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PW Connect (www.pastorswives.com) is the sister blog of Pastors' Wives Thriving in the Fishbowl's website & message board. We support, encourage, and nurture ministry wives. Our contributors have experienced the fishbowl of ministry life firsthand, and we're here to come alongside you in all the joys and tears.

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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Pastor's Wife Asks: Square Peg, Round Hole?


From the inbox:
   Q. How does one overcome the "don't fits"? And yet still feel wanted or not alone while trying to find my place of acceptance just as i am?

Signed, Square Peg, Round Hole 
Note: If you're a pastor's wife who has a question you'd like answered here, please contact us.

Dear Sqare Peg, 

I'm so glad you contacted us. I want to first give you a warm welcome. I wish you could feel the (((hugs))). You're accepted here. You're not alone.

From your post, I gather that you don't fit what many may regard as a typical pw mold. Maybe you don't ____________  like the last pastor's wife did; nor have a gifting in _________________, like other pastors' wives you know. Maybe you don't feel called to organize certain ministries that others may presume all pastors' wives are called to do.

Or maybe your personality is just different than the last pastor's wife.

Am I in the ballpark yet?

If so, you're among good company, as many of us would probably say we don't fit the mold either. The shame is that there's ever been a suggestion that a mold exists.

I don't believe God asks a pastor's wife to set aside the unique talents and passions she may have, simply because her husband is now a pastor.

When God called Jeremiah, He said, "Before I made you in your mother's womb, I chose you. Before you were born, I set you apart for a special work." (1:5, NCV)

You and I may not be called as a prophet to the nations, but God knew us just as well. He knew our personalities. He gave us our talents. He created us purposefully, knowing His plans for us -- even knowing that one day we would marry a pastor.

(Find The Only Acceptance That Matters)
My advice to you is first, look to Jesus for your acceptance, and remain secure in God alone. He made you, after all, and He knew what He was doing! Resist that urge to let anyone else define you or determine your worth.

In Matthew 11, He invites us,
"Come to me, all of you who are tired and have heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Accept my teachings and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in spirit, and you will find rest for your lives. The burden that I ask you to accept is easy; the load I give you to carry is light." (vv. 28-30, NCV)
There is such freedom in those words!

(Find a Place to Belong)
And secondly, balance that by intentionally finding places where you do fit in. You need a life outside of the church walls. Whether it's a hobby, a passion, or an interest; seek out places where others of like mind are gathering.

Or stretch yourself, go to a community class and learn something new. Meet new people along the way. Don't tell them you're a pastor's wife at first. Let them get to know you outside of their preconceived ideas, before they ask what your husband does for a living.

(Find the Lonely)
And finally, I've noticed that when I am feeling lonely or unaccepted, the best place to start is in looking for others who seem alone or like they're not fitting in either. This has been especially true since we've moved halfway across the country.

At church and even at school assemblies, I look for people whom others seem to be ignoring. They're generally happy that someone cares enough to say, "Hello." We minister to each other as we get to know each other.

And we're in good company, as Jesus did the very same thing.

So celebrate the fact that you don't fit into a cookie cutter mold. Enjoy the freedom it brings. You'll be grateful you did, and the next pastor's wife in that church will certainly thank you.

Blessings to you as you let God mold and shape you instead.


Love,
    Ramona

p.s. Are you a square peg, too? Chime in and let our PW know she's not alone. Any other thoughts or advice? Please leave a comment below to help our sister pw out...

Monday, January 30, 2012

perspective...


Noah's family on the ark. Jesus on the cross.

Impossible circumstances? Relentless persecution?
Or God's marvelous stories of redemption?

Perfect obedience, rewarded with thankless work among muck and stench.
Perfect obedience, punished by suffering, torture, and death.

Until the Author pens the denouement...

Then we bow in worship, rejoicing. Still struggling a bit to believe.

If only we could see the rest of the story while we were still in the story...

But where's the faith in that? Where's the belief, trust, and blind obedience?

May we trust the Author of our stories -- 
the One who knows the rest of the story. 

The One who is transforming us through our story.

-rg-


So we do not give up. Our physical body is becoming older and weaker, but our spirit inside us is made new every day. We have small troubles for a while now, but they are helping us gain an eternal glory that is much greater than the troubles. We set our eyes not on what we see but on what we cannot see. What we see will last only a short time, but what we cannot see will last forever. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (NCV)


Friday, January 27, 2012

Weekly Recap: PW Blogs You Don't Want to Miss

It's been a fun week from my end of the world. I have designed, re-designed, and tweaked the colors of this blog; then re-designed and tweaked some more. First, too pink. Then, too brown. I've finally settled on a color scheme I can live with. I hope you like it, too!

I'm so happy to see those of you who have linked up. I appreciate your support as I get this started. Thank you for not leaving me flailing and twisting in the wind. Talking to air is quite lonely!

So on to the blogs...

Each week, I'd like to highlight posts that catch my eye. Words that speak to me, in case you missed out on them speaking to you.

As I was adding blogs to our feed, I took some time to look over them and page through recent posts.

Some of our bloggers use their space mainly for book reviews. One of them is Tracy! (Yes, Tracy, with an exclamation point!) While technically not written this past week, I enjoyed reading Tracy!'s review of The Names of God Bible.

I was so intrigued, that I headed over to CBD (Christian Book Distributors) and viewed their video glimpses for a closer look inside. As I write, I have one ear pealed for the delivery driver who is scheduled to drop that book off on my door step any minute now. Thanks Tracy! I can't wait to get started.

Teri Lynne Underwood is doing a parenting series on her blog right now. Today's post about teaching our children to pray is a must-read. It's short and to-the-point. You'll be instantly challenged and equipped to do better for your children.

Pam has an insightful post about encouraging those around you, called, Giving Away Chips. It has lots of application not only to ministry, but just in how you treat the people around you.

Near and dear to my heart, are posts having to do with parenting special needs children. Tara's post about How Autism Has Changed The Way We Celebrate gives you a look inside her very atypical life. I know, Tara; I've been there. Thank you for being a voice and helping others to understand what they couldn't possibly imagine otherwise.

Denie has a beautiful poem about flying through life. And finally, Carrie at She Thinks to Much gives a tribute to moms and chocolate pudding kisses in her post, Because I'm the Mom, that's why!

It's been a busy week. I know you're busy, too. You're in the midst of a blog redesign, or in the middle of moving your blog to a new platform. Some of you are traveling. Others, like Suzanne, are discovering the beautiful, time-devouring world of Pinterest.

*I hope that those last few sentences didn't sound too much like the gossip column of the small-town newspaper. (Oh, the stories I could tell, haha!)*

Gossip paragraph aside, I appreciate your stopping by in amongst your busy-ness to help the pastor's wife who is moving across the country. And I appreciate your support as I get this blog thing going.

-rg-



Thursday, January 26, 2012

Meet The PW

Each week I'd like to write about you. Who is the pastor's wife behind that blog I follow? I'll conduct an interview of some sort, and you'll be our featured pastor's wife blogger of the week.

During that time, I'll open up the comments section if any of our readers wants to ask you a question. You can then compose a paragraph about yourself, answering any questions you'd like. We'll include that paragraph in your personal listing on our site, along with a link to your blog. We'll also link to any other social media outlets you might use to publicize for your readership.


Does that make sense? Soon, I'll use that section to tell you a little bit more about myself. From then on, we'll open it up to you.

If you'd like to be featured, contact me. Include a short bio (rough draft is fine) and a link to a photo of yourself or your blog logo.

You are welcome to remain anonymous and use a pseudonym instead; but please choose wisely, as it's doubtful I'd be able to keep going back to edit.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

New PW Blogroll Section Just for Book Reviewers

Blogroll update: Some of you have told me that the only reason you blog is to review books. To accommodate you, I've opened up a new blogroll on our site just for pastors' wives who review books. Right now, it's just to the right of our general blogroll. I think this will be a great addition to our community. So, if you'd like your book review blog listed, leave a comment and I'll get you added!


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Pastor's Wife Asks: Moving Cross Country?

Note: If you're a pastor's wife who has a question you'd like answered here, please see our contact page.

From the inbox:
   Q. Hi Everyone! We are moving soon to a different church in a different part of the country. I'm very excited! I would like to hear from other pastors' wives who have moved to a very different area from where they have been before. What recommendations do you have as I begin new relationships and activities?  
Thank you! Linda

Dear Linda, 
First of all, congratulations on the big move! I'm glad to hear you're excited. That enthusiasm will be a close ally for you in the weeks and months ahead -- changes like this are hard, even when they're positive ones.

My advice is to be aggressive in developing relationships and hesitant with your involvement in church activities. That doesn't mean you refuse to lend a hand where it's needed. By all means, pitch in and wash dishes and tables or help organize a short-term project.

But, long-term commitments to a specific ministry within the church? They can wait.

I generally allow myself at least 6 months to become familiar with the new church family and its ministries before taking any plunges. It's a tough adjustment -- a frustrating time when you're itching to use your gifts that suddenly feel so squelched; but oftentimes it is necessary.

I've learned that just because God called me to help with _____ ministry in our previous church, does not automatically mean that He wants me to do the exact same thing at the next one. He may have someone else for that job.

A new assignment generally requires new instructions. Pray, wait, watch, and listen; then listen, watch, wait, and pray some more!

In the meantime, get to know the people around you. Get to know the culture and its nuances. Since you're moving so far away, the people will be very different. You need to spend some time just grasping the social norms of the area, in order to help yourself adjust.


Use that precious free time (that will fade away all-too-quickly) to invite people over for meals and to go places where you'll find people in the community with similar interests. You will cherish those relationships during times when loneliness sets in.

Speaking of loneliness -- think ahead to times when you're most likely to feel isolated. Go ahead and make some tentative plans to be somewhere else on those days with people you enjoy. Start some new traditions. Give yourself something to look forward to, rather than something to dread.

And most of all, take it easy on yourself. Even in the best of situations, you may find yourself in tears at times, wishing you were back home. You may want to journal your thoughts or call a trusted friend -- whatever helps you process through the emotions.

Blessings on your upcoming move.
Love,
    Ramona

p.s. Do you have any thoughts for the pastor's wife moving across the country? Any thoughts on the advice already given? Leave a comment below to help a sister pw out...



Monday, January 23, 2012

Monday Morning Hideout

Ever find yourself in a post-adrenaline let-down on a Monday morning? I know I do. Sometimes, well... many times, I just want to crawl deeper under the covers and hide from the world, or at least drown out the sound of that annoying alarm clock.

This month I've begun taking my young women's class through the Old Testament narrative. One of the connecting themes between this week and last week has been "hiding from God". (Put a star by your name if you instantly knew both stories we've been studying! Otherwise, I'll wait here while you grab another cup of coffee ;-) But seriously...

 Can we really hide from God? 

No way!

8 If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.9 If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,10 Even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me.11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, And the light around me will be night,”12 Even the darkness is not dark to You, And the night is as bright as the day. (Psalm 139 NASB)

And really, thank God for that! Thank God we cannot hide the ugliness eating us up inside from the Lord [who] is Peace. Thank God our troubling, inmost thoughts lay bare before Him, the God who sees. Thank God our worries, our cares, our anger, our pain, our sadness, our arrogance, our struggles, our fears...

...anything else that might torment us or hold us back or rob us of life...

are unhidden. 

Uncovered, 

by a holy & loving God who seeks us out;

and simply asks, 

"Why are you hiding?"



                                                 -Ramona



Saturday, January 21, 2012

Getting To Know You...

For those of you who have already joined our listing service, we may need to divide it up into categories as more people join. We'll still keep the main list; but to better serve you, we'll also pick a few of the more popular categories to feature separately on our site. So tell us, what best describes you/your blog? Here are some sections we might have:

Senior Pastor's Wife 

Youth Pastor's Wife

Small Church -- 
(1 pastor with maybe 1 other part-time staff person)

Overseas Missionaries

PW's with Special Needs Children

PW's Who Do Book Reviews -- 
(are they occasional reviews or is that the main purpose of your blogging?)

PW's Who Write Devotionals

Any Other Suggestions?

Are you in a particular situation and would like to connect with other pw's who are in that situation?

I look forward to hearing back. :-)


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