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I wait for bedtime for so many reasons.
To rest, sit down, to breathe but most importantly to meet with Jesus and reflect, refresh and restore my soul.
Sweatpants and honesty required.
Come sit with me momma.



September 16, 2014

Behind the Ministry Family Veil: Part 1 TIME

What do you see when you look at your Pastor? His wife? His family?
You may look up to them, you may have issues with them, you may have not given it much thought since they seem like a normal family.

As a ministry wife for the past ten years, I'd love to give you a little insight to what really goes on behind the curtain. Behind the scenes when no one is looking.
A little insight, a little taste of the life of the family who helps lead churches across America. Why does this matter to you? Well it may not frankly. That's fine. I think it matters because we need to be aware of and pray for these pastors and their families. I decided to shed a little sunshine.

My sweet husband has a Masters degree and undergrad from great Christian Universities and has been a pastor for over ten years. Ministry is innerwoven in the fabric of our lives. He is constantly working, praying or thinking ministry. He also is out of the house a lot. For instance, works Monday and Tuesday and then goes out again 6-1030pm. He gets emails, messages, texts, calls from people all day and all night. He gets one day off per week and that day, Saturday, is often taken again by events. He works a lot but he is a great balancer. We don't count hours because it is a part of our life and we love it. I work in an office five days a week too. I volunteer at church and we have three toddlers. Three toddlers who want nothing more than to be just like their daddy. Our time is stretched very, very thin. Yet, more time is demanded of where there is no room.

Last night my littlest one was crying for his daddy, who was at work and I said as usual, "Daddy is helping people know Jesus." He responded, "He already did that. I want him with me now."  This was after a several evening stint of being away. 




What comes first? Ministry or family?
The line is blurred for many pastors. It's a hard line to draw in the sand when your life is ministry.
Those pastors who chose ministry over family are blind to the hurt in their families hearts. They consider it an offering for the cause of Christ. Deaf to their families voices asking for quality time. Their senses tell them it easier to minister to the church than do the harder work of discipling their children and leading their wives. 

Psalm 127:3-5 says, "Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.” 

So as a father or parents our job is to train our children, our first ministry, and send them into the world as arrows to bring Christ's love.  These children should not be forced into single mother families because their fathers are ministers. They should look up to, spend time with and model after their mother and father. How? Quality time.

When you are called to ministry you and your whole family are on call and in guard in many ways. There are countless joys in ministry life and with that comes the sting of human nature. You are scrutinized, judged, stretched thin, get little encouragement, expected to be close friends with everyone and then asked for more and more of yourself. I am blessed and grateful for a husband who is very present when he is home and considers family his first ministry. He is truly a light of joy in my life and my love and respect for him runs deeply. Not all pastors wives can say the same. Some marriages are on the rocks and the wives feel very, very alone because frankly they often are. The relationships with their children are strained and often push the children away from the church who stole their father. It doesn't need to be this way. What kind of example can a family like that be to the church?  Certainly not the example Christ intended.

Ministry is the passionate persuit of pastors hearts. They give up time with their family, a reasonable income, a 9-5 schedule, and so much more but do it with a heart of joy in working for Chirst. Their families willingly give up their father or husband for the sake of Christ as well however there are lines that need drawn in the sand. When children leave the house things change. When your wife doesn't work, things change. New lines need drawn.

Pray for your pastors, their wives and their families. Pray for the pressure they feel. The weight. The glaring eyes. The pressure to always be on. The pull to do more and more when their humanness cannot take it. Pray they can draw that line in the sand. Pray they put their family first. Their first, most important mission field. Yours too. Pray they realize that although their life is their work in ministry, that work does not run their lives. Even God rested, disconnected and took in the beauty of His creation. We should too. Even God amongst his work values being with us above all. We will be able to give more fully to our families and to Christ if we have some balance in work and rest. We can refresh our souls. Please pray for the burdens of your Pastor and his/her family. Please be aware we are just normal, ice cream eating, pajama wearing people like you. 

Honestly with love,
Rach
Xoxo


First Timothy 5:8 “But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”

Ephesians 6:1-4 “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.  “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.”  Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”


Psalm 127:3-5 “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.”

1 Timothy 3:2-5 Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect.  (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?)



August 19, 2014

Last: Ethan Turns Three

Tomorrow I will wake up and the last tiny babe that grew inside my belly will be three years old.
Three.

He was growing in my belly long before I knew of him, before I ever expected him and before I ever knew love could be so wide and so, so deep.
The last one. The last baby.


At the time I didn't know he would be the last human of three to grow and twist and kick inside me. 
I didn't know it was the last time I would press newborn skin upon my chest or breathe in deeply his new sweet smell. The last time I would nurse a fuzzy headed baby and we would fall asleep chest to chest. The last time I'd be filled with fear and wonder and newfound love leaving the hospital with a new human. The last time I'd be up all night feeding, wear spit up on my shirt or baby wear him everywhere I could. The last first tooth, first words, first steps. The last potty training, the last terrible twos, the last one's first day of school.
I grieve those lasts.
I grieve them because in those moments I never thought about the fact that they could be my lasts.
I didn't breathe in deeply and experience those moments as I should. I just wanted through them.
I am grateful for the sweet aromas of those memories of my last tiny babe. 
I am grateful for the future of what is to come. That I can experience those lasts more deeply now that I am aware they exist. 




Ethan Joseph your dimpled smile lights up any room with joy.
It always has, always will.
You may be my last but every moment with you is new. 
Happy third birthday to my spunky, spirited blonde baby.
My surprise, my insight into my own stubborn heart, my tiny dancer.

In love with you more each day. Happy birthday!!


Honestly with love,
Rachel

August 13, 2014

Sometimes

Barefoot in the silent kitchen, the warm summer breeze danced in as the night sky darkened. My house was quiet and I was packing lunches for three sweet boys. Careful to put in just the right balance between healthy foods and things they would eat. I get this feeling packing lunch for them is my way of loving them while I cannot be with them. I love them in how I cut their sandwich just so, how I pack only a certain brand of cheese crackers and how I write smily faces on their ziplock bags.

In the coupon cutting, the starting of the crockpot in the early morning, the folding of clothes and baking of muffins I am loving them. In the filling out of field trip forms and ordering of school books. In the worrying how they will adjust to school and if they will make friends. In the 2am rocking and changing of wet sheets. The kissing of boo-boos. In the things no one can see but must be done. 

Sometimes I feel invisible in it all. 
Standing there, barefoot in the kitchen alone.
Invisible.
Sometimes only God can see the heartfelt love that I put into my family.
Sometimes, that is enough.

He sees me.
Knowing He is standing right next to me, cheering me on, giving me medals of motherhood while I do the mundane. Knowing He is stirring up all sorts of deeper and deeper love magic in these unseen things. Knowing those unseen things, the ones done in unclothed devotion and love, are often the ones that matter most. The quiet places where He whispers, "I see you loving them. I see you."

Whether your husband, kids, friends, or the Internet see what you do and praise you for it or not does not matter. Those things done out of a heart of love, servitude and grace in the quiet places are those things that fill us the most. Seen or unseen. Heard or unheard. Alone or surrounded.
He sees, He hears, He is standing right beside you this very moment. He is for you. Your silent cheering section. Let that be enough.

Honestly with love,
Rachel



Matthew 6:3-4
But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

August 3, 2014

I Vacuum in Heels

Hi there wives.
Hi there husbands.
I rarely wear heels, even to work. I actually vacuum in sweats or flip flops. 
Normally I only vacuum to prevent ants from devouring the smooshed Cheerios in the carpet.
Here is what I am really wondering...

How do you divy up household stuff at your place?

Bill paying, baby rocking, dishes, cooking, lawn mowing, disciplining kids, grocery shopping all that stuff that you need to do to make your sweet lil world go round.

Do you feel the divvying up you do now is fair? 
Do you talk or fight about it? Do you keep tabs on who does the most?

If I am honest, I do keep tabs. I shouldn't. I'm sure you do too- be honest!! ;)
When we first got married, it was a regular topic of heated debate.
I felt overwhelmed and consumed by doing it all.
Over the years he got better at helping out, I loosened up.

Then, then we had twins.
We were thrown into parenting boot camp upside down with no idea what we were in for with two preemie babies with reflux who liked to cry.
Our parents and family were, and still are, our lifelines.
However the every day in day out monotony of eat, burp, play, poop, sleep, cry overtakes you and the household stuff falls to the wayside. We had to be a team to survive.

Then one day, I went somewhere (gasp) and Paul had those cute baby twins to himself all the live long day.
And there you have it ladies, respect.
Respect for all the juggling we do.
Respect for the giving of yourself, insessint touching, never ending dishes, laundry and dirty floors that you clean anyway while holding babies. The food that needs made three or four times a day.
Respect.

He got it. 
Trust your hubby enough to let him take care of your littles for a day or two please friend. He will do fine. He will survive. Your kiddos will survive. Let him see what you do every day. In return, you put yourself in his shoes. Get into each other's real worlds and love each other there.

The good news at my house today is, my husband carries a heavy load of household/kid duties despite working a lot of hours. Statistics say husbands who do so are happier, their wives are happier and their children grow up with a better work ethic and respect for others. He does not babysit, he fathers. He is very present in their lives and they adore him. He loves us like Christ loves the church. He gives himself up for us. (see Ephesians 5 below)

When he is tired and has been at work until 1100 pm on a Tuesday and I am rocking a child when he gets home- he makes lunches for school or rocks the baby.
When I had a hard day at work and have a headache, he takes over kid duty when he gets home.
When I was pregnant for two years straight, he rubbed my back every single night.  
He leads us by example. He is a true example of Christ's love to us. I adore him deeply for it as do my boys. In turn, I want to serve him in the same way. He serves me, I serve him. It's cyclical. It's loving. We teach our kids sharing, we should practice it too. It's a definition of a mutual, life giving relationship.

Working a lot less hours outside the home than my husband, I take on bigger load inside the home and with the trio if toddlers. Whatever your current situation is, talk about it with your spouse. Don't just grumble under your breath and hope he sees you are stressed. Air your struggles and divide and conquer the parenting and household duties. When life changes and one of you needs more help in an area, say so.

The laundry, dishes, cooking, and grocery shopping will always be there. Love each other today. Serve each other. Say, "thank you" for as many little things as you can. The appreciation will reap rewards you won't believe. Stop assuming dad's are the same today as in 1950. Luckily they aren't. Dads are and can be capable, loving, helpful and irreplaceable leaders in our homes. Dad's that aren't, in my opinion, need to step up and read what God says about that, like today. Look at Ephesians 5 below with your spouse and talk with God about how He wants it to work it out in your home. Where can you grow? Where can he? Mutual servant hood, mutual love, mutual. So kick off your heels (or flip flops) and have a heart to heart tonight with your spouse about who is gonna vacuum up the smooshed in Cheerios this time. ;)

Honestly with love,

Rachel





Please take a moment to read this:

Ephesians 5

21 Be willing to serve each other out of respect for Christ.

22 Wives, be willing to serve your husbands the same as the Lord. 23 A husband is the head of his wife, just as Christ is the head of the church. Christ is the Savior of the church, which is his body. 24 The church serves under Christ, so it is the same with you wives. You should be willing to serve your husbands in everything.

25 Husbands, love your wives the same as Christ loved the church and gave his life for it.26 He died to make the church holy. He used the telling of the Good News to make the church clean by washing it with water. 27 Christ died so that he could give the church to himself like a bride in all her beauty. He died so that the church could be holy and without fault, with no evil or sin or any other thing wrong in it.

28 And husbands should love their wives like that. They should love their wives as they love their own bodies. The man who loves his wife loves himself, 29 because no one ever hates his own body, but feeds and takes care of it. And that is what Christ does for the church 30 because we are parts of his body. 31 The Scriptures say, “That is why a man will leave his father and mother and join his wife, and the two people will become one.”[a]32 That secret truth is very important—I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 But each one of you must love his wife as he loves himself. And a wife must respect her husband.