"before he speaks..."

>> February 19, 2010

And for those needing a bit of comic relief, more from the PWs in Florida:

© CLUTCH, 2010 unless otherwise sourced.
Use allowed by express written permission only.
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for your entertainment...

>> February 18, 2010

Okay, I owe you all an apology.

Last week I drove 7 hours - just me and the baby - to visit the grandparents a few states over. I fully expected to be able to keep up with CLUTCH while there. After all, I should have extra time on my hands with grandmommy and grandaddy there to play with the baby, right?

Except that their network was setup to block all the things I actually needed on the internet, and I wasn't able to change it. 

So, to make up for it, I'm sharing this very creative music video from a group of PWs in Florida:

© CLUTCH, 2010 unless otherwise sourced.
Use allowed by express written permission only.
Tweets, trackbacks, and link sharing encouraged.


DEAR ABIGAIL::biblical advice for young PWs

>> February 10, 2010

DEAR ABIGAIL is an advice column where young PWs can ask for biblical wisdom about their situations, challenges, and difficulties.

ABIGAIL was a woman known for her generosity, intuition, industry, discernment, hospitality, loyalty, strength and wisdom.

DEAR ABIGAIL is about learning to become young pastors' wives with the same qualities, as we journey in ministry with our husbands.

Email your DEAR ABIGAIL inquiry to: clutchtalk (at) gmail (dot) com. 
Subject heading: DEAR ABIGAIL.
Letters and answers will be posted on the CLUTCH website.

© CLUTCH, 2010 unless otherwise sourced.
Use allowed by express written permission only.
Tweets, trackbacks, and link sharing encouraged.


women's bible groups

>> February 9, 2010

For all the women out there who are participating/leading/wanting to start a bible study group and aren't sure what materials to use, what is your favorite

  • bible study course?
  • inspirational book?
  • series of lessons?

© CLUTCH, 2010 unless otherwise sourced.
Use allowed by express written permission only.
Tweets, trackbacks, and link sharing encouraged.


when the going gets..... lonely

>> February 8, 2010

Weekends are usually a big deal in for our pastor family. The night before church we usually have a small group in our home, or a bible study or something else oriented toward social and spiritual activity. 

We're up early to get to church before it's "on-time", and the first weekend of the month is always a potluck. 

BC (that's "before children" if you're wondering), I always traipsed along for whatever was happening, or if my PH had afternoon obligations, I'd make plans with friends. 

Now, however, there's a baby who needs his nap, and I'm the mommy who can hardly wait to get home and crash when church is over. 

The times, they are a-changin'...

But this last weekend, I'd made plans with several old friends to spend the afternoon together. The PH had committee meetings all afternoon and into the evening, and I was looking forward to relaxing with girlfriends at home while the baby napped.
Except that none of them were able to make it.

So I spent the whole afternoon by myself, pining away... Granted the extra nap was nice, but it was still a let down. 

And it got me thinking - what do other PW's do on lonely rainy afternoons?

How do you fill your time when your PH is busy on the days that other families usually spend together?

Do tell...
© CLUTCH, 2010 unless otherwise sourced.
Use allowed by express written permission only.
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Dear Young Pastor's Wife,

>> February 4, 2010

For my entire married adult life, I've had an... older pastor's wife.

Who doesn't speak English.

And comes to our church once a quarter.


I really had to dig down deep to remember some space of time in which there WAS a young PW in my life. I finally found her memory lodged way back in the 8-12 year old range.

She was lovely. Young, incredibly stylish, pretty as a picture. Their two young children were clean, always well dressed, and way too young to be my playmates.

The female population of the church was enthralled. They ooh'd and aah'd over her decorating skills, her impecable figure, her ability to be a complete fashion plate with her feathered 80's hair, decorative hats and dainty gloves, and her ability to sew dear little dresses for her daughter that exactly matched her own.

In fact, a bunch of the ladies took up sewing that year. Including my mom. Before I knew it, I had several dresses for church that made me look like my mother's mini-me. At 10 years old, I thought that was GREAT! Made me feel all grown up and like I just fit in perfectly with all those lovely ladies!

It was all so exciting!  Everyone was getting along well, the church seemed so very unified at that moment. I remember those days of happy social gatherings with a lot of fondness even now. It was almost like a honeymoon period for the congregation.

I think things began to go downhill about the time my mom decided to sew me some "Hammer" pants.

If you don't know what those are, or don't remember the particular decade that irrevocably ties me to, be thankful for your ignorance.

Very thankful.

And for those of you who might know what I'm talking about - yes, yes I did wear those pants out in public, much to my eternal embarrassment. Several times, in fact. I quickly began to lose my happy feelings about my mom's newfound interest in sewing.

I didn't really realize it much at the time, but the rest of the church was beginning to lose their sense of balance as well. The honeymoon was over. The social good times were slowly tapering off in frequency.

There was a growing conservative movement in our church at the time, and the pastor and his wife were considerably more liberal than the average member.

It started with the board meetings. The stress, the tears, the awkwardness in church a few days later. "Wow," I thought. "I'll never be a board member, it seems AWFUL!" (That mantra didn't really last, though. Here in our little church now - when you're needed, you're needed! I've served on the board most of my time here in many different capacities, and you learn to cope!)

But back to the story. It turns out that our lovely young PW was very sweet and fun-loving most of the time... er, that is, right up until someone spoke out in any way that could be construed as being "critical" of her PH. Then she sort of morphed into this mother bear with teeth bared and claws out.
It was usually contained within the walls of the fellowship hall during a board meeting, but she wasn't above giving a good tongue-lashing to a member in the foyer after services!

Once I was privileged to go to a baby shower for a church member that was held at the PW's house. I was so excited to be part of the "Ladies" for once. All the dainty little finger foods, the pretty dresses, the gossip!

Oh yes, the gossip. PW wasn't above joining in the talk of the know-it-alls that abound in every church.

"Did you hear So-and-so is also having a baby this fall?!"

"Really?! But I thought she wasn't getting married until June!"

At this my mother shot me a look that said, "You'd better not be listening to this!!"

"Oh yes, they've moved up the wedding date and are still planning to go to school in the fall just like they were before, and they will be rebaptized just before the wedding and plan to confess before the church..."

A few of the ladies grew quiet and drew away from the conversation while our PW leaned in farther and joined in with a few more details.

Then someone piped up with a gentle reprimand for the gossipers (which included the PW) and....

We nearly had WW III.

Our young pastor's wife didn't appreciate being reproved, apparently. She let loose with a sound defense and the whole room inhaled together and held their breath.  The party soon dwindled and it wasn't long before we were riding homeward, and I was asking questions that my poor mother had to figure out how to answer.

The end result? Growing rifts between those swinging the liberal way and those swinging the conservative way on the great pendulum of religious views. I guess in a lot of ways the church was heading for factions splitting down the middle anyway, and our young PW just helped push things along.

Worse than that was the slow, trickling loss of respect for her PH.

You know the kind of loss I'm talking about. It starts with feeling a little bit sorry for him because his wife has a temper and that he must have had a lot of criticism lately to warrant that sort of consistent violent reaction from his wife.

And then it became a little more like disillusionment as it continued, and soon feelings of contempt rose up as it became apparent he "allowed" it and that she most certainly "wore the pants". 

Ah well, after their four years were up they moved on, and I haven't any idea how their story continued from there. One can hope she learned eventually to bite her tongue now and then, or learned that her PH was a big boy who could take care of himself, even in the shark infested waters of the terrible board meetings!

I know for all PWs there is a delicate balance between being comfortable and open with members and being TOO comfortable. Between allowing them to see your imperfections and being seen as nothing more than a sinner still struggling with your sin. Between being friendly and making friends. 

All of these issues are fraught with a sense of a tricky balance between the two knife edges of a cliff. I know that the walk of a PW is an incredibly lonely one, but hopefully a little less so now that camaraderie can be found with other PW's online.

I also know that while our church never fully recovered that unity it felt early on in their ministry, it did recover, like all churches do. With time, tragedies remind us that we are, and always will be, family.  I was baptized by that pastor, and that year there were about 30 others who joined me. He was a kind, gentle person, and there were many besides me who were sorry to see him go.

But I can't say the same exact sentiment followed our young PW out the door.

So I write this letter to you, as a young pastor's wife. May you have a better time finding balance, finding peace with the trials your PH faces, and finding that place where your part of the pastoring ministry compliments your PH and only increases the respect people hold for him!
     ~ from a young woman at church ~ 

Guest blogger Lisa writes from northern Michigan. She has three beautiful kids, is active in her local church, and authors her own blog, Riverains at: http://lisasdailypictures.blogspot.com/.

© CLUTCH, 2010 unless otherwise sourced.
Use allowed by express written permission only.
Tweets, trackbacks, and link sharing encouraged.


don't blow it!

>> February 2, 2010

Oftentimes in ministry it is easy to get stirred up and angry. As women we often go through our day working in our offices, changing diapers, and figuring out when we can get the next thirty things done on our to-do list.

With our crazy, busy lives we often end up with a short fuse and hurt the ones we love because we have exhausted ourselves to the point of becoming a snapping turtle. Yup, biting everyone’s head off. I have to admit that I can be an angry woman sometimes. Does that hurt me? Absolutely.

I find myself upset at the silliest things and able to pacify a smile to everyone I come across. However, pretending to all of them that I'm a peaceful woman can only last so long. Once I snap, my poor babies and husband look at me like a firecracker just went off. I find myself anxious and angry and looking in the mirror asking myself is this what God wants of me? Is this how he wants me to behave? Ask yourself the same thing; it stings.

Ephesians 4:26 says "In your anger do not sin." So does this give me permission to be angry and upset? I almost got a smile but then I decided there had to be more to do this and I must be missing something. So I decided that yes, I can be angry as long as I'm not sinning... how long do you think that can really last? My thoughts exactly!

Sometimes you just have to walk away from your anger. Jesus did. In Exodus we find him telling Moses to take the Israelites into the land flowing of milk and honey, but He also said "but I will not go with you." He called them stiff-necked people whom He might destroy if He goes. So even Jesus knew that sometimes you just have to walk away.

Ephesians 4:26-27 goes on to say "do not let the sun go down while you’re still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold." First Peter 5:8 talks about the devil roaming around like a roaring lion... waiting to devour you! It also says "be self-controlled and alert." If you are sinning in your anger then your self-control is gone. Lions hunt at night. Hmm maybe that is why we are instructed not to let the sun go down on our anger, because He knows the devil will be hunting for us in our sleep.

Sometimes you just need to proclaim Psalm 4:8 over yourself before you go to sleep."I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone o' Lord, make me dwell in safety."

Sing in the morning! "I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in time of trouble."

So today I invite you, when you feel that short fuse being lit up, to remember what the word of God tells us.

I may not like the circumstance or have control over it but I will not sin in my anger, and I will walk away and not give the devil a foothold. I will cling to His safety and sing of His love in the morning!

© CLUTCH, 2010 unless otherwise sourced.
Use allowed by express written permission only.
Tweets, trackbacks, and link sharing encouraged.


introducing a new columnist:: RACHAEL

>> February 1, 2010

Since Delina has had to step down, and I'm managing the PW life, a new baby, and CLUTCH all by myself, I've decided to share some of the writing responsibility with other gifted PWs.

So CLUTCH is getting some new columnists.

Columnists commit to writing about a niche subject at least once a month. Their columns will show up as regular blog posts, or you can search your favorite columnists by their name or their column's name, if you'd like to catch up on old posts.  Or you can click on the columns button and see the profiles of all the columnists as we add them.

Rachael is our first new blogger. She'll be writing a column called In Her Shoes::taking a walk in real life ministry. Here's her bio:

 Writing a bio about myself feels so silly! I'm married to an amazing man, musician, leader and mentor. I like to refer to him as Preacher Dude. This year we'll celebrate 8 years of marriage; only by the grace of God.

Preacher Dude and I have three babies, (well they're not all babies but I like to call them that). Madalynne Noelle is 6, Connor Benjamin is 4, and Ellianna Rejoyce is almost 2! I have the privilege of homeschooling them. This year has been a stretch and a challenge and I often plead with the big yellow bus going by to stop and pick them up!

I grew up in Indiana but have lived in several states including Michigan and Louisiana. I went to school to be a nurse, and worked in ICU for a few years. I also got my degree in Urban Church Planting in New Orleans. What an experience that was!

I have been in full time ministry for 9 years and would love to say that it's all been rosy but it hasn't. Preacher Dude and I just spent 5 1/2 years at an amazing church in Michigan. That's when God placed a call on us to go back to my husband's home town and plant a church. We moved here the beginning of November 2009. Our plan is to launch the church on Easter Sunday, 2010.

In my spare time when I'm not helping at the church, homeschooling or being a domestic diva I enjoy being outside, preferably by the ocean. I love shopping, decorating, and book stores with Starbucks. I absolutely love to entertain! I enjoy the cooking and the cleaning and the organization of it all. I love to garden, make crafts and sew. I love candles and herbs and freshly made soaps.

I love praise and worship music, and enjoy sipping sweet tea on a front porch. Oh, and vacations (who doesn't like them?)! I enjoy old-time movies like Anne of Green Gables. And I'm a reality TV junkie (yes, I know that's horrible). I enjoy local eateries and don't frequent them enough.

One of my real passions is women - the women in ministry. Yup. There are many who are hurting and have no where to go. I have suffered thru post-partum depression twice, and had a marriage on the rocks because of ministry woes. I am now whole by the grace of God and I want to give to others what others have given to me.

© CLUTCH, 2010 unless otherwise sourced.
Use allowed by express written permission only.
Tweets, trackbacks, and link sharing encouraged.

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