Friday, October 14, 2011

The Other Side of Ministry

The moment you think you've got things figured out... you don't. Being in ministry is the greatest joy in my life, and also the greatest pain. I hope I can say that without fear of judgment, but it is my blog, so I'll say what I want.
Most days I love what I do, and I get such joy from small things. I get joy when a student grasps a spiritual truth for the first time, or is excited to bring a friend to church, or when I see a family really trying to raise their children to be people of love.
It's a good thing the good days out number the bad ones, or I might have quit a long time ago. Though when a bad day comes, it seems to come hard. People are unsupportive, you work long hours and nobody seems to notice, someone you thought was a great help and cheerleader stabs you in the back. I wish I could say I'm alone in those struggles, but I really don't believe it. People in ministry get the fall for a lot of things "Why is my kid so messed up if he is coming to YOUR youth group once a week?!" "You can't ask parents to do THAT, you are asking too much." "You taught my kid that! What is wrong with you?" These may be some of the things said or not said... but it's the implications sometimes that hurt the most. The time you don't hear thank you, the time you don't get the space you need, the time you end up doing something that really isn't in your job description, but you love the church enough to sacrifice your own time with your own family... and nobody else showed up because they were busy having "family time".
It would be easy to get bitter. To allow the negative to overshadow the positive, to be downtrodden and say "I will shake the dust off of my sandals because no one is listening." Then.... you have this reminder that it is not them who have called you it's God. God has called you for a reason and for a purpose, and though the moments of joy and peace may seem few and far between right now, trust that the God who called you is faithful to see you through.
So for pastor appreciation month I want you to know, that even if no one in your congregation or ministry notices what you do... God does. If no one gives you a bonus, even though you don't know how to make ends meet... God sees your needs. If no one says thank you... one day God will say well done good and faithful servant. To quote an old hymn "It will be worth it all when we see Jesus"... Keep the Hope.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Crafting Wednesday

Ok, so I love crafting, but I find it hard to get motivated because my craft/library/music/office room has looked a little un-motivational the past several months.... I'll just show you.

I have more, but you get the point... it's blah and messy. I didn't even have the desk up. Since this is not my house I can't just paint the walls a cool orange that will motivate me, so I had to get creative.

So I went to Hobby Lobby and got some great deals on some supplies.

I found a package of 4 pieces of square cork board. It was inexpensive, priced at 9.99 but they were 30% off... discounts are good... free is even better (that's my motto anyway). Then I found these really cool packages of little fabric squares. Instead of having to buy a whole yard of fabric, and only using a little, I got to find a cool package of 5 coordinating fabrics, wrapped up in a cool ribbon. The cost was 9.99 again, but I used a coupon for 40% off... cha ching!
This project also takes a glue gun.

Step !: Iron your fabric. I wasn't going to iron it, and then I realized I would have these crazy creases... which would look dumb. So when you do it, do it right.

Step 2: Lay your cork board in the middle of your fabric and fold the edges around and hot glue. I discovered that you need to fold the sides like you are wrapping a present, it makes the edges much crisper in the front.

Final step: Hang them up on your wall! You are done! Wasn't that easy?!

Oh and P.s.~ I got my desk up too!

Next week I will be on time for Crafting Mondays!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

a blogging routine and pictures

The best blogs I read post at least once a day and have lots of pictures... I am so behind the curve.
However, I intend on being one of the greatest bloggers of all time (hehe), so I must post more often and post pictures as well.
On that note, I will be posting a craft project I did yesterday on here tomorrow... I intended to post it yesterday and start, crafting mondays on my blog.... but sadly I got distracted by something shiny. Thus, this week will be crafty wednesday, and next week I will hopefully do a better job.
After all this is about my love, life, and ministry which involves crafts, art, music, wedding prep. etc. I couldn't just pick one area, because all are a part of who I am.
So if you are reading this... vast expanse known as the blogosphere... I will be posting a craft tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Love your enemies part 2

After I posted my blog, I found this amazing video on my facebook feed. This is exactly the type of radical love and grace that I was talking about. May we truly be people of the second chance, who extend love and grace, even to those who oppress. 

Love your Enemies

     Love is what I am all about. It's a difficult concept to be someone who loves everyone, including enemies, but Christ places this radical call on my life to do so, so I do.
      I find the most difficult part of being a disciple of Jesus, being the whole love the oppressor as much as you love the oppressed thing. It's easy for me to love oppressed people. Cheering for the underdog is in my dna. I always cheer for the underdog team on biggest loser, I always cheer for the teen everybody thinks is a loser, that's just who I am. Thus, loving oppressed people whether that be kids in africa, or people in the US who don't get fairly treated, I am all about cheering them on and loving them.
     On the other hand, I have a very difficult time loving those who oppress others. Those who put people in bad situations, cheat them out of things.... people who don't love others.
       I went to Colombia a few years back with a wonderful organization called Christian Peacemaker Teams that seeks to bring about peaceful resolution to the world's conflict. This was where I was confronted head on with what it means to love your enemy. All of these small displaced children with dirty faces were so easy to love. I would pull them up on my lap and embrace them, teach them english, let them look at my blue eyes. Then there were the others.... the ones who put them in that position, sadly, many times corporations from my own country, and I wanted to hate them. I wanted to allow this horrible hate to bubble up inside of me for how wronged these people are.
      My hatred wanted to come out, but I was stopped one day. Peace is what I came to achieve, and hatred in my heart is robbing me of peace in my own life. How can I ask for their to be peace in the world if I can not come to a place of peace in my own heart? This thought led to the next; if I hate the oppressor then I become an oppressor too, even if on a smaller scale. Change, peace, and understanding do not come from becoming the type of person who oppresses those who oppress, it comes from loving those who are most difficult to love.
      It is this lesson that drives my life. Love God, and love others. There should not be a condition on this, there should not be a limit to my love. I should love all people. Seek justice, not through violence, or hatred, because that isn't true justice. Seek peace, not through pointing fingers or blame.... but just love. It is love that will change the world, and the radical love of enemies that will see lives transformed.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Struggle

I've read lots of wedding blogs that speak to the issue of changing your name. Do you take his name, do you keep your own, etc.
Though I have wrestled back and forth with whether or not I want to change my name, I mostly struggle with the whole imagery of "giving" the bride away.
Now don't get me wrong, I really want my dad to walk me down the aisle. I think it will be very special to share those few moments with him before everyone else sees me, and I become a wife, however I do not like the idea of being given away.
The whole concept of the ability to be given implies that of an object. It seems an outdated ritual from a time where men ruled, and women were subservient. It seems so counter to the theological idea that I subscribe to which says that both men AND women are created in the image of God. It runs counter to my views that God has created both men AND women to do the work of the LORD, and that the Holy Spirit dwells within each of us.
On top of all my theological reservations with it, I feel it perpetuates a very male dominated view of marriage. The wife is subservient, and the man is in charge. This I believe is not only unbiblical, but runs counter to how my FH and I want our family to operate. We view marriage as a partnership, equal, no one is over the other.
This view is highly influenced by Ephesians 5, which gets a bad reputation because it's so often taken out of context. In reality it says to submit to one another. That husbands are to submit to their wives, but that husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church. Christ loved the church enough to die for her, so really this isn't about one person being below another, it's about mutual submission, and caring for one another enough that you put the other persons value above your own. This only works if it's mutual, and it should be mutual. After all, I believe that's what love is in the first place, giving up your own rights for that of another.
Therefore, I don't want to be "given" away. I belong to no man, and don't ever want to. I want us to have a relationship of mutual submission, of mutual love, a partnership. I think that is truly the only way to reveal the love of God to one another, and the image of God that each of us has with one another.
I haven't really resolved what to do in our wedding yet. I have considered walking down the aisle alone... though I think that would crush my dad's heart. I have considered having both of my parents walk me down the aisle. I've considered having my dad walk me down the aisle to the front row, giving me a kiss and sitting with my mom, and making the final few steps alone.
I'm leaning towards the final one, because I think it's more illustrative of the parent letting go of a child, and watching him/her move on.
I want to move on into a partnership, and I really hope that we can start to get rid of these outdated statements in weddings that only serve to hurt so many things in the long run, including the focus of what our marriage should be, starting a life together as one.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I only have 361 days to plan a wedding

As the title says, there are only 361 days left to plan our wedding. I say only, because this week small groups start, so I know that from here on out my work life will be far busier than it is now (if that is even possible, given the massive amount of hours I've spent the last few weeks.)
Being a female pastor is so much more than what it may seem. I love it, don't get me wrong, it's wonderful and exciting, however, being a woman in and of itself comes with so many tasks that adding full time ministry to it can sometimes be overwhelming at best, and crippling at worst.
In the midst of planning a youth group bake sale, overseeing the small group ministries, planning a sunday school lesson, working on plans for next summer's mission trip, I some how have to plan a wedding.
Wedding planning can be fun and exciting, and it usually is. I sometimes wonder if the busyness of ministry and planning for a wedding, has left us lacking a bit in the "planning for our marriage" department.
It's often said that it is easy to overlook your own spiritual life when you are in ministry, and I am discovering that it's easy to overlook your marriage when you are planning a wedding.
Thus, I am trying to learn to balance things. Last night I took the FH out to the Cheesecake Factory for a nice dinner by candle light and just some time for us to talk. I got dressed up, and did my hair, which hasn't happened in a while. It was great, and something we need to do more often.
Just like I need to cultivate my own journey and relationship with God, and not just prepare for the next church thing, I need to cultivate my own journey and relationship with my FH too.