Monday, October 31, 2011

My Sanctuary

There is a little spot at our home that I absolutely love - but I never go there.  Not because it isn't easily accessible or far away. But because I am always to busy.  The Lord really spoke to me this last week about being to busy and not giving Him and myself quality time together.  So this weekend I claimed this little spot as my sanctuary.  I am determined to go there each day at some point with my Bible and read His word and just sit in His presence.
Here is my sanctuary - it is actually my front porch, although it is never used because everyone uses the side entrance off the kitchen. 

My little corner of the world

complete with wildly overgrown roses

and wildly rambunctious dogs - I know, they look calm here (it's a trick)

Something else the Lord has been showing me is this:

  I have been doing a leadership training course and in the last lesson (yes, LAST lesson, I have actually completed something) the instructor talked about how as a society and individuals, we are lacking in the "Thinking" area.  Not that we don't think but we have lost a form of thinking - when was the last time you just sat somewhere and where thinking, not looking info up on the computer, or asking a friend for advice, looking something up in a book; but just thinking about your situation and see if you can come up with a solution or a process for a solution.  I had forgotten how God has told us that He will give us the answers that we need  Matthew 7:8  For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.  I need to spend more time thinking in His presence instead of searching elsewhere for the answers that I need.  I need a clearer mind for dealing with daily issues and to be able to focus on my daily tasks.
Wisdom is one of the greatest attributes we can possess, Solomon asked for wisdom when the Lord spoke to him and offered to give him whatever he wanted.  Proverbs 8:12 says "I Wisdom, live together with good judgement. I know where to discover knowledge and discernment."

We won't posses wisdom if we don't commune with God and use our brains in the way in which He created them.  I'm always telling my girls to "stop & think" but really how often do I do that myself these days.  Or I think to much about things that I can't do anything about instead of "Thinking before the Lord".

Happy Thinking!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Pastor Appreciation

As a "Preacher's Kid" and someone who is also going into ministry myself, Pastor Appreciation month is one of those times in the year that is bittersweet.  It is all about attitude though and that is something that I need to work on.  Pastor Appreciation is the time of year when people openly and secretly express to their clergy how much these people mean to them.  It is a wonderful thing to hear how much you have touched someone through your calling in life.  However, it is hard to ignore when others say nothing - it isn't so much about getting recognition and being thanked (that would be prideful, right!) but more so about whether or not your hard work is making any kind of difference in someones spiritual life to the point that they would acknowledge this work.

It's not about gifts and cards, it's about knowing that these children of God, who He has brought to you, also feel that God brought you to them.  It's not about "Thank Yous" as much as it is about knowing in your heart that these very precious people that you pray for everyday are also praying for you.

A very good friend of mine shared with me this letter that she found from Focus on the Family and it made me cry and we will be reading it in church on Sunday, here it is:

Why Honor Pastors?

Why is it appropriate to set aside a special time each year to give recognition and affirmation to our clergy and their families? How are their needs and circumstances different from those of carpenters, grocers or dentists? One distinction lies in the nature of the service these leaders provide. God has entrusted to them one of the most precious of assignments—the spiritual well-being of His flock. When a pastor becomes ineffective, the very souls of his or her parishioners are endangered. When eternity is in the balance, we should all be concerned.
Another problem lies in the expectations placed on pastors. Numerous surveys have found that a very high percentage of pastors feel pressure to be the ideal role model of a Christian family—which is impossible, of course. As a result, four out of five pastors feel their families are negatively impacted by unrealistic expectations—whether self-imposed or congregation-imposed—and that ministry is an outright hazard to the health of their families. Indeed, the “pedestal” is not all it’s cracked up to be.
As pastors and their families try to please the God who called them to ministry while also trying to meet the expectations of their congregations, one result is dangerous stress. In fact, 75 percent of those surveyed reported experiencing a significant stress-related crisis at least once in their ministry.
Then, of course, there is the “fishbowl” aspect of ministry, whereby the entire lives of pastoral families seem to be on public display. Every private family situation quickly seems to become a congregational or community issue. This anxiety can only be heightened when financial pressures also come to bear, which is common since pastors typically make substantially less each year than their own board members and deacons. Nearly 70 percent of pastoral spouses work outside the home, most often due to financial need.
No one would choose to live life under these conditions unless they felt obliged to a higher, divine directive. Unfortunately, all too often, these are exactly the conditions under which pastoral families serve.
The good news is that we can make a difference! Clergy Appreciation Month is an attempt to counter the negative erosion in the lives of our spiritual leaders with positive affirmation.
Content Provided By Focus on the Family
Thank You Daddy!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Stepping Back

Sometimes in our hectic lives we get so busy that we are on track for a catastrophe in our lives.  Now, when I say catastrophe I mean something terrible that happens to us that we are just thrown into the depths of despair.  One man's/woman's catastrophe may be anther's small trial.  But to the one going through it - it is a catastrophe.  No Judging!!!

I had this happen this week.  I have had it happen in the past and I get my life under control and then without paying attention my life gets crazy and out of control again, and it seems like the only way to get me focused again if for God to allow another catastrophe in my life.

I get so overwhelmed that I don't think straight anymore, I suffer, my husband suffers, my children suffer, etc.  I'm going in ten different directions - somethings I enjoy doing, some I don't, some I am doing because it is my job, others because they need to get done and no one else can or will do them.  Whatever the thing is, I'm doing it because I am a doer and I am good at it - but not all at once.

When I get this way I inevitably do something stupid that sends my world spiraling.  And that happened Friday - I won't go into details (the wound is still fresh) but it caused a horrible weekend and my husband needing to step in and put a stop to all this craziness in my life.  I had to tell people "no" not something I am good at, I had accept my limitations - again, not something I am good at, and I had to re-evaluate what is most important in my life and prioritize those things and walk away from the rest. 

Now I look back and even though I still want to cry about it and I'm sure my husband does too.  I can see that the Lord allowed it, because we needed to deal with some things in our lives.  We have both been overwhelmed lately and we needed to focus on each other a little bit more.  We have had some good ol' shouting matches and some good heart felt discussions since then and we will get past this little episode and move on.  That is how God works sometimes in our lives.

God Bless You
Non-superwoman Lisa