Tag Archives: trials

How Postpartum Depression is Filling Me with Joy

Wow. I truly thought I would be able to blog before this point. Ha. Haha. Hahahahahhahahaha.

That’s how it feels with two kids, I’ve found out.

I love my precious Emma. And I adore my Samuel. Put them together, and some days are great. Some days… are impossible.

Let’s add on to the 1+1 = chaos a massive hormone change at 7 weeks postpartum, and what do you get? Baby blues? Postpartum depression?

Call it whatever you want. It’s nasty.

It includes bouts of crying, vivid nightmares, ginormous mood swings, anger, and sometimes the inability to put one foot in front of the other. It’s overwhelming.

How can my kids thrill me and fill me with happy thoughts one minute and make me feel so utterly destructive the next?

And unlike other times in my life when I’ve experienced depression, this time I actually did pray through it and remember God’s word. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit just the week before helped me reflect on 1 Peter 1.

In verses 3-5, Peter lays out the blessings of our salvation: great mercy, living hope, an eternal inheritence, guarding by our faith – all of this through God’s power and via the resurrection of Jesus.

And he starts verse 6 with “In this you rejoice.

In THIS. God’s mercy. The living hope we have in our eternal position. The certainty that our eternity is guarded and secure. The language in verses 3-5 make me realize that we are going to be shocked by what eternity holds.

So I kept telling myself, In THIS you rejoice. Knowing what THIS is.

My kids (or lack thereof) are not the source of my joy.

My husband (or lack thereof) is not the source of my joy.

Funnily enough, today, on a current hormonal upswing after a very rough week, I read the rest of verse 6. (In THIS you rejoice hit me so hard that I had stopped there to soak it in.) Look…

…In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith – more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire – may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:6-7, ESV, emphasis mine all mine)

This period for me (maybe it’s over but more likely it will fluctuate back), has been deemed necessary by the Father so that my faith may bring more glory to Him. 

In the deepest moments, I clung to Him after I sinned against my children in anger. I focused my thoughts on the true joy that I have by His power rather than despairing in my present circumstances. My husband and I fell further in love as I shared with him what I was feeling, and he embraced me and is helping me dig out of it in prayer.

Glory to God? Glory has already been brought to Him by this. I feel like my faith is stronger than it has been in a long time.

Do you think that the glory that will be brought to Him through this is going to end? I don’t think so. Because all of our lives and trials are also part of our ministry to others, and each time our faith grows, and we become more enamored with Jesus, we have more of that to share with the hurting, the broken, and the lost.

Does Being a Pastor’s Wife Ever Get Easier?

It’s been a while since I’ve talked about being a pastor’s wife. But I don’t want to disregard those pastor’s wives who read this blog and are looking for help and hope!

Do you ever wonder if being a pastor’s wife gets easier? You hope it does, right? But is that hope a desperation, like If it never gets better I want out. Or is that hope a confident expectation, like God chose my husband to be a pastor, and He will provide for our situation.

I truly pray that it’s the latter for you when you’re struggling. Thankfully, as much as I’ve struggled with being a pastor’s wife at times, God always made it clear to me that my husband is called to ministry, and I feel a strong conviction to be 100% his encourager in that. Yup, even when my heart is at its worst, God blesses me with His will.

I have only been a pastor’s wife for close to 4 years now – unless you count 4 years of full time seminary (which perhaps you should because that was the most difficult time in our marriage!) – and I’m not the wife of a senior pastor. I’m know beyond a shadow of a doubt there are things a senior pastor’s wife deals with that I know nothing about.

But if I had to answer this question, I would shout YES! It does get easier!

And sometimes it’s still harder, but in the big fat general sense – easier! I don’t have time in this post to address those temporary hard times; I will save that for another time.

If I had to boil it down, I think being a pastor’s wife gets easier most often due to these reasons:

Time

Time gives me the opportunity to look at the big picture. Instead of focusing on nitty gritty grievances, I can see how the entire role (and journey) of being a pastor’s wife is a blessing, a learning experience, and a unique way God chose to train me up.

Relationships

When you’re a pastor’s wife, unless you are at the beginning of a church, you usually walk into a fully formed church, complete with fully formed relationships and fully formed ideas of what pastor’s wives are like. One might say it takes a lot of confidence to walk into a place like that and be able to integrate easily. It does take confidence – confidence in the Lord’s power to build you up with His people. Confidence in the unity He desires you to have with others. Confidence in who He made you to be and acceptance of the fact that you will not be everyone’s best friend.

As a pastor’s wife, I don’t have the luxury of building deep relationships capriciously. I actually have to be mindful of the accountability partners I choose. But once the Lord has provided believers who know you well and help build you up in Him, being a pastor’s wife becomes much easier. You have someone else you can rely on for prayer and strength! It’s a burdern lifter.

Building relationships with the lost is also crucial. Keeping God’s mission at the forefront of your life takes the focus off of yourself and puts it back on Jesus. You don’t have to “be the pastor’s wife” with the lost. You are you. Seeing the fruit of these relationships makes you want to keep going!

Spiritual Maturity

As a believer, it’s essential that you remain connected to God. As a pastor’s wife, I’m not sure how I could make it without His strength. As He matures me through His word and other believers, living out his calling in my life is just plain easier.

So, pastor’s wife, what else has encouraged you in God’s calling?

When Submission is a Trial

When Submission is a Trial

Brad and I are still reading the book Marriage Matters*. I’m in chapter 5, at a pace of about a chapter a week. I told you reading non-fiction is like a marathon for me! Anywho, so far, the book has had a lot of theological truths about God that make easy translations to marriage.

I say “easy” – what I mean is – “easy” to understand. Putting them into practice? I’ll let you decide how that usually goes. 😉

Smith, the author, pointed me to an insight I never noticed before.

In 1 Peter 3, Peter writes

Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.  (1 Peter 3:1-2, NIV)

I have read these verses (the commands to wives continues through verse 6) many times before, but I never bothered to ask what Peter was talking about when he said, “in the same way”.

Well – this is an important question! If I’m supposed to submit myself to my husband, I want to know in what way that is! I surely don’t want to follow what submission means to the world or myself or even my church.

What does submission mean to God?

Peter is talking about submission in various relationships: to authorities, to masters, and then wives to husbands. Directly before he writes about submission, he calls us to live out our identity as “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation…” and this has the purpose of praising God and pointing non-believers to Him (1 Peter 2:9-12).

Conclusion 1: Submission to God’s appointed leaders (including our husbands) is an act of praise that reflects Him to the lost.

OK, that one really does wow me. But hang on for the next one!

When speaking to slaves, Peter tells them to submit themselves to their masters even “to those who are harsh” (v. 18). Why? He says suffering under leadership identifies us with the suffering of Jesus  – the very suffering that saves us.

But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. (1 Peter 3:20-21, NIV, emphasis mine)

This idea precedes the sentence “Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands…”

Conclusion 2:  Submission is sometimes a trial of suffering, but we are still called to it, and this calling is an example to non-believers.

In other words, yes – submission may be difficult to the point of suffering! But because we are designed to compliment each other as head and helper, if we do submit to our husbands (and in this way, we are submitting to God as well), then our example can lead people to faith (2:12)!!!

What if your husband is not a believer? It is no accident that Peter says

Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverance of your lives. (1 Peter 3:1-2, NIV)

Yes, learning to respect your husband in this way can lead to his very salvation!

Some of you may be thinking – well of course submitting is an act of suffering! But in the original design, it was not meant to be this way. Our husband’s headship and our helpership were designed as a perfect match – to work in harmony with each other to reproduce more people who love God. Our sin and the sin of our partners is what twists it into something that may bring a period of suffering.

When we are both submitting to God’s design, submission to our husbands is not an act of suffering at all! It’s a beautiful picture of how Christ loves His church.

In next week’s Wedded Wednesday, I hope to address some of the consequences that occur when we don’t submit. I’m praying for wisdom and insight beyond my years! And to actually apply these truths in my own marriage! I think my husband would appreciate that. 😉

This idea of suffering in submission is new to me! How about you? When did you first make this connection? How did that change your thoughts on submission?

Positive Thinking is and isn’t Biblical

There has been some confusion in the last, oh let’s say, decade century millenia about what it means to be a Christian.

Most of this confusion has been brought on by our own fault, and I have certainly contributed to the lies myself. But I want to focus on one point of confusion in this post:

Positive Thinking.

More and more, I see people confusing the gospel of Christ, which is the whole crux of Christianity, with the false gospel of Positive Thinking.

Now, I have to admit, I haven’t read the bible of positive thinking. I don’t think there’s one person or book or organization who is creating positive thinking disciples. I think there are many.

Here are some of the false teachings of the church of positive thinking:

  • Our purpose in life is to be happy and feel fulfilled.
  • If you put positive thoughts out into “the universe,” positive things will come back to you (sort of a variation on the idea of karma).
  • By thinking positively and looking forward, your life will be better and your desires will be met. An example of this is the statement: Simply visualizing a certain success in your life will make it more attainable.
  • Physical riches, e.g., money, fame, success, beauty, are all signs that you have done well and reaped a reward.

 Instead, let’s see what the Bible has to say:

You will encounter suffering in this life (aka “Your life will not all be hunky dorey.”)

My brothers and sisters, consider it nothing but joy when you fall into all sorts of trials (James 1:2, NETBible, emphasis mine)

When. Not if.

The faith of those who suffer is strengthened and they are considered blessed (aka “Suffering doesn’t mean that God hates you or is punishing you.”)

[continued from the Scripture above]…because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. (James 1:3, NETBible)

Think of how we regard as blessed those who have endured. (James 5:11a, NETBible, emphasis mine)

Suffering is a way to demonstrate the compassion and mercy of Christ to a broken and hurting world (aka “It’s not always about you.”)

[continued from the Scripture above] …You have heard of Job’s endurance and you have seen the Lord’s purpose, that the Lord is full of compassion and mercy. (James 5:11b, NETBible)

Riches can make it difficult to have faith (aka “Be careful what you wish for…”)

Now the believer of humble means should take pride in his high position. But the rich person’s pride should be in his humiliation, because he will pass away like a wildflower in the meadow. For the sun rises with its heat and dries up the meadow; the petal of the flower falls off and its beauty is lost forever. So also the rich person in the midst of his pursuits will wither away. (James 1:9-11, NETBible)

In heaven, not only do we get to spend eternity with our Creator, but He also has prepared heavenly rewards for us (aka “This stuff is better than your 72″ app-enabled LED TV.”)

[Continued from the same Scripture above…] Happy is the one who endures testing, because when he has proven to be genuine, he will receive the crown of life that God promised to those who love him. (James 1:12, NETBible)

If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men. (1 Corinthians 15:9, NIV)

But what about the here and now? (aka “OK, OK, can we be shallow for just a second?”)

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created. (James 1:17-18, NIV, emphasis mine)

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1, NIV)

 Sounds a lot like positive thinking to me!!! Except that the “what we do not see” is not some univers-ical karmic something. He is the one Creator of the universe – the one worthy of faith and glory and all worship!

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. (Isaiah 40:29-31, NIV, emphasis mine)

When Being a Pastor’s Wife is Hard: Trials

There are times when being a pastor’s wife seems unbearable. Something has happened, whether you’re aware of it or not, and all  of a sudden, you feel like your family, ministry, career, etc. are all crumbling down. And you want to crumble with it.

I’m not going to point fingers in this post because I know that congregations and pastors/pastors’ families alike can bring pain into ministry. We are all sinners, and we will all seek pleasure over God at some point.


{Read this entire post over at Clutch Talk here!}