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Waiting

27 Jul

I’ve mentioned before that I am not always good at waiting. I get quite impatient and want things to hurry along in my time rather than in God’s time. Now, to be honest, reflecting on various things that have happened in my life, where I have simply had to play the waiting game, I would have thought that by now I would be a pro and trust in God’s timing. Not so. Not that I don’t trust in His timing, I do, it is perfect and good. However, I fail to remember that He really doesn’t need my help and pushing along “Gee, you know Lord, I really think it’s time, you need to get a hurry on here or its all going to collapse and fall flat”

God has gently bought up a few scenarios in the past few days that have made me realize that He is talking to me about waiting and being patient (once more!) It started with a feeling last weekend, a sweet whisper from God that made me see that now is the time to put everything down, to let go and wait, watch and see. To draw closer to His presence and to have a time of rest, reflection and restoration. I pondered these things and left them in my heart, unaware that my husband was feeling the same thoughts.

We took our kids and their friends to a water park near our home on Monday. When we arrived there was a long line up which came outside from the building and down the sidewalk. We were quite far back in the line when there was a power outage. Some people began to leave, they didn’t want to wait in the heat for the power to be restored. We decided we would give it twenty minutes and then head to the beach. The longer we waited the more people drifted away and left. Pretty soon we were inside the main building. At this point a lifeguard came out of the office and reported that the power company had said that the outage could be repaired in five minutes or it could be as long as five hours. At this announcement most of the people waiting decided to leave, so we found ourselves third or fourth in line. One minute later the power came back on, much to the squeals of four happy kids!

While the kids were swimming Jonathan told me that he thought God was talking to him about waiting through the power outage (as well as other things). When he finished telling me this I turned to read a page in my book that I had been trying to read for around ten minutes, but I kept getting interrupted. The book is Becoming More than a Good Bible Study Girl by Lysa Terkeurst. The next few paragraphs that I read were about David. Having been anointed as King of Israel, he was then sent back to the pastures to tend the sheep. He had to wait, it wasn’t time for him to take the throne. The waiting period was purposeful. David accepted his circumstances and didn’t resist where God had put him. He chose to see the good in waiting. These few paragraphs were really timely for me and on reflection I can see where waiting in my past has been purposeful and for my good.

Yesterday, Ann Voskamp wrote about a post called “Why is it Hard to be Patient?” Ann has a real gift with words, they always flow poetically off the page. In her post she talked about patience being a willingness to wait. That is it in a nutshell. Our impatience is a sign of our unwillingness to wait, to not have things on our terms and conditions.

Patience is waiting, it is a moment of surrender.

So, here I am trying to surrender and have patience. Meanwhile God is whispering into my ear “Wait, dear one, wait”.

Patience

22 Jan

We get water at our house from an underground well. A few weeks ago our water pump started to come on every five minutes when we were not using water. Our plumber suspected that there was a problem with the water tank. He came out to the house at the end of last week and replaced the tank. Whilst at the house he decided that the foot valve had gone on at the end of the pipe in the well. The foot valve basically stops water from running back into the well once it has been drawn up by the pump (at least that’s how I think he described it!). He said that in order to replace it we need to dig the well up. There are two problems with this. One, it’s winter, the ground is frozen and there is a lot of snow on top of it. Second problem, no plan came with our house, we had no idea where the well was located! Anyway, the plumber was confident that we could leave the foot valve until spring, so that we could dig up the ground rather than hire a pricey digger. Problem solved for the time being ……. so we thought.

Let’s roll forward to Tuesday morning. We woke up to find no water in the house. We call the plumber who instructs us to pour water into the top of the pump and once it is full it should kick start the system. Our neighbor kindly said that we could get water from her home, so we washed, collected some drinking water etc. and then started the run to and from her house to fill our pump up. Seven or eight trips later we realise this is not working. By this time it is almost lunch time. We call the plumber again who says that it sounds like the foot valve has totally gone. The well will have to be dug up. Argh! The land is frozen, we didn’t know where the well was, we had to call a digger in. Our neighbor gave us the name of a guy she knows who has a digger. We call him on the off chance that he can slot us in. He can, so he arranges to come by at 3pm and dig, as the plumber could get to us for 3.30pm. When you dig a well up in the winter, the plumber has to be pretty quick or your pipes will freeze.

Now, God is moving in this story, the first sign for us is the digger. The guy shows up and announces that he knows exactly where our well is, he dug it up some years back! Thank you Lord! He digs, the well appears and he charges us less than usual because he knew where it was and didn’t have to spend time hunting around. Very nice man! The plumber, however, doesn’t show until 5pm, it is almost dark, but we are hopeful for water. The well is opened up and the pipes are pulled out. Suddenly water starts spraying out and the problem becomes apparent. It is the injector that needs replacing, not the foot valve. Slight problem, the plumber doesn’t have one of those in his van and the plumbing store has now closed for the night. Second moment of God intervening, the temperature overnight went up to plus 8c. Generally, that is unheard of this time of the year, it is usually minus 20c or so overnight.

The following morning the pipes are not frozen! At this point we are getting used to not having water. It is inconvenient, but we are learning to use what we have sparingly. Even the kids comment that this is a situation which shows them how difficult it must be to live in places where there is not fresh water on hand 24/7. I’m impressed with them at this observation! Anyway, back to the saga! The plumber said he had another emergency but would be with us at lunchtime. At 3pm we decide that it is no longer lunchtime, so we call again. When asked when he would arrive his response is “I don’t know really, I’m stuck on this job.” I am aware of Jon’s frustration now. He is tapping and tutting a lot. We stock up on water again and wait. At 5.30pm the plumber arrives. We are due a snow storm, this has to be finished and covered up. The injector is replaced, everything is put back. The pump doesn’t start though. We star getting very worried. The plumber is frustrated that he has to open the well up again. It’s obviously pitch black now and is not easy to see for very small leaks. Nothing can be found. Eventually he decides to change the foot valve. Everything goes back in. We hold our breath, we pray, then there is the sweet noise of the pump humming! Water, we have water! At 8pm Jon and I are outside with shovels covering up the well with the mud the digger dug out. Now this hole was five feet deep by approx. four to five feet wide. That’s a lot of mud!

For the next few days we can’t use our water as it needs to settle. There is a lot of mud in it and every time you turn a tap on, or flush the toilet, it looks like someone had a bad accident! Here we are on Saturday morning, we are now using the water once it has boiled, but will not use it to drink straight from the tap until tomorrow.

Throughout this situation, I’ve realised, how much God has been trying to teach me patience over the past three or four years. Things keep coming up and rather than give into a situation I’ve had the tendency to fight it. Our immigration to Canada took it’s toll on us with all of the delays etc. I know God was trying to teach me patience then, but I failed miserably. Since then there have been a few other situations where my patience has been tested. Each time I’ve failed the test! This time, however, something changed in me. However frustrating having no water was, I was able to say to myself “oh well, it will get sorted.” Even on that second day when the plumber said that he would arrive at lunch time, something deep inside told me it would be more like 5pm, and that was OK. I must confess, that at 5.15pm I was started to get impatient, but up until then I was fine. I still need to work on patience and I think this is something God is going to gently tease me with over time. Being patient is definitely a nicer and more peaceful place to be, than feeling on edge and fretting. Can anyone relate to this? Is God working on something with you right now?

Good Friday

10 Apr

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.  (Philippians 2:5-11 NIV)

He took my sins and my sorrows,
He made them His very own;
He bore the burden to Calvary,
And suffered and died alone.

O how marvelous! O how wonderful!
And my song shall ever be:
O how marvelous! O how wonderful!
Is my Savior’s love for me!  (My Saviour Love, Charles H. Gabriel, 1905)

Amen.
May God meet with you and bless you this Easter.

The Women Who Have Been Known As The Pastors Wife

14 Dec

I originally published this blog post on my old blog 20 months ago now. It’s been by far my most popular post and I’m still amazed that after all of this time I still receive comments on it, both on my blog and via email.  Most are encouraging, as there are many PW’s out there who feel like me, other comments have not been so positive. I’m thinking that I may update it in time, but for now, I just wanted to re-publish it again. Food for thought maybe?

I was hesitant about writing this post, as I know that a few have followed suit of Bill Kinnon. This post has really been on my mind though. I’m writing it in celebration of a group of posts which have come under The People Formerly Known As … banner. These are thoughts compiled by Bill Kinnon, Grace, Jamie Arpin-Ricci, John Frye, and a few others. I don’t know what anyone will make of this, or indeed if anyone will read it; but these thoughts I share from the heart, from my own experiences as the Pastors Wife, and of pastors wives I know. If anything, this post is for me, so I can get this off my chest. It’s also for those women out there who have been known as the pastors wife.

We are the women who have been known as the pastors wife. There are thousands of us all over the world. This was not a role we sought to have in life, we simply fell in love with a man who was called into ministry. Initially we were excited with our new “role”, and, along with our husband, we could see all of the potential there was in the Kingdom of God. We wanted to serve God well; we wanted to sow into the Kingdom; we wanted to live the adventure; we wanted to make God proud. Faithfully we went where God led us.

Silently, over the years, we were molded into our role through the expectations of the congregation. We were expected to serve willingly throughout the church, and be an added extra for free. What a bargain you got, in no other job can a man take his wife to work for free. We worked tiresomely teaching in sunday school classes, helping out in creche, serving tea and coffee, flower arranging, preparing bible studies, banner making, cake baking and helping out with countless other church programs, never to gain any thanks or recognition.

We were expected to look and act in a certain manner, and always had to put on a smile. None of you were really concerned if we were struggling, had questions about church or life in general. You told us countless times, through your actions and words, that we were not there to receive, but to serve. After all we were seen as a Godly lady, and you expected no less. We felt your rebuke.

We were expected to be a hostess, and have an immaculate home, just in case a parishoner should drop by. You didn’t care how late into the night or on what day of the week you telephoned or called by. It was almost as if we were not allowed to have any private time. We soon learnt, and got caller display, so that you could leave countless messages on the answer machine instead. Aren’t you lucky, that unlike most jobs, the pastor is not paid for unsocial hours.

We were expected to be the perfect mothers and never to raise our voice. We were not perceived to have any parenting struggles, and were expected to mentor parents around us. Really though, we were working it all out alone, and thinking that we were making a mess of it. We hoped the latest christian parenting handbook would give us some advice, which we could then pass on to you. Our children were expected to be seen and not heard, always following the ways of the Lord. When our children fell away, many of you just tut-tutted, and raised your eye brows.

We watched helplessly as our husbands confidence was destroyed, as you tore away at him week after week with your endless complaints about the sermon, the music and the length of the service. We watched you draw him further and further into the ground, until he reached depressive levels. What had started as a joy to be in ministry, was now turning into a misery. The demands on our husbands grew, which caused friction at home, as we wanted to try and have some quality family time together. For years we have supported and encouraged our husbands. We have cried so many tears – more tears than you will ever realize.

For years we’ve struggled on a pastors wage, trying to make ends meet. We watched as you all went on your luxury holidays, whilst you leant us your caravan by the sea for free. We know that your heart was in the right place, but it didn’t mean that we didn’t wish we were at some luxury resort instead.

We are humbled, and very grateful, to know that many of you have prayed for us over the years. Know too, that we have prayed for you. You shared your confidences in us, we were not able to share ours with you, having been burned by people too many times in the past.

Gradually we started to withdraw from church life. We realised that relationship wasn’t what you really wanted. We yearned for close Christian friends to share our hearts and dreams with. We wanted to be known for who we were, not as the pastors wife. We have a unique identity. Our conversations with you were impersonal, quite often just to ask us to give a quick message to our husbands.

Along with our husbands we saw so much potential in the church. Over the years we came to realize that we were being turned into people pleasers, not necessarily God pleasers. Church had become a corporate business, which was gradually becoming corrupted from within. The adventurers in us started to die. We realized over time that the potential in the Kingdom of God is outside of the four walls, in the community. We are still trying to work out exactly how that will look, but we are on a journey again, at the beginning of another adventure with God. Sadly, we have realized, that many of you will not be coming on this journey with us. But we have to shake the dust off our feet.

We are the women who have been known as the pastors wife. We are hurting, and bruised. We desperately need building up again. We don’t really know where we fit into all of this anymore. We really want to serve still, but don’t know what we have left within us. There are many of us around, when you meet one of us, get to know us, show an interest in us, after all, we are people too. We are the women who have been known as the pastors wife.

If you have any thoughts or comments to add feel free to, thanks for reading and sharing my thoughts.

God’s will

30 May

Is EVERYTHING that happens in the world God’s will? I kind of struggle with that one.

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