Monday, December 24, 2012

2012: Not The End, Only the Beginning



They said 2012 would be the end... Instead it's only been the beginning...

2012 has been a year that God has called me out to do quite a few new things. One of those exciting things was to begin a new blog for pastor's wives. I didn't know what to expect when I ventured out, but God has blessed me with a wonderful group of writer-sisters who all happen to be ministry wives too AND who happen to be very good writers.

Ladies -- Monique, Christy, Shannon, Cynthia, Dorena, LisaAbbySonia and Levitica -- I couldn't have done this without you!

This has been a fun and exciting year. We've discussed our PK's, the holidays, marriage in ministry, faith and shhhhh... SEX! (Thanks for that Miss Christy!!)

It's been fun, and I've enjoyed every single month.

However, I'm feeling led to take a rest from A Pastor's Wife Garden for now to hear God's voice a little clearer. We'll continue our Facebook connection, but we'll take a break from the blog while we wait for His direction.

In the meantime, enjoy some oldies, but goodies in our archives that you may have missed.

And pray for and with us as we seek God for His direction for this blog. We want to follow His leading for this ministry.

We are grateful for the season of this blog. We are grateful for our Facebook group. We are grateful for a safe place where beautiful women of God have met together, shared their hearts and loved our Father together.

And we are grateful for YOU!

May God bless you amazingly during this Christmas season. I can't wait to see what God has in store for us in the New Year.

Enjoy many new beginnings in 2013. And remember, in Christ there are no endings -- only beginnings.

Love and Blessings,

Carla




Carla Adair Hendricks is a pastor's wife (since 2001), a Mama to four beautiful, rambunctious children, an adoption/foster care advocate, a writer, a lover of current events and public policy and a lover and follower of Jesus Christ. (Definitely not in that order!) She currently resides in Conway, Arkansas, but also calls Baltimore, Maryland and Franklin, Tennessee home. She founded "A Pastor's Wife's Garden" to encourage and uplift ministry wives around the globe, but has been pleasantly surprised over the blessing this blog has been to women from all walks of life. Visit her personal blog, "Deep Waters" here, follow her on Twitter @carlaahendricks and join Carla and other ministry wives every Monday right here at "A Pastor's Wife's Garden" for weekly encouragement. 


Monday, December 17, 2012

In the Midst of Tragedy: What Can the Church Do?

By Carla Adair Hendricks



Last week in my personal blog "Deep Waters", I blogged about the Connecticut school shooting and what we as average citizens can do.

Today, I feel led to discuss what the Church can do in the midst of this national tragedy and those in the future that are sure to come.

Pray

It's been said many times before, but prayer should be our first, second and third response to tragedy. Whether we're watching the news about Superstorm Sandy or about twenty young lives being gunned down in their elementary school, WE MUST PRAY.

Yet we should also have the proper perspective on prayer. Prayer is not a passive response to difficulties. Prayer is active, offensive and powerful. James 5:16 says "The effective prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." 

Yesterday in my church, Mosaic Conway, my pastor-husband closed service with a prayer for the community of Newtown, Connecticut. We prayed for the families of the victims (including the shooter's family), we prayed for the hearts of the children who witness such heinous actions, and we prayed for the rebuilding of this hurting community.

Seek God

When I've suffered my own personal tragedies, like suffering two miscarriages in one year, I have asked God why. "Why me, Lord?"

A decade later God still hasn't answered that question.

But He did show me more of Himself -- when I opened my heart to see. He did show me that He is still good, still loving, still gracious and merciful. He showed me that even though He had allowed some pretty horrible things in my life, He was still God.

As horrible as the senseless crime in Newtown might be, God is still loving and He is still good. As much as my heart breaks for the Mamas of Newtown, I must cling to Him today and every day.

Remember the Brevity of Life

James 4:14 reminds us how brief our lives really are. "What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes."

Our lives are short, and as church leaders we must encourage ourselves and our fellow church members to not forget this. We should live each day recognizing the possibility that it could be our last.

Some questions to ask ourselves and others:

If this were your last day on earth, what would you do differently? Who would you spend time with or reach out to? What would you take a risk on? To whom would you say "I love you"? Who would you need to forgive?

Let's encourage others around us to pray, seek God and remember that tomorrow is not promised. Just think: how would our world change if we all did those three things today and every day?







Carla Adair Hendricks is a pastor's wife (since 2001), a Mama to four beautiful, rambunctious children, an adoption/foster care advocate, a writer, a lover of current events and public policy and a lover and follower of Jesus Christ. (Definitely not in that order!) She currently resides in Conway, Arkansas, but also calls Baltimore, Maryland and Franklin, Tennessee home. She founded "A Pastor's Wife's Garden" to encourage and uplift ministry wives around the globe, but has been pleasantly surprised over the blessing this blog has been to women from all walks of life. Visit her personal blog, "Deep Waters" here, follow her on Twitter @carlaahendricks and join Carla and other ministry wives every Monday right here at "A Pastor's Wife's Garden" for weekly encouragement. 



Monday, December 10, 2012

Creating Home on a PW Budget


Hi Ladies!

I’m taking a fun spin on today's post in light of the season. As PW’s we do a lot of hosting and entertaining during the Holidays… church staff Christmas parties, women’s ministry gatherings, family sleepovers and more. I’m sure we all love to make our house feel warm and welcoming. The only obstacle is that decorating is expensive! Many of us are on very conservative budgets, so in order to warm up a home for the holidays creativity is key [which is wonderful in my book!]. I’ve been getting crafty on pennies around here, so I thought I’d share six fun ways to decorate your home FOR $5 OR LESS.

ENJOY!


1. Make it a white Christmas! ($5)
I grew up in California, and it never snowed on Christmas. But I’ll never forget being amazed at trees that had faux snow. I thought they were so beautiful! It was always my childhood dream to have a snowy tree. And guess what! This is the first year that I got a snowy tree!! I know many tree lots provide flocking, but a few years back someone gifted us with a fake Christmas tree and it’s been a faithful money saver every year since. This year, I decided to add my own snow for a whimsical feel. Turns out, faux snow is fairly cheap.


How To: Buy a $5 bag of faux snow at your local craft store (I got mine at Michaels). I used the kind that looks like pillow stuffing. Spread the "snow" along the tops of your tree branches. It goes a LONG way, so you could make your whole house a white Christmas if you please!

2. Hang a plain wreath for a simple, modern touch ($5).
Sometimes less is more. The hubby and I like to keep things pretty simple around here with our d├ęcor, so this idea was perfect for our pallet. I found these $2 wreaths in a bin at my local craft store (Michaels again) and grabbed a roll of ribbon (in blue since that’s our regular home decor color).


How to: String the ribbon in front of a window, on your existing curtain rod. Then loop it through the wreath and tie a double knot, leaving a little extra ribbon to hang for the look of “tails”. You can't tell in this picture, but my ribbon tails are hanging in the center of the wreaths. Simple and cheap!

3. Print a FREE banner with whatever saying you'd like ($1).
Banner ideas are all over the Internet now a days. I’ve wanted to make one for over a year. I finally found this great website with free printable banner letters. Perfect for adding a little something festive. Did I mention they’re FREE! (If you don’t already have supplies on hand, the entire project could cost just a few bucks at the dollar store. I bought a pack of 38 clothespins for $1, which was my total cost of this project!)



How to: Pick a saying such as “Joy to the World” or “Peace on Earth” or “Merry Christmas”. Go to this website and print your free letters from home on regular printer paper. Cut them out. Then grab cardstock or scrapbook paper (from the dollar store if you don’t have any on hand) in the color of your choice. This will be a nice backing for your white paper triangles (I chose ivory). Then clip on some clothespins and string twine through the little metal coils on the pins. Hang wherever you’d like!

4. Make your own ornaments for less than $3
I found a whole bag of these glitter pinecones at my local craft store for $2.49. And they're cinnamon scent! I thought that was a steal so I grabbed them to decorate my tree. I cut small pieces of twine I already had (you could use any ribbon or string) and hot glued loops on top to hang them from our tree branches. Simple, pretty, and cheap!


5. Assemble a quick, FREE centerpiece.
Here’s an easy one that doesn’t take much time! Grab a glass vase from somewhere in the house. Then steal a few bulbs from your tree. Fill the vase for a quick and easy centerpiece!
Source
6. Keep Jesus at the center with a free nativity!
Google search ”Nativity Silhouette”. Choose one you like. Print it from home. Cut it out and tape it above a mantle, or on a window sill. Tip: string garland just below it on the sill or mantel for a more complete look. Bonus Tip: if you don't have the budget for fresh garland, stop by your local tree lot. They often cut branches from trees and have a big pile of beautiful tree limbs. The owners may be happy to have you help them "clean up" by taking a few off their hands. Pick a few full limbs and make your own fresh garland for FREE! 

And there you have it… six ways to warm up your home for Christmas on a Pastor’s Wife’s budget. And bonus, you can get the kiddos to help on some of the projects too!

Merry CHRISTmas and happy creativity,

Monique Zackery


_____________________________
Monique is a Northern California Pastor's wife. When she isn't glueing her fingers together in a D.I.Y. project, you can find her worshiping God through music and everyday life.  Above all, she desires to be an arrow, pointing others to Jesus. To learn more about Monique, you can visit her family ministry blog at www.TheZackerys.blogspot.com

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Preacher's Wife: A New Perspective

By Carla Adair Hendricks


I have to admit that in 1996, I wasn't a huge fan of The Preacher's Wife. Loved the cast, loved the music, but somehow the plot just seemed a bit -- well, cheesy.

This holiday season I've stumbled upon The Preacher's Wife again, and somehow it resonated with me this time. Perhaps it's because of Whitney Houston's death, which has made me extremely nostalgic over anything Whitney. After all, every time I watch Whitney sing a gospel song, I'm a weepy mess all over again. Needless to say, watching her sing "I Love the Lord" ruined me.

Yet, I realized something else touched my heart about the story this time. In 1996, I was the wife of a corporate businessman. Today, in 2012, I am "The Preacher's Wife".

And suddenly I'm relating to the "First Lady" like never before. Here's how:

"I didn't sign up for this"

I've found myself pondering these six words more during the eleven years of full-time ministry than ever before. And a whole lot in the last three. 


Now mind you, I was totally on board when my husband Anthony entered pastoral ministry. As a matter of fact, he and I both felt called at the same time.

What I didn't sign up for were the uncertainties, the challenges, and the warfare I experience. Of course I'm sure if God had given me a glimpse of it all, I would have run the other way -- faster than Road Runner escaping the salivating jaws of Wile E. Coyote.

I never expected ministry to be so draining

 It's not unusual for a woman to feel like she shares her husband with his job. Most corporations today demand too much from their employees, expecting them to stay "plugged in" twenty-four hours a day. 


But it's hard when your husband works for the church. It's hard when his boss is -- well, God. Who do you get angry with? There's no boss whose picture you can throw darts at.

Whitney's character, Julia, could relate. With her husband consumed with the problems and responsibilities of the church, she was lonely and discouraged. Not a good way to begin the Christmas season.

A few weeks ago, I found myself the belle of a major pity party. I was tired, overwhelmed with a huge list of "to do's" and discouraged about the holidays. As I surveyed our Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday calendar, all I saw was ministry, ministry and more ministry. I saw no family outings, no birthday celebrations (Anthony, the kids and I all have birthdays around the holidays) and no R & R. I saw only ministry -- with more to come in the New Year.

I completely melted down.

However, after some time with God and after saying "no" to a couple of things, God gently reminded me of a hard truth: "Carla, I love you, and you are vitally important to me. But.. it's not all about you. Not even during the holidays. Not even on your birthday."

Ouch.

It's an ongoing adventure

I don't expect any good-looking angels like Denzel to come knocking on my door any time soon. However, this ministry life continues to be an adventure like none other. My goodness, I'm even leading our children's Christmas program -- like Julia! Next they'll have me belting out solos. Then again, maybe not...

The bottom line is, God has signed me up for an adventure that I don't even feel worthy of. I'm totally grateful for His calling, His entrusting me with loving and serving His people.

This Christmas, I choose to be grateful for this gift of ministry.






Carla Adair Hendricks is a pastor's wife (since 2001), a Mama to four beautiful, rambunctious children, an adoption/foster care advocate, a writer, a lover of current events and public policy and a lover and follower of Jesus Christ. (Definitely not in that order!) She currently resides in Conway, Arkansas, but also calls Baltimore, Maryland and Franklin, Tennessee home. She founded "A Pastor's Wife's Garden" to encourage and uplift ministry wives around the globe, but has been pleasantly surprised over the blessing this blog has been to women from all walks of life. Visit her personal blog, "Deep Waters" here, follow her on Twitter @carlaahendricks and join Carla and other ministry wives every Monday right here at "A Pastor's Wife's Garden" for weekly encouragement.







Monday, November 26, 2012

Use Your Faith to Give Someone a Pump!

By Christy Fitzwater

Growing up in church, I took several spiritual gift inventories over the years, and I always scored high on the gift of faith. 

So I always thought, “Okay. I have a lot of faith.” That was as far as my thinking went. 

But a few years ago I read 1 Corinthians 12:7, “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.” For the first time it occurred to me that I had been given a lot of faith for the benefit of other people, to offer as a service to them. 


I chewed on that idea for a long time. How do I use my faith to serve someone else?



I decided it's like the pumping motion required to pedal two people on a single bike. I can propel someone forward in her experience with God, by applying the power of my own faith. 

Soon I realized God was always bringing people across my path who were in a crisis of faith. I had always found this annoying and thought, What’s you’re problem? Why can’t you just believe God and take Him at His word? When the idea of serving with faith entered my thinking, I began to understand God didn’t want me to be annoyed with people –He wanted me to use my faith to help them get through the challenge they were facing. 

Maybe you don’t have the spiritual gift of faith, but as a pastor’s wife you can serve your church family with the amount of faith you do have, even if it’s only the size of a mustard seed. So I’d like to offer some suggestions about how to use your faith to build up your sisters in Christ.   

FIVE STEPS TO GIVING SOMEONE A PUMP:

1.    When God brings someone across your path who is in a crisis of faith, consider it an opportunity to serve her with your own faith.

2.    Find a principal in Scripture that absolutely would be true in the person’s circumstances. 

3.    Take that Scripture and add some imagination!  Speak to the person how you can imagine that Scripture coming true in her life. Approach the crisis as an adventurous story that is going to have a God-ordained conclusion.

4.    Make a commitment to pray the person through the adventure of relying on God, and remind the person often that you’re praying.

5.    Celebrate with the person when she gets to the other side. Acknowledge God’s work in her life and speak faith at the end of the matter. This declaration of faith will lay a foundation for the next time she struggles with trusting God.

If you follow these five steps all the way through, you’ll find that not only have you encouraged someone else to believe God, but your own faith will be bolstered by the experience.






-Christy Fitzwater is a pastor’s wife in Kalispell, Montana.  To get to know her visit http://www.christyfitzwater.com/.
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