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.

stay in touch:

add our pastor's wife blog to your reader reader | receive updates from our pastors wives blogroll via email via email | pastors wives connect on twitter @pwconnect & PW List | connect with other pastors' wives on facebook @pwconnect |  @pwconnect | Follow Me on Pinterest PW Pins

Showing posts with label pastorswives. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pastorswives. Show all posts

30 January

Responding to Gossip With Wisdom

"Can you believe what she said about me????"

"I feel like I'm always being talked about behind my back."

"It seems like people are always judging me."

How many times have we thought--or even said--things like this?  Nothing is more hurtful than being talked about or judged!  Sometimes it seems like pastor's wives are a target of such gossip more than is their "fair share".  But what does the Bible say about being criticized like this?

One of the most unique books in the Bible is Ecclesiastes.  It is one of Solomon's books of wisdom, and it is written in a more conversational tone than Proverbs is.  It kind of feels like having a heart-to-heart chat with Solomon himself.  

Solomon, inspired by the Holy Spirit, has an interesting opinion on how we should handle gossip.  Ecclesiastes 7:21-22 says, "Also take no heed unto all words that are spoken; lest thou hear thy servant curse thee: For oftentimes also thine own heart knoweth that thou thyself likewise hast cursed others."  It is so amazing how a Book written centuries ago can still be relevant today!  Human nature doesn't change.  Solomon is saying, "Hey--don't bother listening to everything people say, because if you do, you're probably going to hear someone say something bad about you.  But that's no reason to get upset, because you know very well that you have occasionally said disparaging things about others."  Basically, it's part of life that people are going to say negative things about other people.  There's no way around it.  You will eventually be gossiped about, if you haven't been already.  So the best way to handle it is to ignore it, and to remind ourselves that we haven't alawaysbeen gracious to others, either.

So that means we can just go ahead and gossip, as long as we don't get mad if we are the target--right?  Wrong!  Solomon has something to say about that, too.  Ecclesiastes 10:20 tells us, "Curse not the king, no not in thy thought; and curse not the rich in thy bedchamber: for a bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter."  (As a side note, the famous saying, "A little birdie told me," comes directly from this passage). Solomon reminds us that gossip will almost always get us in trouble.   He says we shouldn't even think something hurtful about someone else in our mind (that's a tough one!) because it will usually end up getting around to the wrong person.  How many times have we had that happen--we said something we thought was safe, and it ended up getting us into a tight situation?  It's  not fun, and it can really mess up our testimony.  

Obviously, gossip isn't something that should be allowed as a regular thing in our churches.  God hates gossip and the sowing of discord among brothers and sisters in Christ.  We should all be striving for love and unity in our churches.  However, it is inevitable that we will occasionally hear something negative being said about us.  How do we handle it?  Just ignore it.  Remember we aren't perfect, and we have done the same thing to others at some point.  In God's eyes, it is much better to be gossiped about than to be the one gossiping.  So, in 2017, remember not to listen to everything being said around you. Sometimes ignorance really is bliss.

About the Author:

Suzy Vanhoose is the wife of Pastor Danny Vanhoose from Grace Independent Baptist Church in the suburbs of Philadelphia. They have four sons, and have served at their church for over fourteen years.  Suzy is also a high school teacher at a local Christian school. When she isn't busy with church, school, and family, Suzy enjoys reading books, writing poetry, baking, and anything else that isn't housework.

24 January

Honoring Our Husbands Among Friends

By  Carole Sparks.

It’s a natural thing for married women. We get together. We talk. And often, the talk turns to our husbands. Then the talk of husbands turns downward. We begin to joke or complain about them. How often do you hear a wife praise her husband when she’s with her girlfriends? Not often? Me either. Perhaps it’s humility that stops us; no one wants to brag or be thought prideful, but perhaps—and let’s be brutally honest here—it’s just more fun and makes us feel superior to share their failures.

When you’re hanging out with your church friends and your husband is also their pastor, you simply cannot play this game! In order to fulfill his God-given responsibility as the church’s leader, he must be respected by the membership. In order for your girlfriends to submit to His leadership, they must honor him. Detailing your husband’s faults, however humorous, derails that respect.

  -Proverbs 31:23

This is one of the biggest challenges I faced as a new minister’s wife. I wanted to be accepted in my ladies-only Sunday School class. I wanted my peers to treat me like “one of the girls,” not like a party-pooper pastor’s wife who frowned on their fun. I had already learned, however, that husbands need respect in their marriages more than anything else. Emerson Eggerichs, in Love & Respect, encourages wives to guard their tongues and never tell stories that demean their husbands, neither in his presence nor in his absence.

It was hard, though, because my husband has committed some doozies, and they are fun-ny! I learned to ask his permission before sharing any story that was even slightly negative, and to be sure I included how he resolved the situation as part of the story.

But more importantly, I learned to think about my husband differently, to “take captive every thought” about him in particular (in the spirit of 2 Corinthians 10:5). Honoring my husband had to start in my heart.

Over time, I commandeered Philippians 4:8 for my purposes. While this isn’t exactly what Paul intended when he wrote it, I think this application fits into the purpose of the text. Try it with me. I’ve added blanks to the verse. Put your husband’s name there.

Finally, …self, whatever is true about _____________, whatever is noble about _____________, whatever is right about _____________, whatever is pure about _____________, whatever is lovely about _____________, whatever is admirable about _____________—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy in _____________—think about such things.  -Philippians 4:8, with additions

Can you think of one true thing about your husband? One lovely thing? One praiseworthy thing? By stopping each negative thought and instead willing yourself to “think about such things” as these, you will gradually transform your perspective on your husband and find you don’t even want to tell the embarrassing stories.

The wife must respect her husband. -Ephesians 5:33b

I still have to apologize to my husband sometimes because I’ve spoken without thinking and dishonored him among friends, but this practice of thinking on the positive things has protected his honor and—bonus!—improved our marriage.

About the author:

Carole Sparks is passionate about God’s Word—about how it can change our everyday lives! After years of globetrotting, she now lives, learns, and loves (plus a good bit of writing) in the hills of East Tennessee. Connect with Carole through her website, http://carolesparks.com or her blog, http://notaboutme1151.wordpress.com.

You can also find Carole on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

25 September

Reviving Our PastorsWives Ministry Part 2: The PW Blog

Last week we successfully revived our message board for pastors' wives. I was thrilled to literally see the board coming back to life in the forum statistics -- like a heart beat on a monitor!

I also hinted at more to come. And today, it's time to announce phase two:

If you saw our call for writers or have connected with us on social media, you may already know that we're taking the PastorsWives.Com blog up a notch, with a team of contributors posting regularly to encourage and support ministry wives.

I'm excited to announce our first official post from that team is scheduled for this week -- 

Tuesday Sept. 27th, to be exact. 

Be sure to follow us by e-mail so that you don't miss a post, or subscribe to our newsletter for a monthly digest of all posts.

More about Tuesday's post in a second, but first a very special thanks to...

Leigh Powers -- Leigh blogs about faith, life, and kingdom living at My Life, His Story. Her e-book, How Do I Forgive? -- offered to subscribers of her personal blog, is a blessing to read.

Last summer, as we discussed revitalizing our pastors' wife message board; Leigh approached me, offering to help recruit/organize writers and schedule/publicize their posts. That's what I've wanted for this blog all along, and so I'm beyond thrilled to have her come alongside. What a blessing she is!

And now back to this week's featured author...

We'll be hearing from Deb Harrold. She is a pastor's wife, mother, grandmother, nurse, and ladies Bible teacher. For a preview of the wisdom she'll share with us on Tuesday, you can visit her blog, Out of the Misty Flats.

Hope to see you on the message board today, and hope to see you back here on the blog this Tuesday!

 (Oh, and if you're having trouble getting in to the pastor's wife forum, please check your e-mail (including the spam folder) for a message with more information. And if you've already been approved, be sure that you're logging in to see all the posts -- some have had trouble finding the link to log-in.


18 September

It's Time to Re-Launch our PastorsWives Ministry!

  The day has come! September 19th has been circled on our calendars for months. It's finally here, and we are over-the-moon excited!

For what, you might ask? Well, for many, many years there had been this really neat message board and website for pastors' wives. How exciting it was over the years as one by one we each found it. Wow! Someone who knows me. Someone who gets me!

For a while, it thrived. Then it ebbed and flowed. We lost members when the software had a necessary but confusing upgrade. Others were widowed, and still others left vocational ministry. Life happened. Facebook happened. But through it all, some of us have always been there ready to lend a shoulder or a listening ear.

Until one day in early June someone asked, "Where is everybody?"

So we prayed. We talked. And we decided that despite all other social media, our message forum for pastors' wives is still a valuable ministry.

So we prayed some more and put our heads together. We decided on a re-launch week (September 19th-26th).

I cleaned, organized, and simplified. I paid to make the forum ad-free. We decided that if everyone who would love to see our message board thrive again would show up at the same time with things to discuss, we'd have the energy and critical mass to get things going again.

So, here we are. Showing up! Won't you join us? 

To register, use the above link or click here.

And please, connect with us. The message board re-launch is just the beginning!

12 September

Retreats and Conferences for PastorsWives

As we are getting ready to re-launch our pastors' wives ministry, I have compiled a list of retreats and conferences that are geared specifically for pastors' wives. Most of them are in the United States. Many of them are happening very soon! Perhaps there's one in your area?

BethNuah offers retreats at no cost for ministers’ wives. http://bethnuahministries.com/

Psalm One Ministries -- in 2016, Psalm One hosted retreats in Ohio & Wisconsin during February, and will host pastors' wives Sept. 30th-Oct 2nd in Pennsylvania.

Just Between Us - Women's Conference October 4th-6th, 2016 in Westboro, Wisconsin. Just Between Us has historically served pastors' wives and women in ministry.

Leading and Loving It -- Re:treat in Las Vegas, Nevada October 25-27th, 2016 for pastors' wives and women in ministry.

The Confidante for Pastors' Wives retreat, scheduled for April 28-30, 2017 in Orlando, Florida.

Photo from Fairhaven Ministries.
Pastors' Wives Retreat September 15-17, 2016 at Fairhaven Ministries in the Blue Ridge Mountains of East Tennessee.

Call 423-772-4269 for details or e-mail info.fairhavenministries@gmail.com -- it may be too late for this year, but it's not too early to get on their mailing list for next year.

Sandy Cove Ministries Calendar Sandy Cove Ministries in Maryland has previously held a Pastors' Wives Connection. Currently their calendar has mini-sabbaticals available.

Lois Evans Video archive from Lois Evans, who has previously hosted a First Lady Conference in Dallas, Texas.

If you know of a pastor's wife conference that's not listed, including those not in the U.S., please leave a comment and I will update this post with your information.


25 August

Writers Wanted for PastorsWives.com

Are you a ministry wife who also writes? We're looking for you!

In September we will be relaunching PWConnect (PastorsWives.com) with a new team of contributing writers. If you want to help us encourage and support ministry wives, we'd love to hear from you.

Here's a little of what we're looking for:

The purpose of PastorsWives.Com is to nurture and champion ministry wives. We offer resources, devotions, articles, testimonies and encouragement to support wives of pastors, ministers, and missionaries in their family and ministry. We are currently looking for posts related to the following topics:

  • Establishing boundaries in ministry
  • Developing friendships
  • Tips for raising PK's
  • Life in the fishbowl
  • Pastor's wife humor
  • Encouragement and devotions
  • Creative outreach ideas
  • Tips for handling church conflict
  • Advice for ministry transitions
  • Maintaining your own spiritual health
  • Marriage and ministry
We prefer the tone of our articles to be that of someone who is walking alongside. Be truthful and realistic, yet leave our readers with hope. Please avoid "what not to say/do" posts in favor of "what to say/do for someone who is _______________." We also ask that all posts be in accordance with our statement of faith.

We have spots for regular contributors still open, as well as guest posting opportunities. If you are interested in writing for us, please let us know. You can contact Leigh at contact {at} leighpowers {dot} com, or use our contact form to let us know of your interest. We're looking forward to hearing from you!

Image Credit: Royalty free image purchased via Lightstock.

01 July

Leigh Powers Writes: Where Can a Pastor's Wife Find Pastoral Care

Where do you find pastoral care when you’re married to the pastor–or you are the pastor? Who shepherds the shepherd? Leigh Powers provides five strategies for ministry wives to find pastoral care. Read more at: http://leighpowers.com/2016/06/28/shepherding-shepherd/

image link to article on pastoral care for pastors' wives

22 March

PW Blog Roundup & Link-Up, Plus Speak Out: Churches Losing our Youth

The re-launching continues! I don't know if I'll do this the same every week, but in addition to linking up your favorite post of the week, I'd love to hear comments back from you regarding young people leaving the church.

Jen Hatmaker posted an article recently about how a conference un-invited her to speak. While, I don't necessarily agree with every single thought she expressed, her post was well-written and just reached out and grabbed me this week for two reasons:

One: Why are we majoring in molehills when the mountains are slipping through our fingers? In her case, it was partly because of a joke about alcohol. But, that's not the only molehill around.

I understand the need for solid Bible scholarship, and I'm a bit of a Bible nerd myself. But, I see people debating and dissecting minutiae, tearing others down over it, and I'm broken for us that we're distracted from what really matters. (God, please forgive me for every single time I've done this myself.)

I feel like we're too busy keeping the house in order that we're not sitting at the feet of Jesus, nor following Him into our broken worlds, nor even engaging the brokenness right there in our own midst. We wound and then we bleed as our young people leave.

I fear that we turn so many people away when we turn on each other. (Ann Voskamp has a beautiful post about that, if you have time to click over.)

But, that's only part of why I'm broken. It goes much deeper and hurts right there in the middle of my heart.

I'm broken because it's MY son in danger of being lost, and I'm grieved to my core over it. Before, it was all just a sad statistic. But now that it's my statistic, I take it very personally.

I have some thoughts on that and the why's, but I'll leave that for another time. Let's just say that leaving a thriving church in a familiar culture and moving to a smaller church in need of revitalization has cost us in a way we did not foresee. For now, I'm praying and working on where to get him involved so that he's not lost altogether. I'd also like to hear back from you.

Sunday Women put a thoughtful post up this week on helping youth find a place to serve in church. (A real place, not just filling grunt work roles.) I think that's part of it. No doubt our churches need to help our teens identify their gifts and learn to minister in their sweet spots.

But what else?

Some more food for thought:

I went searching the web for an article I found several years ago and finally found it:

Almost Christian

In the process, I also found this:

Sticky Faith

As you have time this week or weekend, please read and ponder. Our link up this week is not limited to this topic, but if you blog about young people leaving the church or successes your church has had in slowing the flow, please let me know in the comments as well.

Now, in case I've confused you with too many words, please link up your favorite post(s) from this month. Since it's been a while and we're still a pretty small community, feel free to link up a few. And if you have something to say about young people leaving the church, please speak out in the comments --> (comments). 


11 March

Bad Advice: "God Will Fix It," I Said

She's a nurse. More specifically, she's a single mom who worked hard to put herself through school. No doubt she sacrificed to do it, and I'm sure money was still pretty tight even after she graduated.

Still, she made a tough decision.

No pressure at all from us, but she came to believe that her second part-time job took her out of church way too often, so she gave her notice and announced it on facebook.

So far, so good. But then I opened my mouth (albeit via my fingers).

"What a hard decision," I affirmed,"but I fully believe God will honor that and replace your lost income."

As I walked away from the computer screen, I began questioning myself. This is nothing new -- I second-guess myself and my actions mercilessly. I've learned to endure it and move on, lest I never do or say anything, ever.

But this time it was different. "How do you know that God will replace those funds?" and "What will happen to her faith if you tell her that and then He doesn't?" kept echoing in my mind.

And so I listened to the questions, and thought about why I'd ever said or written a statement like that. Truth is, the best I could come up with is that I'd heard other people say that very same thing. Likely, they had a similar personal experience and God did reward their faithfulness. But does their experience mean that material reward for a sacrifice is guaranteed?

Certainly, we see in the Bible stories of God's faithfulness. He did prosper people monetarily. But if I really ponder, it's tough to come up with a time when someone had it easy because they made a tough choice. Often, those choices cost them, sometimes dearly; though there may have been a reward of some kind later down the road.

Yesterday my class was discussing a passage from Exodus 4 and 5. Moses had gathered the leaders of Israel and told them of God's plan to free them, showing them some of the signs God empowered them to give. In faith, the leaders sent Moses and Aaron off to Pharaoh with their full blessing. The reward? Their oppression was worsened and the Israelites called for God to judge Moses and Aaron because of it.

Yes, God did eventually secure their freedom, and they even plundered the Egyptians for material blessings; but I'm pretty sure that during the time of the plagues, they still had to make their bricks without straw.

"But Where is Your Faith?" you might ask me.

I would say that my faith is not in believing that if I do the right thing, God will always bless me in the way I see fit. I believe that true faith is doing what you know is right in spite of the consequences.

Yes, God rescued Daniel from the lion's den. But His rescue of Stephen looked very different. Stephen's reward for faithfulness was seeing Jesus standing in his honor as he was martyred.

Of all the stands for God people have made, the one that challenges me the most is that of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego:
 “Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves to you. If you throw us into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from the furnace. He will save us from your power, O king. But even if God does not save us, we want you, O king, to know this: We will not serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.” (Daniel 3:16-18, NCV)
Yes, God CAN save me and/or bless me; but even if He does not, I will obey Him. That's the attitude I long to have for all of my decisions, big or small.

THAT is faith. THAT is counting the cost (Luke 14:28). We may still feel like backing out when our faith is put to the test, but fully appreciating ahead of time what is on the line can help us prepare for tough times that may come.

So, the next time I see the woman whom I encouraged with bad advice, I'll tell her that my words were well-intentioned, but wrong. May God help me to give her true encouragement for her journey instead.

Have you ever given someone advice and regretted it later? 


27 March

Pastor's Wife in Training (Plus WITB Coupon)

Do you ever wish there had been a class or something for pastors' wives? (No, I'm not talking about the satirical fake class featured in fictional Lark News!)

I look at my pastor husband. Besides his 500-hour seminary degree (hyperbole alert), he's also had specific training in substance abuse counseling, and the experience benefit from a chaplain internship at a mental health facility.

Me? Not so much.

I'm just me. I read my Bible. I pray. I commune. Sure, some nuggets of wisdom may rub off on me over time; but so many times even today, I feel ill-equipped.

It's funny, because I'm the first one to tell other pastors' wives to just be who God made them to be. "Love God and love people! That's all you need to do," I've said too many times to count now.

Still, sometimes that doesn't feel like enough. I wish I had taken a class to refine my people skills.

I'm not Mrs. Pastor. Never have viewed myself that way. But there are times when people come to me when they should really go to him. But for whatever reason, they feel more comfortable talking to me.

I pray hard and try to treat the situation as a friend talking to another friend. Yet, there's this nagging feeling that the other person does not see it that way...

You, too?


Pastors' Wives On Facebook