Easy like Sunday Mornings…

Oh, you know the song. You may have even sang it a time or two. Apparently Lionel Richie hadn’t had kids or been a pastor!

What do you think it looks like on a Sunday morning in the parsonage? Do you picture the first family getting up, thanking God for another day before happily getting ready for church? Do you see them sitting around their table eating breakfast, sipping coffee, and reading the headlines? Do you assume that everyone is excited about getting up and going to church?

Oh, that is what I thought growing up! I figured the Pastor sat around all day just waiting to go pray for someone, prepping for the services, and just waiting to service his congregation. I forgot that these men were regular people like we were, with plans, a to-do list, and a family. To any former Pastor’s, I am so sorry I didn’t realize this until I was an adult!

Ug, Sunday mornings are the most hectic time in our home. Marcus is trying to focus on getting ready to minister the Word. Zoe just wants to lay in bed, eat her cereal or pop-tart and watch cartoons. Then Gabby generally sleeps until the last possible minute. And me, well, I’m the first one out of bed, making sure I get a shower (not always guaranteed during the week!), get my hair and make-up done, and get dressed before I have to get the girls ready. Myself, nor Marcus, eat breakfast on Sundays and we barely make it out the door in time for Sunday school!

I can’t tell you the number of times someone has had a tantrum because of something not going as planned (and I am not just talking about the tiny humans in our house.). Shirts need to be ironed. Pantyhose have runs in them. A shoe is missing. Or someone’s stomach is gnawing on their backbone.

Oh, and let’s not forget the time we left the pacifier at the house and learned that it was the ONLY pacifier that was accepted and the little booger screamed through Sunday School until I finally had to load her back in the car and go home to find it. (She fell asleep before I got out of the driveway going back to church!).

God, are you sure this is what you have called us to?

Many times, I collapse in the car seat, kids buckled in with dresses going every which direction. Marcus grasping his sermon notebook and looking at the clock. And I just start giggling as I sing…
“Easy, easy like Sunday morning…”

Then there was yesterday!

Snow in the forecast. Springing forward. Two coughing kids. It was a recipe for disaster and we should have seen it coming. I got up and got ready rather quickly. I went downstairs and got Gabby’s breakfast ready, then headed to Zoe’s room to get her outfit picked out (she had come into our room around 8:30). I looked at the clock…9:20! What?!

I still had to get Zoe’s hair fixed, which almost always results in a meltdown, Gabby was sound asleep in her pjs…in her room. Oh good grief! I got Zoe’s hair fixed (thanks to YouTube) and her Daddy got her dressed while I went to get Gabby moving.

“Get the pacifier…” I said to myself as I picked Gabby up off the changing table. I grabbed it, the blanket, and Gabby’s boots. At 9:45, everyone was dressed and we were heading downstairs. I sat down to put Gabby’s shoes on and since we were already going to be late, we snapped a pic of the girls (they were so cute in their boots and vests). We got our coats on, I grabbed the diaper bag and we were out the door by 9:55.

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Aren’t they just the cutest? They are oblivious to the fact that we are so late for church!

Halfway to church, Marcus frantically looks around the front seat.

“I left my message!”

Since it was already 10 after, he decided he can go without his folder and just print the message again once we get to church.

Once there, he whisks Zoe off to class while I get Gabby inside. As I give her to her Sunday school teacher (along with her uneaten breakfast), I can’t find the pacifier. Ugh, it must be in the car…I know I got it!

I check everywhere in the car…no pacifier. Come back in the church, empty the diaper bag and my pockets…still no pacifier. I have the spare, but we learned from the last episode of #weleftthepaci she will only take the pink one with the strap.

So, I get Marcus’ keys, inform him I will get his message and the pacifier, and be back before service. I realized as I headed home that I also left my wallet…“God, please don’t let me get pulled over!”

I make it home and find the message sitting on the desk in the office. I look everywhere for the pacifier, and finally spot it on the bench…where I sat down to put on Gabby’s shoes. I grab my wallet and some chocolate because I’m hungry and stressed, then head back out the door.

The Word is safe!

The message, the pacifier, and the wallet safely nestled in the passenger seat.

You see, just because we are a Pastoral family doesn’t mean we don’t struggle to make it into the church doors with our minds fully focused on Jesus. We strive to. We aim to (well, at least the adults in the house). But we are just like the dear congregants we pastor, arguing all the way to church then stepping out of the car with forced smiles on praying God will have mercy on us and no one will notice the band-aid on someone’s head because they threw a tantrum outside of the car and hit their head on the doorframe!

“Hi, Sister Jane, how are you this morning?….Oh yes, we are so blessed to be in God’s house today!”

Thank God for His grace and mercy. I think He probably gets a good laugh at us on Sunday’s trying to keep everything together when He knows we are all falling apart.

Test God and See!

**Whoops!
This post was supposed to post over a month ago! But I apparently hit save instead of schedule, and it has been sitting and waiting. Then with two birthdays, a party, Christmas, a weekend getaway, and two migraines, this kinda slipped my mind! Thank you for continuing to follow me!**

What a couple of months! I can’t believe I haven’t wrote in over a month! Oh my. No good! But I have a great story for you today.

Most of you know that our church is currently in the fundraising process for an extensive remodel on our family life center. For several months we have been giving regular updates on what amount we have pledged and how we desperately need your financial support for this. While preachers try not to preach on money too often (“you know that preacher only preaches on money!”), they also don’t like to have to ask for it! But the church needs your money! It is not self-sufficient, and has no way of paying the bills, staff, or anything else without your giving.

So, with all that in mind, Marcus and I were talking about giving on Saturday. He had visited another church in our area that had undergone extensive renovations and was just in awe of the results. This church had received several large offerings that funded the renovations, so we were trying to figure out how they could do this, but we seemed to be struggling. This was not a brainstorming session. This was not a name dropping session. Just pondering and planning.

So Sunday, it was time for offering. I got my wallet out and pulled out my offering, then dropped my wallet back in the diaper bag in the floor. As the offering prayer was being prayed, I heard a voice say, “Give that bill.” It wasn’t much more than what I already had in my hand, but it was more. The plate was being passed, so I quickly grabbed my wallet back out of the diaper bag, put what I had in my hand back and grabbed the larger bill. I dropped it in the plate and forgot about it.

Fast forward to yesterday evening. Marcus checks the mail and brings me an envelope that is personally addressed to me. I’m not talking about publishers clearing house or a mass print job, but a hand-written envelope. Inside I find a note and a check for 5x the amount I had given the previous day. Now, I am not super spiritual just because I am the Pastor’s wife. At first, I was just surprised that someone had sent this to me…I didn’t notice the connection. It was about 20 minutes later, after I had walked off that I heard that little voice again…

“How much did you give yesterday?”

I went back and looked at the check again. Yes, it was 5x the amount I had given plus change!

“Give and it will be given unto you.”

I was blown away. I had no clue about this money. I didn’t expect it to be coming when I placed that small amount in the offering plate. And more than that, that check was written days before and mailed to me from another state. God knew what to send, BEFORE I ever had that bill in my wallet!

Again, I am not talking about an astronomical amount. But God took what I had and blessed it. He proved that He can still take 5 loaves and two fish to feed 5,000 (well, not exactly, but you get the point.)

You see, we’ve all heard the scriptures, but until you test them and see them for yourself, you are just living on someone else’s faith. So I encourage you. Listen for that still small voice, it won’t lead you wrong. And you never know what may be in store for you when you are obedient to His voice.

Grief takes time and God (part 2)

*I apologize it took so long to get the second part of this up! Between crying, two sick kids, and vacations, this kind of got pushed to the back burner.*

So what do you do when your life gets wrecked? I tried to carry on like normal, but it , was hard. Days turned into weeks into months. Anger and bitterness developed. Every time someone said they understood my pain, I wanted to say, “really? That’s funny, your parents are still alive.” or “Oh, do you? Last I checked, you are older than me and still have your mom/dad/sister/brother even grandparents!” I was angrily jealous of every person close to my age that had their parents and grandparents, some even had great grand parents. I was upset watching my friends infants play with their grandparents and great-grandparents, it was a joy my family had been denied.

I read books on dealing with loss (I’ve got a great list of some good ones.) I read the scriptures about mourning, grief, and despair. Nothing made me feel better. Each holiday was without them, and I cried. Each birthday reminded me that they weren’t there, more tears. I didn’t like who I was becoming, but I didn’t know how to change it. I went to the doctor, obviously depressed, and he assured me that God would help me, but God also gave scientist wisdom to create medicine that could help. I hated medicine…I hated addiction (that will be saved for a future post), I didn’t want that, but I needed something. So a low-dose anti-depressant was in order.

I went on a Christian retreat after seeing my anger be displayed through my young daughter. I knew I had to change. I walked into a room where we were to have quiet reflection and prayer, and someone began singing a song I had never heard, (I later learned this was by Kari Jobe)

“I am not alone. I am not alone.
You will go before me. You will never leave me.”

It was like God was speaking directly to me. That weekend, my anger at myself, at God, at all those around me was broken and joy was restored. I was even able to quit taking the anti-depressant. A short time later, a minister came to our church and spoke profound words that greatly ministered to me and I remember them to this day,

“As long as you and I are breathing, God still has a work for us to do. When our mission is complete, then and only then, will He call us home.”

I can’t tell you how those words so quickly became etched into my mind. They stung yet offered so much peace. My parent’s missions were complete. I still wanted them. I still felt like I needed them. But whatever the specific task God had for them was finished. He had called them home. He had  told them, “well done, my good and faithful servant.”

I don’t know how you can make it in this world without a relationship with God. Their sudden departures left me weak and wounded. We weren’t the lead pastor’s at the time but we were involved in full-time ministry. I was serving as the youth pastor and Marcus was the associate pastor and minister of music. My parents were Christians and ready to meet God, so while it was comforting knowing I would see them again, it didn’t make the pain go away. I questioned God on more than one occasion and still today, I wish I understood His plan. However, I know I am stronger now and have more empathy for the broken.

So what has brought you to this page? Are you a faithful reader and just got notice of this post? Maybe you searched for help with grief and found this page. I want to assure you, I may not know exactly how you feel, but I understand grief. I understand depression and pain. I understand anger. And my heart is broken for you as you read this in the midst of this trying time. If you let God walk beside you and carry you when you can’t walk, then you will make it through this!

I am now closing in on six years since Momma passed and almost five since Daddy went to be with her. It still hurts. I have cried like a baby trying to write this post. Mother’s Day and Father’s day are such painful reminders of what was and what should be. Christmas hurts. Birthdays hurt. But what hurts the most is when a friend, a family member, or a church member loses a parent, my wound cuts fresh. The grief sweeps over you again. I want to reach out and hold each person and never let go. I have to bite my lip as I wait in receiving lines and hold my breath to keep the tears at bay. I haven’t been able to go to the Veteran’s Cemetery without crying yet, and I may never be able to. Momma told me once she would go to the cemetery where my grandparents are buried and would just lay on the grave. I thought she was being silly at the time. I now understand. I want to do that myself.

wp-image-1132012152However, as I was thinking about her on her birthday (which was when I started writing this entry!), I looked at my desk calendar. The picture above is of the devotion that day. I’m not sure if I skipped it in years past or if this year I was ready to receive from it. That day I felt peace. That day, I felt restored. Grief takes time, lots of time. Death steals that from you. Death takes your peace, it takes the future, it takes a piece of you. Yet, with time and God, you can be restored. Ironically, the next day as I was still thinking about all this, I came across a video on facebook of a bald eagle that was flying. A camera had been strapped to the eagle’s back and was showing his flight in real-time. As I watched, the scripture at the bottom of the devotion replayed in my mind…
They that WAIT upon the Lord shall renew their strength.
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not grow weary.
They shall walk and not faint.”

My Momma and Daddy are soaring now. No longer plagued by asthma, diabetes, or heart problems. They are whole and complete. And for the first time in a long time, I feel like I am too. So it is my sincerest prayer, as you read this, that God will begin to minister to your grieving heart. While you are always going to miss your loved one, and you may shed tears until the day you join them again, there is HOPE! Weeping may endure for the night, but JOY will come in the morning, if you just hold on long enough.

Grief takes time and God (part 1)

I’ve had the hardest time writing this post. I  know what I want to say, but getting it out and finding the time for it has been so difficult. As I wrote this post, I realized it was extremely long (and no one has time for that), so broke it into two parts. Be sure to check out the conclusion!!

So what qualifies me to write on grief? How can a 35 year old woman understand the pain that you may be experiencing? Sure, as a Pastor’s wife and someone involved in ministry for the past 17 years, I’ve been to my share of funerals. I’ve sat with families that have just said their last goodbyes. I could share how those have affected me, but God wanted me to know first hand what you are feeling. You see, last Wednesday, my mom would have turned 64 years old. However, she has spent the last five birthdays in Heaven. Most of you know this story, but just in case you aren’t aware, here it is.

December 23rd, 2011… a day before my Daddy’s birthday, two days before Christmas, and Zoe was due at any moment…there was a constant knocking at our kitchen door. Marcus got up to answer it and didn’t return. I could hear him talking with someone quietly. After waiting for what seemed like hours, I walked into our living room to find him and my Daddy sitting on the love seat with blank faces. My heart sank as I somehow knew what was about to take place. They moved over and sat me down on the couch. Tears were already streaming down my face.

“Alicia, we have to tell you something, but you have to remember to stay calm…” I don’t remember the exact conversation. Daddy had found Momma earlier that morning, already passed. My head must have taken over because my heart couldn’t bear the hurt. We sat at the funeral home later that morning, writing an obituary, picking out a casket, all while I tried to breathe through Braxton-Hicks contractions. I kept thinking, “This is not supposed to be happening. We are supposed to be planning Christmas dinner, NOT A FUNERAL!” I did call the hospital and my OBGYN at some point that day to find out if I should watch for anything else, as I knew this kind of stress was not good for myself or my baby. My OBGYN prescribed a mild sedative to help me sleep.

Phone calls, texts, and people poured in the next few days. The novelty of Christmas was lost. Presents meant nothing. Gifts were under the tree that she had wrapped and labeled, suddenly, these things meant everything to me. There is still a wrapped gift at my mother-in-laws house that she couldn’t bear to open. I remember opening a sweater that she picked out for me, that I held and cried until I fell asleep.

I ate, not because of hunger, but because of necessity…generally because someone fixed a plate and gave it to me. I had no desire to eat. One of the most poignant memories was on Christmas day, two families dropped by to visit us. I kept thinking, “they should be celebrating Christmas, enjoying their time with their families, but instead they are here for me. Would I ever do that?”

We held the funeral on December 26th. It was beautiful and the church was still decorated for Christmas, which was appropriate for Momma, she LOVED Christmas. At 6:22am the next morning, my water broke and Zoe was born 7 hours later.

Fast forward 15 1/2 months later. It’s 3:30am on April 9th.  Zoe is sound asleep in her bed, Marcus and I are asleep in our room.

BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!

Someone is pounding on our front door. Fearful that someone is breaking into our house, Marcus grabs a gun and goes to the living room to find out what in the world is going on. The lights come on, I hear the door open.

“Does Alicia Keister  live here?” I hear a man’s voice say.

Yet again, my heart drops and I go running into our living room, knowing the fate that is to be held. I come face to face with two sheriffs officers. Marcus grabs me, as I scream and collapse into the floor. They proceed to inform me that Daddy had been killed in a car crash around 1am. I remember looking back at Zoe’s bedroom door as I sat in the floor, praying she would sleep through the screaming that I couldn’t control. I had to sign something, I could barely hold the pen. The officers repeatedly apologized for my loss. I can remember saying, “No, not this again. I’m not ready for this. I can’t handle this again.”

The next thing I remember is being in our basement, tears, groaning, screaming. I questioned God. I yelled at Him. I remember Marcus doing the same. I was mad. I was hurt. Mostly, I felt abandoned. I was an only child. My grandparents were all passed. Now, my mom and dad were gone. I could hear a voice saying, “now you are all alone, what are you going to do now?”

Later that day, we sat in the same funeral home, in the same chairs planning yet another funeral. I had spent my early childhood living next door to the funeral home, the undertaker was a lifelong friend. He was visibly shaken having my father on his table. I remember him telling me that I didn’t want an open casket and that I most definitely didn’t want to see Daddy since the medical examiner had to perform an autopsy. I didn’t want to see him like that.

The days following are a blur. We held his visitation and funeral all at one time. I remember the line of church members, family, and friends coming through. I remember countless customers and coworkers speaking of his gentle spirit and kindness. I remember kissing the casket before being led away for the ceremony to begin. I remember the 21-gun salute and taps.

If you have ever been in the direct aftermath of such loss, you know you want to curl up into a ball and do nothing. Unfortunately with a 16 month old, and now being in charge of my deceased parents affairs, I wasn’t afforded this chance…you probably weren’t either. They owned their trailer, but not the land it was on, so we quickly had to take care of selling the trailer, or risk paying the lot fee. The land owner gave us one month. We sold furniture and my dad’s car, mom’s car that he still drove was totaled in the accident. My aunts took some of Momma’s clothes and my one of my uncles took some of Dad’s donated clothes to a clothing bank. Mom had snowman dishes that I gave away, looking back I wish I would have kept them. Their bibles, pictures, photo albums, and home movies were boxed up and taken to our house.  I’m not sure what happened to everything else.

And that is it.

Life was forever altered. I had to learn a new way of going on without my parents as a guide. While I wish it wasn’t the case, those days define my life. That is the point where I changed. I started a new journey on December 23rd, 2011 and took a sharp turn on April 9th, 2013. I wasn’t prepared for this venture, I didn’t get to say goodbye. However, God had a plan and a purpose for the pain I was feeling…I just didn’t know it.

Visitation requires a sense of humor and a helmet

I have wrote a couple of serious topics, so I want to change this one up and go back to humor. Being married to Marcus, humor comes easy.

Every week or so, Pastor Marcus and Pastor Joni set out to visit shut-ins and those that haven’t been able to make it to services for various reasons. There are many days he goes to visit on his way to work also. Many of these visits are relatively uneventful. Time of brief conversation with family at a hospital bedside, a yummy dessert shared by a thoughtful grandmother, and always, prayer. However, there are other visits that I would say could win America’s Funnies Videos if we had them recorded.

Now there are plenty of stories of getting lost or not being able to find a particular place, going to visit the member’s fortieth cousin twice removed, and showing up at a home where a visit was CLEARLY not expected nor wanted. Pastor is a pro at making sure Pastor Joni is engrossed in a text before he slams on the breaks and screams, making her toss her phone and scream thinking they were in an accident. Overly excited dogs also come into the mix; the larger ones terrify Pastor Joni and the smaller ones are physically attracted to Pastor’s size 13 feet! However, the following three stories are the ones that just stick out in my mind and that I got a phone call about as they are driving down the road! *Please note, names have been excluded to protect the innocent!*

There was the time they went to visit an elderly lady who is unable to attend services any more because of her age…and possibly her hearing loss. She is one of the sweetest ladies, and had faithfully attended our church. She is one of their regular visits and calls to find out where they have been if they haven’t been by soon enough. Most recently, her hearing aid had quit working. Pastor said they were already having to yell to communicate with her, which was funny enough.

“HOW ARE YOU FEELING?” He asked.

“What did he say?” She asked Pastor Joni.

He said the conversation went like that for a bit. Then he commented on her new TV. Being proud of the new present from her children, she decided to let him see it. She turned it on, and immediately her hearing loss was apparent. The television was blaring! She couldn’t tell though and continued to hold the conversation. By the time it was over, he said Pastor Joni was cracking up and he had a headache from the TV and yelling.

There was the time they went to visit a dear saint dealing with the effects of debilitating memory loss. She was so happy and content in her new place. She was very excited that the staff cooked for them.

“Oh honey, we had some good times,” she said to Pastor.

“Yes, we did.” Pastor replied. “Good singings. Good services.”

“Oh yes, we had some good times back then.” She turned to Pastor Joni, and mind you this precious saint is old enough to be at least our mother, possibly our grandmother, “Yes, we had good times. I tried to have his babies…”

Pastor Joni just laughed and laughed. They quickly changed the conversation, but Pastor wondered who in the world she thought he was!

But my favorite story of late, was when Pastor went by the nursing home to visit the spouse of one of our church members. It was after breakfast and the gentleman was laying in his bed. Pastor tried to hold a conversation with the gentleman, but it was apparent, his presence was not accepted.

“I’m going to have a word of prayer with you quickly before I leave.” Marcus stated as he bowed his head beside the bed. He closed his eyes and began to pray.

“Dear Heavenly Father,
We thank you for this time together. I pray that you will touch my brother..”

WHACK!

The gentleman was not pleased with my hubby and had proceeded to smack him in the face while his eyes were closed in prayer. It addled him so, he couldn’t remember if he finished the prayer or not. Just wished the man a good day and walked out.

So next time you are having a bad day at work, just think, you could be out on visitation with Pastor.

AND if that is something you want to do, be sure to bring ear plugs and a helmet!

S-i-m-p-l-f-y


It’s early. I’m sitting here with sleep clinging to my eyes while my baby girl nurses without ever waking up fully. I’m watching as the sun peeks over the mountains, just so I don’t fall back asleep so close to my alarm going off that will officially start the day. I’m thinking how quickly life changes and babies grow.

During a time of prayer at the beginning of this year, God kept dropping one little word into my Spirit. “Simplify.” Every thing I read, every store I went into, I would see that word jumping at me.

So I’ve tried to do that. I’ve said “no” to things that require me to do something that ultimately causes more stress. While I’ve said “yes” to cuddles with my girls when I was planning on doing something else. The hardest part was stepping out of the music ministry. I had been a part of it since my husband took it over in 2001, but when God speaks to your heart, you must obey.

When I shared the Word God had given me with a dear ministry friend over Easter, he pointed out to me that simplify also means to focus. What a way to look at it! The word simplify causes you to look at what you lose, however, when you think of the word focus, you concentrate on what you have!

So I have tried to focus on the things and people that are near and dear to me. Like during the middle of the night a few nights ago, when my five year old climbed in the bed with us. I let her drift back to sleep and I wrapped my arm around her and thanked God for this moment. I know one day in the not-so-distant future she will think she’s too old to climb in bed with Mommy and Daddy and I will miss this. And in this very moment I’m sitting here, rocking my soon-to-be 5 month old knowing next year she won’t be so little and will more than likely be sleeping away in her own bed and I will miss these early mornings together. So for now, I choose to focus on the baby in my arms. I choose to shut the rest of the world out because too soon this moment will be gone, and I will only have this memory.

So today, I encourage you, choose the simple things in life. Choose to say yes, when the answer should be no. Choose joy over sorrow. Choose to make someone smile today. Because in this hurried, fast-paced society, often the best things in life are over looked and left out. These are the things that will be missed most.

In Christ,

Alicia

*I wrote this post two months ago for myself, never intending to share it. However, the past week, I have felt God’s nudging to share it with the world. I pray it ministers to your heart.*

Put down the phone

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Around 10pm one day last week, my hubby was busy getting our oldest ready for bed. I was still in the kitchen gathering bottles and locating pajamas to get the baby ready for bed. I carried her upstairs and as I tossed my phone on the bed, I realized I hadn’t checked my email all day! Augh! So once I kissed my oldest and told her goodnight, and changed Gabby’s diaper and put her in her pjs, I grabbed my phone and headed to the rocking chair with my baby, like I have done so many nights before. I began feeding her and the task of checking countless pointless emails…sale at this store, discount coupon to that store, check out the latest arrivals at the bookstore…seriously, I rarely get any personal emails! Then, in the midst of the mundane, I heard a voice say,

“Put down the phone and spend this time with your baby.”

I knew that voice. It’s a voice I’ve heard a few times. The voice that told me I would marry my husband. The voice that told me to preach the Word. The voice that told me I would make it when my world crashed around me. But this time, it was the voice of a loving Father offering a firm rebuke to a misdirected child. I quickly dropped the phone on the footstool and focused in on Gabby quietly sucking her bottle.

I pondered briefly why God would speak such correction at that moment, but then I noticed her skin, glistening in the soft light. I watched as those tiny little hands rubbed those sleepy little eyes. I noticed the 1-2-3 pattern as she sucked the last remaining ounces out of her bottle. And I was reminded of the old poem, “Baby’s Don’t Keep.”

The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow
But children grow up as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs; Dust go to sleep!
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.

Author: Ruth Hulburt Hamilton

Growing up, it felt like time stood still. It seemed like ages passed between holidays. Yet, as an adult, a mother, I’m learning too quickly that time never stops. We may get stuck emotionally in a moment or a season, because of grief, instability, or whatever else, but time keeps ticking away. While I’m checking emails that I never fully intend to read or even care about, I’m wasting time with the most precious gift God could ever give me. Precious moments that I can never get back. Each day that passes, my babies are growing older, they are getting bigger, and sooner than I care to realize, they will be grown and off to pursue the lives God has planned for them.

You see, behind the parsonage doors, we loose focus too. We forget the things that are most important in life too. We get wrapped up in the flashing, bright lights, when God is calling us to the quiet, still moments. Those emails can wait. Those Facebook posts can be liked later. But for this moment in time, while my baby is still small enough that I can snuggle her in the nook of my arm, and I can smell the sweetness of a freshly washed baby, I am going to put down my phone and thank God for these moments.

In Christ,

Alicia

**In all clarity, the photo posted was taken days earlier. I have left my phone in our bedroom since this day…and I don’t regret it one bit!**

Letting go of fear

About two years ago, I decided I wanted to start blogging. I felt that I had something to say that might just minister to someone. I have always loved writing, and the people who read my work always offered applause. I felt with my experiences in life, I had something to say that may just minister or encourage someone. I felt with a unique perspective of being a Pastor’s wife, I could let people in that wondered what it was like in a Pastor’s home.

So what happened? After figuring out how to set up the site, picking a name, and writing my first post, fear crept over me and I hid the post. A few months went by and I wrote my second post, and I hid it also. I was fearful that no one would read. I was afraid I was doing this on my own. So I kept my posts private and told no one. And since I had no accountability, I never wrote anything again.

But lately I have felt that nudging again. I have felt the desire to write again. And after reading other people’s blogs on starting to blog, I knew it was the Holy Spirit confirming this. So I set out to write what was on my heart, but this time I couldn’t get the site to operate or save what I wrote!

What is going on?” I thought. “Maybe this isn’t God. Maybe I’m not meant to write this.”

Then, I came down with a migraine. UGH! A day or so later, I tried to write it again and my head started hurting again! “No way Satan! I see what you are doing and your attacks are useless. I will write this if I have to do it beside a toilet with medications in hand!”

So, here I am. Typing through the pain. Typing through the effects of my medicine. Praying this all makes sense. I had planned on writing on a different topic, but I will save that for another day. What I do want to say, is that if you have been feeling that urge, that gentle nudge to chase after something. Something that may seem silly, or unattainable, my advice to you is go after it. Pray as you do. Ask God to close the door if you are wrong. One scripture I have always loved is Psalms 37:4, “if you delight yourself in the Lord, He will give you the desires of your heart.” You can take that scripture two ways and either way, it will benefit those of you in this situation. First, you can take it just as it is written. When you delight yourself in the Lord, when He becomes your first and foremost reason for being happy, those things you have desired and prayed for, He may just so grant.

-OR-

You can look at it as when you find your delight, your joy, your happiness in the Lord, He will place or give you desires within your heart that line up with His will for your life! It’s a win-win situation!

So now here you have it. My first official blog post that isn’t hidden. A blog post that I pray offers your encouragement. And while it may not peek behind the parsonage doors too far (you can read the two previously hid ones for that), I pray you realize a Pastor’s wife, is just like you!

In Christ,

Alicia

Oops, she did it again!

So, I have realized I am not that great at blogging. Well, I try to be, but I forget and let life get so hectic I forget about it. However, due to a series of unfortunate events (isn’t that a movie?), I am seeking extra ways to bring in some income, plus I want to homeschool my daughter and could use a bit of a break from my “normal” job.
So in my first post, I shared how Zoe decided to use the bathroom in the middle of our floor when we hosted our first major dinner at our home. So what did she do this Christmas…she did it again.

Well…not exactly. But she certainly made her Daddy and I turn 15 shades of red and laugh the most nervous laugh EVER!

So here we were, just a couple weeks before Christmas hosting another dinner. This time we have some ministers from our congregation over. Not just any ministers, but one was the gentleman that helped birth our church 40  years ago…along with his wife and his ministry partners. (The only thing that possibly saved us here is that man is also my Uncle by marriage!).

Unfortunately, the week before our dinner, the stomach bug swept through our house. Zoe had it pretty rough, but was finally feeling better and starting to eat again. We sanitized the whole house and went forward with our plans.

The night of the dinner.

The table looked great. The house was cleaned. Zoe was dressed in her cutest Christmas outfit. And our dignified guests arrive. *Please God, let my child be good and not do anything horrible.* I prayed as Marcus went to answer the door.

Everything went pretty smooth, if you don’t count Zoe throwing off on the blanket they got her. Yeah, she’s 4…anything cloth is boring to her…even if it is an HD Frozen Anna and Elsa blanket! We bless the food, every one gets seated and is enjoying the meal. We are all just talking away about many different things. Zoe is even joining in on the conversation, what little bit she can follow.

I’m not even sure what happened next. Maybe she didn’t enjoy adult conversation? Maybe she didn’t enjoy hearing about church at home? Maybe she just wanted to see how many shades of red Mommy and Daddy would turn? But the moment came when she changed the subject.

“I don’t have Guy-a-reah anymore!” She blurts out. She couldn’t say the correct word…diarrhea, so it came out guyareah. But regardless, the whole table understood. I jumped to my feet to whisk her away and Daddy tried to address the issue without much detail, but the damage was done and everyone was laughing.

I can’t wait until next year!

 

Welcome to our lives!

Parsonage: noun, the house in which a parson lives

Well, at least that is how Merriam-Webster defines parsonage. Although I think I prefer the definition for kids, “the house provided by a church for it’s pastor.”

So obviously you realize that I must be involved in ministry, or someone I know is, because not your average person would be talking about a parsonage. Yes, you are right! My husband is a pastor and has been involved in full-time ministry for over 10 years! While we don’t live on the church grounds, our house is still considered a parsonage.

So this will be the story of our lives.

I LOVE our church! We were lucky enough to grow up in this church. Get married in this church. Now we serve our church as the Pastor and First Lady (gee, I feel so official!).

Ministry may seem glamorous (maybe you are like me and have watched Whitney Houson’s “The Preacher’s Wife” one too many times). It may seem like we have everything together, but we don’t. We struggle. We sin. We have good days and bad days. That scripture in Matthew 5:45, “it rains on the just and unjust” is true for all of us (and yes, I had to use biblegateway to find where that scripture was, neither of us have the bible memorized! *GASP*)  Sometimes, we are like Noah, and have an ark built, ready for the rain. Other times, we are like the foolish man, and watch the ground sweep out from under us. But I feel like our story could shed some light on the role of a Pastoral family.

SO let me tell you a bit about life behind the parsonage doors!

Our first big dinner in our home! This sticks out like a sore thumb! We decided to invite the elders of the church and their wives to our home for dinner. “OK, Zoe, be on your best behavior,” I said this a million times as the night approached. What was I thinking to invite these dignitaries to our home while potty training a two-year-old?!  Zoe was so polite and wanted to show everyone her room, I was so relieved. I set about finishing dinner, we blessed the food, and just as everyone was being seated and starting to enjoy their meal, I realized I hadn’t heard from Zoe…

*Insert scary music here!*

“What is that child doing?” raced through my mind. “Zoe?” I said as I rounded the corner of our eat-in kitchen area into the foyer.

“I gotta potty!” She said as she spread eagle in the foyer (in plain sight of both dining areas filled with our “dignitaries”). Before I could say or do anything, I watched a puddle appear in the floor! I swooped her up and ran to the bathroom, inadvertently causing her to sling liquid all over the walls and floor as her bladder continued to empty! I quickly pulled the wet clothes from her body and sat her down on the potty, “My gosh, how much did you drink?” I was mortified! Had anyone else seen what just happened?”

WAIT! The puddle!! I left Zoe sitting on the potty and quickly grabbed a towel to dry the evidence. As I wiped it up, Marcus came into the foyer, “Everything OK?”

(Hmm, do I tell him now and let him turn in his resignation after this?)

“It’s fine, Zoe had an accident. She’s on the potty, I have to go grab her some clothes.”

Thankfully, I think I escaped crisis with no witnesses, or if there were, they were polite and didn’t say anything. (oh and Marcus didn’t have to quit!)

And the stories don’t end there! Most involve our rambunctious daughter, but occasionally there will be some with just me and Marcus.

There was the Sunday I went around greeting church members between Sunday School and Morning Worship, only to be told by a dear friend as the service began, that I had lipstick all over my teeth…my dark plum lipstick! There was the church dinner, in which Zoe was across the room playing, then when I tried to get her to return to me, she screams, “I HAVE TO POO-POO!”

Oh, and there was the Sunday that the church presented us with a Christmas gift. Zoe ran up on the platform to join us and reached her arms out for me to pick her up. As I am picking her up, she stretches her legs out, her foot gets caught under my skirt hem thus lifting my dress up to flash the entire congregation! (Thank goodness I had on dark tights!)

I could go on and on, but you get the point!

So join me on this journey as I give you a look behind the parsonage doors!