Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Never Gets Old

I'm reminded this morning that a year ago today we were celebrating this:

This never, ever, EVER gets old. So very grateful.

Monday, July 30, 2012

God, Save Us From Our Wants

I have a confession that some will not appreciate. I'm SO SICK of the sentiment, "You can be/do/accomplish anything you WANT if you just put your mind to it!" So ME-focused.


Surely, my "wanter" is as defective as they come--filled with sin of every kind based in pride, selfishness, laziness, doubt, etc., etc., etc. 

As are those of our children.  Do we really want to feed this mindset?

Can we please change the conversation? What about, "You can WANT the very things that God desires for you if you set your mind to prayer!" Less popular for sure, but I SO long to teach my children to WANT what God wants (only by grace) rather than to chase what THEY want.

Any suggestions for learning how to do that better are more than welcome.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Good List 7-25-12

10. The dog in The Artist. I pretty much want him.
9. Magic Wings butterfly conservatory. I've never seen so many butterflies in one place, and some of them were HUGE. Gorgeous.

8. Friends who take the time and make the effort to send encouragement right when they can tell you need it most.
7. Macy and I had a very rare "just the two of us" evening together last night. And, I mean, what better to do than build the Eiffel Tower, right? Fun times.

6. Watching so many of our church members love on Jared Sunday after what they knew had been a rough week. They love him (and our whole family) so well!
5. The colors of nature.

4. On Sunday afternoon, Grace sat on the couch and looked at scrapbooks for hours. Every now and then, she would get up and come give me a huge hug in response to something I had written or as a thank you for a favorite memory she recalled. It was pretty much awesome.
3. I have 8 family members leaving for mission trips in the next few days. So grateful for and proud of my family. 
2. Truth. Grateful that it will prevail. Not always immediately, but always certainly. I will take the latter.
1. A Savior who comforts and sanctifies simultaneously.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

One Heart, One Voice

My heart cried out as we sang this song this morning. Especially the "one heart, one voice" part. I can't wait for that.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

So Grateful for Jared Wilson

Hi, there! I'm Jared Wilson's wife. If anyone reading this follows him at all, I'm sure you're aware of the craziness that occurred today. I mean. . .  seriously CRAZY!

I have no intent to link to any of it or draw your attention further to it. (It got ugly pretty quickly.)

But for what it's worth, I thought I would post my own follow-up (for the 4 of you who might read this :-D). I'm no expert on much of anything, and I'm not looking for an argument. But this might be the one area I know better than most. As Jared's wife, I'm *pretty sure* I am more aware of his intentions and behaviors related to sex and his views of it than most. And as such, I would like to say that he is the OPPOSITE of a misogynist and vehemently opposed to rape or forceful /overpowering /humiliating /degrading sex of any kind. There are some who disagree with me on those points, but I'm honestly baffled as to how they know this--especially in response to a blog post that was AGAINST these very things. But I digress. . .

Jared does, however, conquer (to gain, win, or obtain by effort) my heart daily because of his sacrificial provision, his tender love, and his humble service to my daughters and me, his selfless service to our church, and his unwavering commitment to and passion for Jesus and the Gospel.

For those who care, I just thought I would make that information available.

The Good List 7-18-12

10. Wall-E. I forgot how much I liked that movie until we watched it again with the kids last week.
9. Libraries. Here is someone's definition of the 25 most beautiful public libraries in the world. They're gorgeous, but I'm not picky. Any ol' library will do for me as long as it has BOOKS!
8. An extra cup of coffee on a rainy day.
7. Rain.
6. Morphine. Jared had a kidney stone earlier this week, which made us very grateful for pain medication. Poor guy!
5. Pastor Roland showed up at our house within minutes of returning from the ER to check on Jared and pray for him. Love that precious man!
4. And then JoJo and Jon showed up a few hours later with a scrumptious homemade dinner. Love them to pieces!
3. My sweet, sweet Macy and Grace who sat in the car in the hospital parking lot for about 5 hours while I ran back and forth between them and the ER. They were so sweet and patient and loving and encouraging through the entire ordeal!
2. My friend Jennifer. We haven't seen each other in person in years, but she is bringing her whole family to come see me in Vermont in just a few weeks! Also--the last time I called her she was in Africa in a way different time zone, and I totally woke her up in the middle of the night. But she answered that phone anyway and didn't even growl at me. This is how I know she loves me. :-D
1. Our sweet church welcomed 4 new members and witnessed 6 baptisms on Sunday. A miracle any way you look at it. Such a special day!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Oh, Glorious Day!

Yesterday we welcomed 4 new members and witnessed 6 baptisms within our sweet little rural Vermont church family. This is a miracle no matter how you look at it.

And something occurred to me. God no more needs me here than a Texan needs a heater in July. Who am I to deserve to be a part of this? No one. I am no one at all. But also, because of Jesus, I am a child of God who has been invited into his work and ministry. OH, how overwhelmed and grateful am I for that truth!

My heart overflowed as Jared baptized 3 incredible men and one special lady, and then he stepped aside and watched 2 of those men baptize their wives. So special!

Buried with Christ in baptism. . .

. . . and raised to walk in newness of life. 

This never gets old. May we witness such things eagerly and often. Make it so, Lord!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Prepare Yourself, Then Rest Well

Several weeks ago, I posted this list of ways that being a pastor's wife is both the most difficult and the most fulfilling life I can imagine. The responses I received confirmed that I am not alone in my thinking, but they also suggested that maybe there is a need for some practical ways to focus on the fulfillment side of that equation rather than so easily feeling smothered by the difficulty.

Certainly there are myriad resources which are far more helpful than *me,* but here is my best attempt to follow up to my previous thoughts.

If the question is, "How do I find joy in my role even when I feel surrounded by challenges that I am unequipped to handle," my first response is this--you do so very imperfectly. We all do. It's called being human rather than divine. BUT the response I like much better is this--ALMIGHTY GOD has your back. Big time. And he's better than perfect, because even the idea of perfect is limited by human definition. SO--in short, the way you find joy as a pastor's wife is to prepare yourself for the worst and then trust God to make it the best. Easier said than done, right? Yep. It is. Here's a little more to elaborate on that thought (but it's still easier to write than do)--

Keep in mind that these examples are offering some of the "worst" things you can expect. This is not to suggest you will always be entrenched in all things negative. This is simply to help with the advice above. PREPARE for the worst. If your experience is not so bad, praise God! 

To continue--

If you are a pastor's wife, part of your husband's job is to speak out against sin. Hopefully, never without following up with a message of grace. But even so, generally speaking, people don't enjoy this. Pray that God will bless you with congregants who receive the sharpening well and REJOICE when that happens, but realistically, you shouldn't expect this to be the norm. As my husband would say, people don't like to to be poked in their idols. At best, it may make them sulky or depressed or uncomfortable around you. But worse, it might make them angry and belligerent toward your husband and maybe even your entire family. Simply stated, you absolutely MUST NOT allow yourself to take this personally. God is in the business of sanctification. Just pray and let him do his job. When you see people finding freedom in Christ from the bondage of sin, it will more than outweigh any frustrations you face in relationships that aren't quite there yet.

If your husband is proclaiming the gospel regularly, without question, there will be those who disagree with him. The Bible promises this. The gospel is foolishness to those who are perishing, and any pastoral role should include proclaiming the gospel to those who don't know it yet. Pray that God will soften hearts and have the good news find purchase in their souls, but until that happens, be aware that many will disagree with the message and some may do so in unsavory or even vitriolic ways. Don't lose heart. I assure you this is a better scenario than speaking only to those who are in 100% agreement. When that is the case, evangelism likely isn't taking place. Though not always (in the case of arguments which are about something other than the gospel message), many times disagreements indicate that seeds are being planted. It may appear that the soil is rocky or dry, but that is not your concern, nor your husband's. Your call is to be obedient to share the message he's given you and support your husband as he does the same. God will sort out the rest. Rest in the confidence that you don't have to (nor can you) be in charge of changing people's hearts or behavior.

Because of the fact that much of your husband's communication is one-sided, there is a strong possibility he will be misunderstood at times, maybe often. Sermons and writings and other forms of communication that don't involve interactive dialog allow ample opportunity for misunderstanding and misinterpretation. Pray for and BE GRATEFUL FOR those who will take the time to follow up and clarify concerns. Many times these are some of the most beneficial conversations you or your husband will have. However, realize that just like you, everyone you or your husband communicates with in any form is a sinner. This means they may very well respond in sinful ways, making assumptions or even accusations that just aren't true or relevant. The further you or your husband's ministry reaches, the more likely these scenarios may be. People may assume they know him (or you) based on what they've read or heard, when very seldom do they have complete information which gives them a balanced or accurate picture. 

Jared has been accused of some truly vile behaviors toward me and his children, which are nowhere close to reality, but for whatever reason, it doesn't always occur to readers or listeners that reading one blog post or listening to one sermon doesn't make them an expert on his intentions or behavior. Loving your husband means these kinds of reactions to him will be hurtful to you. My advice is to simply avoid those conversations if you can. I used to want to read and hear everything that was ever said about Jared. I checked his blog almost daily, and I asked him about every negative reaction to his sermons. I don't recommend this behavior at all. It did little more than make me angry and bitter, which was in no way helpful to me OR him. I've learned that my energy is much better spent loving my husband well so that he is equipped and encouraged to respond appropriately to those who don't love him quite so much (or in some cases not at all). So unlike I used to do, don't read negative comments if you don't have to and don't ask him to repeat hurtful conversations he's had if you don't need to be involved. Pray for and encourage your husband often so that when these attacks come, he is strong and confident to respond appropriately. If you are already aware of a hurtful response, remember that the person causing the hurt is likely hurting themselves. And certainly they are a sinner in need of grace. Do your very best to pray for them rather than reciprocate. At the very least, pray for them (and yourself!) BEFORE you respond to them. And pray OFTEN that God will help you AND your husband to live for an audience of one better each day so that your confidence in Christ far outweighs the less than encouraging opinions of others.

Since your life is somewhat "public," people will assume they know much more about you than they actually do. This is especially true when you turn down invitations or don't show up to every activity in the community. If you tell someone you have plans and then they drive by and see your car in your driveway, their response may be less than charitable. You could be in there preparing 10 meals for those in need, counseling someone via phone or internet, organizing Bible studies, or even on your face before the Lord in earnest intercessory prayer. But if you aren't doing what *they* think you should be doing in that moment, their assumptions many times will not drift toward a favorable opinion. Some will assume that a car in the driveway means you're in there sitting on your couch eating chocolate bon-bons. I know that's crazy, but I promise it's more true than you know. This is also challenging as it relates to the way you react to certain situations in life. If you display hope and joy even when times are tough, many assume that your life is easy and stress-free. On the other hand, if you struggle openly, even if not often, those same people might assume your faith isn't strong enough. Again, it is critically important to rest in the arms of your Father and dialog with him regularly. If you submit to him first and foremost, misinformed opinions will not plague you as though they are of first importance. This is not to say that you ignore those who desire to hold you accountable and sharpen you. You are a sinner. You will mess up. People are not wrong to point that out appropriately. But when false accusations or misguided assumptions arise, freedom in Christ will be your strength.

Remember that you and your husband are both sinners. This might seem like a strange point to make, but stay with me. The life of a pastor and his wife should not be one of constant defense mode. Neither you nor he is perfect, and you shouldn't live as though it is your job to make everyone believe that you are. Accept your weaknesses as a way to boldly exhibit Christ's strength. Allow people to see sanctification happening over time in your life. This will likely be your strongest ministry to many. Far better that they should watch you transforming gradually into the image of Christ than to be convinced you're perfect and then see you fail. Tell them what the Gospel can do for them, and then SHOW them by the way you allow it to transform YOU. Additionally, recognizing your own standing as a sinner in constant and desperate need of grace enables you to extend grace to others more readily. If I know that I am the worst of sinners, all others are easier to love and forgive.

And the very best advice I can give in regard to pretty much any situation is this--

Pray. Pray again. And then pray some more. I can't stress this enough. It is not only your best defense against the challenges of a life of ministry. It is your only effective defense. Do it as often as you possibly can, and ask God each time you pray to help you pray more and help you want to pray more and help you love to pray more. You will never regret time in sincere prayer. That might be the only promise I can make you regarding a life in ministry, but I do promise that. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Sanctification means (among many other things). . .

. . . finding yourself in a troublesome situation and thinking, "I wonder how God will carry me through this" instead of "Oh no. What am *I* going to do about this?"

. . . discovering that your *new* first instinct when your children mess up is to grab them and hug them as tight as you can rather than yelling at them.

. . . realizing that the opinions of human beings matter less and less to you, especially if they are opposed to your convictions to be obedient to God.

. . . loosening your grip on "stuff" over a period of time without even realizing you've done so. 

. . . understanding your weaknesses as opportunities to represent Christ's strength.

. . . desiring to celebrate the successes of others rather than become jealous of them.

. . . craving time in prayer and communion with God.

. . . hoping for encounters with people who need Jesus even though those encounters take you out of your comfort zone.

. . . seeing service people as human souls created by God rather than servants who owe you something.

. . . counting blessings far more often than you dwell on wants.

. . . casting aside worry, fear and doubt because you serve a Savior who has proven himself trustworthy over and over again.

. . . losing your taste for things that aren't pleasing to God.

. . . refusing to embrace entitlement or self-absorption.

. . . choosing joy regardless of circumstances.

. . . caring for the least of these quietly (without need of recognition).

. . . boasting in Christ and Christ ALONE.

Each of these is a miracle God performs in the hearts of his children. May we never take credit for improvement in any of these areas as though we have worked hard enough to achieve them on our own. We should no more boast in these accomplishments than a baby in the womb should claim he brought about his own conception.

BUT may we marvel at and revel in the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. May we rest in the confidence that He loves us so big and so well, so mightily and so powerfully. And may we ever ENJOY community and relationship with our Savior. Jesus, thank you for your refining work in us, apart from which we are hopeless and worthless. So grateful that you promise not to leave us that way.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Good List 7-11-12

10. Cleaned out closets. Ah, to be able to open the door and immediately locate whatever it is you need to find in there. :-D
9. Junk Gypsies. Fun ideas, and I love their voices!
8. River tubes are on the way to us! We found an awesome deal and bought tubes for basically the same price as one trip to rent them. SO--FREE tubing from now on! (Thanks for the tip to the ad, Connie!)
7. Macy has decided she enjoys helping with laundry. And I mean--who am I to steal her joy, right? ;-)
6. Madagascar 3. Very sweet and fun and funny. And COLORFUL!
5. The new Christmas ornament Macy made for me "just because." 

4. Play date with the utterly fabulous Kim Carr TODAY!!! (which means the girls get to swim while Kim and I chill and chat together--all followed by a picnic lunch, so pretty much the perfect summer day!) I love her so much!
3. Happy children.
2. Lunch date on the calendar with new friends that God just recently moved to New England. So excited to meet with them and hear more of their story and what God is doing in their lives!
1. There is a gentleman who visited our church last fall after not attending *any* church for 44 years. He hasn't missed a Sunday since, and Jared will have the great joy and honor of baptizing him on Sunday. OH, THANK YOU, JESUS!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Gospel Deeps Endorsements

So grateful and overwhelmed by the support Jared is receiving for his upcoming new release, Gospel Deeps.

“Too many of us treat the gospel as somebody else’s news. We know it’s what saved us, but we encounter it only as we overhear ourselves rehearsing it to unbelievers. Or, we treat the gospel as some law of supernatural Quantum physics—holding everything together but too complicated to think about very much. That’s a dry, flat, and depressing way to live. This brilliant, winsome book calls us back to the exhilarating bigness of the gospel, in a way that can spark up every day with crucified power. Read this book. It’s like a gospel fountain flowing, deep and wide.”
Russell D. Moore, Dean, School of Theology; Senior Vice President for Academic Administration; Professor of Theology and Ethics, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

“The gospel of Jesus Christ offers to us spiritual riches that exceed our wildest imaginations. Gospel Deeps is a delightful ledger of sorts to these riches. As one of the top writers in the church today, Jared Wilson labors hard to surface great gospel truth with clarity and brilliance, and in language that carries with it a steady overtone of delight. He says it well, ‘If Christ is true then boredom is a sin.’ Yes! And because Christ is true, and because Jared knows it, I dare you to find a boring page in this book.”
Tony Reinke

“If your faith in Christ is shallow, this is not the book for you. But if you are suffering, if you are sinning, if you are broken, and you need a big Savior, Jared Wilson’s Gospel Deeps might take you deeper with Christ than you’ve ever gone before, deeper than you’ve ever dreamed of going. Enjoy the journey.”
Raymond C. Ortlund Jr., Lead Pastor, Immanuel Church, Nashville, Tennessee

“Those without spiritual eyes will not enjoy Jared's book. How could they? All he does is stare deeply into the person of Jesus Christ and his gospel work. But for those with eyes to see, what treasures await here. Jared gazes upon the gospel from angle after angle, showing how every area of theology points back to the gospel, and reminding us that the knowledge of God is like a spider-web—where touching any one spot makes the whole thing vibrate. Jared, like the best theologians, worships as he writes and invites readers to join him. And that means this pastor-theologian’s pen is lyrical one. Read slowly, enjoy, savor, and worship.”
Jonathan Leeman, Editorial Director, 9Marks; author, Church and the Surprising Offense of God’s Love

“Wilson’s Gospel Deeps offers a majestic portrait of the gospel that is far more than a solution to guilt or a one-time gate to forgiveness. It’s a path we are to walk each day of our lives, an answer to the moral corruption of our culture and entire cosmos, the power to change us into authentic worshippers of God and lovers of people, and a supernatural power given to the church to bring healing to a broken world. Multifaceted in its reflection of the many spiritual blessings promised to those united with Christ, Gospel Deepscompels us to revel anew in the excellencies of Jesus.”
Steve Childers, President & CEO, Global Church Advancement; Associate Professor of Practical Theology, Reformed Seminary Orlando

“This is good leaf, grown with gospel sap, grounded in Bible soil. Drop this fresh bag from Jared in your soul’s mug, and give it a good steep. As good as the flavor was in Gospel Wakefulness, it’s even better in Gospel Deeps.”
David Mathis

“First of all, a given: Jared Wilson is one of the finest and brightest young pastors and gospel thinkers in America. Secondly, a non-given: Jared is still growing. What excites me most about Gospel Deeps is that it represents the trajectory of a heart that is continuing to come alive to the implications of the gospel. In this book, Jared is not just our gifted teacher, but also our worship leader. He bids us join him in putting our roots deeper and deeper into the garden of God’s grace. Thank you, my brother, for theology as doxology.”
Scotty Smith, Founding Pastor, Christ Community Church, Franklin, Tennessee; author, The Reign of GraceRestoring Broken Things, and Everyday Prayers: 365 to a Gospel-Centered Faith

“If you have assumed that doctrine must be dull, cool, or cerebral, Gospel Deeps will disabuse you of that notion. If you think that passionate adoration and deep dogmas—sovereign election, double imputation, inaugurated eschatology—don’t belong together, Gospel Deeps will surprise you by its blend of worshipful warmth with theological profundity. If you are beginning to realize that growing up in Christ does not mean getting beyond the gospel but going more deeply into it, exploring the implications of Jesus’ sacrificial death and resurrection on our behalf, Gospel Deeps will energize your pursuit of holiness by fortifying your assurance of the Father’s unwavering love and glad acceptance. If you thirst to know the triune God who saves you, Gospel Deeps will lead you into the Word by which he reveals himself and invites us into communion with himself. Plunge into these deeps!”
Dennis E. Johnson, Professor of Practical Theology, Westminster Seminary, California

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Gracie and her Gracie-isms

Today we celebrate 9 years of GRACIE! And what better way to do so than by viewing some of her adorableness and wit throughout the years? Here, then, are a few pictures and lots of "Gracie-isms." If you know her, I'm certain you'll enjoy these a great deal. If you don't know her, you might still get a kick out of most of these. We rarely experience a day without giggles caused by this one, and for that we are so grateful. 

"If only I had a minion to reach the pedals while I steer."

"That was the best night EVER! (brief pause) Well, I don't remember every single night of my life, but that was awesome!"

"We should go to the boxing rinks tomorrow."

Grace: "Does this have sodium?" Mom: "Not an unhealthy amount." Grace: "Good, 'cause I just had fourths."

Grace: "None of the DVDs are in their cases." Mom: "Then I guess you should put them back from now on." Grace: "I'll try, but I can't read the future."

In response to Mom telling her to wipe the globs of nutella off her face, "MAN! I was saving that for later!"

"Mom, how come you're so firm on us brushing our teeth?"

"Mace, I don't really want your laugh spit on my pillow."

While watching Macy play a video game, "Mace, why did you hurt the guy who gives out bacon? (Incredulous.) HE GIVES OUT BACON!"

"You're supposed to follow the lines. (Brief pause.) Sometimes I ignore the lines."

After Macy said her new ball would bounce off anything, Grace: "Will it bounce off your face?"

"Well, this is just a robe. Why do they even make Snuggies?"

A conversation between Grace and her sister while watching movies and snuggling with 2 puppies: Macy--"This would be a disaster if we were watching The Twelve Dogs of Christmas." Grace--"Can you imagine if it was the live 101 Dalmatians? I don't even wanna think about it."

"Mom, I'm READY to go! I have a first aid kit, my camera, and some BACON!"

"Skydiving? I'm never gonna skydive. Unless it's a short distance up."

"Well, I just broke all the laws of string cheese. What to do next?"

"So much to eat, so little time."

"We each have our own opinions, Doc!" (when she and her sister don't quite see eye-to-eye.)

"I'm smarter than I feel like I am."

"Our family is magical. We can do whatever we want."

While discussing pet-training with Macy: "I try, but they don't always listen. They're just like us."

And perhaps my all-time favorite when she's super-excited, she curls both hands into fists, scrunches up her tiny little face and declares with complete sincerity, "I'm trying not to explode!"

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Good List 7-4-12

10. Banana slices on crunchy cereal. Changes the whole experience.
9. My current favorite color. "Smoke tree." (Thank you, Diane!)

8. Finally going to see Madagascar 3 today! Looking forward to it!
7. Bible Gateway. Super helpful.
6. A Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers. I'm about 3/4 of the way through it, and it makes me so glad it's a series rather than just one book. Excellent.
5. Mountain Grove Memorial Church in Hulett's Landing, NY. It's an old resort church that only meets during the summer months while people are there on vacation. They've invited Jared to speak there each year since we've lived in Vermont. We're so grateful for the opportunity and especially for the heart of those whose faith drives them to reach the "comfortably lost" among them.

4. A new tenant moves into our house in TN this week! Jehovah-Jireh at work again!
3. Another manuscript off to the publisher. I don't know how he does it, but I'm so glad he does! (This one will be available some time in early to mid 2013.)

2. Celebrating 9 years of GRACIE tomorrow! And what an adventure she has been! Look for a fun post tomorrow if you're interested. :-D
1. Celebrating so much freedom here in America, especially the freedom to worship Christ. But MOST especially, celebrating the TRUE FREEDOM that we have only in Christ.