Better Half

Family, Life, and Politics from Wifey

Count it All Joy January 9, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — raitking @ 8:33 pm

Pastoring is hard…duh, I know.  I’m sure most of you kind of figured that.  But I tell you what may be just a little bit harder-being the Pastor’s wife.  It’s hard for several reasons, but mainly because it’s a job that doesn’t come with a manual,  and I for one, wish that it did.

I’m full of questions on how to do this thing right.  I’ll share some of them.

Early Questions (simple and a bit shallow)- what should I wear? Hats or no hats? Stockings or no stockings? Cleavage or no cleavage 😉

Answer: whatever I’m most comfortable in; no hats (it’s 2010 ladies); no stockings (Michelle Obama doesn’t wear them and she’s very classy); and no cleavage (if I can help it..I’m a busty girl, so that’s a bit tricky at times)

Then the questions became more like: should I be shy or outgoing (I can easily be both), sing with the praise team, work the kids ministry, or just sit on the front row and look interested?

Answer: Outgoing- otherwise I come off as aloof; wherever I’m needed at the time.

New Questions:

Is it ok for him to meet with women alone?

Do I really have to sit in on counseling sessions b/c people want to talk to both of us, even though I don’t like counseling?

Is it my responsibility to make sure the women of the church are social and get to know each other?

And here’s the biggie I’m REALLY struggling with right now:

How do I handle vicious, nasty murmuring and criticism of my husband?

Shaun is always telling me about some crazy person that a particular pastor he knows is having to deal with- some blogger with an ax to grind, some former member gone rogue, or some crazy website that has been devoted to the defaming and tearing down of local and national pastors.  But I thought that stuff only happened to “big time” people.  I figured it was par for the course when your ministry is large and your life is so public.

But our life is neither.  Our church is small, and though we do our share of social networking, Shaun’s not a big, national name.

So it genuinely surprises me that anyone would have anything negative to say about him.  But it doesn’t just surprise me, it angers me!  Granted, I’m biased.  I love Shaun more than my words can express.  He has been my knight, my protector, my best friend for 12 years now.   He’s such a great guy that genuinely loves God and God’s people (sometimes to a fault, I think- well, not the God part of course).  And though he’s not perfect, he’s above reproach in my eyes.

I know no line of work is without it’s difficulties.  But I find the church world particularly vexing.  I honestly don’t know much of what anyone says good or bad about us, because I don’t run in gossipy circles.  But every now and then we’ll catch wind of this or that, and it just blows my mind. The church world can be the most inflammatory, the most judgmental, and the most gossipy of all.  And if there’s nothing for real to talk about, people are perfectly content to invent stuff!!

But here’s my answer to that:

1. Keep girlfriend (my name for my temper) in check 😉

2. Keep my eye on the prize and stay focused.  We do the work that we do, in the way that we do it, to glorify God, not man.  So what man says is of little to no consequence.  Keep playing to an audience of ONE!!

3. Take inventory. There are many more who are for us than are against us.  Too often those 10 people (or 1 person) whose goal it is to tear us down become more important than the 1000 that build us up.

4. Count it all Joy!  The bible reminds us that every rumor, ever lie, every whisper, every criticism not spoken in love, every turned up nose…is all designed to work faith and patience in us.  James 1:2 says it like this:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

And since I want to be both complete, and mature, I will continue to face every trial of every kind with joy.  Knowing that any “suffering” we endure is indeed par for the course whether we’re “big time” or not.  And that it ALL pales in comparison to what Jesus- who was truly blameless- endured for our sake.

Are you a Pastor’s wife? What are some of the questions you’ve grappled with and answered over the years?

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In God I Trust?..Apparently Not! November 30, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — raitking @ 4:41 am

Shaun always shares his sermon series ideas with me. Sometimes I approve, sometimes I don’t. And I always let him know-not that it matters-he listens to God, not me, and that’s usually a good thing 🙂

When he showed me the graphic being designed for the current series I hated it. I didn’t understand what iGwt meant and frankly when he told me the whole title I thought it was ridiculous. inGodwetrust??…Who’s Your Money’s Daddy?? Silly, huh?

I went into this series on finances thinking I pretty much knew everything he was going to say.   A lot of the time he has already shared his major points with me, and I’ve had a chance to give my thoughts on it.    So I generally listen-I’m ashamed to say- to critique, and not so much to learn. That’s terrible, I know.

I am a tither and have been one consistently for years. But you know what I discovered during this series..it’s still not easy for me. And I wonder if Shaun weren’t in charge of our finances, would I be such a faithful tither? We are because he makes sure of it. But could I be trusted to do it on my own?? After today’s message, I think the answer, shockingly, is “no.”

Today Shaun used the story of the rich man who came to Jesus asking how to inherit eternal life to make the point that too many of us-most of us- have a heart attachment to money and the things money can buy. He also showed us that serving Money means not serving God because we cannot serve both. Fine. I’m good on all of that. Or so I thought. I’m not rich. I really don’t have ANY money. And very few of my life decisions are guided by money. After all I quit my job- a well paying job- to be a SAHM and home school my kids. No one who loves money does that.

But man, I was convicted today! I may not care about money in and of itself, but I am attached to the things money can buy. Number one being clothes. I buy something new-for myself or my kids- at least once a week. Now I have a lot of children- who are constantly growing and in need of things. And I shop bargains- like for real. I never buy anything that’s not on the clearance rack. But all that’s just a justification for unnecessary spending.

Last week during Shaun’s message I thought I heard God suggest I go a year w/o buying any new clothes.  It was a passing thought- one I wasn’t much interested in- so I let it go.  I ignored God.  See?  That’s proof that I have a heart attachment.  I think I hear the voice of God and I ignore it, because the idea of being w/o my STUFF is too unbearable.  And then to put the icing on the cake Shaun goes and confirms what I thought I heard last week.

Randomly during his sermon today he says “maybe God has told you not to buy any new clothes for two years.”  My face did like the rich man’s in the bible- it fell!  I said nothing to Shaun of what I thought I heard God suggest. Who knew?  Shaun does actually speak as the spirit gives him utterance-joke- I’ve always known he was “anointed.” Although God clearly told me one year- not two 🙂

Really it’s not so much about the clothes. It’s about letting God be the Daddy of my money.  It’s about letting go of material things and pursuing the things of God.   Until today I would have already thought that I could do that.  But if I cringe at the thought of not buying any new clothes for a year, how could I let go of the clothes I already have, or my car, my bed, my house?  Could I give up our almost payed off car and share the truck with Shaun so that a single mother who didn’t have a way to work could provide for her family?  Can I commit the cost of a year’s worth of clothing for myself to the support of a hungry child somewhere in the world? If I had a check for $9000 and needed the money, but clearly heard God say to turn it over to someone He felt needed it more, could I do it?  At this point, absolutely not!  This means I don’t trust God, and God is NOT my money’s Daddy.

Here’s the kicker..if God took it all away from me, I think I could deal with it better than having to willingly give it away to someone who needed it.  The first would be beyond my control, the second would require a level of generosity I don’t possess.That’s a hard truth to know about myself.

So no new clothes for a year.  I’m looking forward to the challenge.  And it will be a challenge. I have pretty much failed at every “fast” I’ve ever undertaken.

But I’m excited to see how much of our capital I can free up to be used for God’s work instead of another piece of stitching to cover my ever growing rear-by the way, I plan to give that some work this new year too 😉

 

I Miss Blogging

Filed under: Uncategorized — raitking @ 3:09 am

I think about blog topics all the time. I stopped blogging because I just didn’t have the time all of a sudden. And I didn’t have anything to talk about anymore. But I miss it, so I think I’ll start again. This one is just to get me started. I’m going to publish it as is- without all the bells and whistles (pics, bold lettering, etc) just to get one under my belt. Next I think I’ll blog about Shaun’s current sermon series and some pretty ugly things I’ve learned about myself…ugh!

 

Homeschool September 30, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — raitking @ 1:26 am

I decided to homeschool the kids this year. People always ask me why. Really it’s just 2 main reasons. Since I left teaching and am home with the two little ones it was very difficult for me to be active in the girls’ school. I missed being a part of their education. Also, I missed teaching. It’s my gift and I wasn’t able to use it anymore. So we’re on this journey together now- learning and working it out as we go. I’m not sure how long we’ll homeschool. I’m only committed to this school year. I figure I can’t mess them up too bad in one year. It’s a challenge, but it’s fun!

Here is a video of two of the girls reciting a poem and a quote they’ve learned. It took them both just 2 days to get it down. I’m so proud!!

 

Moral Failure- A Wife’s Perspective June 26, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — raitking @ 4:32 am

I’m bringing my blog out of semi-retirement (haven’t blogged since May) to address a topic my husband blogged about here.
He’s discussing the issue of pastor’s meeting with their female parishioners. His stance is that he will not meet with them alone. This is to avoid the appearance of moral failure as well as to avoid actual moral failure! There are a lot of opinions on his stance. Some understand and like it. Some think it unnecessary. Some think it’s sexist.
He really wants me to participate in the discussion, but what I have to say is too long to post in a comments section. So, I’ll state my opinion about the whole thing here.

There are 3 main things I’d like to say about it.

1. Believe it- Not everyone respects the boundaries of a committed relationship. So, YES, this stance is absolutely necessary!

Shaun and I have been together for 12 years and though we’ve never had an issue with fidelity (except this “thing” I had with a guy before we were married…not worth talking about), I have borne witness to the type of women “power” attracts. I don’t really get it. If only these women knew what a burden being married to a man with this type of call on their life can be, 99% of them would run for the hills. But they don’t know. So they go after the name, the perception of power, the “anointing” if you will.

When we were dating back at our home church in Kentucky there was a lady who was great friends with my mother. She was a very attractive, well put together woman that I sort of looked up to. Shaun was already the “hot” young minister in town 🙂 Well one night we were at the obligatory baptist choir “sing off” and this lady and her teen-aged niece thought it would be nice to pass Shaun her niece’s number. When Shaun told me later that night I was FLOORED! I couldn’t believe she had the audacity! EVERYONE knew we were in a committed relationship. Do you think she cared?

Luckily, Shaun had the presence of mind to give her back the slip of paper and tell me about it. But every man doesn’t have that will power. And I’m no fool to think Shaun always will. This is why Shaun can’t meet with women alone- to protect himself against these types of women. These women do exist. And anyone who says otherwise is naive and in denial because I could go on and on.  Don’t even let me get on all the women throwing themselves at him when he was Student Government President at Morehouse!

Now if this skanky behavior doesn’t describe you, GREAT! Be glad God has given you more class than to go throwing yourself at a man who’s already in covenant relationship with another woman. However, we have to err on the side of caution because we really don’t know you, and have to assume that this just may be your issue! Sorry. Doesn’t seem fair, but it’s real life. Point. Blank. Period.

2. Women and Men are not the same

Some say Shaun’s stance on not meeting with women is sexist. And I get that. I’m as feminist as the next Spelman woman. But when you step out of your women’s lib class and start living real life, you learn that women and men are not the same. We are equitable, but not equal. Shaun cannot deal with women as he would men. It’s just not possible. He can have a male friend over to spend time out of my presence (he doesn’t b/c he’s a hermit), but he could if he wanted to. He could not, however, have a woman friend over. As a matter of fact he doesn’t even have female friends-and I don’t have male ones. We’re married, so we have married couple friends.
And no one is saying Shaun can’t counsel a woman one on one. Some pastors said they refer women to their wives. I personally don’t believe that’s necessary. I’m no counselor. I don’t like being all wrapped up in other people’s problems. I don’t want to be “in” on stressful conversations. But if he does meet with one of our female parishioners it will be in an office with others present, and with the door open.
Again, it may not be “fair.” But the world isn’t fair. This is real life. My children don’t care about women’s rights. They care about having their mother and father happily married and loving each other. Period.

3. It’s not an issue of insecurity-for HIM nor ME

Some suggest that Shaun can’t meet with women alone because he’s not secure enough in his ability to refrain from lust. That’s not true at all. Shaun has stated publicly, and I will restate it here: I am the ONLY woman Shaun has ever “KNOWN.” Period. And anyone that knows him knows it’s not because he’s gay, and it’s also not because of lack of opportunity-as I showed in point #1. It’s because sex isn’t and has never been the most important thing to him. Does he appreciate a beautiful woman? Sure. I know when someone’s caught his eye (i.e. he’s got a thing for Keisha Cole- go figure). But for whatever reason lust just has never been his issue. We spent 2 years apart in a long distance relationship when he began Morehouse and I was still in high school in Kentucky. And he never once cheated or even came close. So he’s not insecure. If anything, I think he’s overly confident about his ability to remain faithful.

I’m not insecure either. I realized something a long time ago that has helped me along the years. It was a revelation of sorts. Spelman College has more beautiful women per square mile than perhaps anywhere else in the world (my opinion of course). And I realized that if keeping Shaun faithful was about a beauty contest, I’ve lost-hands down– because no matter how pretty I am, there will always be someone prettier. ALWAYS! I can’t be sexy enough to keep Shaun faithful. No one can. Don’t believe me? Ask Halle Berry or Vanessa Williams. Both were married to men who cheated. Go figure!
Now I keep myself up. I generally don’t go around looking like a shlumpadinka (to borrow from my girl Oprah). But my marriage doesn’t depend on the way I look. Good thing because on a good day I’m pretty damn hot. But on a bad one…well, it’s bad 🙂
So, no, I’m not insecure. Other pretty women don’t bother me, and Shaun has never given me a reason not to trust him. But the enemy of our souls would love nothing more than to trip him up-of that I am sure! So whatever we have to do to protect our family and to remain in right standing before God and the people we serve, we’ll do.

It’s ridiculous really that this is an issue-with all the real work there is to do in this world. I absolutely DEPLORE this side of ministry.  It’s enough to make me not want to do it.  But I didn’t choose my husband-God did.  And he didn’t choose to be a pastor-God did that as well.  It’s not always pretty, but it is what it is!

 

What do you do for a living? May 25, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — raitking @ 3:52 am

Today I was a(n):
1. alarm clock
2. personal chef
3. launderer
4. 1 woman food supplier (nursing 🙂
5. professional grocery shopper
6. worship leader
7. church announcements giver
8. children’s ministry leader
9. beautician (spent 3 hours braiding hair)
10. baby soother
11. party planner (small gathering for Memorial Day)
12. Enforcer (that boy!)
13. lover (if the husband gets his way tonight…lol)
14. And of course….MAID!

Ahh the life of a wife, mom, and church planting partner! What hats do you wear most days?

 

Stop time, please!! May 19, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — raitking @ 3:28 am

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My first born is now seven years old. I just can’t believe it. Really. She is my first love, my first baby…the one who turned me from a young, stupid girl, into a woman-a mother. I love this girl in a special way. It’s because of her that I understand the true meaning of love.

I can picture her as a baby- before we adopted Taeyonna, before Ezekiel, before Savannah- it was just our small, little family…me, her, and Shaun. I swear it seems like just yesterday.

And now she’s seven. And now she’s wearing glasses. I feel like crying every time I see this picture.

God I’m thankful she’s growing. I really am. It certainly beats the alternative (what doesn’t grow dies). But does it have to happen so fast? Oh to kiss that baby face just once more! Stop time, please…just for a minute!