‘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.
Beautifully said, Lisa. ‘The greatest of these is love.” That is what serving in our ministries is all about. Isn’t that just like our LORD that He would speak to you through you and the words HE put to your pen two years ago.
Lisa, I know without a doubt we are under the leadership of the MAN God has chosen for us. I have seen first hand the heart break you and Luke are going thru(that we all are going thru).We can not get thru this without this LOVE you are speaking of. My prayer is that even when we may not always agree, that we will find LOVE. You know you and your family are in my prayers and we are so thankful for the leadership that has been given.
I put my total trust in our loving God, who has placed you both here for this time. I know that we are deeply loved by you two and I trust the leadership of IBC. Thank you for sharing your heart and I totally agree with all you said. May we not just merely hear the word, week after week, but actually believe it works when we put action to it! Praying for you and love you both!
Shoot…. I picked this book up a while ago, and haven’t started reading it yet, and just today found your online discussion. WOW! Looks like a great book and it’s in my pile to get to shortly. :) Bless you lovely pastors’ wives! I’ll have to bookmark and come back as I get through the book myself!
.-= SweetMummy´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesday – my new iPhone =-.
“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Lisa, two words, “Amen, Sister!”
.-= Sara´s last blog ..Confession 102: Talking in Circles =-.
As you know, we endured an extremely painful situation church-wise almost two years ago. It was truly the hardest thing I’ve ever been through–as well as the most heartbreaking. In the midst of our grief, a dear online friend sent me a bookmark with the following verse on it: “Trust in the Lord and do good.” She had been through a difficult situation in regard to church and that verse had been her lifeline, one she then held out to me. To trust the Lord and seek to be obedient to Him alone as well as to do good–to love just as you’ve described here and in your book–this is what the Lord asked of me then and still today. As I said, I am now on the other side of it and I can say with all confidence and joy: I am glad for it ALL. I am glad that the Lord granted me the privilege to see His faithfulness and His sovereign grace in ways I could not have imagined. Easy? No way. It still hard sometimes and sometimes I struggle to do good and to love. But I’ve trusted Him–we’ve all trusted Him–and He has shown Himself worthy in countless ways. I am profoundly grateful!
Persevere, my friend. Keep the faith. Trust Him. Do good. The Lord sees. He knows. Your commitment to love will indeed reap a harvest so don’t give up!
.-= Lisa writes…´s last blog ..Soccer, a battleship, more soccer, and rain, lots and lots of rain =-.
Lisa, I have loved your book! I’m starting to read it again and this time I will savor each thought and word. My husband has only been in the ministry for 5 years and I have already learned so much. One of my favorite verses and to help keep my focused is 1 Cor. 15:58 … always give yourself to the work of the Lord for you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. Thank you for sharing your heart. Praying for you in Missouri.
I wanted to write to say thank you for your writing and encouragement to me today. It looks and sounds like you need a some prayers. Oh how I understand. Hugs from afar.
I think you should go back to your editors and ask them if they’d include this post in the book.
A strong word of encouragement. Thanks for writing it. Thanks for living it all the more.
Oh that our Father could perfect his love in us and through us. It is the prayer of my heart this day.
.-= elaine @ peace for the journey´s last blog ..one thing =-.
I’ve sat for a few just waiting to figure out what to type… I’ve looked to you as a resource for the past couple years and feel like I wouldn’t have much to offer (I would say older and wiser but I wouldn’t want to be insulting… :o)
Truth be known… we’ve walked through cow poop a mile high in our ministry life and 1. lived to tell about it, and 2. walked out pretty clean… not perfect but with integrity. I’m not sure what you’re going through or fighting for but I’m sure it stinks. When we were walking through our dung we felt we walked an extremely thin line… between family (not our immediate), between those haglers in the church that were dead wrong and causing an IMMENSE amount of pain and between those in the church that could do nothing but come along side of us and say, “It stinks but we’re praying…”
We walked wounded for a while… and still the scars sting at times but I’m profoundly grateful. My man grew up… (I sincerely don’t mean that he was a babe before) The storm made him a seasoned sailor that owuld have taken years and years to become and prepared us for the calling and church we are presently at.
Through our ministry life I have held to the naive view like you… I want… I NEED to be friends with people. I NEED them. They NEED me to be… and at times I’ve been chided for that from those that are extremely close to us… but I KNOW… I’m convinced that it’s necessary… It may be painful. It has been and I’m sure it will be again… but it’s worth the risk. The risk is small compared to the risk that Christ took on me…
Anyways, I’ve really rambled and I’m sorry… all that to say, I hate it for you… hold steady… one last thought. During our crap I was ready backwards through Psalms marking the days until my sisterinlaw returned from Iraq where she was serving. On the H-Day (it’s the day our world BLEW up) I drug myself to the couch in the middle of the night and opened the world broken and wounded needing to hear from my Savior and I opened to Ps 118.
“Out of my distress i called on the LORD; the LORD answered me and set me free. THe LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? The LORD is on my side as my helper: I shall look in triumph on those who hate me.” (vs 5-7)
The entire Psalm just poured over me. The next day I went back for more and want a Psalm with vengeance and grit… I flipped back one and got 117. I was instantly disappointed… then I realized all I needed that day was 117…
“Praise the LORD, all nations! Extol him, all peoples! For great is his steadfast love towards us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord.”
That was all I had that day… simply, praise You Lord… Then the next day was Sunday. To say that my husband was a inch close to walking away and heading to the unemployment line is NOT an exaggeration but we were clinging to a thread and so Sunday I flipped to 116… we were hit with…
“I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the LORD. I will pay my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people, in the courts of the house of the LORD, in your midst, O Jerusalem. Praise the Lord.”
We were preserved in the long run… we can out with wounds and scars but we are better for them… I’m still not sure I would choose them but I trust my Redeemer. (sorry this is a book…) Praying for you guys…
Great bible study!!
Thanks for sharing this.
Carrie @ comfortedbyGod.blospot.com
Lisa–Ive read a lot of blogs today, and your post is by far the most genuine, heartwrenching, honest rendering of a hearts condition. Thank you for opening your soul and pouring yourself into your ministry. Your love for your local church and the body of Christ at large reads loud and clear! Keep pressing on.
A few years ago I was diagnosed with a crippling chronic illness, which radically transformed my life. It brought me to utter desperation before the Lord, seeking His face for my very life. As a young woman, many of my friends didnt understand the magnitude of the illness, and just walked away from me. They quit calling and emailing. They just didnt know what to do with me, since I was no longer the same person. My heart was BROKEN when I was left alone at the absolute worst time in my life. Friends that I had for years just left me.
My husband faithfully stood by me and my family stepped in, but I will never forget how it hurt to lose dear friends through tragedy. Thankfully, the Lord powerfully provided two godly women who stepped in as mentors and helped me through that horrible time in my life. I still praise Him for knowing my needs and encouraging me.
Im praying for you tonight.
.-= Carrie @ comfortedbyGod.blogspot.com´s last blog ..WHO WANTS TO BE HUMBLED? =-.