guest blog: lasagna and leadership

>> April 29, 2009

Note: We asked Lori Wilhite if we could cross-post her blog today 'cause it details the PW gathering at the Catalyst West Coast event last week. She'll be posting answers to questions that they didn't have time for at the event every Wednesday on her blog. Here's the first installment. Check out her blog for more next week!


I had a great time at my lunch for Pastor’s wives and women in Leadership at Catalyst that Lucretia Noble and I hosted. The only bummer was that I wish it had been twice as long so I could have been able to visit with more people because I’m a talker … but I was so glad for the opportunity! We had over 40 people join us. Awesome ladies!


Thankfully someone Tweeted this picture of us during our Q&A time. I wasn’t able to get through near all of the questions, so I thought I would slowly start going through them here.

This is my favorite one: How do you maneuver being Jud’s eye candy?

It is a tough job … but someone’s got to do it! That’s hilarious! But most of the leaders I know are smart enough to have married up. For instance I love Jud’s best friend, Mike Foster, but Mike would totally agree with me that his wife Jen is totally amazing! And our friend Tommy who is the Sr Pastor at Hillside Christian Church married a stinking powerhouse when he married Donna. I have tons of other examples too.

I should also say, that I completely understand that most people will not know me outside of my role or my face. Most of the time that doesn’t bother me, because I make sure to have some people that really KNOW me outside of all of that. It helps me keep a little balance.

So, ladies, how do you handle it? And guys, brag on your ladies! You know you couldn’t do it without them!


life on the other side - part 2

>> April 28, 2009

Here is the conclusion of our interview with Amy Andrews, a former PW.
Check out Part 1 if you missed it.

Is there anything you miss about being a PW?

At this point I am truly relishing this season of reprieve. However, despite its challenges, being a PW can be a wonderfully fulfilling, rewarding, exciting, satisfying and fun place to be.

The relationships we have built over the years and the people we have been blessed to know abound! We've shared many, many wonderful times with friends, have delighted in being a part of their lives, enjoyed watching their children grow and have been the recipients of amazing love, hospitality, wisdom, support, comfort & generosity ourselves.

I have great memories of sharing life with like-minded individuals, watching people discover and grow in areas of strength and bounce back after devastating setbacks. I remember good times of laughing heartily, crying deeply and praying fervently. It's awesome to see God do something great that can only be blamed on Him. There is great joy in seeing people come to know Christ or return to Him after years away. It's indescribable to see God touch someone through this cracked pot! What fun to watch a spiritual lightbulb go on in the heart of someone I care about or in my own. It really is great to get paid to do stuff for God!

What advice would you give a PW who is struggling to embrace her role as PW?

  1. God is trustworthy no. matter. what.
  2. He wastes nothing. The good, the bad, the ugly -- He uses all of it for His glory and our good.
  3. Know that you are not alone. I have heard from many, many PWs who struggle with their role and many who long to be out.
  4. Build relationships with other PWs in your area or other people outside your church. It never hurts to have external perspective and support. Additionally, find other PWs online with whom to connect. The Pastors' Wives Forum is a good place to start. (I also keep a list of pastors' wives blogs here.)
  5. Don't get caught up in the mindset of "If it's ministry, it must be God." It just simply isn't so.
  6. Likewise, be open to the unique ways God works. His ways are absolutely not always our ways. Sometimes we are presumptuous in our beliefs about what God wills. (As more time passes, I become more fully convinced that God brought us to that church on purpose, but His purpose was not to watch it grow into 500-3000 strong as we simply assumed.)
  7. Be yourself. Rabbi Zusya says, "In the world to come, I shall not be asked, 'Why were you not Moses?' I shall be asked, 'Why were you not Zusya?'" Fill in "Moses" with the name of the person(s) to whom you compare yourself.
  8. Guard your marriage as though your life depends on it. Fiercely protect your children as well. It requires balance, of course, and there will be times when you experience relational strains, but in the end, who cares if your church is bursting at the seams if your love for your spouse and the well-being of your children has all but disappeared?
  9. Don't bail. There's a difference between throwing in the towel because you're fed up, ticked off & want to get away from the pain and laying down the towel because you are too broken to continue or have done all you can do despite the pain.
  10. Love God wholly.
How is your family life better because of this transition?

I distinctly remember sitting at the dinner table one evening shortly after we arrived in Texas and we were all laughing. In that moment, I was amazed to realize it was a totally foreign feeling. Our lives had become so ministry-focused in NY that, especially towards the end, any time Brian and I were home at the same time, we were discussing what was happening at church. Meal times consisted of us talking/arguing, all the while shushing the kids because "Mommy & daddy are talking." And if we weren't discussing church, we were both so completely drained that all we wanted to do was withdraw into our own worlds and not be bothered. I still almost cry when I think about how little attention we paid to our children during those years outside of the basics of feeding, bathing and clothing them.

Our family life is vastly different now. Brian's work (mostly) stays at work, leaving plenty of time at home to play "chase," read aloud, watch movies and answer the question "What was the best and worst parts of your day?" around the dinner table. We splurged this last summer and got season passes to Six Flags. We hang out with grandma and grandpa regularly, making up for 5 long years of being nowhere near family. There is noticeably less stress and absolutely more joy.

My parents have noted repeatedly how much of a positive change they see in our kids since we first pulled up in their driveway 16 months ago (after leaving NY). This fact alone makes me want to fall to my knees in gratitude for God's grace.

Do you expect your husband will be a pastor again?

We would absolutely be open to it, however, I don't foresee that occurring. The reason for this is not as much a result of our difficult journey as much as it is a draw we feel towards overseas missions.

Still, our experiences have undoubtedly influenced our current thinking. For me personally, what I've learned from our time in NY, what I've heard from other PWs I know & communicate with and what I've seen as we've served in various churches in various capacities in various states, I cannot help but question the way we "do ministry" here in America. I'm inclined to think there is something fundamentally wrong with the way we have set things up and sadly, I think the number of ministry casualties is bound to increase as a result.

Even so, God remains steadfast, loving, kind, gracious, powerful, sovereign and in control. Praise Him.


life on the other side - part 1

>> April 27, 2009

Ever wonder what life would be like if you weren't a PW? We know there are some Clutch readers among us who are reluctant PWs. If we're honest, we've probably all, sometime or another, been resentful of our roles and wondered what life would be like if our husbands had a "normal" job. We invite you to read one woman's story. She's been on both sides of the pulpit, so to speak, and in this interview she generously opens up about the challenges that led her husband to leave the pastorate, what the transition was like and what their lives are like today.

Meet Amy, who blogs at, formerly (and sometimes still) known as Not Your Typical Pastor's Wife.

First, some background. Amy's husband has pastored in Chicago, San Diego and Upstate, NY. They've been married almost 12 years and, with the exception of a few non-ministry jobs to bridge the gaps between pastoring, she's been a PW all of her married life.

What were your initial feelings about being a PW? What did you think it would be like?

I loved the idea of being a PW. What could be better than getting paid to do stuff for God? :) As a missionary kid I was accustomed to ministry life so it was difficult to imagine life any other way. I had lovely notions about "partnering together in ministry" and "making a difference in the Kingdom" alongside my husband. I thought we made a great team and pridefully, I believed any church would be fortunate to have us. I hate to admit it now, but I especially looked forward to the attention and the automatic respect I thought being a PW would garner.

In general terms, how was it at first and how did your role (and feelings about that role) evolve through the years?

Brian and I struggled profoundly our first few years in marriage so it's difficult to extricate those painful memories with my feelings as a new PW. But speaking solely about the role itself, I thought it was great! Brian was serving as an intern pastor at a church where he was very well-loved...and therefore I guess they were sort of obligated to love me well too! ;) As an intern, he had many of the benefits of being a pastor without a lot of the headaches of being ultimately responsible (as a senior pastor would). It was a very positive experience, which later proved to be both good and bad. It was good because it showed us that it is possible to enjoy & thrive in ministry; it was bad because it was difficult not to compare every other experience to that one and think we were failing miserably.

Things got more challenging when he became an associate pastor, but when he became a senior pastor, I often thought, "Wow! It's great to see good stuff happen, but this is HARD -- harder than I ever imagined!!"

In the beginning, and sadly, most of our nearly 12 years, I've had a "get right there in it with my husband and do ministry together" attitude which bordered on (and too often downright became) meddling in and monitoring his "performance" as a pastor. I see now that this largely comes from my (unfortunate and unwanted) tendencies to worry excessively about what other people think, to avoid upsetting or angering anyone and the desire for others to like me (because if they like him, it's a positive reflection on me, right?). I was not good at stepping back and giving Brian the space and support he needed to do his job well. Instead, I felt compelled to jump in and fix or "help" him do better. Whenever I felt angst in my role as PW over the years, I think this was often the root of my struggle.

My deepest desire now is to recognize and respect that while God intends for Brian and I to walk together down this road, our perspectives are not always the same, our gifts certainly aren't and Christ will be most glorified when we appreciate and make the most of those differences and seek to glorify Him only.

Tell us about the "straw that broke the camel’s back" and led your husband to resign his position as pastor?

I have a bit of a melancholy personality and have always struggled with anxiety, but I had never experienced depression so it took me quite some time before I realized what was happening (I was also newly pregnant at the time and attributed much of many of my bad feelings to that). But after two years of questions and doubts about how the church was functioning (my husband was solo pastor of a struggling church and was spread very thin) and whether or not we were well-suited for the positions of pastor and pastor's wife, I felt myself spiraling downwards in my soul (not sure how else to describe it). By June of 2007 I was having suicidal thoughts (totally new to me) not because I wanted to die but because I longed for relief. I just saw no way out. When my dad (a seasoned counselor) asked me point blank if I was suicidal, I knew something was desperately wrong and that I most likely wasn't going to will myself out of it, repent myself out of it or simply change my attitude and turn around. I knew I needed help -- although I wasn't sure what kind.

Concurrently, the church had been struggling for quite some time. We were losing members by the handfuls, those who stayed seemed largely discouraged and it became apparent that something drastic needed to be done if the church was going to survive. Brian decided to relaunch the church in the hopes of reviving it. We had been part of a church plant before and I was fully aware of the HUGE undertaking a relaunch would be. He had few strong leaders to help (and many of them were tired and weary themselves) and he certainly couldn't do it on his own, so I knew much of the responsibility would be shared by me. The thought of bearing the burden of such an undertaking was completely overwhelming.

Incidentally, relaunching the church was actually my idea and I had spent a lot of time championing the cause before my depression set in. So on one hand, I felt obligated to follow through. On the other hand, I could hardly bear the thought of making it through a single day, let alone the year(s) it would take to establish a new church. This dilemma caused me to flip flop between "OK, let's relaunch!" (on my good days) and "I just can't go on." (on my bad days). Consequently, Brian did not know what to make of it so he just did his best to carry on with what seemed to be God's go ahead for relaunching.

By early fall 2007, I was finally able to admit that I was in a bad situation and I was finally willing to accept that I would be the cause of us leaving (and therefore quite possibly the dissolution of the church itself). Once I reached that point, I could successfully communicate to Brian what was wrong and that I desperately needed help. He resigned a few days later.

(Sidenote: The church did not dissolve, but the founding pastor who served there 40 years until his retirement -- when Brian took over -- was asked to come out of retirement to serve as interim pastor. As far as we know, he is still there and the church is still functioning.)

How was that transition for him? What job did he get instead?

The transition was particularly difficult in the beginning for Brian as he felt like he was giving up his vision and dream. However, a month or so after he resigned, I asked him how he was doing and he said, "I didn't want to leave, but I see now that it was the right thing to do."

We've been amazed at how God smoothed the way for us to leave NY and get reestablished here in Texas; Brian's new job is no exception. He now teaches math at a high school nearby. (Before he became a pastor, he was an aerospace engineer and therefore has sufficient coursework to teach high school. He has since gotten a teaching credential as well.) It's not his dream job and it hasn't been all roses but it has been an indescribable blessing to our family.

How was that transition for you? Did you have feelings of guilt? Did you second-guess, or have regrets?

Throughout the transition my overwhelming feeling was a strange mixture of crushing guilt and euphoric relief. I hated that I was the reason we had to leave (again, "What are people going to think of me, that I couldn't hack it?" and more weighty, "Did I kill the church?") and I felt so sad and sorry that Brian had to get out of ministry and take a teaching job that (at the beginning) he did not enjoy. I had (and still have) many, many regrets about countless things I did, not just in the last few months we were in NY but the entire 5 years we were there.

Even still, I have never second-guessed myself. I have enough background in Marriage & Family Therapy (half of a Master's degree) to know that getting out when we did was essential. I felt like I was slowly losing grip on my ability to cope with everyday life and quite frankly, I feared for my safety. I now know firsthand how one goes from being absolutely unable to fathom suicide to staring at it in the face.

I must say that I am so profoundly grateful to my parents who took us in (we lived with them for the first 6 months) and offered copious amounts of support and encouragement. I am also very grateful to my husband who was willing to let go of so much to take care of me. And above all, I could never adequately express my gratitude to our Savior into whose safe and strong yet pillowy hands I've fallen again and again.

In what ways has your life changed?

Oh my. Well, I'm so pleased with changes in our family life and in the lives of each of our children. I'm also really enjoying this new season in my relationship with God. I feel like I just came out of a hard winter. Winter is important and indispensable in the cycle of life and my winter was important and indispensable in the cycle of my spiritual life, but who doesn't love the coming of spring! I feel like I'm seeing life anew.

Other than that, I often marvel at how "typical" we are these days. Brian goes to work Monday through Friday and is home Saturday and Sunday instead of working 6 days a week with a few nighttime meetings thrown in. It's nice not to be weighted down with the responsibilities of the church and the tough issues that come along with it. I also appreciate the little bit of cushion we have in our budget (and that taxes are a whole lot easier without clergy income to deal with)!

One of the most surprising joys of this season is that Sundays have gone from the worst day of the week for me to the one I most enjoy. I love being able to go to church as a family and leave as a family on Sunday mornings. I really like being able to put our children in an outstanding children's program without having to stay there myself each week! (I love kids, but I so rarely made it into the church service the last few years in NY as I was caring for the kids in the nursery.) It's been wonderful to be given plenty of space and encouragement from our current pastor(s) to keep a low profile and take time to rest, receive & heal.

Don't miss Part 2 of our interview on Tuesday.


guest blog: where are you from?

>> April 24, 2009

In ministry, we often move around a lot. But when does where you live become where you're from?

I lived eighteen years in Duncan, OK. Then three months in Pearland, TX. Four years of college in Abilene, TX. One year in Allen, TX. A few months in Bakersfield, CA. Then six years around the Raleigh, NC area. Now I live in south/central Penn. When someone asks, "Where are you from?" this easy question is actually difficult for me to answer.

I want to ask follow up questions. Do you want to know where I grew up (this question is usually to figure out my accent), where I moved from, or where I live now? You can see how this question can lead to a five minute story!

When I was visiting my parents in Texas recently I was asked where I was from. I said, "We live in Pennsylvania." I immediately felt guilty. My husband and I love our church. We love the area where we live. We hope to be there for years and years! So when will I be able to say that I'm from there?

Those of us who are taken to places other than our "homes" for ministry have a hard time feeling permanent there. But I am where God has placed me. Acts 17: 26 says, "...[God] has determined their pre-appointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings..." So it is not my husband, our church, or a job that has placed me where I live but God. To not put down roots where He has placed me is to doubt His love, wisdom, and plan for my life. So, I'll get on Facebook right now and change my "hometown."

What has helped you be able to put down roots where you live?

Sandra Peoples and her family live and minister in Pennsylvania. She blogs at Today's Housewife with friends.


3 things i would change about my church

>> April 23, 2009

Vent time!
Can you list three things you would change about your church? Doesn't have to be all deep and spiritual (unless you want it to be), just things that get on your nerves on a regular basis -- your church pet peeves.

Here are mine:

  • the service isn't streamlined and we very rarely get out before 1:30-2p.m..
  • the children's ministry is an afterthought.
  • innovation, cutting-edge methods and ideas, change, creativity = blank stares.
What are yours?


how green is your church?

>> April 22, 2009

In celebration of Earth Day, I figured we'd green-up the conversation.

So, is your church intentional about going green? Does the church office recycle? Do you reuse/recycle bulletins?

Here are some recommendations for the congregation:

  • Car pool to church once a month.
  • Hold a local foods potluck with ingredients coming from within 150 miles of the church.
  • Use CFS bulbs.
  • Use glassware instead of paper or foam products.
  • Use recycling bins.
  • Use shade-grown, fair-trade coffee and reusable mugs.
How is your church encouraging members to take care of God's creation? How eco-friendly is your church? Tell us about it.


in our shoes Bible study

>> April 21, 2009

I discovered this Bible study, In Our Shoes by Jennifer Landrith and Rachel Lovingood, at the ministers' wives event in Nashville last month. Have any of you done it? Do you like it? Do any of you plan to do it with other PWs? Would love your feedback...

If you want to learn more about the study, click here.


How can we pray for you?

>> April 17, 2009

Inspired by the Global Pastor's Wives Network's call to pray for pastor's wives worldwide, we're moved to ask how we can pray for you...the women in our own little under-40 network.

We're committing for praying for you specifically, by name and situation, every day for the next week. For me (Delina) personally, it's refreshing to pray for other people and get out of my own head, issues, problems, stresses for a bit. I'm looking forward to praying for you.

If you're inclined to join us in praying for one another, please lift up these prayer requests on our behalf.

Delina: The next few months hold a lot of changes , decisions and transitions for our family (babies on the way, should we move closer to family? should he find another job? etc. etc.). We want to hear God clearly about our next moves. We want to move in faith and not rely on our own plans, fears, strategies and schemes in our decision-making.

Sarah: We've been pummeled from every side lately - first baby on the way, recently told I'm losing my job at the end of the summer, my PH's mom just diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of leukemia (she's his only living parent and they are very close), my father's health in decline, and seeking to lead wisely in our church through some current turmoil. My husband especially needs energy and discernment while he juggles all these crises on his plate.

How can we pray for you?


Catalyst West Coast- are you going?

>> April 15, 2009

If you and your PH are planning on attending Catalyst West Coast, there's going to be a lunch gathering for PWs hosted by Lori Wilhite and Lucretia Noble. It's going to be a blast and I'm so mad that I can't be there... so close, yet so far away.

Here are all the details. Please RSVP. And if you're going, we want to hear all about it! Take pictures!


the interview: andrea

>> April 13, 2009


Husband: Travis
Caleb (4 1/2), Taite (2)
Occupation: WAHM (I am a full time mother but also run my own photography/graphic business from home. It works well because I can do my job during the boys naps or at night.. as well as schedule shoots around my husbands clock.)
West End Baptist Church in Williamston NC - (site under construction)


How long have you been married? 6 years

How did you meet? We met at my church in Matthews, NC. I was 16, he was 23. He was the interim youth/children's pastor for that summer. The moment I saw him I thought "Wow... it be nice to have a man like him..." Not just regarding looks... but his maturity and love for the Lord..

Don't jump to conclusions though. No dating went on until years later. After he moved back to Wake Forest, NC to finish his Master's at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary... we kept in touch... long story short.. when I turned 18 we started to date (that was in Aug 2001). June 2002 we were engaged... and Jan 2003 we were married. I was 19, he was 25.

How long have you been a PW? Since we were married. So 6 years.

What is something you wish church members knew or understood about you (or your family)? That I am still young... and at times feel very intimidated to be a pastors wife. I feel like people think I should have it all together all the time because I am a pastors wife... I can't even begin to name all the looks and rolled eyes I've gotten from previous church members... regarding my children... regarding my looks... my actions, etc.

I want our church to understand the pressures a pastors wife feels some days... and to just love and respect us despite a moved chair in the nursery or child's tantrum.

What is your favorite way to partner with your husband in ministry? I love it when we can take the kids and go visit shut-ins... there are so many members of our church who would LOVE to be there for worship... but can't. They are trapped in nursing homes, alone.. and I just think it brings them such joy when we come to visit. Even if our kids touch every single thing in their room, it's still a great time... and an awesome opportunity to teach our children to serve as well.

What's the hardest thing about being a PW? Trying not to worry so much what others think or say about you and your family. Also being extra careful to remain blameless and not offend.

What are some of the perks of being married to a pastor? He can make his own schedule to a degree. :) With his office being within walking distance... if I have an emergency I can almost always find him. Plus, it's kind of fun being able to look on that pulpit every Sunday and think, "he's mine" hehehe.

In what ways would you still like to grow in your role as a PW? I'd love to become more confident in the area of teaching. I really struggle in that area. I find I can serve in ways ... such as remodel a nursery by painting a mural and organizing it... Or I can put together a great website for our church or help with the photography in the church directory... But when it comes to teaching I really struggle.

I hope that maybe once my kids are older and I have more freedom that I can do this more.

What are some techniques or resources you've found that have enriched your quiet time with God?
Right now I am reading a book called While They Were Sleeping: 12 Character Traits for Moms to Pray by Anne Arkins. I LOVE THIS BOOK! It has been my devotional tool for months now. You could read it over and over again and still get amazing truth out of it. It's simply written, yet so applicable. It has really given me that desire to pray more for my children.

Do you network with other pastor's wives? How? Before moving to Williamston we moved from Northern Ohio. While living in Ohio I really struggled to find someone I really connected with. I, at the time, was really young (21), and felt I didn't have much in common with those around me. I felt very secluded at times and many days, very lonely.

When we moved from Ohio, though, I began to really pray about this... and prayed that the Lord would bring at least one friend in my life that I could connect with.

Before we even moved to Williamston we found out an old roommate of my husbands was living 12 miles from the church. He was a pastor in the town over. Within a month of living in Williamston we connected with this family, and now almost a year and a half later we see them weekly. Kelly and I have become great friends, our children are the same ages, we understand each other a lot because we are both young pastors wives in southern churches. It has been just a true answer to prayer and I am so thankful for it.

Kelly and I have since connected with many other pastors wives in our area. All of which we are so very thankful for.

We get to enjoy chatting on the phone, exchanging emails, meeting up for story time at the local library, lunch at Wendy's, park play dates and even ladies night out! :) The Lord knew just what I needed.

How do you help your kids deal with the pressures of being pastor's kids? Well, my kids are still kind of young. Caleb isn't yet 5 and Taite is 2. So I haven't really had to help them deal with too much. The one thing, though, that I find does help my children is to be involved. Caleb who isn't even 5 has sat with me in worship since he was 2. I really felt that keeping him in worship would be a great benefit. It would not only teach him to SIT, it would also teach him about worship. He has already started asking questions about the offering plate... why people go up to pray... why we pass around a plate full of grape juice and crackers... haha... He is going to learn and benefit SOOO MUCH from this..

I do pray our children learn to be respectful and kind... and that when others judge them more than others in the church, that they'd know the Word and how we are supposed to respond.

What are some ways that you manage alone with your kids during church services or other functions when your husband is "on"? I have backpacks for my boys. Inside those I try to pack quiet things for them to do while in worship. Books are great... a toy car (as long as they don't bang it on the pew or hymnal) ... Also encouraging them to do well for a piece of gum works sometimes. :)

Currently, though, if I have to keep BOTH with me in a worship service... I often have to leave. As much as I don't want to leave, I would rather leave than take away from someone's time in worship. I don't mind sitting in the nursery occasionally.

In what ways do you think things are different for our generation of pastor's wives? I think this generation is a lot more relaxed. Had I lived 25 years ago and walked into a church with flipflops on and jeans... I may of been in a bit of trouble. :)

Now, though, I am able to roam the town with my boys in "very casual" clothing... without the worries of what others may think, to a degree. I am very casual and I believe in being totally real and transparent. I want to be myself... and I think for me to not dress casual would be fake.

I remember as a young girl going to church Sunday morning.... seeing all these women in proper dress... fancy clothes... and often times feeling left out and cheap. My family wasn't RICH by any means and therefore I didn't have all the fancy clothing. When I'd go to worship dressed LESS than worthy (in their eyes), I felt less of a person... and hated going.

I stopped going to church when I was around 13 because of this... and lived 2 years without church. I, of course, wasn't saved at the time. Now as an adult I really want to make those around me comfortable...

In what areas of ministry do you feel passionate about? I feel very passionate in reaching out to the lost families in our church... not so much the YOUNG families.. but any family that is unchurched... I do photography around our town. Many of the families I photograph are unchurched... Some of the sweetest couples I meet don't even step foot into church, are completely and totally lost. My prayer is that we can reach them... I pray the Lord uses my business as a window to those families.

I am also passionate about those teens who have lost parents, yet still come to church alone... or moms who have lost husbands...

What is the most meaningful thing you do to support your husband? Pray for him, encourage him... support him.

Do you have any PW mentors? A few. My Pastors wife back in Charlotte, NC., Debbie Whitener, also my friend Kelly, Casey Cooper (the pastors wife I served with in Ohio), Sherre Ungar (My friends pastors wife in FL), and Tara Dew (Wake Forest pastors Wife).

What valuable lessons have you learned as a PW? To not judge :) and to not worry what others think...especially when it is in regards to something silly.

How do you fit the traditional/stereotypical role of a PW? In what ways do you break the mold? I am far from traditional...I think I'm a good mix. :) I knew I didn't fit the mold when almost everyone I told I was a Pastors wife was surprised :) Not because of how I acted (I wasnt acting wrongly)... but because of my age (Im 25 but I look 19), and also my personality. I also have a tattoo! :-\ eek!

What are you reading? Besides the Word and the book mentioned above... thats about it! I am so busy right now with being a mom, keeping up a house, and running my business... that there isnt much time to read. I do read a lot of children's books to my kids though! One of their favorites right now is called Babar and the Succotash Bird.

What's playing on your ipod?

JJ Heller - Painted Red
Jaime Soles - for the kids :) - great artist, we own almost all his cds, the kids LOVE THEM!

How do you like to spend your husband's day off? I try to always sleep in :) We like to go to the park with the kids and picnic...Maybe take a trip to the big city (aka Greenville)... go to TARGET (I love me some Target), and then maybe Chick-fil-A so the kids can enjoy an indoor play area for once (our town has none).

My best advice...
Bring everything before the Cross.
Don't try and be someone you're not.
Remember who you answer to... not what everyone else says.
Support and love your husband.
Cherish your kids...
And never cease sharing the good news of Christ!

Check out Andrea's blog, Uniquely Placed where you can also get a glimpse of her fabulous photography. Have questions for Andrea? Ask away...


alternatives to forgiveness

>> April 10, 2009

I've been thinking a lot about Sarah's posts on forgiveness and have generally been feeling smug that I don't harbor intense animosity toward anyone...but then I got to thinking... it's not in my personality to seethe for weeks, months and years and fight and confront. My blood doesn't boil for more than 15 minutes. You know what I do instead? I ignore. I write my foes off like they never existed. I de-friend them on facebook (ha ha). When his/her name comes up, I roll my eyes. I'm done. I've moved on. But that's not forgiveness! Walking on the other side of the street is not forgiveness. Ignoring emails and phone calls is not forgiveness. Tolerating is not forgiveness. Fake smiling is not forgiveness.

I feel like I need to make a list of people who've I've decided to feel indifferent about because they did something hurtful, mean or just plain obnoxious. I need to pray over that list (and God knows that in my heart, I don't want to). What do I do with these relationships? Do I have to have a conversation with these people again and ask them to forgive me for the animosity I've felt towards them, the way I've written them off, the things I've said behind their backs? Okay... now I'm gettin' a headache...

And then, here's Easter. It's so appropriate for us to discuss this topic this week, when we are reminded of the Ultimate Forgiver, the One who, through His death on the cross, blotted out or sins forever...and forgot them (not us), removed them from us as far as the East is from the West, hurled them to the bottom of the sea, no longer counted them against us. Forgiven. Free. Saved. Reconciled with God. What grudge in the world, could I/we possibly, legitimately justify holding on to?

What alternatives have you created for forgiveness? What have been the hardest hurdles to forgiveness for you? Share. Anonymously if you want.


the benefits of forgiveness

>> April 9, 2009

"To err is human; to forgive, divine." Alexander Pope
Forgiveness comes with benefits.

Someone once said that when you refuse to forgive another person, the bitterness only eats away at YOU. It doesn't bother them - at least not the way you'd like.

According to scientific studies in 2001 and 2003, choosing to forgive brings a number of physical and emotional health benefits as well:
  • Decreased anger and negative thoughts
  • Decreased anxiety
  • Decreased depression and grief
  • Decreased vulnerability to substance use
Another article indicates:
Forgiveness is good for your heart -- literally. One study from the Journal of Behavioral Medicine found forgiveness to be associated with lower heart rate and blood pressure as well as stress relief. This can bring long-term health benefits for your heart and overall health.

A later study found forgiveness to be positively associated with five measures of health: physical symptoms, medications used, sleep quality, fatigue, and somatic complaints. It seems that the reduction in negative affect (depressive symptoms), strengthened spirituality, conflict management and stress relief one finds through forgiveness all have a significant impact on overall health.

A third study, published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, found that forgiveness not only restores positive thoughts, feelings and behaviors toward the offending party (in other words, forgiveness restores the relationship to its previous positive state), but the benefits of forgiveness spill over to positive behaviors toward others outside of the relationship. Forgiveness is associated with more volunteerism, donating to charity, and other altruistic behaviors. (And the converse is true of non-forgiveness.)

So, let's be healthy girls - and get our forgiveness on!


resources for forgiveness

>> April 8, 2009

For those of us struggling with forgiveness, here are a few resources you might find helpful. Some we have read ourselves, others have been recommended to us.

And if you've been blessed in your journey of forgiveness by a book that isn't listed here, be sure and leave us a comment so others can read it too!

When You've Been Wronged: Moving From Bitterness to Forgiveness by Erwin Lutzer
Sometimes when we are wronged, we struggle to overcome the anger and bitterness that come with unforgiveness. Pastor Erwin Lutzer examines different types of offense and offenders and offers practical, biblical advice for handling these conflicts in a God-honoring and freedom-producing way.

Choosing Forgiveness: Your Journey to Freedom by Nancy Leigh de Moss
Scripture says that offenses will come; people will let us down and we will let others down as well. Forgiveness, in these situations however, is left up to us to pray about and then practice. In her new book, Nancy Leigh DeMoss, the best-selling author of Lies Women Believe, asks the tough, penetrating questions about the healing of conflict – which is ultimately a call to repent and a pathway to freedom.

Total Forgiveness Experience: A Study Guide to Repairing Relationships by RT Kendall & Joel Kilpatrick
Forgive yourself and others! It's the most fundamental teaching of the New Testament, and yet it's perhaps the hardest issue you will ever struggle with. This 13-week study will show you how to let go of grudges, avoid traps such as denial and pretending not to hurt, help others feel a new sense of freedom, and much more. Special features include probing questions, various exercises, and prayer tips. Ideal for personal use or group discussions.

Forgiveness is a Choice by Robert D Enright
For people who have been deeply hurt by another and caught in a vortex of anger, depression, and resentment. As a creator of the first scientifically proven forgiveness program in the country, Robert D. Enright shows how forgiveness can reduce anxiety and depression while increasing self-esteem and hopefulness toward one's future. This groundbreaking work demonstrates how forgiveness, approached in the correct manner, benefits the forgiver far more than the forgiven.

The Pastor's Wife by Sabina Wurmbrand
The incredible story of Sabina Wurmbrand's imprisonment and survival during her husband's 14 years of persecution in communist prisons - because he was a pastor. Sabina's journey through forgiveness and keeping her faith in the darkest of times is a powerful story.


forgiving the big things

>> April 7, 2009

Forgiveness is hard.

Sometimes it's backbreaking labor. Forgiving people who refuse to change. Forgiving those who've caused you inexpressible pain. Forgiving people who may never even know how much they've hurt you!

God talks about forgiveness. He knows it's tough! (Have you ever read God's struggle with forgiving his unrepentant people in Jeremiah 5?) But he tells us: "For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins." (Matthew 6:14-15 NIV)

Doesn't make it easy, though. And some of us find it hard to forgive the smallest little things. Others of us have to find forgiveness for huge, life-changing events.

Here's a video of a PW who is going through the journey of forgiveness right now. Last month, a stranger walked into Cindy Winters' church during the sermon, and shot her PH while he was preaching. They have two children.

Watch CBS Videos Online



>> April 6, 2009

There's many reasons we chose "FORGIVENESS" this month. The last few PMS weeks have dealt with things hard to forgive. Things that can turn a PW's life upside down.

I've had a long personal journey with forgiveness. Several years ago a person came into my life and the resulting experiences were shattering. I couldn't avoid her, didn't want to hate her, and yet could find in my heart no ability to forgive.

Every time I was at the point of forgiveness, some new situation tossed me back into the cycle of raging anger, crushing hurt, and gnawing guilt for not being able to just "let it go".

I begged God for the gift of forgiveness. My heart refused to melt. Gradually I distanced myself - and it began to affect other healthy relationships, too.

Recently, this person was diagnosed with a terminal illness. And I've started thinking about my years of fighting against forgiveness. I've been clinging to the desire to make them understand how badly they've hurt me over and over. But now I'm suddenly thinking in a more eternal context.

Can I truly withhold forgiveness? Is it my right? Is it that big of a deal? And in answer to a new prayer - I feel God giving me a desire to forgive. A need to forgive. My story isn't done yet...

What about you? Is there something you need to forgive? We all know that being a PW provides lots of opportunities for practicing forgiveness! But what about that one thing you just can't let go?

Let's talk about it.


the power of persuasion

>> April 3, 2009

It's been a while since we've had a "He Says" post...and that's 'cause we need your husbands to chime in. Now, we all know how busy our PHs are. We all know that they have a to-do list at home that's a mile long (and we're responsible for much of it, yes). But please accept this as your Mission: Impossible assignment. Can you get your PH to guest blog on Clutch? Would it be less painful if he did it via video (using a webcam)? Is there something brilliant on your PH's blog already that we could repost on Clutch? C'mon ladies!

First one to persuade her man to contribute to Clutch gets a ... feeling of accomplishment and admiration from the rest of the PWs... :-)


um...about yesterday...

>> April 2, 2009

Dear friends, readers, fellow-PWs, beautiful ladies,

Yesterday was April 1st, April Fool's Day.

Sarah and I thought that doing a crazy, outlandish, OUTRAGEOUS April Fool's joke would be fun. We thought we would post something that was TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE. (Afterall, we're poor PWs just like many of you...)

So we posted an outrageous giveaway of outrageously priced purses for EVERYONE. It seemed like a clever post...sorta believable, sorta not. And then we even asked you ministry-ize the giveaway...

That's the part that got us, ladies. Aside from all the false excitement that we generated (um, getting those emails started to not be so fun, real fast), it broke our hearts to see that so many of you were so thrilled about it and had real ministry needs to share.

The not-so-funny joke is on us. And even our wonderful pastor husbands have scolded us in the Spirit, urging us to abstain from this kind of behavior in the future. We feel really awful that our spontaneous sense of humor may cause anyone to feel let down or disappointed.

And as a make-up offering....

We've entered all of you sweet, sincere ladies who responded to yesterday's post into a random drawing to win this clutch. We shopped for it this morning because we both felt an urgent need to tangibly apologize for our attempt at humor.

This won't make up for your plans for fundraising for your church plant, silent auction, ministering to the sick and soul sick or attracting more people to youth group. But we hope the winner will accept this consolation prize in a spirit of grace and forgiveness. (Not sure if you want your name posted as the winner, so we'll contact you directly via email first.)

Again, we're sorry. We screwed up and we need mercy...


the biggest giveaway yet!

>> April 1, 2009

NOTE: This was our April Fool's Day post. Please read here for the whole story.

Okay girls, you know we love doing giveaways when we can, and we've just worked out the COOLEST giveaway of 4 Coach clutches PER PERSON.

Here's the deal - it's a little complicated, so pay attention. Every PW who comments on a post at least once a week for the entire month of April, will receive 1 Clutch per week. To say it another way, if you comment at least once a week for all 4 weeks, you will receive 4 COACH clutches (max).

One more rule, you must think of a way to use these purses in ministry at your church. Throughout the month we will share these creative ideas with the rest of the readers. So, with your entry, you must provide a brief explanation of how these purses will be used for ministry purposes.

We expect lots of interest in this giveaway, so in order to keep track, we ask that you email us your registration instead of commenting on this post (it's the only way we'll be able to keep track and have the info in our database). Only those who register today will be able to participate in the month-long giveaway. To enter, you need to just email us at with your:

- name
- church name & city
- husband's pastoral role
- best idea for using 4 COACH clutches for creative ministry in your church

No comments below please - only emails will be counted as entries. We will then contact you directly to get your shipping address.

This should be fun and I trust all of you will enjoy your clutches!

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