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Posts Tagged ‘Hubby’

eyeThe game of road trips for generations of families is still the best … “I spy with my little eye something that is …”

Our eyes are said to be the gateway to our souls … that which goes into them also shows out of them … love, pain, strength, weakness, tragedy and delight.

As I look at the image of my own eye (above) I am remembering a post I wrote about a year ago, Getting a HANDle on Aging. In that post I wrote of how the aging-related changes to my hands are changes that are taking some getting used to, as they are, truly, the most accurate declarer of my true age (and today I am thirty-nine with FIVE years experience … yikes).

But my eyes …

Their aging causes a very different reaction for me.

My daughters thought I had totally lost it, when I asked one of them to take a close up of the wrinkles and lines around my eye. But I knew that it would be a photo I would appreciate far more than one of any other part of my body.

The color of my iris can still be altered by the colors I wear. The lashes still benefit from mascara to provide the illusion of more than actually exists (thanks to an inquisitive mind and a pair of scissors when I was a child). They communicate more clearly than my words. Their ability to see is still functional without specs (although that day is coming quickly). They are able to see what others do not show, do not say, do not share.

What do I spy … with my aging eye?

I spy a life of blessing.

I have seen my parents eyes reflecting pride when I graduated high school, college and got married. Their eyes of loss when hubby and I moved out of town, out of province. Their eyes of delight when I brought home each of their grandchildren.

I have seen my hubby’s eyes as I turned the corner when I walked down the aisle to vow to love, honor and obey … ’til death. His weeping when our first child (and four more later) miscarried, and when our three were born healthy and whole. His shared wonder when God would provide for us, as no human could. His eyes of confusion and frustration when I said and did things that hurt him, disappointed him, frustrated him.

I have seen the newborn faces of our three children. The first steps of each. The looks of wonder as they experienced the world around them. The first times they have been hurt. The many times that they forgave my mistakes (and forgot them immediately). The moments of great childhood successes, and the times of desperate loss.

My soul is blessed.

One day I will look into the eyes of my Savior, my Redeemer, my Lord … what a glorious day that will be!

Eye spy … still the best game of the generations.

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Last night I took hubby to the airport, and he flew off to a professional development conference where he will be “recharged, refreshed and renewed.”

Who couldn’t use a conference like that?!

I know the names of many of those who will be leading and speaking at this conference, and they are good!

They will remind him why he entered the field that he is in, well over twenty-five years ago.

They will introduce new findings and information that will alter his professional trajectory.

Their words will build his belief that change can occur.

They will touch his heart, and he may even return home with a new vision.

Hubby will be encouraged, educated and excited to return to his job, energized by being in an environment of specialists in his field.

And I am … jealous.

I went on the website of the conference when I got home, and checked out the event … feeling the rise of the green-eyed monster within my being. While searching around I heard the following:

“… important thing about you,

your marriage,
your family,
your future,
your ministry,
your impact

is

are your spiritual batteries re-charged?”

And I thought,

I could use a re-charge! Who couldn’t use a power up? I wish it was me.

(can you hear the pouting?)

Then I thought about hubby,

and this is so what he needs,

and this conference is so unlike any he has attended for SUCH a very long time,

and I realized it’s really okay that he gets the

“recharge, refresh and renew” that the website advertises.

And it’s even okay that I do not,

because this event, and his uncharacteristic choice to go,

is a

“for such a time as this”

moment.

And I pray that he return to home, to family, to church, and to ministry fully charged, refreshed and renewed and ready for whatever may come in the next phase of life.

 

 

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sheep-with-shepherd

Since hubby is a pastor, I feel a little guilty for today’s guest post … but not really 😉

October is Pastor Appreciation Month, so this is a relevant topic to share, and, although I could write my own miniseries on sleeping with the pastor (and that title would have great TV ratings), I think it is better to have one who is in the hot seat, to do the talking.

It was my hubby who shared this guest post with me … well, actually he shared it with all of his FaceBook friends, of whom I am one. It is not common for hubby to share such a (perhaps for some) self-serving article, so it must have touched him deeply.

This is what hubby said, as an introduction to the article (which I did not get his permission to re-print, but, it was he who taught me (tongue in cheek) to go with forgiveness over permission 😉 ) :

“If you have ever wondered what a pastor’s challenges in life are – I’m not sure you would – this article gives an all-too-real expose of the downside of ministry life. It’s not like this every day but the reality of challenge can be overwhelming at times. I’m not looking for sympathy, by the way ….” The Hubby

If you do not read the article, please just read these words, from A.W. Tozer :

“Will you pray for me as a minister of the gospel? I am not asking you to pray for the things people commonly pray for. Pray for me in light of the pressures of our times. Pray that I will not just come to a wearied end—an exhausted, tired, old preacher, interested only in hunting a place to roost. Pray that I will be willing to let my Christian experience and Christian standards cost me something right down to the last gasp.”

The Secret Pain of Pastors
Philip
Wagner

Philip Wagner offers insight into the six major struggles pastors face in the ministry and how to overcome them.

Peter Drucker, the late leadership guru, said that the four hardest jobs in America (and not necessarily in order, he added) are:

  • The President of the United States
  • A university president
  • A CEO of a hospital and
  • A pastor

Is that true? Pastors love God and love people. They get to pray for people, lead people to a faith in Jesus Christ, and teach the Word about God.

That’s the dream job. You can read the Bible all day, pray, play a little golf, and preach. I want to do that!

Here is the secret. Being a pastor is hard work. It’s not for wimps.

This is the reality—the job of a pastor can be 24/7 and carry unique challenges.

Some pastors wear themselves out trying to help people. Some wound their family because they are so involved in ministry. Others flourish in their ministry and personal life.

Approximately 85% of churches in America have less than 200 people. Sixty percent of churches are under 100 people. The average size congregation in the U.S. is 89 people, according to The Barna Group. Staffs are small, and needs are great. In many situations, the pastor needs to be a Bible teacher, accountant, strategist, visionary, computer tech, counselor, public speaker, worship director, prayer warrior, mentor, leadership trainer, and fundraiser.

Who can be all of that?

  • 90% of pastors said the ministry was completely different than what they
    thought it would be like before they entered the ministry.
  • 70% say they have a lower self-image now than when they first started.

Personally, I love being a pastor. I have a great staff. We have great people in our church; I am content whether going through good times or difficult seasons. Of course, it’s a lot easier to be “content” when things are good. I have great friends who are pastors. My marriage is strong. I am a better man because of my time in ministry.

Some of the unique problems that pastors’ face are:

1.  Criticism. 

Pastors can be criticized by a lot of people for a multitude of things.

“Music is too loud. Worship is not long enough. It’s too long.”

“Sermon is not deep enough. It’s too long.” 

“Pastor thinks he’s too important. It took me 3 weeks to get an appointment.”

“You talk too much about money.”

“…can I talk to you for a minute, Pastor?” This simple question can cause a pastor to think: “Oy vey.  Now what?”

We pastors need to find a way to not take criticism so personally and learn from truths that could be hidden in the criticism.

2. Rejection.

Members leave, leaders leave, and pastors’ friends leave. The reality is—people leave.

The smaller the church, the more obvious it is when people leave. Some leave for reasonable decisions; many leave ‘ungracefully.’ They leave the big churches, too—by the thousands.

People leave TD Jakes’ church, and they leave Andy Stanley’s church.

When our church had about 150 people and some would leave, it was so disappointing. I tried to console myself by thinking, “They may be leaving by the dozens here at Oasis, but thousands have left Jack Hayford’s church, and he’s a great pastor.”…That only helped for a minute.

“I’m leaving.”

“We want something deeper.”

“My needs aren’t getting met.”

These comments can feel like a personal rejection.

Every pastor has heard, “I’m not getting fed here.” Bill Hybels has heard it. Wayne Cordero, Dino Rizzo, Ed Young, Craig Groeschel, Steven Furtick, and Matthew Barnett have heard it.

Really?  Not getting fed? In those churches? How is that possible?

One of the most difficult conditions to achieve is to have a “tough skin and a soft heart.” Love people, hold them lightly, and don’t take it personally.

“…uhhh, OK.  Lord, help us.”

3.  Betrayal.

Trusting church members with personal burdens can backfire. They may end up telling the pastor’s personal issues to others. Staff leaders can take church members away. The pastor trusts a person with the platform or title, and that person uses the influence given to them to take people away.  The Judas kiss.

Church staff causing problems is a betrayal. Pastors rightfully think, “I’m paying you to solve problems. I can get new problems for free. I don’t need to pay someone a salary to create them.”

  • 40% report a conflict with a church member at least once a month.
  • 85% of pastors said their greatest problem is they are tired of dealing with problem people, such as disgruntled elders, deacons, worship leaders, worship teams, board members, and associate pastors.
  • The #1 reason pastors leave the ministry is that church people are not willing to go the same direction and goal of the pastor. Pastors believe God wants them to go in one direction, but the people are not willing to follow or change.
  • 40% of pastors say they have considered leaving their pastorates in the last three months.

We pastors have to find a way, with God’s grace, to love people as if we have never been hurt before.

4.  Loneliness.

Who’s my friend?  Who can I trust? If I tell another pastor my problems, will he criticize me, tell others, or just treat me differently?

  • 70% do not have someone they consider a close friend.

Are my friends really my friends or a church member who is a temporary friend who may leave any day now?

Healthy friendships are crucial to a fulfilling life, especially to the well being of a pastor. Put special effort in this area.

5.  Weariness.

50% of the ministers starting out will not last 5 years.

70% felt God called them to pastoral ministry before their ministry began, but after three years of ministry, only 50% still felt called.

Keeping personally refreshed is an art and a science…and extremely important.

When fatigue comes in, you not only look ½ empty, but also dirty, contaminated, and undrinkable.

6.  Frustrations & Disappointments.

Disappointments come in many ways.

Because of smaller congregations, the average compensation package for pastors is between $35,000 – $40,000. There are many things pastors in this salary range are not able to do for their family that other people around them can do.

There are many areas of ministry that judging “success” is difficult. Pastors can be hard on themselves. We work in an area that good work and good effort does not always guarantee success.

Many pastors work hard but are missing some kind of “X-factor.” They are good people, sincere believers, love God, know the Word, have great content in their sermons, but somehow it’s not clicking.  It’s frustrating.

It’s like a worship leader who loves Jesus and has a great singing voice but somehow cannot lead people in an effective worship experience.

Some days, leaders feel like they can’t seem to do anything right. The ministry finally gets momentum, and then a leader in the church falls. Things are going well, and then a couple of your biggest givers leave.

The church needs money, but the pastor doesn’t want to put too much focus on money. It’s not about the money—but it becomes about the money.

All of this can be overwhelming.

  • 4,000 new churches begin each year and 7,000 churches close.
  • Over 1,700 pastors left the ministry every month last year.
  • Over 3,500 people a day left the church last year. 
  • 50% of pastors feel so discouraged that they would leave the ministry if
    they could, but have no other way of making a living.
  • 45.5 % of pastors say that they’ve experienced depression or burnout to the extent that they needed to take a leave of absence from ministry. 

This is not the case for all pastors. In fact, many that I know have managed to handle these issues well.

How Christians and church members can help:  

Pray for your pastor.

Pray for guidance, protection, healthy friends, their marriage, and family. Pray for inspiration, anointing, the leadership team, unity, and clarity.

Protect your pastor.

As best as you can, don’t allow or participate in gossip and criticism. How can you serve and problem solve to prevent overload?

Encourage your pastor.

Thank him for his or her work and ministry. Thank them for their sacrifice. Tell them a specific time in which you or someone you know experienced a life change in their church. Honor them to others.  Let your pastors know you are praying for them. According to the Barna report—the profession of “Pastor” is near the bottom of a survey of the most-respected professions, just above “car salesman.”

To Pastors.

Don’t give up, pastor! Persistence is powerful.

Keep on. Really! Your work, your labor of love, and your sacrifice matters.

I realize the last thing a pastor needs is another sermon. But these verses have helped me. Hold on to God’s Word with your life.

So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised. Hebrews 10:35-36 NLT

So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time, we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Gal. 6:9 NLT

Be careful of the comparison trap.

Looking at other ministries can be inspiring. Comparing yourself to other churches can be destructive and discouraging.

Make new pastor friends. Expose yourself to new influences, new leaders, churches, or ministries that are doing some things differently.

Discover to some fresh views and ideas. Sometimes, it just takes one or two new ideas that can change momentum around.

Pastors that are struggling or are no longer in ministry may have unresolved hurts. I encourage you to find healing. Seek counseling; find a local Celebrate Recovery group; equip yourself with resources on healing (some examples are Safe People orBoundaries) and share your secrets with safe people.  Remember you’re only as sick as your secrets.

*The Fuller Institute, George Barna, and Pastoral Care Inc. provide the statistics I have used in this post.

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I believe that there are blessings and curses in life, and that they often co-exist in the same event. That is the case for what I have been pondering for a number of days.

Our son had the privilege of going on a three night, four day school sailing trip. It is an annual trip for grade eight students at our school, and one which does not fail to impress, and live in the memories of it’s participants each year, and for years to come.

I was eager to re-unite with our son when he returned, to hear his stories of hilarity and memories made. To hear the stories that will go on, and even expand, as the years go by.

When he arrived, his teacher met me (before I was able to embrace him publicly, in front of his peers …) and said something to the effect of,” your son exhibited great leadership though-out the trip … he showed what a true leader he is.”

I smiled, because it is always nice to have a teacher tell you anything that is not negative … I am more accustomed to hearing, “your son did not do his homework” or “your son is falling behind in …” But the words of my son’s teacher were positive words … right?

Those words have been haunting me ever since.

Yes, I said, “haunting” …first+last

As the days have past, and those words have past through my mind, I have been hearing the story I heard when I was first dating the man who would forever become ‘hubby’ for me. The story of how his mother responded to his decision to pursue ministry leadership …

“are you sure there isn’t something else you could pursue?”

My mother-in-law knew and understood the risks of leadership. She understood that to be a leader (any leader, in any area) is to live a life of high (pedestal) expectations and opens the door to much heartache. She understood that leadership is not necessarily the best future, she understood that leadership requires followers, and that followers can be … fickle.

I now understand why my mother-in-law wished something else for the future of her son, because I wish similarly for my son.

I do not wish for him to grow up as a leader …feeling the responsibilities and expectations of others.

I do not wish for people to follow him … it adds such weight to the walk.

I do not wish for him to lead … what if he leads in the wrong direction?

I do not wish for him to be in the front … in the open one can be so vulnerable to being taken down by the enemy.

But …

I do wish that he use the gifts that God has given, and for him to use them to their fullest, utilizing every bit of talent crafted within him by his Creator. And so, I will try to modify my wishes for him. Instead of wishing he not lead, I wish that God would protect him from the curses that can come with such a gift, that he will be a blessing, and that he is able to feel more blessed than cursed by that which God has dealt him …

and that I, as his mother, would pray for him without ceasing.

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Lets_Talk_SexI’ve got your attention, yes?

It has been many months that I have been holding on to this guest post, wanting to use it, but not wanting to make anyone feel awkward.

You have to realize that my teenage kids might peruse the title … and it would only be the title, because they would be so immensely humiliated that I would use the ‘s’ word … and this could totally shake their understanding of the role of the stork!

Then there is my hubby … every time I write something, anything about marriage, I risk making him feel as though I am writing a poorly-hidden communication intended for him!

This is such a valuable post though, I felt it was time, and that there might be someone reading it who needs to hear the message.

Here is how it starts:

“Gentlemen,

I am hoping to shed a little light on a very difficult subject in many Christian marriages – spiritual intimacy.

Let me see if I can explain why your wife may seem to be so demanding about wanting you to pray with her and so upset if you don’t pray with her.  Her approach may seem disrespectful to you, and her methods may turn you off – but I want you to catch this, please!

Most women think of spiritual intimacy as being the most powerful and deepest form of intimacy in marriage – deeper than sex.  In fact, we are wired so that spiritual and emotional intimacy (but especially spiritual intimacy) often prepares us for physical intimacy.   For our husband to pray with us – for most of us – is the height of sexy in our minds!  This is what we expected marriage to be all about – intimacy and connection on THREE levels: spiritual, emotional and sexual.

When I first read the post, “For the Husbands-Why Does my Wife try to make Me Pray with Her?” (to read more than what is above, just click on the link) I found it to be rather eye-opening for me.

This post comes from April Cassidy, but I read it first on her husband’s blog, where he re-blogged it. ( http://www.respectedhusband.wordpress.com). Both he and his wife write marriage-focused blogs, from their own experiences, and from their learning and understanding of what a Christian marriage should be.

It is a thought-provoking post … and hey, who doesn’t want a hero?

 

 

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They say that we give the gifts to others that we want for ourselves, and so I took this to heart this Christmas with regards to gifting for my hubby.

images-2

Years ago … at least six years ago … I had gone that first time to try out a therapeutic massage covered by the health care plan at my work. It was amazing, and I later told hubby of my spa adventure. I am sure that as hubby was hearing my story of extravagant pampering the wheels in his head had him convinced that his annual tradition of ‘failing’ (his word, not mine) when it came to Christmas gifts for his wife, was about to turn to great success.

Although I did enjoy the experience, it was not a very comfortable place for me, as I felt a bit like a fish out of water in an environment of such luxury. From my point of view, once was enough … but I had failed to mention this fact to my very well-intentioned hubby.

So, when Christmas rolled around, a beautifully wrapped, generous gift card to a spa that I had gone to once, and had spoken so glowingly of at my premier visit, was to be my gift from the man who tries so desperately to please.

This lovely, generous, well-intended gift has sat in and on my dresser for at least six years, causing frustration and bitterness every time it would be within view of my guy.

images-1

But no longer would it gather dust.

Weeks before this past Christmas I made the brilliant decision to re-gift hubby’s spa gift card … to him!

I went in to the spa, ensured that the balance of the card was as I had remembered, and booked a couples massage appointment.

So, yesterday, hubby and I went to share in the gift of Christmas past, as well as Christmas present.

Total and complete relaxation, being pampered and cared for in total and complete luxury, convinced me that the spa, not the ‘Magical’ place is the happiest place on Earth!

When we stepped out over two hours later, we both felt refreshed and relaxed. Gone were the years of gift ‘failure’ and feelings of rejection for the unused, unappreciated gift … all were replaced with the joy of sharing in the gift of well-intentions.

And, so often that is our problem when it comes to our relationships … the love and joy get lost in the misunderstanding of the intentions of the other person. We spin our own version of the gift; his that he is a failure, mine that he does not know my heart. But, in being able to share in the gift, to share in the well-intentions of each of us, joy can be shared … together.

In re-gifting to hubby the gift that he had given to me, we were both able to receive the gifts we both wanted most, enjoyment and time together.

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So, I am now at day number two of my Top 10 Goals for 2013, and this time the focus is hubby.

He REALLY does not appreciate posts about him, that mention him, that use him as an example … so, in honor of his preference that I not write about him … heck, I’m just going to do it anyway!

P&C Cropped

He has to forgive me … comes with the whole “love, honor and … forgive” 😉

Here are my Top Ten Goals for my Marriage for 2013:

  1. Do not go to bed angry – I mentioned this yesterday in regards to our kids and it doesn’t hurt to say it again, “do not let the sun go down while you are still angry” (Ephesians 4:26).
  2. Get away – make time for at least one night each season to get away together, sans children, as a couple. It is so easy, with all of the demands of life, to forget that the family we created started with us, just us, and for this family to continue we need to invest in us.
  3. Respect him – As I write it I just know that some poor, misinformed lady is going to interpret respecting your husband as some kind of response to an archaic male dominated patriarchal society or religion. That is NOT what this is about! He is a child of God, like me, and as such I need to respect him …
  4. Make his life easier – I am sure that there is at least one thing I can do each week to make his life easier … from answering the phone (instead of letting him, because it is always for him), to doing his dinner clean up once in a while (not too often, as I do not want him to get too used to being relieved of ‘his’ chore).
  5. Thank him – so often when we live with someone it is so easy to forget our manners. Please and thank you are words I know I need to use more often with my man.
  6. Let him decide – … and be okay with his decision! My hubby knows that if I say “you choose” his whole future is at stake. I need to trust him to make a decision, and trust the outcome!
  7. Surprise him – there is nothing like veering from the normal, everyday, meatloaf every Monday stagnant way of living to bore a couple to mediocrity! Start seeing excitement and refreshment in someone else. I WILL surprise him … and the details of that, well those are between the two of us 😉 .
  8. Remember the past – I need to reflect on those days, so many years ago, when we only knew adoring love (aka, before we were married 😉 ) … not bills, crisscrossing schedules, and to do lists.
  9. Forget the past – we have baggage, and that is a reality, but the past is the past, and needs to be left there. We cannot move forward if I keep looking back.
  10. Plan for the future – “Where there is no dreaming for the future, the marriage relationship is dead” (that is the Carole Wheaton interpretation of Proverbs 29:18) … enough said.

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