Monday, October 27, 2014

Pastor Appreciation #5

A few biased thoughts from a pastors wife!

A normal day..... what.... do they exist in ministry?  Of course not!  This job is not for the faint of heart.  It is not for the "must have a consistent schedule" people.  It is a tough job, but its more than a job, it is a calling.

I found this humorous "ideal pastor" snippet I thought you enjoy....

"The ideal pastor preaches exactly twenty minutes with an hour's content.  He condemns sin, but never offends anyone.  He works from 8 am to midnight, and also serves as the church janitor. He makes $40 a week, wears good clothes, and donates $30 a week to the church.  He is 29 years old and has 40 years of experience.  He is a strong leader, yet also follows everyone's advice.  He can effectively relate to all teenagers and spends all of his time with the elderly.  He is tall and short, thin and heavyset, and has one brown eye and one blue eye.  He makes 15 house calls a day, regularly visits the hospital, and is always in his office." Oh and don't forget their perfectly behaved children that sit quietly in the pew every Sunday. 

Though this is humorous, you would be amazed at how many people have some of those exact expectations of the pastors.... I especially love the "is always in the office".  Don't get me wrong it is good to have some office time, and sometimes you need to have a lot of office time. But if you are in the office all the time you aren't out with people, you are aren't doing life together with your congregation.

The perfectly behaved children.... yeah, my child is just as squirrely (if not more) than the non-pastor's child that is sitting near us.  My child spends a lot of time at the church, so it makes sense they may be more familiar with all the good hiding places :)  But know that just like most other children, my girl loves her Daddy and when she sees him, even if he is up front, she wants to say hello and give him some love.... or just talk in the microphone.  Give her grace, it is a challenging job to live up to the expectations of being a PK.

I am thankful for two pastors that are out of the office as needed, visiting with people, doing life with others.  I am thankful for pastors who are willing to serve despite their paycheck.  I am thankful for pastors who go out of their way to relate and love on "the least of these"  Thank you for loving your families and modeling that to the congregation.  Thank you for your time and your sacrifice.  I pray that we as a congregation at our church and the church universal would take time not just this month but every month to encourage their pastors!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Pastor Appreciation Post #4 - The Family

I have spent many years working in ministry.... as a volunteer, staff member, and as a full time paid director.  I have worked at camps, churches, and at parachurch ministries.  All this to say I have experienced a large variety of ministry settings, but nothing really compares to being a pastor's wife and raising a child in the pastoral setting.

As a wife of a pastor I see the amount of time and energy my husband puts into his ministry at the church.  I hear the phone ring as soon as he walks in the door for the one more problem to solve or one more detail to figure out, or to find out that he needs to head out the door to do an emergency visit.  I see his love for the church, I see his hurt for the church and its people.

My downfall as a pastor's wife is that I often feel that our staff is under appreciated, some people are more quick to complain than they are to encourage..... it is just a small portion but sad to say it is the negative words or criticism that you remember.

Please here me say,  I love our church and I am so grateful for a healthy church that is active and encouraging!  I just think it is important for people to better understand the time and commitment it takes to lead a healthy church.  And how ministry affects the whole pastoral family.

I know what it feels like to be a PK - I was one.... I was a Principal's Kid.... which in many ways is like being a pastor's kid.... but in many ways very different.  It is often easy to critic those that are up front and in leadership, as a child I heard those words and it hurt me to think someone didn't appreciate the sacrifices that my dad was making for our school.  For Ella and other pastor's kids,  it will hurt them just the same.  They will grow up feeling a bit of pressure (though not intentional I don't think) to be perfect (the same feeling we as pastor's wives struggle with)  We know that people are watching how we lives our lifes, they are watching how our kids behave and they are watching how we show and receive love.

Whether we like it or not we are in the lime light at the church.  It reminds me of the passage that says, "to those who are given much, much is expected"  I know as a pastoral family there are great expectations, to which we strive to live up to, but also know that we will fall short, and to that we need your grace and mercy so we can pick up and start again.

I am grateful to have another pastor's wife in our church.  One that can be a sounding board, and one to walk the ministry road with.  Thank you Nicole for being a great friend!  I love being in this ministry journey with your family and I can't wait to see how God uses our husbands, us, and our children to do great ministry in our church, our community and our world.

Take some time this week to love on your Pastor's wife and children, they need to know their sacrifices and time are worth it!

The Pastor's Wife

We often hear of Heroes 
on the news at night, 
How someone went into a fire 
To save someone else's life.

But, there's another hero 
that we never hear about, 
Though Her love and dedication 
are never in a doubt.

Often took for granted... 
Never glorified, 
Still she keeps on going 
for the person by her side.

She stands beside him everyday 
no matter what ... is thrown their way, 
For he was called from above 
To spread the message of "GOD'S LOVE".

And just as he was called... 
She was hand picked too. 
for it takes someone Special 
to do what she must do.

And thou he may get the Glory 
and he may get the Fame, 
She will stand beside him in Love 
and Help him just the same.

She's the person he turns to 
when he needs a friend, 
She will always be there till the 
"Glorious End".

I would like to take this moment 
to introduce to you, 
a LOVELY unsung Hero for whom 
GOD hand-picked to spend Her life 
as The Pastor's WIFE.

By Donna Golden, Georgia, USA

Monday, October 13, 2014

Pastor Appreciation #3

Have you ever heard the saying, if you find the perfect church, don't join it because you will surely mess it up!  Kinda funny but oh so true!  There is not a perfect church around..... but there are lots of great churches, that seek to draw people to Jesus, to challenge you in your faith and provide an opportunity to Worship the King of Kings all that while staying true to God's word.  Our church is not perfect..... our church is group of people all ages, all styles, all financial backgrounds, ecclectic as my husband would say.... a church filled with people doing life together, learning daily to surrender and be obedient to God.

I love that our church is growing, we have new families and new babies almost monthly - something to be excited about for sure!  God has been blessing our the midst of that blessing, we have had our share of struggles and trials, but we have faced them head on.... and that is my appreciation post for today.  I have been apart of many churches through out my years of life, and I have never seen a staff and leadership team that is so willing to deal with conflict, instead of running away.  We have a great team of leaders and pastors that seek to deal with conflict biblically....though not perfect (just like our church) they seek to bring resolve even in the most challenging cases.  They encourage the believers to talk to the person in which they have conflict with.... but not only do they encourage us to do that but they model it themselves.

Thank you pastors and church leadership for all you do!

Monday, October 06, 2014

Pastor Appreciation #2

Being a pastor's wife I see the amount of time that my husband puts into the ministry that God has called him to..... it seems as though being a pastor can sometimes be a thank less job.  They work countless hours each week.... taking one day off (though they both have worked on that day when situations arise).  They miss time with their families to serve the church family.  They work late at night, early in the morning as they fulfill their call.  They sacrifice their own time for the sake of the church.

Thank you!!!  Thank you!!! Thank you!!

Take some time this week to actually call or send a letter or card of thanks to your pastor.  Take them out to lunch, offer to help them with a project at home, give them the gift of family time..... but please in the least say thank you!  They love us, they serve us, they mentor us, and they provide great leadership for us.

So here is my letter of thanks:

Dear Aaron,
Thank you for loving God's word, for studying it, for praying through it, for seeking God's wisdom to understand it.  It is a blessing to be under your leadership and to be able to benefit from your time of study.  Thank you for being a great example for all of us.  We appreciate your excitement and enthusiasm as well as your ability to confront and deal with conflict.  Thank you for all you do that no one sees.  You are a gift to our congregation and we appreciate all you do!

Dear Joel,
Thank you for modeling what it means to Love God, Love your Family, and Love the church!  You are an amazing man of God.  I am so blessed to call you my husband.... but since this is a pastor appreciation letter and not a husband appreciation letter I will focus on ministry stuff.  I have never met a pastor who has such great love for his church.  You long for the church to reflect God - you love the people of the church.  Your longevity at the church is unheard of in a a culture where people run to something new when challenged or hard times come.  Thank you for your consistency.  Thank you for you gift of compassion.  You will talk to anyone at any time, you care about people knowing Christ.  You invest in the lives of people.... its not just a church thing for you, it is a life thing, you go and watch peoples games, plays and concerts - not just the youth but others as well.  You make countless visits to the hospital, nursing homes, and others to show that we as a church care.  You answer the calls in the middle of the night at times of need (at least when you hear them you do :)) You are blessing to our congregation!  Your years of service give you wisdom that is a huge asset to the leadership of the church.  You are a gift and I love you (oh wait I said that I was keeping this pastor related only!) oh well I can let everyone know I love my Associate Pastor!

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Pastor Appreciation #1

It's Pastor Appreciation Month!  So thankful for our church and our Pastors!  Each week of this month I will be making a post about something I am thankful for our Pastors (I understand that I am biased, but I also know how much they really do behind the scenes that no one else sees)

So today I am thankful for Joel Snyder and  Aaron Benner and their great relationship with each other.  It is so refreshing to see two men that care about each other, not just in work related areas but in life.  They work well together, though they are very different, they balance each other out.

Over the last year they have taken on a lot being without another pastor and they keep pressing on! They keep visiting, they keep teaching, they keep serving.   You sharpen each other Prov. 27:17. Thanks for all you do!

Pray for your Pastors and encourage them!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Going to Romania

Time is flying and before you know it, our little family is going to be on a plane to Romania.... in less than 10 months we will be making a temporary home in Timisoara, Romania.  The planning is under way, the first round of letters have gone out, we have begun a fundraiser at our church, and started working on forming a team to join us at the end of the trip for a 10 day mission trip.

Ten months in some ways seems to be so far away and yet we know it will be here before we know it.  If any of you are interested in following our new family adventure you can go to and find out more about our trip.  We would love to have you join us on this journey - partnering with us in prayer would be a huge blessing as well as financial giving.

It is our hope to blog bi-weekly once we are there and hopefully weekly prior to that.  I will continue to be blogging on this site as well with ministry and other life related topics.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

The Power of Words - From a PW (Pastor's Wife)

Our Mom's group at church is currently doing a Bible Study called "Can We Talk" by Priscilla Shirer.  It is set up very differently than most that I have done in the past and I am really liking it (not that I didn't like the others, I just like this one too) Each day you are given two - three specific scriptures to Pore over, Paraphrase, Pull Out a main point, Pose a series of Questions, and Make a Plan to follow through with a specific date Pinned.

This first week of Bible Study is about the Tongue - the Power of our Words!  Day one was about our words revealing our character, Day 2 was about words and your children, and Day 3 (which is today for me) is about Words and your Spouse.  The verse that was used is this:

"Likewise wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, whey they see your respectful and pure conduct" 1 Peter 3:1-2 

I am blessed to have a husband that believes, a husband that loves the Lord and serves the church.  So his belief is not the issue in our case (however I know so many wives who do struggle with unbelieving husbands and I hurt for them as they share their concerns).  As I look at this verse I found it to be very convicting as a Pastor's wife.  People at the church look to the pastor's for leadership and guidance, people outside the church look at Pastor's to see how they are living maybe to try to catch them stumbling but hopefully they are looking to them to see what it is about them that gives them such hope and joy!

That's where we as pastor's wives come in.... whether we signed up for it or not people are also watching us. They are watching how we treat our husbands, how we talk about them when then aren't in the room, and how "respect" others and live in "pure conduct".  We can win people for Christ just by modeling healthy relationships with our husbands - whether your husband is a pastor or not!  Just this past week - Pastor Aaron was talking about being a Fool for Christ and what that looks like to follow Christ Crucified.... and he challenged us to start at home - modeling a Godly marriage to our children - as pastors wives, our home is also the church so I believe we also have a responsibility to our church home to model the same!

How cool to think that just by loving, respecting and honoring your husband with words and actions you can be leading someone to know Christ!  

It is a little overwhelming to think about that, but I am reminded of the verse that says, "to those who are given much, much is expected!"  Go love on your husband today and with your respect and pure conduct show other Christ.
One of my favorites from our honeymoon (I looked so young)

Monday, February 03, 2014

A New Day - A New Start

This weekend has been a new start and new time of transition for our family.... no we didn't change jobs or get a new house, but instead we started a new journey...okay we started two new journeys... a debt reduction journey and a healthy lifestyle journey.  As we begin this journey we want to share some of struggles and victories along the way.  We are going to be transparent... which is challenging and humbling but we feel that it will give us accountability as well as invite others to be encouraged and start their own journeys.

Though most people begin changes like this at the new year mark we just didn't have the time to sit down and really work through what this would look like.  After our Frugal Vacation to Florida and back we had lots of time in the car to discuss, to set boundaries, and to read up on some of the beginning baby steps from Dave Ramsey.  Though we won't be following him exactly I am sure you will see many similarities.

The other journey is healthy eating and healthy choices for our bodies.... if you know my husband and I - you know that we love food - I mean really who doesn't.  And we have put our physical health second to just about everything in our lives and it shows.  I can make all the excuses I want and many of them are valid - having a baby, a autoimmune disease that doesn't allow me to exercise like I used to, a restaurant that sells fried food (which is so yummy) - the list could go on.  All that to say - when I step on the scale I cringe but more importantly when I look at my eating and exercise habits I know that I need to change.

So this weekend we made a few changes... budget for the month is ready and underway.... I am excited and already feel freedom - which seems a little weird because one of the reasons we didn't have a budget before was because we thought it would take our freedom away.  We know it is going to be tight and we know that 140,000 of student load and house debt isn't going to go away overnight but we need to start to make a dent in it.  For Joel the challenge will be not eating out - for me the challenge will be not wanting to stock up every time I see a sale and have a coupon.

As far as the healthy living part - today I exercised - volleyball - though I am rusty it felt so good to do something.  Also added more water to the list of things to drink, and the other change of the week - use smaller dinner plates and leave the food at the stove and not on the dinner table.  Small but mighty changes.

If you think of us - please pray that we would be faithful to reducing not only our debt but our unhealthy eating and exercising habits as well as our weight!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Frugal Florida Vacation

Visiting my Aunt Mary in Estero, FL
So proud of myself - I didn't take my computer on vacation and loved it.... I didn't blog on vacation... loved it ..... barely posted on facebook over vacation and loved it..... Okay so really I just loved our time away.  Many people have asked about our trip so I thought I would give a little summary of our adventures. 

Up until a month ago - we were planning a trip to St. Louis and a side trip to Branson for our 5 Year anniversary...however - winter months equal few shows being open in Branson, so we decided to put that on the back burner.  One day Joel said let's go to Florida - and I said - do we have the money to go to Florida and he of course replied - NO!  But with a little creativity and a lot of gracious friends along the way we were able to take a 12 day vacation for a family of 3 for only 645.81....okay that may sound high but let's break it down - of that amount 425.17 was for the gas because we traveled a total of 3217.3 miles - so without including the gas that is a total of 18.39 a day which is just 6.13 per person... and the number would have been lower except a few places would not except my Pennsylvania coupons.  Let's just say we were pretty proud of our frugalness (is that a word?)  It was a much needed get away!

Here are a few fun facts about our trip!

This was right before the Ocean thought she wanted to be swimming!

Ella's fun facts.....
1.  She tired out a 7 year old so much that Sydney pretended to be sleeping so she didn't have to play anymore.
2.  Her first time of seeing the beach on this trip she fell in the Ocean with all her clothes and jacket on.
3.  She thinks that everyone over the age of 60 is her Mim and Papa!
4.  She learned "to get her wiggles out" from her friend Big Braedon
5.  She was mad at a monkey at the zoo for not sharing his stuffed monkey (no joke)
6.  At every home we visited she found the man of the house and became attached.
7.  She loved playing Monster with Tom!
8.  She loved story time with Judy!
9.  She eat a ton of honey candy at Dave and Linda's - but at least is is healthy right?
10.  She ate at the rainforest cafe with us and the Holleran's - she loved his beard!

This happens at every home right after arriving!  Too much driving!
Joel's fun fact

1.  He dislikes sand but sacrificed and let us spend a few hours there :)
2.  Is enjoying playing the game to see how many miles per gallon we were getting each time we filled up.
3.  Only called the office - 3 times while we were away - all totally justified
4.  Rarely got on his computer while we were away!
5.  Got pushed out of bed several times by a sprawling toddler.
6.  Loves coupons almost as much as I do.
7.  Took a tour of the Florida Word of Life Campus with a guy names Jo-el
8.  Left the door to the van open all night long - thankfully we were in a gated community!
9.  Realized that every person we stayed with in Florida or on the way once lived in Pennsylvania
10.  Loved spending time with his two favorite girls (he did say that at one point in the trip, I'm not just making this up.

My Fun Facts....
Ella and I at the Everglades National Park
1.  I ate chili, chicken salad, hummus, guacamole, and cheesy grits while there (I know, I am just as shocked as you are, and I never once gagged)
2.  Got attacked by 3 sea gulls as they ran me over and took a sandwich and a cracker right out of my hand.
3.  Got to mark another National Park off my list - the Everglades - pretty facinating!
4.  Walked by an Alligator that was only 5 feet way and he was huge!!!! (yes I was scared)
5.  Was very disappointed that we drove a few hours out to the way to see the Cove retreat center and they wouldn't let us see the visitor's center or even drive up the road because they had a power outage earlier that day - insert sad face!
6.  Found out I was invited to my friend's wedding 2 years ago but never got the invitation.... no worries I am just excited to hear that I made the list!
7.  Listened to a bunch of my old cds that I haven't listened to for years.... old school!
8.  Didn't forget to pack anything that we needed - that is almost a miracle
9.  Visited a college friend and co-counselor that I haven't seen since college!  It was an awesome time, it was so hard to stop talking to them!
10.  Thankful we have such awesome friends who were willing to share their homes and their lives with us, even if only for a day or two.... we are blessed.

Cities we visited on our trip in order
1. Frederick, MD
2. Roanoke, VA
3. Ashville, NC very short visit (Billy Graham Retreat Center - the Cove)
4. Burford, GA
5. Jacksonville, FL
6. St. Augustine, FL
7. Orlando, FL
8. Royal West Palm Beach, FL
9. West Palm Beach, FL
10.  Everglades National Park
11. Estero, FL
12. Hudson, FL (Word of Life Campus)
13.  Trilby, FL
14. Statesville, NC

Love this picture, too bad my daughter decided to be a flamingo!