torturing his brothers as they tortured him.  He could have never revealed himself  or welcome them in as family.  Instead though, he clothed himself in God's spirit,  revealing the character of the one who changed him.  I'm sure he recognized that he held himself and spoke out as a young boy but had grown as a man after God's heart.
    So, my point is sin is sin.  I hope we don't go there....but if you do, know that conviction leads to repentance and repentance to forgiveness and forgiveness to freedom and freedom to an abundant life that those without Christ will never understand until they experience it for themselves.  Today, make your life inviting for others.  Even in the mistakes and repenting, your life can be inviting (probably even more so because you put to death your pride and demonstrate humility).

    May God continue to reveal himself to you where you can easily recognize deception.

    NEXT BLOG:  Idols......

    The Mrs. Pastor

    Sunday, April 13, 2014

    The Road to Deception-hard hearts

    This blog will be the first of many in a series regarding deception.  It has been a topic that the Lord is bringing up in every quiet moment that I've been having with Him lately.  God's people need to wake up and realize that the enemy (the devil) is sly and skillful in getting the upper hand in people's lives.  I have become so aware of it that I have noticed my flesh falling for it.  If not for the Lord making me more aware, I can sadly say I would fall prey to this also. Our first road sign will be hard hearts.
    "Happy is the man who is always reverent, But he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity." Proverbs 28:14
    The enemy has used people's little imperfections (hey, none of us are perfect...remember that the next time you want to throw a stone so easily), people's hurtful or offensive words, people's actions, decisions that have been made that you disagree with,...and on and on. 
    You know what I'm talking about!  You know someone right now that wants nothing to do with God or the church because of an offense of someone. Every person is a hypocrite.  Every pastor talks about money. Everyone...everyone...everyone.  For those of us in ministry, we have to fight against this harden heart often.  There are many that take advantage of the generosity of the church and when we have to say "I'm sorry we can't help on this one"...we are ungodly, unloving, hypocrites, prejudice, etc...When we have policies in place and people don't agree with it, we become the church that doesn't care.  When we put on an event and something happens that was out of our control, we are criticized for it and the focus of the entire event is on that one flaw rather than all the good that took place.  CAN ANYONE SEE THE ENEMY!   Can we see his distraction tool and the result is someone is going to get a hard heart. 
    Christian, wake up!  Let it not be us.  That verse in proverbs says, those who are reverent are happy, meaning you are deeply respectful of God and His word and ways that it just becomes a natural part of your life and character.   Yet, on the other hand, those who allow this hard heart will fall into calamity. The definition for calamity: a great misfortune or disaster; catastrophe; grievous affliction; misery. 
    Enough said.  Who wants that on themselves, their family, their job, their church, their community?
    One of the many quotes that I have hanging in my classroom is, "seek to change and improve myself first".  It begins with us first.  We must see the enemy but then have the wisdom to handle it according to God's way.  According to my 17 year old, "but it's hard mom!".  Well, ya.  If it was easy, everyone would do it.  I tell her to practice God's word like she practices her shots in basketball.  You do it over and over and over again.  You get better and it becomes easier.

    Think about people or situations that you have allowed to harden your heart and LET IT GO TODAY.  Don't go down that road.  The end result is not good.

    Next blog on deception....coming soon!
    The Mrs. Pastor  

    Sunday, April 6, 2014

    The Circle of Relationships

    It is inevitable that you will have relationships in your christian walk (or should....I mean,  how can you share the gospel without people?) One might say we have a great social media network that can accomplish that.  To that I say, yes... to a degree.  People still need people to help in the training and discipling (that's the application part). 
    There are several opinions and philosophies on what relationships should look like.  In my experience, I see three key factors that should be seen in all of our circles. 
    1. People you mentor
    2. People who walk beside you: growing, encouraging, and sharpening each other
    3. People who mentor you 
    *I want to make a note that there are so many other relationships, just not in your close circle.  For all you people out there that want to be negative and call this a "click" well....let me remind you that Jesus had a close circle he called his "disciples".  Just because someone isn't in your close circle doesn't mean you don't walk in Christian love and character with them or beside them....I mean there is a billion people on this planet.  
    I have discovered so much of this from stories that I have read in the Bible.  I loved watching the relationship with Elijah and Elisha.  One just being who God has called him to be and the other walking in his steps wanting to learn and grow as much as possible.  Then there is Paul who strongly believed in mentorship as he guided young Timothy.  Both Paul and Timothy understood their role and walked in it with great responsibility. 
    I love the words from John Maxwell, "You can't divorce leadership from relationships".  And let's not forget the people who  walk beside us that sharpen us daily.  This is validated with the scripture  "As iron sharpens iron, let one man sharpen the other" Proverbs 27:17
    I write this with great conviction.  I believe it is this circle of relationships that has developed me to the place I am today.  It has prepared me for things personally, professionally, and spiritually that I never could have imagined in my own thinking. 
    Let me add that I had to hold true to His voice in my life when following this circle. There are all kinds of voices trying to guide your thinking and influence your philosophy.  Some would say, "you can't have good friends in ministry" and others "we just see clicks".  I say to all, I hear the voice of the good shepherd! 
    I believe in quality over quantity.  I have a busy life.  I rarely have a moment to spend a large amount of time with friends (even at work...we are busy little bees) BUT the moments I have, I make the most of that opportunity.  
    So, to my people I mentor: I pray I have made the pathway a little clearer and easier to see.  That I have inspired you to be better today and even better tomorrow.
    To my "iron sharpening" buddies: I don't tell you enough how much I love and appreciate you. You make me better.
    Finally, to the people who I have looked up to and held on to your words and actions closely....you have given more than I have ever deserved! 

    Be intentional!
    The Mrs. Pastor 

    Sunday, March 23, 2014

    Meaning What?

    Psalm 119:15
    I will meditate on your precepts (words)
    And contemplate (have understanding) Your ways.

    In education we stress the importance of reading for meaning....because what's the point otherwise.  This is connected to our everyday and can be looked at in four phases; (based on a Literacy Initiative)
    Phase one: Before you get ready, get ready...meaning having the right mindset before you begin.  Know where you are going and be prepared to be engaged in the process.
    Phase Two: Read like you mean it.  Making a connection to the text, going deeper with study verses reading letters that make up words that make a sentence.  (whats the point of that?)
    Phase Three: Just because you're done reading doesn't mean you're done reading.  This is where you reflect and make personal connection from the text to your every day experiences....asking "meaning what?"  This is where I like to write on the side bar of my Bible or other resources "He spoke to me".  This is me making a connection and it sticking with me.
    Phase Four: Put reading to use.  This is just basic application yet can be the most challenging.  This might you trying to figure out how to do this and how this looks in your life....meaning taking some time to really apply it.
    We've got down the listening, the going through the motions of what a student looks like, but we've not practiced enough the meaning behind it.  I'm certainly guilty of this as a student and a teacher.  As a student, I've been to timid to ask a question, or allowed my mind to wander somewhere else, to get up the moment the speaker is finished and walk out of the room never looking back or taking thought of what was just taught.  So, it's a no wonder it never stayed or took root inside of me.  As a teacher, I haven't allowed time for reflection and closure or even challenged my students (or congregation) to reflect and make this personal before you walk out.  If not, it's all but gone....minutes wasted that you'll never get back.  They were just moments without purpose.
    Everything we do should have meaning.  Even if it's something that you can't find application...you can find something!  I recently went to an education conference and even though one of the sessions I found difficult to connect with I purposed in my heart to learn something of application.  So I watched each speaker and how they delivered the content.  I caught myself evaluating them and their delivery (this is important to me as a speaker myself).  I made notes of what not to do and what is effective in keeping the audiences attention.  I found meaning!

    I challenge you to make everything meaningful!

    The Mrs. Pastor

    Tuesday, March 18, 2014

    Save the Date



    Pastor: We need to be praying about a Mother's Day speaker.
    Me: mmmm  hmmmm

    Pastor: How about you? 
    Me: no (confession...I don't like this holiday because it feels so stiff and religious.  I know, you can't believe I just said that.  Just keeping it real.  Those conditions are the most difficult to preach in)


    Pastor: I haven't got anyone for Mother's Day.  I really think you should take it.
    Me: Nope...don't you do that thing....you know...already set it up in your mind.
    Pastor: I'm just saying, I think you're the one.  

    WEEKS GO BY...

    Pastor: I'm gonna do Mother's Day, but it's not going to be a "Mother's Day" message.
    Me: Oh, well I have a message if it doesn't have to be a "Mother's Day" message.  If I can just preach, I will take it.
    Pastor: (smiling) I'll put you on the calendar tomorrow. (wink-wink)

    *Is this the fruit of me praying for him to have wisdom beyond his years?  

    I promise to bring you God's word, prayed up, prepared and spirit led.

    You promise to leave tradition at the door before you enter and just come hungry for God's word....then you can leave and celebrate Mother's Day.

    Friday, March 14, 2014

    Oh the Places You'll Go

    Children's literature is to my teacher walk as the Bible is to my Christian walk.  (side note: I can't wait to share this with a class at ORU that my friend teaches...thanks Jill for the opportunity!)


    There is so many lessons learned and life experiences I can relate back to literature.  One of my favorite Dr. Seuss books is Oh the Places You'll Go.  This book represents my life story.  You could preach a great sermon with this book to a class of children and it would be just as powerful to adults. 


    These feet (of mine) have gone many places but none so important and meaningful until I met Christ.  His word says in Ephesians 3:20 "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us."


    I could have never imagined where the Lord has taken me.  I'm just so thankful for the opportunities that He has given me to grow:

    teaching and preaching the gospel, an eye opening trip to Calcutta, India, helping at a center for women who are overcoming addictions, moments of mentorship (both given and received), great challenges with even greater opportunities to learn and better represent Christ, visiting and being deeply moved at a DHS shelter for children birth through 18yrs., speaking on a professional level, sharing my story, being the keynote speaker at the high school graduation, being inspired and moved by the history at our nations capitol and taking in the beauty of God's creation from the mountains of Colorado to the beaches of Hawaii. 


    The exciting thing is there is so much more in  my story (and yours).  Unlike my eldest daughter who wants god to show her the entire plan and outcome.  I know it's unimaginable, possibly scary, if revealed before we are ready.  His ways are higher than our ways.  That's why our daily time in His Word is so crucial to your future steps.

    It's your preparation, training, and revelation all wrapped in one.

    Again, Dr. Seuss says, 

    "the more you read the more you'll know,                                            the more you read the more places you'll go."

    I have gone to a place spiritually that I'm so thankful for and it motivated me to go deeper.                                              

    Oh, the places you'll go . . . with Christ.

    The Mrs. Pastor

    Sunday, March 9, 2014

    confessions of a "real" pastor's wife

    I've had several people, over the last three years of Steve and I being the lead pastors, express how "real" we both are.  Someone recently expressed this same statement again.  She had to admit that I didn't fall into the same mold as what she was accustomed to as a "pastor's wife".  It wasn't a put down or even a put up, just something different.  So I've thought....what would my confessions be to explain who I am...
    First, I think this journey we call "life" prepares us for each tomorrow.  Your experiences help develop and even define who you are.  For me, growing up unchurched and lost, I have a sensitive spirit to the world and it's ways.  This has played a pivotal part in my spiritual philosophy: BUILD a relationship, SHOW them Christ in your life, THEN find the opportunity to SHARE what Christ has done for you.
    Next, is our approach on ministry.  The name of this blog says it all, "The Mrs. Pastor".  We view ministry as a team.  I'm not just his wife, or his sidekick, or the mother of his kids.  I'm his partner, with the same vision, leadership and calling.  We are called to shepherd the people.  We don't view ourselves at any level above anyone.  The foot of the cross is level for all.  We count it a huge responsibility to teach, train, equip, encourage, and even correct when needed, God's people.
    Finally, we have the same daily routines and challenges as everyone else.  We walk the same streets and have to make choices daily.  We have challenges at our jobs (yes, steve too) and we still have to walk in wisdom or choose the flesh.  We have kids that we have to train, discipline, love and encourage.  Our kids know, that we have raised them in who we are in Christ and not because their dad is the "pastor".  When people call our girls "preacher kids", they quickly correct them.  "We are pastor's kids".  What's the difference?  A huge difference.  We don't just get up once or twice a week and preach.  We build a staff of people underneath us that have our vision and are willing to see that come forth.  We are responsible for teaching ministries, community ministries, and outreaches.  We are supporters and active in missions work, both local and around the world.  We pray with people, we counsel people, we deal with offenses and making things right.  We have to watch people leave and we get to watch people come.  We marry people, we bury people, we baptize people, we dedicate their babies.  We cry with people when they are hurting and we celebrate with people when they are rejoicing.  We see the most hopeless situation turn around and we see our Lord receive all the glory.

    Why am I so "real"?  We see the good and bad in ministry and we continue to walk in God's love.  We have to.  We were called to this.  We hear from God and operate our ministry by his leading....not the people.  Sometimes this goes over well and sometimes not,  but Steve and I that have to be accountable to God.  Just as everyone else.  This is a continual work in progress.  We want all to be happy but we have to hope that our people trust and respect us enough to support our leadership.  We live in a rural community of hard working citizens.  God knew what two people He needed for this time and at this place.  He knew what Steve and I would bring to the table and where we would take this church.

    So, here's to all the "real" christians out their in the world...just making it a better place.  Showing people Jesus.  Telling your story.  Being outward focused rather than self-focused!

    -the mrs. pastor