OK, Ladies! It’s been a while since my last beauty post. I thought I would lighten things up a bit today. I wanted share some tips and tricks to getting good results with a “selfie” photo. I’m not saying you should be doing one of these everyday. (Read, please don’t) But, In my humble opinion, there are occasions where you need a cute and flattering profile picture of yourself or a headshot for some event and you don’t want to go to the trouble to book a pro-session with photographer.
1. Wear a solid color top with a neckline that opens up your face- Note: I did not say to reveal your cleavage or in any way be provocative. Just a cute scoop neck.
2. Simple accessories an earring that shows through your hair with some sparkle is all you need. Skip the statement necklace. You want your face to be the star of the show here.
3. Makeup- Choose one feature to showcase, make it your best one. For me it’s eyes. For you, it might be lips, teeth, skin or cheekbones. Design your makeup look around this feature. Avoid too much sparkle or highlights. You can add those with editing. The below photos of me are with a smokey eye from the Naked 3 palette by Urban Decay with Winged liner in “Rockstar” by the same line. I am wearing false lashes by Red Cherry #43s. Everything else is sheer, neutral, and simple.
4. Stage it- Shoot down on yourself. So hold your phone or tablet slightly higher than your eyes. Shooting up will emphasize wrinkles and shadows and make you look puffy. Once you get a good angle in the view-finder, adjust the lighting. Go for natural light near a window or outside. All you need to shoot is head and shoulders. To thin your face, keep lips together but slightly drop your jaw when you smile.
5 Edit it- Choose your best shot. Then edit all you want. I use an app called Facetune. It costs a few bucks but is very worth it for what it can do right from your phone or tablet. Here are the before and after shots with details about what I did. I don’t edit because I don’t think I’m good enough or because I feel pressure from society. I just do it to put my best “face” forward, because it makes be happy. I see it as me only perfected;) (much the same way that I wouldn’t go to church without makeup).
So, From within the Facetune app, here is what I did.
-If I had been smiling, I would have used the “whiten” brush to run my finger over the teeth to make them dazzle. (skipped that one here).
-zoom in and use the “smooth” feature to run my finger right on the screen to smooth out my under-eye area, my neck and my forehead. My eyes were super puffy today!
-zoom in and use the “detail” feature to make my skin tone more even on my chest and my neck where my freckles are not a feature I like. I leave the ones on the bridge of my nose alone because Hubby loves them;)
- if I had a blemish or something I would use the “patch” feature to brush that out. Just happens to be a good skin day today!
-after those details are done I adjust the lighting by using the “filter” feature. I avoid using the “paper” option and the “texture” section. But you can play around with those. To me that just look too fake and obvious. I stick to “lighting” and “lens” filters. There are numerous lighting schemes to choose from in this app. I personally like s-curve, sigmoid, and gamma best. For this shot I used gamma at level 50 on a scale of 0-100. It automatically plays up the highlights and contours of my face and brings out the eyes. From there I chose the lens I liked. For this one I chose “smena”. It seems to be a little concave but not too much. That brings out the middle planes of the face and the sides recede, AKA instant cheekbones.
- Last step is to crop. When I do this I frame just the face and then use the “defocus” feature to darken out some of my messy kitchen in the background;) You can add a cute frame with the app too, if you so desire.
This entire process from the first click to the finished product only took me about 5 minutes. Remember, it’s not about narcissistic self-promotion. It’s not about not feeling your natural face is not good enough. It’s all just presenting yourself in your best light with your best features emphasized. So let me see you adding a stunning facebook profile pic! Let me see your instagram of your date night with you and your darlin’ looking fresh and glowing! With a little help from the folks at Facetune, it’s a breeze;)))
http://www.sephora.com/naked3-P384099?om_mmc=ppc-GG&mkwid=sTEHCBoc3&pcrid=32731004537&pdv=c&site=us_search&country_switch=us&lang=en $52.00 (I’m wearing “factory” and “darkside”)
I’m a terrible counselor. First of all I’m not qualified professionally and second of all, I just stink at it. I’m either too harsh or too personally involved to be objective so I have a hard time saying the hard things. But in the past few months, I’ve had some challenging opportunities to pour into women whose marriages are in a troubled season. Each one has verbalized this feeling… I just don’t feel anything positive for this man anymore, I’m not even sure I ever loved him. And because these women are professing Christians there was deep guilt there and the nagging stress of living a lie, fear of exposure.
Each wife was overcome with pain, anger, resentment, and disappointment. Some justifiable, some unfair, but all real to them. On top of these negative feelings they had become numb, bitter, and stuck in their inability to even share a loving touch, a romantic date, or a tender word with their husband. These marriages had become a family management co-op. Pure obligation. All communication that was not a blistering yelling fight, was business, kids or schedules. No friendship. No joy. No laughter or affection.
The misery was so deep. It covered everything and clouded every interaction. It was like an undertow, constantly pulling and demanding a struggle. The toll of all this is exhaustion, depression, volatile emotional swings, paranoia, emptiness and agony. The obvious fruit of something God had joined and made one, being torn asunder from the inside out.
Maybe you know what that feels like. Maybe your marriage is not quite that damaged, but your love for your husband is not what is should be, not what you dreamed it could be, not what you wish it was… Would you dare to entertain a glimpse of hope that the icy loveless grip the enemy has on your marriage could thaw, even simmer to a new life? It can! I’ve seen it. I’ve lived it in the 25+ years I’ve been a wife. Every good marriage must be reinvented from the inside out many times throughout the years. You must break the ice though, and you have to swing the hammer for yourself. No one can do it for you, especially not your husband.
The path to getting the love back starts with a prayer, progresses to an action, and explodes into a rebirth. These three steps build one upon the other. They must be done in order and you must stick with one until God moves you on. You’ll know when to move on to the next. It might happen fast, it might take some time. But it will happen. But don’t sit still, waiting for your husband to change or initiate things. You work on you. Leave Him to God. As you break through, you will create a pathway of grace for the Spirit to unleash the healing in your home, spilling over onto all who dwell there.
Step One: Pray
A. Oneness- you are one positionally in Christ, by the covenant of marriage. But you must pray, “Lord, make us one, practically.” Asking for God to miraculously give you one mind, one purpose, one desire, one healing, one set of spiritual blueprints is a prayer that will set the dominoes in motion. When they get moving it triggers progress on every front in every direction. Oneness in marriage is a picture of the inseparable nature of Christ and His bride. Getting that drive to cut and run nipped in the bud, is the first step that gets you pulling in the same direction toward progress and toward victory. Mark 10:9
B. Want to- Part of the stress of a torn marriage is that we don’t initially want to be restored. We WANT to be miserable because it seems right for what we’ve been through. We want the other to own our suffering, to feel the brunt of the wrong done and pain inflicted. Choosing to move on feels like we are thwarting justice and letting someone get away with less than what is right. But God’s will, and a prayer He will surely answer when prayed sincerely is, “Lord, Give me not just the power to do this, but the want to I need to take the next step and get me unstuck” Phil. 2:13
Step two: Act
A. Respect- Communicate your commitment to resolving the stalemate through intentional acts of profound respect. Remember, right feelings follow right actions. If you have the want to, now you must step out in faith. Do the right thing until you feel the right thing. Speak affirmation. Speak gratitude. Speak honor. Say you admire him. Hold yourself back from criticism, nagging, finger-pointing, and reminding him of his failures. Do it over and over, day after day. You will begin to believe it as God reveals the truth of it to your heart. He will wonder what on earth has happened, but his character and skill as a husband will grow into the high esteem you place on him. Or, it will stay dormant and deflated by your criticism. Choose to act, and watch the changes. You have nothing to lose but your disillusionment. Eph. 5:33
B. Receive- Communicate openness. Open your arms. Soften your posture. Soften your countenance. Look in his eyes and smile. Be close to him. Feel his strength and size. Let him be a shelter. Remind him he is a man. You may not be ready for intimacy, but take a step in that direction, no matter how small, give him an opening. A kiss, a touch, a hug, eye contact, a smile. Make him feel he has a chance to be your love again. Receive his acts of affection or tenderness with eagerness and delight. Ask him to take it slow, but give him hope. As an act of faith, just let go. 1 Cor. 6:19-20
C. Reflect- He is looking to you for his report card. He needs to see in your eyes that you want to move forward. Your face needs to reflect encouragement. When he comes home, light up. When he makes an effort, respond with encouragement. When he is down and tired and frustrated be a mirror that says, “Keep going, hero. I love you.” Be the first to step out, bravely. It is a risk, but the reward will come. Numbers 6:26
Step three: Nourish
A. Water the seeds you’ve planted in the marriage. Love blooms in the fertile soil of action. There will be setbacks and clumsiness. But push through. Feed those feelings that are blooming, starve the voice of discontentment and past wounds. Pursue the things in earnest that started off with out of sheer obedience. You are on the path to restoration. Protect it and preserve it. I Cor. 13
B. Get rid of pests. The weeds that rise up to choke the fruit are laziness, busy-ness, Distraction, unrealistic expectation, perfectionism, and living in the power of the flesh. Your pain will strive to quench the bloom if you let yourself focus there. instead, nourish the places where the healing has begun. Make some new guard rails, set some good habits. Cling to the promise of completion. Phil. 1:6
C. Feed your soul- Often times, when we feel our spouse has failed us, we feel God has too. So we try to freeze Him out as well. The best thing you can do for your marriage is to get real with God, then surrender to Him all over again. Trust Him, love him, passionately pursue intimacy with Him… All with a complete commitment to doing things His way, on His terms, for His glory. Soak Him in. Let Him and His perfect love flow through your heart to your husband. The dam will burst and wash you away and into each other all over again. It won’t just be tolerable, it will be the spiritual, transcendent ecstatic union He created it to be. A little glimpse of Heaven here on Earth. Romans 12:1-2
The choice is yours. Don’t be a statistic. Don’t walk away. Work the plan, do the steps. Set your heart to fight for what’s right. If you won’t even attempt to move on, you’re saying No to God. Not a safe place to be. Choose to say yes. Let God do what He does… Make all things new! “And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Rev. 21:5
I recently returned from a Medical/Dental mission trip to several villages in Kenya. Our team of Dentists, Doctors, Nurses and volunteers went to do clinics in Kijabe, Elementitia, and Suswa. Our team was joined by several Kenyan nurses, pastors, and a pharmacist who worked with local churches to get the word out. The Christians there used this opportunity of free care and free medicines as a way to invite their friends. Each patient was presented the Gospel and registered so the local pastors can follow up. Our team of amazing, selfless, medical and dental professionals saw around 1200 patients on this trip! I learned so much and God spoke to me clearly on this trip. Getting away from our comforts, sleeping on the ground in a tent, doing without toilets or showers or electricity helps you strip life down to the essentials. But one comfort we did not forgo was good food. Our Kenyan hosts made sure we had plenty and it was really yummy! One of my favorite treats was Ugali, a hominy type grit cooked in goat’s milk.
During the trip I was able to tour the 2 acre equipping center that our home church, Biltmore Baptist Church has built. It contains the only source of clean, fresh, water for the entire village of Kijabe. The well was paid for by our church. With this life giving water, the center has a garden, livestock, and fruit trees as well as a way to wash and bathe and sanitation for those who use the facility. On the property, is a meeting place and construction is underway for additional classrooms. These are used for feeding 80+ orphans everyday as well as sewing classes and computer training.
A few miles from this center is a truck stop on one of the major highways through Africa. Here helpless, hopeless young girls as young as 12 are trafficked. They get into trucks with strangers and ride along with these men for weeks, selling themselves and being used, in order to send money back to support their families. Many are addicted to drugs, many are further victimized by being sold. Some just disappear. But the sewing classes at the center offer a girl an alternative. They teach them skills, educate them, introduce them to the love of Jesus, and help them find employment. Our church also pays the support for girls who want to join the classes while they learn. Below is the center, and 4 of the young ladies who have said Yes to Jesus and are participating in the sewing classes. Our women’s ministry, Woman to Woman, supports girls like this.
After our time there in Kijabe, we went to Elementitia and then on into Masai country to a village called Suswa. I was fascinated by the Masai culture. I learned that these regal and stoic people are nomadic herders. The church there is alive and on fire. New Christians are being won and are being discipled there everyday. I learned a lot about the rights of passage associated with male tribal initiation which involves circumcision at age 13 without anesthesia. After initiation, they are considered a warrior. These boys are incredibly tough and very responsible. They live out in the countryside alone with large herds for weeks, even as 6-10 year-olds, able to live off the land and be responsible for the welfare of the live-stock. The males follow the herds and are gone for weeks on end from the home. They are able to protect their flocks from large predators like lions and cheetahs as well as from hyenas and cobras. They do this will swords and machete-like knives worn on their belts. The women are stationary and keep the home and the smaller animals like goats and sheep. The Masai have no currency. They use the trade of animals entirely to do business. The wife builds her own house with her own hands from sticks, mud and dung. The Masai have a patriarchal system of arranged marriages and dowries. Non-Christians have many wives. If a man becomes a Christ-follower, he stops taking any more wives but continues providing for the ones he has. The Masai are beautiful, tall, and elegant. They value beauty and make gorgeous beaded jewelry. They wear bright colors and woven material is fashioned into robes. They do piercings, and make large holes in their ears to display the jewelry they make. They also remove the lower two middle permanent teeth of their children because they consider the gap to be a mark of beauty. They preserve the “Old Ways” and try to keep their culture distinct. They live today almost exactly like their ancestors did a thousand years ago… With the exception of a few cellphones here and there. One day, before our clinic time one of the pastors took us for a walk and we came upon a lady who was kind enough to show us around her home. She later came to our clinic and we were able to love on her for her hospitality. This is her with her home in the background. Notice her extravagant jewelry!
I will close with a brief video of some of our work in Kenya. Please pray for the work and the gospel seeds scattered there to grow and mature. Pray about going on one of these trips someday. Pray about giving to the relief and educational efforts there. You can get more information about giving or going at http://www.biltmorebaptist.org. And Thank God for His grace, that reaches across culture, across geo-political boundaries, and pierces the darkness to rescue us from our sin… and to bind our hearts together where no words are necessary except the Name of Jesus!
Dear Bruce, If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t:
know how to throw a ball
know the joy of motherhood
see myself as a leader
like big dogs
be a morning person
drink the best coffee on earth every day
be able to stand up for myself
be able to trust
be suspicious of strangers while leaving a mall late at night
have this beautiful home and all that fills it
know how to negotiate with car salesmen
bother working out
have finished college
keep a “to-do” list
know anything whatsoever about golf
live in North Carolina
hate tomato juice
know certain greek, hebrew, and theological words
know what “the running game sets up the passing game” means
believe in myself
know what it feels like to be perfectly happy while spending myself for someone else
Thank you for all the ways you love me, and for this adventurous life I cherish. You are my prince and I LOVE YOU… xoxo, Lori
What if you made a list for your man… What would you be missing, if it wasn’t for him?
“I don’t want the government forcing me to become a mother against my will. As an American citizen, I should have autonomy over my body, my health and my family planning. This is about women’s rights. This is about freedom.” A typical feminist argument for the right to an abortion, articulate and assertive, and reflective of the law of the land. Only, that spin doesn’t wash. No one is forcing her to be a mother. She became a mother just like I did, by having intercourse. And her legal right to undergo a procedure to terminate the pregnancy will not make her “not a mother”. It merely eliminates her future responsibilities for the baby. Which is the whole idea…Convenience. God help us.
So, Americans go on legally killing. And don’t even get me started on the very small percentage of abortions related to cases of rape or incest. It is anecdotally heartbreaking, but it’s a straw man. We’ve killed 1/3 of a generation! The “keep abortion legal” folks are not crusading for these victims, the tragic few. They are fighting for a very lucrative industry. Murder for profit. They are fighting to help Americans avoid the crushing realities of personal responsibility. We call it “products of conception” in the medical record so we can soothe the seared conscience of the providers, and the patients. Don’t even refer to the dead human being lying in the waste basket as a baby…Legalized murder, as a form of birth control.
So as a pro-life member of society, what can you do? At times the grief and shame I bear, knowing I am a part of a country who allows this paralyzes me. I feel helpless and hopeless. overwhelmed. I’m not the type to picket a clinic. I won’t march on Washington, at this point. So what do I do? What can you do? How can we stand for our moral values without causing more harm? I’ve been thinking about it. Here is what I’ve come up with:
1. Pray- Pray for spiritual awakening and revival. Pray for elections. Pray for our leaders. Share the gospel. A supernatural act of mercy from God Almighty is our only real hope.
2. Love- show love to those who bear the scars of choosing abortion. Many women find that later in life they regret the choice. Extend grace. Avoid angry rants that make personal insults. The shame and guilt are already hurting, they don’t need you to point it out, they need you to usher them to mercy.
3. Give- Support a crisis pregnancy center on your own or through your church. Invest in agencies that help educate the public about the facts of abortion and expose the sleazy practices of abortion mills like planned parenthood. Put your money where your heart is. Embrace your chances to support a woman who chose not to run from responsibility. Help her with money, childcare, and mentoring parenting skills. Give her an opportunity, an education, It’s a hand up, not a handout.
4. Vote- Never support a candidate because you like his or her economic policies and ignore their moral or constitutional policies. Do your homework. Know the platform of each individual and party. Then vote your conscience, not your pocketbook.
5. Adopt- If we are serious about preventing abortion, then we also need to be serious about what happens if these babies are born. They will be born, many times, into poverty, to a single mother. If she chooses life but not to raise this child, how can we ignore the orphans? We say we are for life, let’s give them a life. Support families who are longing to expand their family through adoption. Pray about it yourself. Sign up for foster care. Be an adoption advocate in your church and community.
We can grieve the loss of unborn millions. We can decry the moral decay that invades our land. We can hide our eyes from the consequences. Or, we can effect change and pray for a miraculous move of God. This has happened on our watch. What are we going to do about it?
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14
Last week I was sitting around a table in a mentoring session with some budding high-capacity leaders. I was teaching on the necessity of practicing Sabbath for longevity and health in ministry. I was surprised by their responses. They ranged from novel curiosity, to doubt, and to outright pushback. Several stated that for them a day off was impossible, and out of the question. One lady stated, “If I did that I’d be paying for it for the rest of the week!” I replied that if she didn’t she could be paying for it for the rest of her life.
Has our neck-breaking pace of American life begun to cast the 4th commandment as impossible or optional? Or do we just not understand it? Growing up in the 60′s in small-town, Oklahoma I encountered the effects of a generation who took Sabbath related ideology to the legalistic extreme. They made it about appearances, rules, and self-punishment. Now it seems an equally crippling assumption is being made.
Jesus encountered some misunderstanding related to this teaching as well. In his excellent book on the subject, The Rest Of God, Mark Buchanan brings us back to the idea that Sabbath is an attitude of the Heart. He reminds us that God rested, “ceased creating”, in order to model for us the behaviors that would maximize our productivity through dependence, restoration, and quiet contemplation. He points out that Jesus expounded on this idea, dispelling the legalistic burdens the religious officials were placing on mankind. Buchanan boils it down. He shows us we can design a period of obedient rest around this phrase: “Cease what is necessary, embrace what gives life.”
From one sundown to the next, one day out of 7, we must stop our usual occupation and feed our body, soul, spirit, and mind. We must refill our emptiness, drained as we have spent ourselves in our work. Am I saying we should let our children starve or play in traffic because mommy is having a day off? Of course not! But we can arrange our schedules to “honor the Sabbath and keep it holy”.
Here are some ways and means to get you started in this practice if you have been neglecting it:
1. Design your Sabbath around your individual personality An introvert will be drained by interacting with groups. For them, solitude is healing. For an extrovert, being in a group event where you have no responsibility will energize and restore.
2. Plan ahead Get your necessary housework and domestic needs done in advance. Include your children in this process. Educate them about what it means to rest and renew. Use the crock pot, ask for help from your family. Protect your time and schedule it in. Sometimes saying Yes to God means saying no to someone else.
3. Don’t just lay around Maybe your greatest need is sleep. If you’ve neglected this practice for a while it probably is. But once you get caught up, add in play, recreation, a workout, sex, good food, music, nature, and quality time with those you love.
4. Be spiritual Saturate your day with scripture and worship. Meditate, sing, dance, and read. Listen to the voice of God. Meet for corporate worship and connect with a small group. Even leaders need a small group.
5. It may not be Sunday If you are in ministry or work on Sunday, think of another day to devote yourself to the obedient practice of the Sabbath. For me and my husband, our Sabbath is Saturday. We do do work, we cut the grass, fix a meal, ect… but we cease from our usual work. No sermon prep, no blogging, no meetings, or email, or the like. We feed our marriage, we feed our spirits, we watch sports, we go for a jeep ride in the mountains, we enjoy a delicious treat of some sort.
Don’t let the enemy use burnout to defeat you. Don’t let the pride of self-sufficiency ruin what God wants to teach you. “Then Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath.” Mark 2:27 If nothing else, practicing Sabbath will teach us how to let things go, how to choose what is really necessary, and what will never count for eternity.
Raising sons. Something I know a little bit about, mostly by accident, and by no specific skill on my part. It’s also something I frequently stink at, especially now that my job is to let go. Ladies, mothering boys is both simple and complex at the same time. Boys are pretty basic. What you see is mostly what you get. And yet, in the middle of it all is that deeper level, just under the surface. I believe that boys need to practice both emotional intimacy and emotional independence before they bloom into manhood. And they need to be able to use Mom as a practice dummy so they can succeed at both when they become a husband or a Dad.
So how do we facilitate an environment where our boys feel safe enough to share what’s going on in their hearts and minds, and bold enough to use you as a backboard in asserting their ideas?
A wise Mom once told me, “a boy will leave home on the journey into manhood, but they have to stab their way out through their mother’s heart.” At the time, I did not understand this graphic image. I was the undisputed queen of my boys’ hearts! No one was gonna be stabbing me! But then they grew, and then they grew up. Anyone who has been through the throws of the testosterone storms of a boy’s senior year in high school understands. We know about the irrational anger, sullenness and generalized surliness. We understand the “You are so stupid” looks. We understand the words that sting. We remember the bucking up under the rules and restrictions of family life. All of this is getting him ready to stand alone. And, it’s getting you ready to let him go.
But in the in-between time, when your boy is soft and small, you can be his backstop. You can help him learn to express himself. His wife will thank you someday. Here are some practical ways to get him talking:
1. Offer to drive- you will be surprised how much you pick up and can later talk about with your son when you are the driver, before they get that license and the game really changes. Drive the carpool. Drive for ball practice. Drive to youth group. Just listen. It’s like all the kids in the car forget you are there. You’ll find out who likes who, who is doing what, who said what and who they said it about. The same is true when it’s just the two of you as well. I found that those few minutes home from the pickup line after school were the ones the boys were most apt to share about their day. We made it a tradition to swing through Sonic for a happy hour, half-priced slushy. Boy did I learn a lot in those brief moments unwinding from the school day.
2. Feed him and watch him eat- If we didn’t get a slushy, we sat at the bar in the kitchen with cookies, peanut butter sandwiches, or flaming hot cheetos! (OK I know I’m a terrible mom now). Whatever the quality, it was quantity they needed. And as they ate, they talked, almost without knowing it. I still get a little melancholy about 3 pm, even now. I treasured those times, before the homework and the ball practices and the … you know…busy life stuff. I learned what was worrying them, what was making them think, and what was about to happen in the world of dinosaurs, cars, “Zelda” or “John Madden NFL”.
3. Control your shocked face- No matter how gross, or how stinky, how hilarious, or how creepy, don’t react. If you do, you’ll squelch the flow of information. Be there while he holds the bug. Be there while he laughs out loud about the burp he just executed. Take interest in what fascinates him and listen without expressing on your face what is going on in your mind. If your little guy is an introvert, laughing at his thoughts or opinions will cause him to want to shut you out. And watch out about who you share his funny one-liners, or silly photos with. Once he is in middle school, he will not want your friends laughing about how cute his comment was. When he has a facebook of his own, your days of sharing his hilarious comments without his permission are done.
4. Be active- go swimming, take a hike, play “Horse” in the driveway, build a sofa cushion fort, build with legos, camp. All these things give your son’s body something to do so his brain can connect with his heart. That frees him up to connect his heart with his mouth. If the energy in his body is yelling in his ear, all the response you will get is “Fine” “Nothing” or “Uh Huh” when you ask about his day.
5. Bedtime Routine- Either at dinner or as you’re tucking them in, ask them to tell you one thing good that happened that day, and how it made them feel. This established a positive attitude about the day and it helped them get used to distinguishing what they think from how they feel. And helps them learn to use words to express those feelings. It lets the steam off the brewing meltdown when they can get frustrations and fears out too. Men tell me that it is hard for them to do sometimes. Help your son figure that out early on.
Mothering is mostly about just being there, being intentional, and being mentally present. Don’t let the chaos of life steal your chances to connect with your boys. They need you, and you need them. Get the conversation flowing. You’ll be amazed at what you learn.
It’s awfully quiet around my house today. Hubby’s out and about and the boys are back at college. These are the moments I wander through the rooms of my home and tidy up…and take a walk down memory lane as I dust the frames containing snapshots of my 25 years of ministry life as a wife and mom, and 22+ years of life as a child of a ministry mom.
I checked facebook earlier this morning. I prayed through my timeline for people who will never know. And I checked in on our “Biltmore Baptist Pastors’ Wives” page for anything that these precious ladies might be needing or sharing. I prayed for them as well, calling out their names and their children’s names to The Father. I give them special space on my prayer list because I know what it means to depend on the watchers on the wall, covering our backs unbeknownst.
25 names and among them over 50 kids. All amazing kingdom tools, all precious and vulnerable and filled with light. Today, I’m cashing in whatever amount of equity I have with those who are in my circle of influence. I want to share a list of ways you can show love toward the families who have laid their lives on the line to nurture and care for and lead the flocks entrusted to their Daddies and Husbands.
1. Understand that on Sunday, a ministry mom has to get herself and her kids ready and out the door alone. She is often the first car in the parking lot and the last one out. She struggles with the kids, the diaper bags, the car seats and the long walk through the lobby, alone. Her kids are often the first ones dropped off at childcare and the last ones picked up. She sits alone in worship and in Bible study. She does more than her share of ministry too on Sunday. She bears the extra burden of needing to be the prayer warrior covering her husband all day long on Sunday too. She can do it all. But it costs her. She won’t complain, but when someone notices and tells her they appreciate her, or offers to help, her heart blooms.
2. The “fishbowl” is real. She knows that every moment of her public (and sometimes private) life is a display case for Christianity, for the Church, and for her husband’s ministry. All of the family, even the youngest children, know what they are representing. They know you are curious about how they live. They see you looking into their grocery cart. They know you are observing them as they parent, and navigate life. They don’t want to let you down, but they know they will. And they fear the fallout. The pressure is relentless.
3. There is a lot on the line with her kids. We’ve all seen preacher’s kids grow up to resent, mistrust, or walk away from church altogether after growing up as a PK. Your pastors’ wives are determined to beat the statistics in their family. You can help them by not putting unfair standards or comparisons on her kids. You can protect their family time by respectful boundaries and realistic expectations. You can pray. You can let her pick and choose what she says “Yes” to. You can give them the benefit of assuming the best of them and letting them be “Normal”.
4. She needs friends. We are a protective bunch of PWs. We stick together. We love each other. Our circle is unbroken. But we need “regular” friends too. We want every single sheep and lamb in Hubby’s flock to feel loved and valued but we can get overwhelmed. We keep our inner circles small because we have a hard time opening up, for all of the above reasons. Don’t be jealous if we find a friend and it’s not you. Thank God that we have someone. Give us the right to choose who we trust, where we spend our time, and who we keep at arm’s length.
5. It. Is. Personal. The wives and the kids inevitably will hear your criticism and your complaining. They will face rejection when you get mad and leave. They will be bewildered and hurt if you are disloyal. And don’t ever say, “It’s nothing personal.”. Everything about it is personal…to them. Handle your concerns, personal preferences, and disagreements in a godly manner, with grace. We are all after the same goal here, but when hubby or daddy is the leader, he has to make some calls that may not please everyone.
This is not a pity party. I just feel I can help by speaking up for the young ones. I want to be a shelter and a stable supporter of the young wives with little ones. I have been blessed to serve churches with grace-filled, loving, kingdom-minded folks who loved us, prayed for us, believed in us, and followed us. I want that for my PW-girls. I know they and their children will go on to do greater things for God than I could even dream. I want to be the bridge from you to them. I thank you and I especially thank the people of Biltmore Baptist Church for being the joy of my heart. Tell a pastor’s wife you love her today!
This post is written with so much love and prayer for each reader. The purpose is to inspire you, to encourage you, and to fan the flames of possibility in your heart. The dawn of a new year is here. Whatever the year to come has in store for any of us, I know His purposes are for our good and for His glory. I feel a greedy feeling in my heart for this…To be used for something historic in the kingdom…to see lives changed for the better and Christ exalted and lifted high and that there would be supernatural evidence of God’s manifest presence endorsing the pathways of my life. I mean it. I won’t settle for less. And I’m absolutely committed to the disciplines, sacrifices, and energies required to go with God on this journey. Won’t you come with me?
Let me share the verse that springs to my mind. I think it has been on the cusp of my consciousness for several weeks. I believe the Lord has laid it there to let me know, “Hang on, I’m about to do something miraculous!”. Just listen to the anticipation and expectancy of these words… “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you.” Joshua 3:5. Let’s look at these words:
Consecrate yourselves The implication is that we have a job to do in respect to being prepared for God to act. He doesn’t say He will consecrate them, He says to “consecrate yourselves”. On this eve of the crossing of the Jordan, Joshua is exhorting the people to purify, focus, and set themselves apart as vessels for the Lord to inhabit and use as He pleases. This is discipline, but it is also surrender, a holy paradox. A metaphor of the Christian life. It looks like work, but it also looks like letting go of self. It is getting deadly serious about spiritual things and sobering up about your purpose and your path. It’s purging out the fluff and waste in your life, the things that steal your attention from the eternal things.
Tomorrow- In the days of instant everything we forget that sometimes we need to long for something in the future. For the Israelites, it truly was the literal tomorrow. But for us, It may be a lifetime of sowing before the harvest is ripe. Be in it for keeps, sold out and all in. God’s timetable is not ours. But the promises of God are “Yes” in Christ! You will reap, joy comes in the morning.
The Lord will do- The free will of man and the sovereignty of God are a mystery to me. I love that I have a God whose perfection never wavers and that little old Lori can’t figure Him out no matter how long I gaze at the Revelations of Him. But one thing He has shown us…He doesn’t share thrones and He doesn’t share glory. Make an inventory of His Lordship in your life. If He reigns, He gets the spotlight. If He moves, who could stop Him?
Amazing things- A preacher once asked me to make of list of the items in the timeline of my life that there was only a supernatural explanation for. What is going on in your home, your work, your church, your community, your nation, your world that can only be explained as “God did it”? What is your Jordan River? What is your promised land? Who is watching you to see if God comes through? Disciples don’t just fit God into their comfortable lives, they hang on for dear life as God blows apart earthly parameters, laws of physics, and mad-made barriers. Beg Him to display His power, His glory, His uncontainable will in all its awesomeness. Then beg to be on His team. I just spent the last few minutes in “Put me in, coach” prayer.
Among you- It is a group venture. wherever He’s leading, we need to go together. And, the miracle starts with God’s people, then the rest. We need each other. We need a circle. Our circles need to be centered around a church and they need to be centered around the Word. I mean, not just showing up on Sunday and insulting God with a tiny offering. I’m talking about extravagant corporate worship, deep commitment (and exposure) to each other, and faithful love for our bothers and sister. Surround yourself with people who will pour into your life and push you to maximize the impact.
I want, with all my heart, to look back at 2014 as the year God broke through. In my life and my goals and in my world and the souls around me. Look deeper friend. Let’s make our heart’s desires about eternal concerns. As the new year dawns, let’s step out and cross over. Consecrated feet cross impossible rivers with uncountable foes. And they do it on dry ground! With love and deep expectancy, I wish you all the riches of Heaven for a blessed and prosperous 2014, Lori
I’m so excited about a new opportunity offered by Biltmore Baptist Church via “Woman To Woman” ministries starting this New Year! It is for Women, 18 and older who are currently in leadership or want to grow into a leadership role. It’s perfect for Pastors’ Wives, Bible Study Leaders, Worship Team members or those interested in starting a personal ministry. The class is open to the community to welcome women outside Biltmore as well. I will be leading this 6 week small group mentoring program. It is aimed at developing, inspiring and encouraging women as they serve, lead, and connect with other women for the sake of the gospel. I have planned it to be intimate, intense, interactive and practical. There will be some outside practice points as well as some outside reading involved. The groups will be offered on Wednesdays beginning 1/8/14 at both 9:30 and 6:15. I pray you will desire to take advantage of this new leadership development group for women. You may register and look at other classes offered by visiting http://www.biltmorebaptist.org/arden/women. In order to allow for individual attention and open discussion, these groups will be limited to the first 20 ladies who sign up. There is no charge for the class and free childcare is also provided for both classes. I look forward to our time learning and leading together.
Here is a little outline of the class and information about what we will be covering:
L-Lifestyle of Love
*Set patterns of discipline for keeping your love for Christ and passion for the gospel as your chief purpose and ultimate focus. Make it the driver of your vision, values, mission and goals.
*Learn about your personality type and gift mix and how they help you lead in a way that prevents burnout and feeds your spirit.
A-Advancing Your Platform
*Navigate new ways to get your message heard using technology and networking, specifically social media leverage.
D-Dealing with Downers
*Find ways to work through issues with difficult people or hostile cultures by neutralizing negative influences.
E-Engaging with Vision
*Focusing on proven techniques for winning hearts with vision casting, inspiration, loyalty and team building.
R-Relationships, Recruiting, Renewing
*Whatever your level of authority, whatever your area of service, building relationships, developing other leaders, and motivating them is the leadership skill that will keep you on the path to meet the calling of God on your life, as the Spirit gives the fruit.