Book Review: Wounded By God’s People

Originally posted on GGMANDY dot com 10-27-16

We tend to think that God’s servants are protected against being wounded, but that is just not true.

As a matter of fact, most ministers of the Word are hurt at least once in their ministry. I so appreciate Anne for being vulnerable and opening up to us about her own life while she teaches us through the life of Hagar how to deal with the hurt.

It is in the story of Hagar, that we find the name of God, El Roi, The God Who Sees Me. He cares so much about each one of us and the plight in which we find ourselves. AND he is watching over us.

What I learned was the God Who Sees Me cares deeply for His own. He sees each and every one of us. The love that He has for us is unfathomable. He has a plan for us but He also allows us to make our own decisions. So He waits for us to call out to Him to rescue Him.

Wounded by the church

Studying the plight of Hagar has helped me face my own situation.

  1. It has taught me to look at where I may have failed.
  2. Anne warns against wounding others in our hurt.
  3. It has taught me that I must forgive regardless of what the other party may or may not do towards repentance and reconciliation.

This book helps anyone who has been hurt not only by the church but by anyone.

In this age where we seem to think everyone is bullying everyone else. I think we need to start looking at how Jesus handled those who bullied Him. “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

Have You Been Wounded by Someone? Read this Book.

Expecting Great things;

Mandy Farmer

Below you will find an affiliate link to purchase this book and Nan Jones’ book Perils of a Pastor’s wife. Nan wrote from her experience about being rejected by congregations. Thank you.

One More Thing, PASTORS AND SPOUSES

Have you felt abandoned by God in the lonely fires of ministry? 

This Group is expressly for men and women trying to find Joy in the Wilderness after losing

their pastorate. Please share this with others you know who are struggling with the transition.

This is a place for support and encouragement. No judgment, just a shoulder to lean on.

CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO JOIN.

joy in the wilderness; for wounded pastors
Click to Join

The Perils of a Pastor’s Wife Book Review

Great Book

The Perils of a Pastor’s Wife

by Nan Jones

The Perils of A Pastor’s Wife will speak to your deepest wounds and help you find God’s Presence through it all. Sweet Sister—somewhere, somehow, somebody knows. You are not alone.

This post contains affiliate links

How did I find this book?

In order to do some blogging to assist pastors and wives, I ran a questionnaire a few months ago. Nan Jones was one that answered my questionnaire. I went to her blog to read some of her writings. After reading several of her posts, I decided I should read her book since I was in the same predicament that she was writing about. It was one of the best decisions I have made.

 Who will Benefit from this Book?

Perils ...”  is written to help other pastor’s wives who are dealing with the sad situation of being dismissed by a church. This is something that is happening in alarming numbers these days. While this book was written from the viewpoint of a woman and written for women, I think men could benefit as well. It is a wonderful book for those of us journeying the path of rejection and being in transition (without a “flock”).

My Personal Experience

I found that God used the very same scriptures and resources to inspire Nan as He did me in my journey with chronic pain and then our dismissal from our last church. Hannah Hurnard’s Hinds’ Feet in High Places is an amazing allegory; Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts which set me on the right path for my journey. Her words are so gentle and encouraging. She shows us how to respond and get through it all with grace and (eventual) forgiveness.

Ministers in transition need to buy this book.

-Mandy

Have you been hurt by the church?

Have you felt abandoned by God in the lonely fires of ministry?
The Perils of A Pastor’s Wife will speak to your deepest wounds and help you find God’s Presence through it all.

Sweet Sister—somewhere, somehow, somebody knows. You are not alone.


JOY IN THE WILDERNESS

This Group is expressly for men and women trying to find Joy in the Wilderness

This is a place for support and encouragement. No judgment, just a shoulder to lean on.

CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO JOIN.

 


parsonage

PKs: How to Help Them Survive You and Your Ministry?

We all wonder how we can help our PKs (Pastor Kids) survive growing up in the parsonage. 

In our ministry, we had one very special D.S. that had a heart for  PKs and did so many things to help them survive their parents’ ministry. I asked him to give us a few pointers today.

How Can You Survive Having A(Those) PK(s) Living In Your Home?

What Can You Do to Help Them Survive You and Your Ministry?

Continue reading

Mentoring Resource…Adorned- Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together

I have been waiting years for a women’s mentoring resource like this.

This post was previously written in Mandy’s older blog GGMandy dot com. This is an excellent resource of which I still highly recommend.

ADORNED

Living out the Beauty of the Gospel Together

by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

{There are affiliate links on the page}

{I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review}

As a pastor’s wife, I have tried different times to encourage our ladies to live out the Titus 2 woman model. I used Bible Studies on the topic but I never seemed able to really get the point across. It wasn’t easy to explain nor or to share why we should live this kind of life. Partly, I had older women whom I respected questioning the principle. I didn’t know how to answer them. But mainly, I didn’t have the right mentoring resource to help me.

Today, we have millennial women begging for direction. But the situation is worse. The older women think the younger women do not want their help. They feel the young women do not want to hear their message. But this is not true.

And I believe “Adorned” is the mentoring resource we need.

Continue reading
Effective Discipleship

Effective Discipleship for Teens

Kandy Chimento

This is my sister, Kandy Chimento. Years ago, she developed a wonderful discipleship program for teen girls. It was an amazing program and I have asked her to share a little about it. {Originally posted October 7, 2016, on ggmandy dot com}


You can follow Kandy at Gettin’ Back to My Roots

“Women of Virtue”

Effective Discipleship

One of my favorite endeavors is discipleship.  In my own experience, I became convinced that effective discipleship can be more of a life-changer than a hundred sermons.  One of my prime times of spiritual growth came through a small discipleship group I belonged to in my 20’s, and by the on-going mentoring of an older godly woman. When we were youth pastors in Kansas City, I felt led to create a discipleship course for high school girls.

My vision for this course came from Titus 2:3-5,

“The older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things, that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.

Effective discipleship can be more of a life-changer than a hundred sermons. #discipleship Click To Tweet

How it Started

I wanted to especially invest in older teen girls who would soon leave the family home and be out on their own, so the group was composed of junior and senior girls in high school.

The only qualifications were that they were

1) believers in Christ who had made a commitment to follow Him, and

2) willing to be mentored by women in the church.

The group met bi-monthly and I designed each meeting to have the spirit of a type of sorority – a sense of belonging and comradery.

Subject Matter

Discipleship Teen Girls

The teachings centered around 3 different areas of life:

  • personal discipleship,
  • practical homemaking, and
  • social outreach.

Though the topics in each area differed throughout the years, they all fell into one of these 3 areas. Different women in our church taught the lessons.  We elected officers and also included scripture memory in our curriculum.

Some topics included

  • maintaining a daily devotional time,
  • meal planning,
  • finding your spiritual gifts,
  • raising children,
  • scrapbooking and
  • marriage, to name a few. 

Various outreaches included

  • collecting and delivering needed items for a women’s shelter,
  • helping out at Ronald McDonald house,
  • and participating in a political event.

We also attended a formal social event together, such as the ballet, and hosted a spring tea for the girls’ mothers.  One woman in our church hosted an annual formal Christmas dinner for the girls.  We ended each school year with a presentation service, highlighting each girl and her gifts.

Commitment and Accountability

The years of this mentoring program are some of my favorite memories. There was a strong level of commitment in each group of girls that developed throughout our year together.  We experienced some wonderful times of bonding, as well as challenging life events which proved to draw us closer together.  But one of the most unexpected discoveries was realizing the gifts and knowledge that dwells in our “more mature” women.  There are naturally some people that we gravitate toward for spiritual wisdom and knowledge, but the Lord also led me to people who had an abundance of other skills and experience that translated well into mentoring young women.  I believe that many of my mature “mentors” also discovered that they had important gifts to share.

Favorite Memories

Consequently, the years of this mentoring program are some of my favorite memories. I believe that these experiences had a lasting effect on the lives of these precious young women as well. 

The years of this mentoring program are some of my favorite memories. #mentoring Click To Tweet

What are your gifts and how can you share them?

Kandy Chimento

Since this post was published three wonderfully helpful books on mentoring have been published. I have written book reviews, just follow these links.

Adorned by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Table Mentoring: Blessed to be a Blessing

YOUR TURN

legacy link-ups

Susannah Spurgeon Legacy

7 Ways Susannah Spurgeon Left a Legacy of Faith

I was given this book by Moody Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

The Legacy of Susannah Spurgeon

Susannah SpurgeonYou have likely heard the saying, “Behind every great man is an even greater woman.”  Susannah Spurgeon is just such a woman. Wife of the infamous preacher, Charles Spurgeon, she was an integral part of his life and ministry.  She was behind him in prayer support but also beside him in ministry.

Even after reading only the introduction and first chapter I wished that this book had been available to me 30 years ago as I was becoming a pastor’s wife. If I had the time all in one sitting, I would have read this book to completion in a day. What a beautiful example of a Christian wife, pastor’s wife or not.

Continue reading

Favorite Christmas Books

Eight Favorite Christmas Books You Need in Your Home

I will honor Christmas in my heart,

and try to keep it all the year.

– Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

Christmas Traditions

One thing I have tried to instill in my children is the love of reading. One way I tried to do this was to purchase each child a classic book each Christmas. At the same time, I also bought myself a Christmas book that I wanted. Usually, it would be in the form of a coffee table book; something pretty to sit around but also available to readers.

Today I thought I would share with you some of the Christmas books I have purchased over the years. Continue reading

Notes in the Mail

4 Simple and Easy Ways to Get Those Notes in the Mail

Originally posted on GGMandy dot com in her series “Treasure Trove for Ministry

There’s nothing better than going to the mailbox, pulling out the mail, and finding an honest to goodness note from someone among the bills.

4 Simple Ways

It’s becoming an oddity in this day of social media. But tell the truth, isn’t it a blessing to receive a handwritten note in the mail? To me, it just seems much more special than a shout out on Facebook. Somehow, that is just too easy. But stopping and writing a note takes thought and says you really care.

My top spiritual gift is encouragement.

I have loved to write notes to people most of my life. Just a couple sentences to say, “Hey, I thought of you today.”  You have no idea how often it has been a blessing to someone. A kind word just at the right time.

From as early as they could hold a pencil, I have required that my children write some type of a Thank you note when they receive a gift. People really still do appreciate getting a thank you. Somehow, the world has told us that writing a note and putting it in the mail is no longer necessary. [I beg to differ.]

the world has told us that writing a note and putting it in the mail is no longer necessary. [I beg to differ.] #thankyou Click To Tweet

“thank you’s”

“glad to see you”

“how ya doing?”

“Happy Birthday”

Get Those Notes in the Mail

  1. At the beginning of each month, take a calendar and randomly write the name of different people each day. Then during your quiet time each morning, pray for that person and write a quick note to them. I did this all through college. I didn’t even have to pay for postage then because I could mail them through the college post office for free!
  2. If you have lots of thank you’s to write, set a deadline. Count the number of gifts you need to send thank you’s for, divide by the number of days till your deadline, then write that many thank you’s each evening as you watch the news or your favorite program. You can get them done during the commercials! I did this after my wedding with 200+ gifts and I had them all done within 2 months.
  3. If you are crafty, start making your own cards. You’ll be so proud to mail them to friends. Every so often, a friend and I get together and make the most beautiful cards. It’s a lot of fun and great fellowship. Some years, I save the Christmas cards that I receive in the mail. Then after the first of the year, I create a new card from their Christmas card. I read the card and say a prayer for the family and mail the newly made card with a note inside.
  4. Shut-ins are especially glad to receive notes in the mail. A few years back, I realized that one day, I would be that forgotten widow of a pastor. So I started writing notes to all the widows of pastors in our district. I thought, maybe, the thought will be returned one day. Guess what …. they started writing me back! How awesome. A gift that gives back!
handmade cards 
Notes in the mail
a couple handmade cards my friend and I made.

I’ve been writing this month expressly to ministers and those in leadership. Let me emphasize to you… an occasional note to your people will bring forth dividends. Send birthday cards, handwrite a note to your visitors or students. It really doesn’t take much of your time. But it DOES show that your care. Give it a try.

Mandy Farmer
A handwritten note brings forth dividends. #encourage #mail Click To Tweet
Linking up with Kate Motaung and the #fmfparty Community today.  Five Minute Friday gives us the chance to dive right in and share what He puts on our hearts! Click here to read what others have to say about MAIL
FMF: Mail
Five Minute Friday
 The FMF lodown: The gathering happens on Twitter on Thursday nights & then we write our hearts out & hit publish all over the interwebs on Thursday & Friday (& sometimes on Tuesdays!) It’s where we encourage & uplift… where we share prayer requests & praise reports… where we talk about food & friends & we find support & kindred hearts. It’s where we are reminded that life is good & God is good & we’re not alone… & then we all write for five minutes flat, a flash mob of wordsmiths letting our hearts & our fingers do the talking  & we hit publish before we can second-guess it all away. 
 
Living within our means

10 Ways to Get on a Budget and Stick to It

Living within our means

It’s quite a challenge to stay on a budget when you are in the ministry. Our hearts want to spend money on projects and ideas for the church. But sometimes, the funds are just not there and the temptation is to pull out the credit card. As easy as this is, it’s important for us as stewards of God’s resources, to resist the temptation and spend only what we have the cash to spend.

I asked a friend of mine to share how their pastoral family manages their budget. She does the budget thing so much better than I. We should all take this very seriously and try live within our means. Chrystal will take over from here.

Mandy Farmer

 


Getting on a Budget and Staying On It

 

Living Within Your Means #budgeting Click To Tweet

 

Hi, Friends, I’m Chrystal and I’m excited to be sharing on Mandy & Michele’s blog today!

Jeremy and Chrystal Smallwood Family

My family blogs over at The Smallwood Parsonage about all things life…recipes, simple living, adventures, gardening, music and book reviews, and gatherings all from the unique perspective of a parsonage family. My husband and I have been in full-time ministry close to 20 years. We are both ordained, though at this season in life he is the breadwinner, serving as the senior pastor of our rural Pennsylvania church. I am currently a stay-at-home, homeschooling, blogging, sock-washing, dog-cuddling mom, who still keeps her hands busy in ministry.

Over the years God has led us to live a simple, intentional lifestyle…

… teaching us every day what it means to let go of material goods and dwell on the important. It hasn’t been easy, and it certainly has been a journey, but let me explain how we have gotten here. After we had been married for three years, both graduated from college, and beginning our careers in ministry we wanted to start our family. Hopes and dreams were building as we both planned and prepared for the babies God would bless us with. I had always dreamed of having four children and becoming pregnant with our first baby only made me even more excited. Life, though, and pregnancy didn’t go as we dreamed it would. In the following three years we miscarried twice, suffered the loss of a twin baby to Twin-Twin Transfusion Syndrome, and gave birth to two beautiful girls. It was a difficult three years.

After losing three children, we decided that life could either become a misery or a celebration.

We chose that it would become a celebration and we continue to live that way 15 years later.

We choose to …

  • a simple life,
  • intentional living.
  • spend our money on making memories, rather than on what some might consider essentials.
  • believe in eating from the earth’s bounty.
  • believe in giving back as much as we can.
  • aim to live life beautifully and authentically.

Purchase Chrystal’s book about her miscarriages, Choosing Joy

We live on a small income by American standards, though we realize it is much compared to much of the world.

Many pastor’s families live on small budgets. But living on a small budget doesn’t mean life can’t be well lived. We think it means just the opposite. A small budget forces us to consider each purchase, each dollar, what our priorities are. It gives opportunities to decide what matters and what doesn’t. I’m listing below some things we keep in mind and practice to help us live within our means, perhaps encouraging some of you to implement some new ways to live within your means as well.

First, I want to let you know eight things we DON’T include in our budget:

1. Housing– Like many pastors, we live in the parsonage and all basic housing expenses are paid for by the church.
2. Cable television– We just don’t have it. *see below for an explanation
3. Home Phone: The church pays for our basic local service and Jeremy’s cell phone; we use our cell phones unlimited talk and text plan for long-distance.
4. Internet-the girls charter school reimburses for internet expenses for their students. So while we pay this out every month, it is reimbursed to us at the end of the school year. We really only pay for the internet for three months of the year when school is not in session.
5. Car Maintenance-Jeremy drives the local ambulance and works one day a week as an EMT. These extra incomes, along with weddings and funeral honorariums are put aside for car maintenance.
6. Car Payments-our cars have been paid off for a number of years.
7. Home Educating resources-We use an online public charter school and they provide all the needed materials for the girl’s education free of charge.
8. Debt– We have no consumer debt.

10 Practical things we have found that help us to be good stewards of our resources #budget Click To Tweet

Here are some practical things we have found help us to be good stewards of our resources.

Maybe you will find a new nugget of information that will help you to live within your means:

1. Tithe. This must be a priority. God can do exceedingly more with 90% of our income than we can ever do with 100% of it.

2. Make a budget and stick to it. This might take some homework if you’re not an active budgeter. There are a number of solid Christian resources out there regarding budgeting tips and various ways to budget. They are worth a look. If you know someone who is a great budgeter, financial planner ask them for help. Decide who will be in charge of the budget-both husband and wife? Just one or the other? I am better at budgeting and bill paying and daily running of the family and household. Jeremy is better at saving. He is in charge of the envelopes (explained in #3)

3. Use an envelope system for keeping the cash. A portion of our weekly income gets taken from the bank and put in envelopes for safe-keeping. Extra things like monthly bills to be paid, money for clothes, summer church camp fees, vacation, bulk meat purchase, family treats, and Christmas are included in these envelopes. It might not seem like there is much money at the beginning of saving in envelopes, but that money adds up quickly. When a monthly bill is needing to be paid simply take the money from the envelope put it in the bank and pay the bill. If Vacation or Christmas is coming just take the cash from the envelope.

4. Cash in those coins. We keep a small green glass chicken next to our kitchen sink and a large water bucket next to the washing machine. Any and all change (that’s left from my kids raiding the chicken to go to Christian Skate Night at the local Roller Rink with the youth group) gets put into either the chicken or the bucket. We recently took our coins to a Coinstar machine at the grocery store to convert it to cash. I didn’t want to have to pay a percentage of the total so instead we redeemed our coins for over $100 on a no-fee required Amazon gift card and put the gift card in the Christmas envelope.

5. Commit to a No-Spend Month – For one month, don’t spend money on anything that isn’t a basic need or an emergency. Keep in mind children’s birthdays and holidays when planning a No-Spend Month.

6. Slash your spending.

A. Groceries: The USDA says that a typical family of four (2 adults/2 children) will spend between $150 and $300 per week on groceries that’s $600-$1200 per month! Use coupons, cut out Starbucks and going out to eat, cook from scratch.

B. Entertainment: Our daughter Anna receives free books in return for her review on our blog, play board games, host a potluck, enjoy a family movie night, start a new tradition. catch a free concert in town, go for a hike. There are lots of things to do that don’t cost money.

C. Shop at Thrift Stores: there are some serious name brand, high-quality clothing at thrift stores.

D. Exercise: Walk or run daily, take advantage of a friend giving away exercise equipment, head to a local lake and swim for free.

E. Extra-curriculars: limit the children to one extra-curricular activity per season-this cuts down on time and money. If you have someone who will teach a skill for free ask them or barter in exchange for lessons.

F. DIY as much as possible. There are so many tutorials online for DIY projects we almost have no excuse to not use them.

G. Use what you have: Use up the freezer foods, watch the old movies, wear the tie you’ve had for years but is still in good condition.

7. Get rid of non-essentials. We haven’t had cable for 17 years and have survived. For years we used antenna tv only, but in our current home, located in the mountains, we have to pay 20$ for basic cable or we wouldn’t get any networks, PBS or the “Old Shows” as my kids call them.

8. Prioritize: Decide what is and isn’t important to your family.

  •  Do you want to see the world? BUDGET
  • Do you want to take an expensive vacation? BUDGET
  • Saving for the kid’s college or wedding? BUDGET
  • Want to treat your spouse to a nice Valentine’s Day Dinner? BUDGET

9. I realize not everyone has time for preserving food as we do. It takes a considerable amount of effort and time but buying foods while they are in season, or gardening is very cost-effective, supports local farmers, allows God to provide you with food that He created, and is overall better for health and taste. Cooking at home, buying seasonal foods, freezing, canning, drying or dehydrating foods are all options for making healthier, budget-friendly food choices.

10. Organize and Simplify-One way to live within your means in to know what you already have. At one point years ago I realized I owned 20 glass vases. Twenty! I quickly got rid of all but 5 or 6 of them that had special meaning to me, but the others went to the thrift store. Getting and staying organized will tell you what you do and don’t need. Anything that’s extra? Get rid of it by giving it to thrift stores, social service agencies, needy neighbors. Be cautious about getting rid of family antiques though-you’ll likely never get them back.

Lastly, but most importantly, we must Pray and give God Lordship over our finances.

Ask Him …

  • .. to provide in miraculous ways.
  • .. to show you what is and isn’t important.
  • .. for a financial blessing.
  • .. to make you and your spouse partners in financial matters.

Always allow God to provide for you through miracles and through His people. If people want to share the bounty of their gardens, or buy those new tires for your car or offer to help in some other way let them.

Allowing people to be vessels of God’s grace to you is a blessing to you and to them. Allow them to be the givers God is asking them to be.

Chrystal

Allowing people to be vessels of God's grace to you is a blessing… for you and them #budgeting Click To Tweet