Friday, October 30, 2015

Be Kind

I have seen a quote that said, "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about." It may be a bit of a generalization, but there is more truth to it sometimes than we would like to admit. I saw a powerful example of this recently and I haven't been able to get it off my mind.

I have a sweet friend who I am quite close to who called me a couple of weeks ago to ask me to pray with her. She was on her way to her OBGYN because she was pretty sure she was miscarrying her baby. I prayed with her and found out when and where her appt was and asked her to call me as soon as she was done. We hung up and I sprung into action. You see, my friend's husband was out of town on business and she was going to the Dr by herself. I imagined how difficult it would be to probably find out she was, in fact, losing her baby with no one there for moral support. I couldn't let that happen so I headed out to meet her. Fortunately I made it to the Dr and walked in just as she was being called back. As she said later, the timing was so perfect it almost felt like a movie.

At some point during our time together in the office I asked her if today was a day she was supposed to work. She said it had been and she had had to reschedule her clients. My friend is a hair dresser and, as women, we know how important those hair appts can be. She said unfortunately she had a couple of more difficult clients who were scheduled that day and one of them had not received it very well when she found out her salon color wasn't going to happen. Her response was, "Well that's great! I guess I'll just have to go buy boxed color!!"

Now I realize this woman had no clue why my friend had to cancel, but...she had no clue why she had to cancel!!! Do you see what I am saying? In the absence of information, she chose to see that her hair stylist was bailing on her...period. Did it ever occur to her that this stylist doesn't normally cancel her appts? Did it ever occur to her that she may have a really good reason for canceling? Like losing a baby!!!

I admit it...I was fighting mad when she told me. The Mama bear in me wanted to call this lady and ask her if she ever considered anyone but herself before she made stupid comments. I wanted to ask her to spend that time she was coloring her own hair to pray for her stylist who was wrestling thru the emotions of surrendering a child she never even had the privilege of meeting. I wanted to tell her how selfish I felt she was for jumping to conclusions? Of course my friend was wise enough to know there was no way she could (or should) relinquish the client's number to this psycho pastor's wife and so I was left to just imagine how that conversation might have gone.

As I said as I begin this post, I have thought about this a lot since it happened. I acknowledge I may have taken up an offense that wasn't mine to carry and my friend probably hasn't thought about it nearly as much as I have. I am struck, though, by how inwardly focused we can be and how careless that can cause us to be with other people's hearts.  I wonder if this client would feel bad if she knew the "why" behind the cancellation. I wonder if she would wish for those words back if she could see how ridiculous her sacrifice of a box of hair color was in relation to a baby's life.

Most of all I wonder if I have ever treated someone as carelessly as this client because I was so consumed with my own little world filled with my own selfish desires.

Lord, please help me to see others thru your eyes. Help me to pause before I speak. Help me to take my eyes off myself and realize others are dealing with real struggles and real heartaches just the way I do myself sometimes. Help me to employ Philippians 2 when I find my selfish desires beginning to override grace and compassion. Lord, help me realize there's always one more thing that I could know about someone that might totally change the way I think about them and respond to them.

Monday, October 19, 2015


I have been debating about writing this post for a few days. I waited because I wanted to make sure I was writing it for the right reasons. I think I'm finally there. While I am a firm believer in taking the high road and not engaging an accuser in public, there comes a time that we must talk about hard stuff and how you handle it because conflict and slander will knock on all of our doors at some point. So here I go...

It has been said that love is doing the most redemptive thing for another. Unfortunately, the most redemptive thing for another is not necessarily the easiest or most enjoyable thing for us. It means sharing in love with a person those blind areas they may have in the hopes that they will recognize their need for healing. It means putting yourself out there with the full realization that it usually goes one of two ways…well or rather disastrously. It means setting aside your own desire for comfort and maintaining the stays quo because, believe me, that would be a lot easier. It means realizing your name may get dragged thru the mud and you will incur the wrath of some who were just looking for a chance to take a free shot. Not a totally welcoming picture, right? Love, true agape, God-fearing love will go there anyway!!

Tim had to do what he, and a number of others, felt was the most redemptive thing for a person last week. He and 3 others sat down with a person they care about and shared some concerns. They didn't do it because they were mad. They didn't do it because things had been going so well that they were looking to stir things up a little. They did it because they knew in their hearts it was the most redemptive thing for this person. It didn't go well. It went rather disastrously actually. It went as expected, but that didn't make the results any easier to deal with when it was all said and done.

A full social media attack was launched at Tim and many lies were presented as truth. As his wife, I wanted to come out with both arms swinging and a sharp tongue ready to set the record straight…but I couldn't. Not because I felt all warm and fuzzy. Not because in and of myself I just have so much restraint and the ability to rise above. Really, the only reason I couldn't respond was because I really do have a healthy fear of God and the consequences for disobeying what He lays out for us in scripture.

There have been a number of times I did what was right ONLY because I feared His consequences. Just as a child must learn to fear parental consequences so they don't put themselves in danger, we must learn to fear His consequences because what He says is ultimately for our protection. I may not like it and I may obey outwardly while inwardly digging in my heels and muttering under my breath, but obeying Him is essential!!

So, instead of taking to social media to answer our accuser, I worked to take my thoughts captive. I worked to remind myself of truth and I tried to keep my focus upward and not outward or inward. I think it shows the Lord's sense of humor that the last time our ladies group met I had facilitated a lesson on forgiveness. As a result of that lesson, all the necessary elements were fresh in my mind and I really did pray blessings on our accuser. My kids and I prayed blessings on our accuser. We got to talk about the fact that hurting people hurt people and God has used it as a valuable teaching tool for our family. And you know what happened? A peace washed over me in the midst of it all. You know that peace that really doesn't make sense. That peace that almost seems surreal because you KNOW it doesn't come from you.

I felt like I could "feel" Zephaniah 3:17 happening in my heart. God was the mighty Warrior fighting my battle and He was rejoicing over me because He hadn't missed my act of worship wrapped up in my gift of obedience. He was cheering me on because He knew it wasn't my first choice. He knew this because He knew I'd been in situations like this before and I had chosen the path of least resistance…revenge. We got to get excited together, God and me, because we were both seeing tangible evidence of my growth and maturation and it felt so good.

"There can be no greater evidence of a renewed heart and mind than a change in the habit and stream of our thoughts." John Owen

Now here's the catch, though. There's going to be more tests. There's going to be many more opportunities for me to deal with a wounded person who wants to wound me and those I love and unless I continue to keep my eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith, the outcome will look vastly different. Just because I was able to rise above this time doesn't mean I can let my guard down. Life will be filled with endless opportunities to take my thoughts captive and choose to let Him fight my battles and I must be ready.

So today starts a new week. It's a new opportunity to walk obediently with Him knowing I will never experience anything He hasn't experienced and hasn't made provision for in His word. Once again, He has reminded me to "remember Judas", the one He treated exactly the same as the other disciples even though He knew He would be His betrayer. He's whispered softly that we're going to have a good week. It may have trials. It may have angry accusers. It may include lots of things I wouldn't stand in line for, but He'll be right there cheering me on and fighting my battles in ways better than I could ever conjure up. As my friend, Jackie Kendall, always says…

evidence of His redemptive work in my own life is being a good forgiver.

Lord, thank You that you love me so much that You continue to teach and train me as one of Your children. Thank You that You have given us such a powerful example of what being a good forgiver looks like. Thank you for fighting my battles and cheering me on! Thank You for a loving church Body who surrounded us yesterday and prayed for us and reminded us that we're not in this fight alone. May I choose this week to honor You in ALL things and may I continue to see evidence of Your redemptive work in my life. And lastly, Lord, please comfort my friend who is hurting and let her see her desperate need for divine healing. We want to see her healed and able to walk in freedom with You. Amen!!!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Finding My Voice

As you can see, my blog has a new name and an entirely new look. If you're like my mom, you're probably wondering why so I'm going to try and explain, the best I can, about a recent revelation I had that compelled me to action.

If you know me well or have followed my blog for any amount of time, you know I love to write. Writing helps me make sense out of all the thoughts that are always swirling around in my head and gives me a place to deposit them to free up space for more and different thoughts. I have had this blog for many years and used to be a prolific writer. Over time, once we came to the church where my husband is now the lead pastor, my writing dwindled and I could never understand why. It certainly wasn't because the thoughts stopped swirling because now they were swirling at warped speed. I recently began some serious introspection and prayer in an effort to understand myself better and understand what led to my slow writing fade. After quite a few weeks of pondering, I felt like I had an epiphany as to why "Everyday Glimpses of an Extraordinary God" was no longer a good fit for me.

When I started writing Everyday Glimpses, I was a ministry wife who homeschooled her 5 children and spent large chunks of time at home cultivating a simple life that sought to find God in the seemingly mundane routines of my life. While we dealt with some heavy situations during our 20 years in baseball ministry, I realize in hindsight that I was still relatively innocent and un-jaded by life. Almost 5 complete years in to being a pastor's wife and I no longer feel like that same person. It's been a long, hard journey at times, fraught with more than my fair share of tears, but it's been an incredibly beautiful journey because I feel I so much better understand who I am in Christ and who I am as a pastor's wife.

I like to think the Lord has helped preserve my innocence in areas because I do still have the ability to be surprised and delighted by the simplest sight, conversation, and revelation from Him. I don't even really consider myself jaded, but I do know I'm not that same girl who sat at a table full of board members and told them that I had no clue how to be a pastor's wife because I had never done it before. I explained to them that I only knew how to be "Barb" and that hopefully, with the Lord's faithful guidance, I would figure out what being a pastor's wife looked like for me.  I still homeschool 2 children, I still spend large chunks of time at home (although not nearly as large as this introvert would like) and I still strive to live a simple life. I've seen and learned so much over the last few years, though, and have experienced things I could never have imagined.

I have spent countless hours listening to women share their deepest pains of being sexually abused as children. I have actively participated in many counseling sessions with husbands and wives who had once pledged their undying love to each other, but now find they really can't stand to be in the same room together. I have stood in a morgue and watched a Mama lying atop her deceased son and felt my heart shatter into a million pieces. I have spoken at the memorial service for a single mom who had become my sweet friend and watched as her teenage son and parents tried to make sense out of the senseless. I have watched as couples grappled with the realities of infertility. I have heard (never usually directly to my face) people, who I once considered friends, slander my husband and his ministry because if they discredit the messenger then they might not have to embrace the message he delivered that had disrupted their complacency with a sin issue. I have cried extensively when administrative decisions had to be made for the health of the church because I knew it meant real people I cared about would be hurt.

I'm sure you might surmise that being a pastor's wife has been an unpleasant experience for me based on what I just shared and that couldn't be further from the truth. Many of those women who were sexually abused have beautiful stories of restoration and healing. I have seen them share their stories and provide hope for others who aren't quite there yet. I have seen parents who lost children use their pain to minister in the midst of another's grief. I have seen single moms find love and get married. I have listened to young women share their past sinful choices with deep fear of rejection only to find themselves embraced and welcomed in in such a way that they now have their own powerful ministries to others. I have held so many sweet new babies, sniffed their heads and rejoiced with their parents over the gift of new life. I have been humbled by the fact that, with Papa's help, I can take the high road and not lash out when I feel backed into a corner or hear slander filter back to me. I have experienced the overwhelming joy of restoration of relationships that once were stretched tight by tension. I have witnessed lives saved and restored and marriages resurrected from the ash heap. I have made some of the dearest friends I have ever had in my entire life and I have linked arms with some of the most amazing women I could ever hope to call my sisters and prayer warriors.

I think one of the greatest things I have learned over the last 5 years is that I don't have to fit in a "pastor's wife mold". I don't have to model myself after a prominent Bible teacher and I don't have to stand in the shadow of anyone except the most high God. I am unashamedly and unapologetically…

Free to be ME!!!!

So there you have it…the very long-winded, but hopefully clearly laid out, version of why I felt the need to revamp my creative space. I can't guarantee this change will ensure I write as much as I once did because I have so many more responsibilities and relationships to maintain these days. I do know, though, that when I sit down to write it's under a banner that more accurately represents who I am now and how I will continue to strive to live. I have a passion to lead women and a passion to see them learn that they are free to be who God created them to be, too.

Will you join me on this journey?