‘Cute Shoes’ Online Discussion                      ~Chapter Nine

I’m not a woman who believes in coincidence and the timing of finishing our discussion on the chapter entitled, “The Greatest Gift is Love” only serves to deepen that conviction.  The season of ministry in which Luke and I currently find ourselves is without a doubt the most difficult we have ever faced in our 18 years of experience.  However, there is one thing of which we are certain:  a group of believers committed to loving one another can make it through any attack as long as we will lock shields and fight as one man. (Thank you, Gladiator, for that visual.)  I sobbed tonight as I read back over this chapter whose future relevance I couldn’t begin to comprehend when it was written almost 2 years ago.

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.”  (1 Peter 4:8)  This verse has always held special significance for me because I’m just foolish enough to believe it works.  This verse is the reason I have never withheld my heart from those we serve because I am confident that if we have relationships and friendships within the pews that there will be a basis for forgiveness when either one of us just flat blows it.  Love says that we believe the best about someone first, that we bless those who curse us, that we give the benefit of the doubt, that we think of others as better than ourselves, and that we come to serve instead of being served.  The truth is, love doesn’t always ‘like’ but it does at least throw a blanket of grace over the unsavory thing so we can maintain unity.   

There is a paragraph on pg. 183 that I would like to quote.  It is also the one that made me cry so much because I know the Lord wanted me to see it with fresh eyes on this very day:

“In our (the minister’s family) defense, there are often two legitimate sides to an issue and yet we are forced to choose one.  If our choice falls to the opposite side of your own opinion, will you love us anyway?  Can we agree to disagree and move on side by side even if we don’t feel like holding hands at the moment? When we can operate beyond our own desires and seek God’s agenda for our lives and churches, everyone wins.” 

What do we win exactly?  Victory over Satan’s schemes.  He has come to devour our testimony.  To bring to nothing all the ground we’ve gained together.  To steal the love of the saints towards God and one another.  When, when, will we catch on and turn it back on him?  Why are we still taken captive by the same old arguments that set themselves up against the true, life-altering, knowledge of Christ and how we respond in trial because of it?

I know you are probably thinking, ‘Easier said that done, Lisa.  Are you really that naive?’  The answer to that question is yes, yes I am.  Because here is what I know:  we have God’s Word in front of us and it is a plumb line.  There isn’t any single situation you could level against it for which there isn’t a relevant instruction on how to proceed through it.  We weren’t promised easy but we are promised that all things are possible for him who believes.  It drives me insane that we could sit for years in a sanctuary every Sunday morning  or in our Bible study classes on weeknights and hear teaching after teaching on how to live the Christian life and then totally disconnect our knowledge from our action when it’s time to road test all we’ve learned. 

Girls, we have to love.  Even when it hurts.  Even when it is the last stinkin’ thing we want to do.  Even when it requires humility that is hard to muster.  And you know what?  The unfortunate truth is that there may be a day when that affection is not reciprocated and it is time to move on.  But, we can do that knowing that we did the noble thing.  That we could walk out (or be hurled out!) with heads held high because we loved and protected and acted from that place of motivation.

It has been such a pleasure to walk through this book with you and to share once again my heart where ministry is concerned.  I consider it the greatest privilege of life and will never take for granted the special ability to serve Christ’s Body and the people in it.  It is also a wonderful thrill to think that any word contained here was used to strengthen your resolve to hang in there.  God thought much of you when He appointed you to this life, my friends.  Don’t you ever forget that.    

The past weeks have also profoundly humbled me again as I’ve watched my husband fight the gates of Hell on behalf of his beloved people.  IBC, you can not comprehend the heights and depths to which you are loved and how far your pastor would go to rescue just one of you or to shelter all of you.  You have no idea.  It is with unwavering conviction that I say I am utterly confident in this man’s leadership and that I absolutely trust his judgment because he is on his face before the Lord with his soul clean and bared before Him.  There is no greater judge of a man’s character than the opinion held of him by his wife who sees him when the microphone is off and the parsonage doors are closed.  I’ve never been more convinced of the right man being in the right place for such a time as this.  It is my joy to uphold him so he can be of greater service to you. 

So maybe you girls recognized I’m really tender and got a little carried away there.   After brief consideration, I think I’ll leave it all intact.  I don’t have a long list of questions for you but would rather ask:

“Can you encourage us with a situation where love saved the day?” 

I need to hear it and I know many other people do as well.

Cute Shoes Online Discussion                                ~Chapter Eight

I can hardly believe we only have one Chapter left to discuss after this one.   It kind of feels like the series of finale of Lost except without all the time-travel and smoke monsters and mysterious beams of light.  And let’s not forget the obvious fact that the Lost writers, well, they are better than me.  Way better.  I’m secure in that.

Today we are going to talk about ministry moves in the chapter entitled, “The Joys of Hello.” Here are the things I always love to hear from other ministry wives on the subject:

1.  How many times have you moved?

2.  Have you learned to appreciate the process or do you cry every time?

3.  Parsonage or purchase?

4.  UHaul or Ryder or Moving Company?

5.  What is your favorite thing about the move?  The least favorite?

6.  Share your favorite tip on surviving a ministry relocation.

 

I’m keeping it short today because I have to finish some work and then go visit my Mamaw Crawford in the hospital.  Please pray for her.  She’s suffered a heart attack and isn’t doing well at all.  She is 89 years old and precious to our family.  I’m asking the Lord to give her peace and comfort and assurance of his love for her.  These times are inevitable but that doesn’t make them any easier, does it?  I know y’all understand and I appreciate your lifting her name to the Father.

‘Cute Shoes’  Online Discussion                         ~Chapter Six and a Giveaway!

UPDATE: 

I will select a winner  of the giveaway and post her name on Monday.   I’m not going to close comments so the discussion can continue but know that the current entry 37 will be the cut off for the giveaway.  In the meantime, I’m headed out the door to the ATL to see Mama Beth and worship with 10,000 of my closest friends.  I hope to see lots of you there!  I’ll tell you all about it when I get back!   xoxoxoxo   Lisa

Hey Girls!  It’s time for us to jump back in to our book discussion but it seems rude to get straight to business without catching up for a bit first.

Last week was Spring Break and the weather was p-e-r-f-e-c-t-i-o-n.  Luke and I cleaned out our storage building and if we’d had a camera crew could have easily filmed our own segment of American Pickers.  If I were a better blogger I would have some pictures for you.  The reality is I’m a stinky blogger so you’ll have to envision my awesome locker baskets that I’ve held on to for years waiting to find just the right place for them and the box of old metal toy trucks Luke bought at an auction before we met.   We also have an antique bed that was manufactured by the Gettysburg, Pennsylvania Furniture Co. in 1927 and an old laxative tin that came out of my great-grandmother’s pie safe.  The medication is long since gone but I’m thinking the tin would look cool on a shelf in our bathroom.  An inspiration piece of sorts.

The kids went to their grandparent’s house in Georgia Thursday.  Luke spoke at a banquet for a ministry we dearly love on Thursday night.  Friday we hit every homebuilding supply store in a 100 mile radius to gather ideas.  Saturday morning I spoke at a women’s luncheon for a group of adorable women with some serious skillz in the food/decor department.  (I’ll show pictures and tell you more about them in a couple of days.  Lots of great ideas from their event.)  Saturday afternoon Luke and I drove to Cartersville, GA to see the house we are building in real life.  A developer has it for sale so the darlin’ realtor let us go in and spend lots of time taking pictures, etc. so we could see if it felt like home. (It totally did.)  I am challenged when it comes to seeing a house plan in 3D so the tour was gold.

And then it was Sunday and since all the kids were still gone I got to church on time. 

Whoot!

And now that I’ve finally worked myself around to church, let’s get to our discussion on ‘Embracing Your Thing’.  I’m going to pitch out some straight forward questions.  I also want to point out to you that I’ve added a plug-in that allows you to reply to various commenters.  I’m trying to use that more to communicate with you and I hope you will use it as well to talk back and forth with one another.  Don’t forget to begin your response with your name, state, and area of ministry.

This chapter deals with our individual giftedness and how that is manifested in our congregations.   Let’s talk about it!

1.  What is your favorite area of ministry within the church and are you currently serving there?

2.  Which activities and ministries are you doing that fall outside your personal calling?

3.  Would you characterize your contribution to the body as exhilarating or exhausting?  Keep in mind that exhilarated exhaustion is not the same as burnout exhaustion. 

4.  If you are burned out, what are some of the reasons you’ve not yet stepped out of the fire?

5. Has caring for young children or perhaps aging parents caused you to grieve being unable to do more with the church? In what ways has the Lord confirmed caregiving is the ministry ordained for you in this season?

 

I’m looking forward to hearing your answers on this one!  To thank you for your participation, I’m going to give away two more copies of the book for those of you who don’t yet have it.  Simply leave a comment telling us if you are hoping to win one for yourself or your pastor’s wife.  I’ll announce a winner on Thursday.

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