So many of us find ourselves BROKEN. But God can make all things BEAUTIFUL if you will let Him. Don’t hold on to your broken heart.
I picked up Gwen Smith’s book because I am writing a series of devotionals on emotional trauma.* I wanted to find out how others dealt with their own broken hearts and other traumatic events and how God helped them recover.
*My series can be received weekly in your email box! Click here!
We have all found ourselves broken and unable to fix it. Only God can restore our broken hearts and make us whole again. Gwen brings to mind how this life can beat us up and break our tender hearts. Each chapter tells of someone she knows personally and links her together with a Biblical woman. She then shows us that “God can use each and every person who surrenders her brokenness into His hands…no matter what.” It doesn’t matter if we are broken from past sin. Sometimes, we ourselves have sinned. Other times, those around us have sinned and we became the object of the sin. Either way, God CAN use the brokenness and turn it into something beautiful. The key is our own surrender of the heart. We must allow God to do the work in our hearts and lives. Then and only then will the beauty shine through.
Gwen reminds us that Satan would like to take us down for the last time. He wants to defeat us and convince us that God does not care. These crafty lies of the evil one can hold us back and keep us struggling in the hurt. We must let the lies go. Stop believing the lies and begin believing in the God who created us. Gwen tells us that “when we invite God into our circumstances, He will faithfully respond to our needs”. And then we will experience His peace, his presence, His power!
At the end of each chapter, Gwen leaves us with lyrics to one of her songs
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.
Studying the plight of Hagar has helped me face my own situation.
It has taught me to look at where I may have failed.
Anne warns against wounding others in our hurt.
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.”
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.
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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.
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.
I am so excited to introduce you to a good friend of mine. She has just published her own website sharing how her struggles in life including chronic illness are teaching her to allow her pain to become a pearl. Today I am featuring her on the blog. Come read her story and then Link-up your own legacy story.
Melissa is a truth-seeker and a truth-teller who writes and speaks from life experience, testing and growing in the lab of great joys and deep sorrows. Through it all, she has found a closeness with the Father by both wrestling with Him and being still with Him. That has given her a compassion for others that is palpable.
Yes. I have known pain; as the short, fat girl who was always chosen last to years of chronic pain, to the pain of betrayal and deceit that crushes your soul. I have felt physical pain and emotional pain. But there is something else I have known – I am finding God has become my Faithful Friend.
Over the years, I have found God to come through no matter what kind of pain I might be experiencing. I like to share with you some of the things I have learned through my pain.
Finding God in The Early Years
In those early elementary years, I truly found him as a true friend and the Lifter of my Head.He chose me from the beginning of time as his child. I am grateful to have had an earthy father who showed me the love of The Father. My favorite place to be was in my Daddy’s lap. This helps me see myself, even now, climbing into my Father’s arms anytime and He holds me secure.
In college and early adulthood, I was far from home. He became my greatest teacher as I grew from trial to trial with grace upon grace. He kept me stable as an Anchor and my Sure Foundation when I wasn’t sure life was worth the trouble He became my Source of Life.
Family Life ~ Ministry Life
As a mother and pastor’s wife, He became my Overcomer as I learned new and sometimes hard lessons. He was my Refiner when I realized that I needed to change my attitude or improve my actions.
And now as I struggle with chronic pain, He is my Great Physician and Healer. Although physically, I haven’t been healed, my spirit is whole. “And He walks with me and talks with me and calls me His own.” He has become my Shepherd, as I quote Shepherd’s Psalm when I face sleepless nights or facing a painful injection or procedure. I recently found this new life verse:
Through it all, He is the God that Sees Me. He knows exactly where I am and what is happening. He holds me in the palm of His hands. In fact, he has inscribed my name there and I am safe! (Isaiah 49:15-16)
Friend, No matter what pain you may be feeling today, I urge you to seek Him in your pain because He can be found just as He promised.
It’s time to send our children off to school. And we all know that going to school can be pretty stressful; not just due to studies, but also peer pressure and social stresses. I thought this would be a good time to talk about how to help our children deal with bullies.
These days we hear so much about bullying, so much that it seems we are majoring on the wrong-doer and maybe we are not teaching our children how to deal with bullying when it happens. I don’t mean to make light of bullying, because certainly, I have been on the receiving end of it myself, as a child and as a mother having to comfort my children.
Bullying can crush our hearts. Bullying is not an acceptable way to act and often someone needs to step in and intervene. But how can we help our children through these times? Running straight to the principal may not be your best option, at least not your first option.
What we must teach our children is that in this sinful world, bullying will always be out there. As Christians, we’re given that promise…
“If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you…. If they persecuted Me they will persecute you… for they do not know the One who sent Me.”
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
That promise is a bit harder to claim in comparison to the ones we choose to claim, isn’t it?
Along with the promise that “we will have troubles” we should remind our children that God always goes with us through whatever we may face. Talk about men and women in the Bible that face dire circumstances but God walked with them through it all. Just a few to start with are Joseph, David, Daniel, the Hebrew children, and Jesus, himself. Introduce and help them memorize verses like this one from Isaiah 43
But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you. O Israel, the one who formed you says, “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. 2 When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. 3 For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
First, When Your Child is Bullied with Words, Ask This
1. Is there any truth in what the person said?
I’m reminded of an episode of Little House on the Prairie. Laura had been in an altercation with Nelly ‘again’. Upset that Nelly had called her father a smelly farmer, she finally told her father. Charles asked Laura, “Well, it is true, right?” Then he explained why he smelled like a barn and sweat. Because he worked hard and that was something to be proud of.
a. Become Better, Not Bitter
If there is truth in what was said, then we should correct what can be corrected. Use the situation as a tool to improve ourselves. Let it make you better, NOT Bitter. Just as a test shows us what we haven’t yet mastered, our trials show us areas in our life that need improving. Yes, criticism is hard to accept, but it can make us a better person if we allow it too. 1 Peter 1:6-7 instructs us …
” So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold-though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.“
In the Little House episode, Charles can’t help it that he gets smelly while he works. He can try to improve by bathing or changing clothes when he goes to town but even that may not be practical. So he needs to be proud that he has a job and that he is a hard worker.
Focus on the good stuff. Don’t dwell on the negative thoughts that were expressed. Make a list of all your good qualities. Review them over and over in your mind. Remind yourself that you are not defined by that one negative aspect in your life. This is not so that you can downgrade the bully by telling him you are better than him. This is self-talk to remind yourself that God made you
Secondly, Whether there is Truth or Not
A. Be Encouraged
If there is no truth, Be encouraged! because we know that through our struggles and weaknesses, we are strong in Christ.
For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. —2 Corinthians 12:10
B. Forgive and Forget
– Again we must forgive and forget. Think of the times that Jesus was wrongly accused, even on the cross He said: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do“. ( Luke 23:34 ) And later in Acts 7:54-60, we see that Stephen, forgave his persecutors even as they stoned him to death. So shouldn’t we do likewise? Aren’t we taught in the Bible to forgive as we are forgiven? Ephesians 4:32–5:2. Our actions show others how much Christ loves them.
C. Respond in Love
– We must respond in love. Remember that the bully probably does not yet know Christ. We need to show them the love and mercy of Christ by how we react to them. Remember, that we are the only Jesus some people will ever see. Responding in love will also, many times, dumbfound your accuser because they will be expecting you to hurl insults back at them. When we react with love and mercy, it will many times silence them.
Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.
I recall a time in my life when I was first out on my own. I didn’t have laundry equipment and had to take my clothes to a laundromat. Finding a dryer with time left on it, I placed my laundry into the empty dryer.
I was later folding these clothes, a woman came into the laundromat and began accusing me of stealing her clothes from the dryer. I replied that there had been no clothes in the dryer and that she was welcome to go through my stacks of clothing to find anything that might be hers. She continued to accuse and yell, backing me up against the dryers and hitting me in the face. But when I would not retaliate, she finally, gave up and walked out.
It turned out that this situation for me became a blessing in disguise. When my church family heard the story, a lady came to me and said, “You will no longer have to go to a laundromat. Bring your dirty clothes to my house every Monday and I will wash them for you.” She not only washed them but made any repairs needed as well!
D. Pray for your Accuser / Abuser
Be a Prayer Warrior. We must Pray for our Accuser.
“But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you
There is usually a reason someone lashes out at us. They may have a bad situation at home, they may be grieving a loss, they may be jealous of you, they may be under conviction of the Holy Spirit. Look for these things and pray for them.
Then look for ways that you can reach out to them as a friend. Find out what their interests are and give a gift or strike up a conversation about their interests. Be a friend.
See if you can find out why they want to lash out. You might be amazed at the results. I’ve heard of “enemies becoming dear friends” because one of them reached out in love.
E. Remember God is With You
Be Encouraged… God is with you and God will be glorified!
Our true purpose on earth is to glorify God. There are times when our trials can bring glory to Him because of the way we react. Others will see Jesus in us when we respond as Jesus would.
We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.
2 Corinthians 4: 8-11
F. Endurance Brings Reward
Be Encouraged .. You will be rewarded!
We can be encouraged when insulted or persecuted because our reward in heaven will be great.
“Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11″Blessed are you when men cast insults at you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me. 12″Rejoice, and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Additionally, Here Are A Few Ways to Prepare Your Children in Advance for Bullies
The temptation is to encircle our children and prevent any harm from coming to them; however, this may only make things worse. Our children need to learn to stand up for themselves and to resolve conflict on their own.
They don’t need Mommy running to their defense all the time. This makes them feel and seem helpless. It could also cause them more harm because a bully is likely to retaliate when their mischief is reported.
Rather parents should prepare their children for troubled times by discussing real-life situations and Biblical accounts that reveal how to respond when troubles come.
1. Study the Scriptures Together
1 Blessed are they whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the LORD. 2 Blessed are they who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart. 3 They do nothing wrong; they walk in his ways.
Each morning before you send them to school, read the scriptures together. This doesn’t need to be lengthy and drawn out. Read the scripture and talk about what it means in our own lives. Just one or two verses could do the trick. Here are a few places to start.
The Proverbs – Proverbs discusses character and lends itself to discussion. Plus Proverbs has 31 chapters. Chose a verse or two for the chapter that correlates to the day of the month. Read chapter 1 on day 1
Bible Story Book – There are many storybooks available. I like Ann Voskamp’s Unwrapping The Greatest Gift. While this is an Advent book, it can easily be used throughout the year. It begins with Adam and Eve and relates each lesson to the genealogy of Christ. Talk about the character of each man or woman. How did they respond to adversity? How can we relate that to our situation?
Sunday School Take-Home Papers – Some Sunday School curriculum comes with take-home papers that give scriptures to read at home during the week. This would be advantageous because it will correlate with what they are learning in Sunday School.
“This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. “
I cannot emphasize enough on the importance of scripture memory. If you want to be encouraged by the Lord throughout the day, memorize scripture. It’s the only way God can bring it to mind in the middle of your trouble. Here are a few ways to help your children memorize.
Start with Sunday School Materials. That aforementioned S.S. paper has a memory verse on it. learn it together as a family. Write it out and put it on the refrigerator. Recite it aloud every time you go through the kitchen. Ask each other, “What is this week’s verse?” (NOTE: I’m not averse to giving awards for scripture memory)
Make little verse cards that fit into your pockets. Then review it all day long. It will surprise you how quickly you learn.
Memory Apps – I enjoy Scripture Typer which is available online, or on your phone or kindle. It keeps track of what you are learning, helps you review, and you can add your own scriptures in your preferred version.
As an added bonus, did you realize that the more you use your brain, the better it works? My cousin, now a surgeon, wondered how in the world he would learn and memorize all he needed while in medical school. His father told him, “Memorize Scripture”.
Forwhere two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
We never let our children set foot on the school campus before praying together. The old adage says that a family that prays together stays together. I think more than staying together, you become one. It creates a bond not easily broken. This bond is a force that reminds us that we are not alone. Our child will know that you are cheering for him and also that God is fighting for him.
Prayer has a way of helping us see things from one another’s points of view. Hearing another pray causes us to feel his pain. It also helps us celebrate big wins that might otherwise go unnoticed. It’s also training for adulthood when they may be asked to pray in public.
Who doesn’t enjoy the wonderful smell and the softness obtained from using it?
But it seemed precious little payment for the hours on end that I spent learning and perfecting the wedding music chosen for this wedding and the entire weekend my husband and I gave for rehearsal, decorating, flower deliveries and, of course, the wedding itself.
Have you ever felt unappreciated?
It’s easy to fall into the trap. We work hard to do our best and no one notices, maybe they even criticize our hard work. I’ve experienced that before!
But, remember my pastor’s wife, Charlotte, who taught me so much in the beginning? She brought home the truth one day while we were talking. She did it gently by suggesting that I make the time and hard work my gift to the bride and groom.
The truth of the matter is that it was my attitude that needed adjusting.
God’s Word says,
So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31
You see, I had my priorities upside down.
I wasn’t doing all that preparation out of love for the couple (or God). I was doing it for my glory. To receive praise or a few dollars. And when it didn’t pay off, I was upset. No wonder I felt unappreciated.
It was time for an attitude adjustment. I needed a heart transplant. My heart of self-service needed changing out for a heart of service.
As we come to the end of October (Pastor’s Appreciation Month), perhaps some of us are needing a heart transplant. Maybe we feel unappreciated this year. It is possible we feel what was given was too little and too late causing us to wonder if it was all quickly put together at the last minute.
Here are a few ways that I have found to make an attitude adjustment.
Three Steps to Avoid Feeling Unappreciated
Look up to God Realize how much He loves me and does for me. Thank Him for all the blessings He has given me even when I don’t deserve it.
Look around at all those who are serving with me. This would include associates, widowed pastors/spouses, retired ministers, and their spouse. Send a handwritten card or note expressing your appreciation for them and what they do. Remember that joy comes in giving more than in receiving.
Remember those who have paved the way for me. Write a note to the pastors and wives in my life that have encouraged me along the way.
Also, don’t forget the leaders above me. In our church, there is a District Superintendent that guides all the churches in our state. I’m sure he would accept a little appreciation, as well.
Next year, try entering the month of appreciation doing these things. I think you will find a greater feeling of joy over your situation.
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