When We Need to Slow Down and Focus on Advent

Sometimes the speed of life races past at the speed of light.

Way. Too. Fast.

In this season of Advent, I am intentionally pausing. To be still. To reflect on the Light of the World that came to us at Christmas.

Throughout this month, I am sharing daily Advent meditations on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest paired with pictures that I've snapped around the world.

Rather than a weekly blog, we're enjoying a daily reminder -- to let the season breathe. To allow Him to breathe new life into us.

I warmly invite you to join me. Let's apply the brakes before we break into a thousand glass pieces this Christmas.

So until January, look for these daily meditations instead of this weekly blog:

I pray that you and your loved ones enjoy a blessed, holy Christmas!
  With love from my home to yours. 

How to Balance Life While Writing a Book

With two published books under my belt, I finally feel qualified to write this post. Perhaps it's just the experiential miles talking.

I have started drafting my third book, so the principles I'm sharing here today are about to kick into high gear when 2015 rings in.

As an author, the question I field more often than any other is: "How do you have time to write books, work full time, travel to speak, and keep up with life?"

The simple answer is the amazing grace of a faithful God and the incredible support of family and friends.
But there's more.

It takes commitment. Sacrifice. Focus. Organization. And no small amount of blood, sweat and tears.

Through trial and fire, I've discovered five specific ways to stay sane while meeting manuscript deadlines. There are many more, but these five help the best. Here goes!

     1) Say NO to new commitments until the manuscript is turned in.

The moment you commit to a writing deadline, trust me, new and cool opportunities will start pouring in. It's kind of like when you commit to eating healthy -- all of a sudden chocolate appears at every turn. But resisting the urge to add entries to your calendar is crucial to protect and nurture your writing time. 

     2) Take a sabbatical from voluntary, time-consuming commitments.

I sing on my church's worship team and absolutely love it. However, it requires weekly rehearsal, run-through, time learning music, and singing at both services on Sunday morning.

I took a sabbatical from the worship team for the two months prior to my last manuscript deadline to shift that time toward writing. The team's support and prayers touched me to the core. The cool thing? A few new worship leaders stepped forward and have been a huge blessing to our church. 

     3) Commit to writing a certain word count each day.

I created a 3-month chart by day/hour containing current commitments. It allowed me to ascertain at a glance which days/evenings could be devoted toward significant blocks of writing time.

Regardless, I committed to adding 1,000 words to the manuscript each day. Some days I only added 500 words, but others reached over 3,500. The chart kept me on track right up to the deadline.

     4) Sign off of social media and devote all spare time to your manuscript.

If I had 30 minutes or more to write, I wrote! I loaded my manuscript onto a dedicated thumb drive and carried it with me everywhere. I wrote during lunch breaks at work, while waiting at the airport, during flights, etc. You'll be surprised at how much you get done.

Also, I scheduled a week of vacation from my full time job right before the deadline. I sequestered myself at home to focus 100% of my time and energy to the book. I took a three-month sabbatical from my blog, as well. I also signed off of Facebook and Twitter for the final ten days to eliminate social media distraction.

     5) Become slightly anti-social.

This one is extremely tough. Many people believe writing involves strolling along a picturesque river at sunset while eating French bread washed down with wine while pondering deep thoughts that will eventually be captured on our laptop.   

Well, I hate to break the idealistic bubble, but writing entails long hours of research and typing on a computer/laptop with complete focus. Headaches, backaches and stiff necks go with the territory.

Explaining my deadline and commitment to family and close friends included them in the process instead of shutting them out. They understood that I wouldn't be up for any impromptu movie nights until after the deadline. Their encouragement and prayer support kept me going during those tougher writing days (yes, they happen).

I am looking forward very much to the upcoming holidays, because in January I will buckle down, put these five items into high gear and complete the manuscript for my third book before Spring arrives. 

Bottom line? There are many ways to carve out the necessary time to meet your writing deadlines. Just prioritize, organize and jump in with both feet, remembering:

"Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men."
Colossians 3:23

If you're an author, what could you add to the list? 
If you're an aspiring author, did you find anything surprising?

Thank you, Veterans

I don't remember Dad in uniform. He served in the Air Force before I was born.

But I remember his big, knobby knuckles flipping through old photos to show me his buddies and where he served.

I've seen pictures of my uncles, long since passed away, in military uniforms as they served our country in wars and conflicts past.

Today is Veteran's Day.

This day is set aside to honor, remember, and pay tribute to those who have allowed the United States of America to remain the land of the free. These incredible men and women make this the land of the brave.

If you know a soldier, present or past, I pray that you go out of your way today to thank them.

And above all, pray for the safety of our active military across the globe.

They put their lives on the line each day and sacrifice time away from family and friends to keep our borders secure.

So, dear Veterans, thank you. You are not forgotten.


Today, we salute YOU.

Dear Christian: How to Love an Atheist

A few years into our friendship, one of my best friends told me that she was an atheist.

As a committed Christian, it was shocking news. I thought I knew her well. I'm not sure if other Christians think about how you would respond in a similar scenario, but I do.

Twenty years later, our friendship has deepened and she has become one of my dearest friends.

And it's not because I'm trying to make a point or hold myself out as a diverse thinker. It's because I love her. Plain and simple. 

She is one of the most well-read, smartest people in my circle of friends. I don't hide my friendship with her, because I value her opinion and trust her judgment. We share a love for cats, coffee, chocolate, and traveling the world (which we have done together several times).

She is kind, compassionate and honest. Let's face it, we all need friends with those admirable characteristics. The friends I hold most dear are the ones who love me enough to courageously tell me when I'm acting like a bonehead. I trust her with my life, and know without reservation she does likewise. 

Jesus didn't hide or sneak around to spend time with the people whom the religious leaders heartily disapproved. He went out of his way to have meals with them, visit their homes, and demonstrate unconditional love.

That's how you love an atheist friend. That's how you love an LGBT friend. That how you love someone who's had an abortion.

That's how we are to love everyone.

Some Christians may not approve of me being close friends with an atheist. Perhaps some of you have been shaking your head, praying for me to see the light, or preparing to unfollow me. But, with all gentle respect and understanding, your approval is not my concern.

This isn't about your approval or opinion. It's so much bigger than that.

This is about loving people -- all people -- like Jesus did. Unconditionally.

 "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son,
that whosoever believes in him will never perish, but have everlasting life
." John 3:16

This isn't about saying you love all people from a safe arm's length distance. It's about a demonstrative, unapologetic, open-hearted kind of love. The kind that gets up close, involved, and never gives up.

I pray for her every day to come to know Jesus as her Savior, but it's not my job to make her believe. I leave that to God. My job, according to Scripture, is to love her. Not judge. Not abandon. Not ridicule.


I also pray for God to shield her from people who may think she is less-than or unintelligent without ever taking time to actually know her. I also pray to God that she won't allow unChristlike treatment she might receive from misguided Christians to drive her further away from the One who loves her most.

I think many Christians live in a Christian bubble where it may be easy to judge those who believe differently. But the only way to reach the world for Christ is to burst that bubble and walk toward them.

I pray for God to shine His love in my friend's heart because the thought of not spending eternity with her keeps me up some nights. In the meantime, I have the incredible privilege of giving her a glimpse of His love through our wonderful friendship.

Jesus did not turn his back on people who thought differently than Him or doubted His sovereignty.

By God's grace, that's the kind of friend I hope to continue being -- whether or not they are an atheist.


The Lamaze Principle We Need to Handle the Holidays


There are days that we need endless sky and wide open spaces and uninterrupted time.

To simply breathe.

It's the Lamaze principle of this laborious life.

To just breathe. Just be.

In three weeks, we celebrate Thanksgiving.

Then comes Black Friday. Small Business Saturday. First Advent Sunday. Followed by Cyber Monday. And then Giving Tuesday.

And we limp into the Wednesday after Thanksgiving battling undigested turkey while watching the Christmas countdown run like sand through an elf-shaped hourglass.

Perhaps we'll call it Worn Out Wednesday.

We run and labor hard to breathe but seldom stop to catch our breath.

After all, there are parties to host, the perfect gifts to find, the Pinterest crafts to make, and our routine quiet time with God becomes anything but routine. 

And yet He is One who enables all breath:
“The letters of the name of God in Hebrew… are infrequently pronounced Yahweh. But in truth they are inutterable….This word {YHWH} is the sound of breathing. The holiest name in the world, the Name of Creator, is the sound of your own breathing."
      ~Rabbi Lawrence Kushner
God's Words aren't meant for us to gulp and rush forward. They represent our very life breath.

"In His hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind."
Job 12:10

As we ready ourselves to give thanks to the Lord for His merciful goodness, and to ponder the Word made flesh at Christmas -- we pause today.

And take a deep breath.

To inhale His peace. And exhale the world's addiction to speed.

And this Lamaze principle of breathing gives birth to a soul renewed by His peace and contentment.

We pause and behold the magnificent glory of God in the beautiful, simple blessings of faith, family and fellowship.  

To give thanks.

And remember His many blessings -- never forgetting Who they are from, and Who they are for.

To pause and worship God, whose glory fills the whole earth.

To replace our holiday to-do list stressing, with His breath and peace-filled blessing.

Do you find it challenging to create breathing room during the holidays?

The Secret to a Meaningful Life

At one time or another, we have all asked the question: "What is the meaning to life?"

Last week, I conducted an informal Facebook poll asking people to rank these five things in order of importance: health, happiness, love, fame, and money.

How would you rank them?

I intentionally left God off of the list, because all of those things can be used for His glory. It is how we choose to wield them that defines us. 

The results were interesting. Love was the clear winner by a margin of 2 to 1. 

As Christ followers, love is most important because love is the language of Truth. God is love. God never lies.

Without love the enemy divides the Body of Christ: If you disagree with someone on one point – then you must dismiss them entirely. And if you acknowledge someone – then you must agree with them entirely. That is a deadly lie meant to divide, and it must be broken.

But love? We never have to be afraid of love, because it can never silence Truth. Truth is best understood when spoken in love.

Having Christian convictions never negates extending Christ's compassion.

Christ was never scared of guilt by association. He hung around the sick, ate with sinners, rubbed shoulders with tax collectors. All because He was showing them love.

We never have to be afraid of love, because radical love is the only thing that ever changes anyone. Without love, Christ didn't send you.

God holds out His hand to us — the sinful and disobedient — because God's love is the most powerful of all. With His love living inside of us, we are called to be peacemakers, fence destroyers and rift menders. Without it, we are peace destroyers, fence builders and rift makers.

We don't have to be afraid of guilt by association, because if we don't cross fences and climb walls, how will anyone come to understand His boundless grace?

Jesus put it this way: "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:34-35)

We can have the right doctrine, but without love, we allow the harshness of pride to build walls of division. Christ in us moves us past fearing guilt by association to be people ready to live grace by association.

We have the privilege to be the ones who can make a kingdom difference because His kingdom is an eternal one. Not this blip-on-the-map, temporary existence on earth.

In case you're curious, the survey ranked happiness #2, health #3, money #4, and fame #5.

But love? It will always rank #1.

Because the only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love (Gal. 5:6).

Community is built by living out love and humility, not by having the right books on our shelves or the approved conferences on our calendars.

So what is the secret to a meaningful life? LOVE. 

Receiving God's love. Allowing it to flow through you to the people He places in your path. Allowing it to be a place where Truth can be understood.

A place where we live out grace by association.


What We Need to Understand About Contentment to Survive


There are mushrooms in my back yard.  

A cluster function all their own.

I didn’t plant them. But I don’t intend to do anything about removing them either. I kind of like them. Come next week they'll be a distant memory anyway.

I walk into the house and inhale deeply. It's been nearly five years, two books, countless Bible studies, and lots of travel since the day my ex-husband closed the door behind him and left this house forever.

We looked for a modest home a year after we got married. One that we could sustain on one income should something happen economically. We chose this house in north Houston because it fit us and was an easy commute between church and jobs.

The house bustled with life as we unpacked boxes, set up our own studies, and furnished the guest room to welcome visitors. On the first night between the stacks of boxes we told each other we would be here for a very, very long time.

We were content. We planted roots. We invited Jesus in. We sowed seeds for our future.

Then one rainy night, life uprooted as he closed the door behind him one last time. I cried. I got angry.

We got divorced.

And this house wrapped its arms around me and became my safe haven from an unsure future.

I didn't know if I would be able to keep it. I never thought our plan of surviving on one income would ever become a reality. There are memories in every corner, many more good than bad. I budgeted, cut back, and pressed forward.

I didn't plan on putting down roots here alone. But I remodeled the interior to reflect my personality, and the roots sank deeper. No matter how fierce the spiritual or emotional storms raged during that terrible season, this house was home. Jesus did a lot of ministry in my heart between these walls.

I was content. 

Because true contentment isn't about acquiring stuff, it's about allowing our Savior to inhabit our days.

When we grasp that truth, God turns our surviving into thriving regardless of our circumstances.

I didn't dream for a bigger and better house. I dreamed for God to fill this one with joy, love, and laughter once again.

And He has. As wonderful family gatherings, lunches with friends, ministry celebrations, and holidays filled it, I saw John 10:10 take on new meaning: “I have come that they might have life, and have it to the full.”

A full life isn't about a bigger house, it's about a big God who turns a house into a home.

So much life and love spills out of this house that the very walls have stretched to accommodate it. And with it, the roots have gone even deeper.

I get down on my knees in the flower bed and pull weeds. It's amazing the beauty God allows us to see when contentment reigns. The same soil produces flowers and weeds. It's what we allow to take root that makes all the difference.

My unexpected life. In all its glorious disarray.

Life and Grace.

This house. Old memories and new. A cluster function of mushrooms and a bed of beautiful roses.

I bury them in my heart, walk back inside, and exhale.

What does contentment look like to you?

The Media Screen Gospel

Thirty five years ago, my media consisted of books, magazines, radio, and TV (seven local channels if you didn't have cable). We watched movies in theaters as a special family outing since my parents didn't allow us to watch HBO movies. My sisters and I weren't allowed to watch Saturday Night Live since my parents believed it used too much adult humor and situation comedy for tender ears. 

Since my childhood, the media scene has changed dramatically. I watch many parents and grandparents today attempt to navigate it for children and feel overwhelmed. Electronic media pervades our lives. Many homes are now equipped with TV screens in nearly every room even the bathroom. Screens are virtually everywhere we go – restaurants, waiting rooms, cars, gas station pumps, and grocery check-out lines. 

They are even in our pockets.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, today's children spend an average of 7 hours a day on entertainment media, including televisions, computers, phones, and other electronic media. That’s 49 hours a week – the equivalent of a full time job plus overtime. 

And the average adult spends even more time – especially if your job requires you to sit in front of a computer screen most of the day. Add those hours to the time spent at home on laptops, television and games and the number is just flat out staggering. Increased screen time has been linked to obesity, violence, over-consumption fueled by advertising, and even learning disabilities in children when content is not monitored.

Yes, some of our screen time is educational, such as for our job or home-schooling assignments for children. But that many hours? Personally, I mentally high-five myself if I limit screen time to under 10 hours a day (between writing and my full time job). 

Frankly, that amount of time is staggering.

So why is it important as a Christian to pay attention to this issue?

1) The message

All media seeks to communicate a message. Every song, TV show and commercial, movie, YouTube video, Instagram picture, Facebook post, and every app has something to say: buy this, wear this, eat this, value this, pay attention to this, mock this, speak in this manner. Not all media messages are harmful, but many conflict with the greater message we are trying to communicate as Christians and Christian parents. 

Although most parents know to dodge obviously bad media messages such as violence or sexual content, the subtle messages like imitating behavior or appearance often slips under the radar. Even if a movie or show has been rated as age-appropriate, do the characters speak and act in ways you want your children to imitate? What about you?

Unmonitored screen time invites strangers into our homes and gives them unprecedented access and influence. Educating ourselves and children to look for the value of the message being communicated is essential.

Relegating the Gospel to media screen sharing leaves eternity to chance and distances us from hands-on, heart-engaged evangelism.

2) Face time

When was the last time you had an in-depth conversation about faith with your spouse? Loved one? Close friend? Your children? The average time per week parents spend in meaningful conversation with their children is 38.5 minutes

We've traded face time for screen time. 

Screens tend to be gap fillers for boredom and rob our families of the sacred spaces where good conversations develop. Scripture tells us to “teach [the commands of the Lord] diligently to your children, [talking] of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” (Deuteronomy 6:7) A climate of conversation is clearly implied. Face time, not screen time.

Jesus was about loving people up close and personal, building relationships, and spreading the Gospel message on a personal level. How many of us would actually attend church if all we ever received was a random Facebook invitation? I don't believe I would be a Christian at all if that's how it had gone down for me. I received a personal invitation to attend church in a face-to-face conversation. It was a personal Gospel - not a media screen Gospel - that God used most powerfully. 

We need human touch, not just a touch screen.

3) Time

Ephesians 5:15-16 says this: “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.”
Between 1909 and 2014, the life expectancy in the United States rose from 51 years to 79.5 years. That’s an impressive gain of 28 years. John Calvin wrote the Institutes of the Christian Religion at age 26 and died by age 55. Jonathan Edwards pastored his first church at 17 and died by age 54. Charles Spurgeon became a pastor at age 19 and died by age 57. Think what these men might have accomplished had they been given 28 more years of life. 
Now think about this: if a child who begins watching 7 hours of screen time a day at age 4 maintains that amount of screen time to the age of 79, guess how much time he will have spent consuming screen media in his lifetime? Much more than 28 years. And what are the odds he'll be penning theology in five volumes at age 26?
In Psalm 90, Moses asked that God would teach him to number rightly his days, that he might gain a heart of wisdom. I’m just guessing, but I don't believe Moses would have been a big fan of screen time. 
It's time to intentionally unplug more often. 
Number your days and the days of your children rightly. Give yourself and your children the gift of years. Give them the gift of face time over screen time. Give them the gift of an uncluttered mind, of a heart of wisdom open to receive the most vital message of all: the gospel of Christ, given through the gracious media of the Word and the Spirit. 

Why Can't the People in Hell be Given Another Chance?

A few weeks ago, I posed this question both here and on Facebook:

"If you could ask God one question, what would it be?"

A litany of questions followed. Some stemmed from curiosity. However, most birthed out of personal struggles and hard battles. Today, we begin our quest through Scripture to answer them in this "Life's Toughest Questions" series.

Question #1:
Why can't the people in Hell be given another chance?

You, like me, probably have people in your life who do not believe in Jesus as their Lord and Savior. One of my closest friends is a self-proclaimed atheist. I have no doubt in my mind that if she were to die today, I would not see her in heaven one day. And that breaks my heart. 

She's a good person who does many good things. She is trustworthy, loyal and a true friend. She's a contributor to society and helps others in need. I used to wonder, "God, isn't that good enough?"

My atheist friend believes in neither Heaven nor Hell. She believes that we only exist during our lifetime and to dust we shall return. So perhaps the question that needs to be answered first is whether Hell actually exists.

Scripture confirms the existence of Hell numerous times, most specifically that Jesus actually walked through Hell triumphantly after His crucifixion. In fact, Jesus took Hell so serious that He said without hesitation to remove your eye or cut off your hand or foot if that would keep you out of Hell (Mark 9:43-37). Here are a few basic facts:
  • Hell exists to punish the sin of rejecting Christ (Matthew 13:41,50; Revelation 20:11-15; 21:8)
  • God created our souls as eternal beings, so everyone will exist eternally in Heaven or Hell (Daniel 12:2-3; Matthew 25:46; John 5:28; Revelation 20:14-15
  • God intended Hell for Satan and his demons, not us (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:10)
As far as who ends up in Hell, we are all deserving of Hell because of sin. No one is worthy on their own for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. However, we are saved by God's grace through faith in Jesus Christ and Him alone.

Those are the facts. The head knowledge, so to speak. But what about those nagging questions we have, like:

How can a loving God send anyone to Hell?

More specifically, how can a loving God send some I love to Hell? 

We can safely say in a sense that God doesn't send anybody to Hell, because He placed the cross of Christ across that road toward Hell. In other words, throughout our lifetime God makes Himself known to all -- especially through the evidence in creation: "For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse." Romans 1:20

The handiwork of an omnipotent God shines throughout our physical world. His design resonates within the complexity of the microscopic DNA code to the vastness of the telescopic universe. In Psalm 19:1, King David writes, "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the sky above proclaims His handiwork."

In this way, God has provided a way for salvation to all -- even those who have not heard of Christ -- through what has clearly been seen. Therefore God does not send people to Hell, those people have chosen it (Romans 1:18, 21, 25).

God also gives us His Word that testifies to Christ, He puts people in our path who tell us about Him, and then there are countless prayers offered by pastors, parents, friends and loved ones that God brings into our lives to stop us on our self-centered path and to bring us to the Savior.

A person must intentionally wander past ALL of this to put themselves in Hell. 

If we ask how a God of love can send anyone to Hell, we might as well ask other questions like:
  • Does God allow disease in the world?
  • Does God allow jails and prisons for some people?
  • Does God allow the death penalty sometimes?
  • Does God allow sin to break home and hearts?
  • Does God allow war?
All of these things are the consequences of sin entering into the world, and in some cases the direct result of man's rebellion, and the result of greed, pride, egotism, and hunger for power that is self-centered, not God-centered.

God gave His one and only Son that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life. God has provided the way of salvation to all (John 3:16-17; 2 Corinthians 5:14-15; 1 Timothy 2:6, 4:10; Titus 2:11; 2 Peter 3:9).

The greatest sin in the world is to reject the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior.

It is the sin the relegates us to existing eternally without Him. According to Scripture, Hell is eternal and irreversible (Hebrews 9:27; Revelation 14:11, 20:14-15). Hell is the absence of love, light, warmth, joy -- every good thing that exists because of God's mercy and grace.

When I think of my atheist friend, it makes me that much more determined to love her as Christ does -- not as a mission project, but as someone whom I don't want to spend eternity separated from His love. It makes my conversations with her more intentional about issues of faith. I don't want her to be in that place of constant torment (Matthew 13:50; Mark 9:48).

We do not have windows into people's souls. We cannot see the desire of their hearts. We cannot know what they truly believe. We can only be faithful to intentionally, faithfully share the Gospel seed and pray that it takes root on fertile soil.

The bottom line? It's God's call.

I wish I could make my friend believe, but that's not our job. Our job is to continuously point people to the only One who can save them from Hell. 

God alone is the judge. 
What are your thoughts? 

Please note: I will carefully monitor the comments section during this series to ensure the conversations remain respectful and grace-filled. I will remove any comments that are intentionally inflammatory, belittling, hurtful, or judgmental. This needs to be a safe place to maintain helpful dialogue about the issue at hand.

Dear Pastor's Wife, Please Forgive Us

A little over a week ago, I wrote a blog post dedicated to pastors.

The response was overwhelming.

Beyond the blog comments seen by all, what touched me the most were the responses that came through phone calls, texts, private Facebook messages, and even notes through the regular mail from those who love our pastors most: their wives. They expressed such gratitude at the encouraging words shared on the post for their husbands. 

It reminded me about the challenging road our pastors' wives walk -- not only my pastors' wives but the plethora of these amazing women whom I have had the privilege to meet and befriend all over the United States of America.

So to each of you precious, dearly-loved women of courageous faith:

You gracefully stand silently in the shadows while people clamor for your husband's attention and heap praises on him (though he deserves it) when no one seems to notice you.  

Please forgive us.

You live in a glass house where everything is scrutinized, yet you continue to keep those windows clean with the forgiveness extended that we often don't deserve.

Please forgive us.

We ruthlessly police your fashion, hairstyle, hair color, size, and words like it's our sole duty on this planet.

Please forgive us.

You sit dutifully while your husband uses your family as a sermon illustration pun again and smile while we laugh at you.

Please forgive us.

When we gripe, complain or criticize something about your husband or the church -- even when it gets so nasty that there should be a smack down right in the middle of the narthex -- you smile graciously and tell us that you will pass along our concerns. 

Please forgive us.

You strive to walk as a disciple of Jesus, faced with the same struggles and complications that we go through, yet you're faced with the challenge of going through many things silently.

Please forgive us. 

You are often thrown into positions in the church that no one else wants to do -- often areas you are not gifted in -- yet you trudge faithfully ahead while we criticize every step.

Please forgive us.

And then, there's this:

Some days, you worry the stress may kill your husband. You desperately want to be in the will of God but may be afraid of what that might require of you, your marriage and your children.

You long to help the multitudes and would lay down your very lives for the beautiful body of Christ, and that makes you very, very tired. Perhaps you wonder when your husband retires if you will ever walk into a Church again. Sometimes sheep bite.

But I want you to know, dear Pastor's Wife: 

It's tough and can get lonely out there, but you are standing on the Rock.

You may not have anticipated this calling to be a pastor's wife, but God has equipped you for this noble work.

God will faithfully provide helpers to you who love you wholeheartedly and find joy in praying for you and walking alongside you -- whether inside or outside your Church. 

Jesus can heal your wounded soul, renew your tormented mind, reconcile broken relationships, bring about forgiveness, bring hope in the midst of exhaustion, mend your broken heart, and meet your every need. 

I pray for God to keep faith and hope alive in you, because WE NEED YOU.

We may not always tell you, but please know this:

You are LOVED.
You are VALUED.
You shine God's light RADIANTLY.

Sisters, I love you dearly and esteem you greatly. THANK YOU for your extraordinary sacrifice of praise to Christ our Savior.

Church, when was the last time you prayed for your pastor's wife?
C'mon, Church, let's encourage them today.
What say you?