Monday, March 21, 2011

Loving Your Pastor's Wife


Here's a great article from the Resurgence on how to love your pastor's wife.  As a former youth minister's wife, I would say the same applies to her.  Take the time to read this and learn how to love her better.  She will appreciate it.

Click here to read this article.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

How Am I Doing?

We have so many great friends... near and far.  People that we have stayed in touch with, and people that stay in touch with us through our blog.  One of the most frequent questions we are asked is, "How are you doing?"  Depending on the moment, the answer varies.  This morning I woke up and was having a tough day.  I was overwhelmed by all of the change that has occurred in our life in just a matter of weeks, and being sick on top of it all, just made everything too much.

Last night, Bryan and I took Abby to visit our families at Ridglea's revival.  While we were there, I noticed another kid wearing these really cute glittery, flashing sneakers.  Being a mom who loves artsy, cool styles, I thought to myself, "I love those shoes, but that's just not something I can give Abby right now."  If you know Abby, you also know she does not need shoes right now.  Grandma has bought Abby shoes, and a close friend gave us a bagful of hand-me-downs from a relative.  Abby has plenty of nice shoes.  Anyhow... back to the story.  I simply dismissed the shoes as a want not a need and continued on my way thinking that the journey we are on will mean that there are a lot of wants that will just not happen and that is ok.  Jesus is worth the sacrifice.  After all, it's just shoes.

Today, I was thrift store shopping to find bookshelves for all of Bryan's books.   While I was walking towards the furniture section, I noticed these shoes.  I did a double take and almost started crying when I saw they were in Abby's size.  These were sparkly, super girly sneakers that blink when your kid walks.  Does Abby need shoes?  No.  Did I buy them?  Absolutely.  For $1.67 (tax included), God provided the very shoes for Abby that I had felt were an impossibility the night before.  This may not seem like a big deal to you, but I am balling as I type this.  God has been so faithful to our family.  He loves me in this insane way that I don't deserve but in such a way that I desperately need right now.  God is listening not only to my prayers but is studying my wants.  He is lavishing His love upon me in a way that just overwhelms me.  God is so good, and because of Him, I'm o.k.  His love is wonderful, and His grace just blows me away.  I still can't get over how much He loves and pursues me.  It's humbling.

Ephesians 1:7-8 "In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight."

Friday, March 11, 2011

Thoughts after Day 2 of Acts29 Dallas Bootcamp

All I can is wow. Today we were able to be part of a select number of church planters that are being called to plant or replant a church within the next 12 months or less. To even qualify for entry into this session, you have to sign an agreement that both your spouse and you are sure that church planting is in your near future. All of that to say, if you are at this event, you are hardcore about this topic- not just curious. We were part of intense, transparent discussion groups with experienced and inexperienced church planters alike. It was invaluable to us, and the relationships we formed today will have a lasting impact on eternity.

I am so very, very thankful for the last couple of days. Bryan and I went out to eat tonight after everything was over to start processing all we had learned, and we both agree that we can't believe we ever went into the ministry without something like this. This was the most helpful ministry conference I have ever experienced. I deeply wish all ministry couples could go to an Acts29 conference. I don't even know how to begin sharing how I feel right now.

This bootcamp has helped us find even more healing in Jesus and even more comfort in His body. We have cried, struggled, worshiped, prayed, and rejoiced in Christ along with other believers following a similar calling to ours. We have been encouraged, reproved, and pushed closer to Jesus, and it is our prayer to unpack and apply all we have learned for the rest of our lives. It has made our calling and God's next plan for us more sure, and it has helped us see our past even more clearly as God's catalyst for our future.

We are completely wiped out from the intensity of the last couple of days but are incredibly hopeful and excited about what is to come. God is so very, very good. We are grateful to be His. Jesus is glorious in every way, and I am so thankful He is our Shepard and our Salvation. In the darkness, He is our Light. I am ready to go where He is leading our family with a joyful step and a trusting heart.


- Posted by Anna using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Dallas, TX

Thoughts after Day 1 of Acts29 Dallas Bootcamp

It's late, and we have an early morning.  I wanted to check in about our first day at the Acts 29 bootcamp.  It has been everything I had hoped it would be and more.  Worshiping with 600 other believers and being fed the Word by heroes of the Christian faith right now has been amazing.  The first session of worship my eyes were so blurry with tears of joy that I could hardly see the stage.  It is an unforgettable experience to be surrounded by that many voices singing out their hearts to Jesus.  Today was like walking into a paradise retreat after spending a few years in the desert.  It was refreshing and satisfying.  There were tons of people that looked just like me.  Tattered blue jeans, plaid shirts... Just normal people that love Jesus.  It was nice to finally feel like you belong.  Normally, at adult ministry conferences, I think we look more like the youth guys than the pastoral staff.  Not here.  Both young and old embrace being contextual to your culture, and it has been liberating to see and experience.  God is really speaking to us, and I feel like it is bringing Bryan and I even closer together.  On a side note, I've been fighting a cough all week that is just getting worse.  We had to go to an urgent care clinic tonight, and I was diagnosed with walking pneumonia.  Pray that the antibiotics work quickly, so I can enjoy the rest of the conference.  I'm exciting about what God is doing in our lives.  Tonight, I am so thankful that life has brought us here.  It's a good place to be.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

God's Provision

As I write this blog this morning, I am completely humbled and overwhelmed by God's great love for our family.  He has been providing for our needs above and beyond our expectations, and it is immensely comforting.  Here's one example:

The week before things started becoming rocky, my car became unsafe to drive.  We had the problem diagnosed but it was more expensive to fix than we could afford at that time.  So, we just parked it and decided we would deal with it when we could.  Needless to say, our financial situation became only more complicated a month later, but we really didn't want to use a friend's car to drive all of the way to Dallas and back.  I began praying about it and felt like I should start calling local auto repair shops to barter a website package.  The first shop we called in the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce auto listing page had just picked up our business card at Computer Works the day before.  He took us up on the barter, and we picked up our repaired car yesterday morning.  Our car drives like it did when we first bought it years ago.

Isn't that incredible?  God has been providing for us in many other ways.  My parents had enough points to provide us with two free nights at a hotel for our trip this week.  We've had several families give us financial gifts that are going to allow us to pay off the lingering medical bills we were still struggling under from my miscarriage and my knee injury.  All in all, we've had so many people reach out to encourage us and pray for us faithfully- friends from all over the United States.  The exact day Bryan resigned from Cambridge, our web design business kicked it up a notch, and we have had new business left and right.

God's incredible kindness to our family right now has just been beautiful.  It has been an incredible balm to my aching heart.  It is absolutely amazing to get to feel our part in the larger body of Christ right now.  It is humbling and wonderful beyond words.  Rejoice with us that God is meeting our needs.  Our God is so faithful to care for His children.  I am so glad to be His.

"But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all your works." Psalm 73:28

Monday, March 7, 2011

Our Jesus

Tonight, Bryan and I were talking about life and how we were dealing with everything.  A lot has gone on lately.  We're transitioning into a new ministry (more to come on that).  Abby and I have been sick off and on almost every other week.  Tonight, we had to take our sweet pea to urgent care because she had an allergic reaction to her antibiotic or some other unknown source for the second time in three days.  You think to yourself, "Seriously?  I'm not sure I can take anymore."  But... big but... God is so faithful.

I was telling Bryan how pursued I feel by God right now.  When I am driving in the car and start to feel sad, an amazing worship song will come on to remind me how great our God is.  If I start to feel exhausted trying to catch up on our heavy website workload right now, I get a kind email from one of our many great clients.  God just seems to be everywhere right now reminding me that He is with us, and it is deeply comforting.  So, I asked Bryan what he was experiencing right now during this journey, and I loved what he said.

Bryan:  If God isn't the one working in my life, coincidence is a lot greater than we thought.  Either God or chance deserves my worship, because one of them is loving me with sovereign precision.

I feel the same way.  Either coincidences happen all of the time at just the right timing for an extended period of time when we are down, or there is this all powerful Being that is determined to let us know that He is in control and that He is providing for our needs when we need Him most.  Our Jesus is amazing.  You see why I say He is worth everything?  He really is.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Farewell Cambridge





























I still remember our first Sunday at Cambridge.  Bryan was simply filling the pulpit while we traveled home to visit family and friends.  We were living in Clinton at the time.  Bryan was a youth pastor, and I was working as a pediatric nurse.  I remember bringing my flute and asking Mrs. Peggy if I could play along with her during the worship service, and I remember her warm reception.  I remember leaving the service and turning to Bryan in the car and agreeing that God was clearly calling us there next.  We were so sure that we drove around Gautier looking at possible houses that were for sale and praying over our future.  We just knew that was where God wanted us, and we had complete peace about it.  Sure enough, the next day, Skip, the chairman of the deacons called and asked if Bryan would be interested in submitting his resume and interviewing to be the pastor of Cambridge Baptist Church.  Months later, we moved into Gautier and made our home here.


It was over three years ago now.  We've grown up a lot since that first Sunday.  Cambridge has been pivotal in helping us mature as believers, as a ministry couple, and as husband and wife.  We birthed a child during our ministry and lost another.  We saw deaths, baptisms, and salvations.  We experienced Christian community done well and Christian community done poorly.  We were loved well and hated well.  Today was our last day of ministry at Cambridge.  Since Abby and I were both sick today, we were unable to see Bryan preach his last sermon there, which was a blessing in disguise for me emotionally.  So it is with a sad heart that I bid farewell to the church that I sincerely believed we would be part of until the day we died.  It is with a hopeful heart that I welcome the future with open arms.

Oh God,
You have seen our journey, and You know our hearts.  Help us to learn from our past but not to live in it.  Help us to rejoice in what You have done so far and to embrace our future.  You are the God who brought us to this city, and we know You are not finished with us until You call us home to be with You.  Help us to be as brave, meek, kind, and forgiving as Jesus.  May we be faithful to the end.  Give us the grace to finish well.  We want to hear "Well done" when we meet You face to face one day.  Do not waste our pain.  May it bring forth a new ministry that is even more beautiful than we could have imagined.  May we see good come forth from our suffering.  Oh Father, we want to see You work in our city in a new way, so that those who have no hope could know Your hope, so that those who feel unloved will find Jesus, the Love, so that those who feel unforgivable could know Your forgiveness.  Reap Your harvest Father.  We are willing and ready. Because of Jesus, we come to You now and ask these things.  Because of Your great faithfulness, we can stay in the fight and not give up.  Receive much glory.  We are humbled to be Yours.  You are worth everything.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Welcome to My Shoes

This Sunday is Bryan's last Sunday at Cambridge.  It's been tough waiting out the two weeks from his resignation.  I have a lot I want to say as we go through this, and a lot I shouldn't say.  This journey has been painful and difficult.  One of the things that has surprised me the most has been the general apathy from some people.  What has happened to all of us that we have forgotten what it is like to still "feel" and use our hearts?  

I know some of you are wondering what it feels like to be a pastor's wife going through a situation like this.  Honestly, it's like a nightmare.  You love and give your life away to people for three years, and in the end, you find out it impacted few.  It makes me appreciate what Jesus did for us more.  He had the same response, and He was perfect and loving in every way.

As we break away from a community that we poured ourselves into, grief has inevitably become part of our journey.  Some moments I am sad, others I am angry, others I am broken, and others I am numb.  My greatest fear right now is to become bitter or hardened, because I have seen so many pastor's wives close off their hearts forever because it simply hurts too much.  

One of the greatest lessons we have learned from this is how important it is to protect and nurture your marriage and family in ministry.  God called me away from certain "good" ministries over the course of last year, and now I know why.  If I hadn't refocused and become more invested at home, we wouldn't have made it through this trial well... or maybe at all.  Because God has been doing an incredible work in our marriage, we have been able to walk through this storm facing the worst together as as husband and wife... as one.

I find great comfort knowing that God has prepared us so we could walk through the fire and not be destroyed... only purified.  It hurts... a lot.  I have seen spiritual warfare on a level that is surreal in the last month, but our God fights for us.  We are His children.  God is meeting our needs.  One day, when I look back on this valley from the mountaintop, I will be able to see even more clearly how tenderly God has carried us.  Thanks for being our prayer warriors and for caring about what is going on in our lives.  We love you.  Watch and see- our God is in control.  We will see good from all this bad.  He does not waste our pain.

"Rejoice not over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD will be a light to me." Micah 7:8

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Hallelujah

Here's one of my favorite songs of all time.  Ignore the kind of cheesy homemade music video from youtube.

The words are beautiful.

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