Monday, August 27, 2007

Hard Lessons for the Future Pastor's Wife

So, I go off to church yesterday thinking that it will be just like any other Sunday - a good time of worship and fellowship. It's amazing how God uses times like these to smack me between the eyes with reminders of His truth about who I am and who He is. Here's a little snapshot of "life lessons" I am learning (or He is trying to get through my thick skull.)

1) It is so not about me!
Many of you know how hard it was for me when JM told me that God was calling him to full-time ministry - okay, maybe hard is an understatement, I am talking weeping and gnashing of teeth. God has been faithful to confirm that calling by allowing me to see JM's growth and development as a teacher and leader. God has also used encouragement from the church to help both of us recognize that this is His path for us at this time. So, this week it finally happened. I was made aware of a negative comment that was made about JM's teaching. Many of you who know me can imagine what my initial reaction was. I wanted to send a blistering email or have a huge confrontation so I could "gently persuade" this person as to the error of their ways. I wanted to protect my husband from the harsh words - I wanted to protect myself. Thankfully, God was working in my heart while we were in Sunday School yesterday. He gently reminded me that this is going to happen - everyone is not going to agree with JM all the time or think that his teaching is the best thing ever. And I need to suck it up and get over it - I am not the point, JM is not even the point - God is the point, and His Word will go forth through JM, even in spite of JM! My fixating on it does nothing to encourage JM to continue to pursue the calling that God has for him.

2) God is enough.
Last night we went to the ordination service for Martin, one of JM's friends from seminary. While it was a joyful evening to be able to see the culmination of what Martin had been working toward, it was really hard for me. This call into ministry is serious business. You don't get to half-heartedly say "God I will agree to support JM in what You have for him" while planning your own steps. It is likely that we could end up leaving the church that I have been at for over ten years once JM finishes school. We could very possibly be leaving Birmingham where I have made my home for over ten years and all the friends that I have made and relationships that have been built. It sucks to even think about it. But I was reminded last night that God does not call us to a life of "comfort." For some reason, He does not always design His plans around what I want. That is so hard!! So I am taking baby steps, trying to open my hand to Him and let go of MY plans to follow what He has for me. That is the hardest thing in the world for a control freak like me.
Last night, I cried as we sang "Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken" -

Jesus, I my cross have taken, all to leave and follow thee.
Destitute, despised, forsaken, thou from hence my all shall be.
Perish every fond ambition, all I've sought or hoped or known.
Yet how rich is my condition! God and heaven are still my own.


Saturday, August 18, 2007

What's in a name?

I don't think we realized what a big deal naming our baby was until we found out we were having a boy. When it came time to actually settle on a name, the permanence of it all really began to sink in--whatever we decide on, our kid will live with forever. And while we are very appreciative of the many suggestions we have received (Rufus, Sean John, Nellie Pearl, and Jethro Tull), we eventually decided to strike out on our own. So barring any major changes of heart before December, Baby Patrick will be forever known as Judah Griffin. We will call him Judah, which has both familial and biblical significance. Shea's great-grandmother Carroll's maiden name was Judah. In Hebrew, Judah means "the praise of the Lord." Griffin is the last name of one of our favorite singers. Deciding on his name (and now telling the world about it) has added yet another layer of reality to this whole process (as did picking up the crib earlier today). We are continually amazed that we are in the middle of this process and continue to thank God for his gracious gift to us. WE CAN'T WAIT FOR DECEMBER TO GET HERE!!!!

Monday, August 6, 2007

Crème brûlée and constitutional rights

Greetings from Baltimore! Shea and I are here because she is attending a conference for work (another one of those "I get to play while she works" trips like this one). It's been a pretty good trip so far, but it is HOT! And now it is hot & HUMID! The first night we were here Shea had some work to get done before the conference began, so we decided to save time and just eat in the hotel restaurant (something we rarely do). Turns out this was a great decision. Not only was the restaurant really good, but it was also Baltimore Restaurant Week. Scores of restaurants in the city participate by offering 3 course menus for a fixed price. We had an amazing crab & corn chowder followed by a petite filet mignon and Maryland crab cake. They were all excellent, but the best part was dessert. I'm not ordinarily a huge fan of crème brûlée, but because my other choice was angel food cake with fresh berries (which Shea had and loved), I opted for the creamy, sugary concoction. It was actually a crème brûlée trio: a mini version each of vanilla, chocolate, and nutmeg (which, surprisingly, was my favorite). Each one was a 2 inch square of creamy goodness with just the right amount of caramelized sugar on top. I would go on to crave this dessert so badly that a mere 48 hours later, I returned for another portion. Only time will tell if I will be able to resist the temptation of having a trio of trios before we leave on Thursday.

So that's the crème brûlée part of this post--what about constitutional rights? Well, I've decided that free WiFi access should be a constitutional right (Actually, until this trip I thought it already was one.). Every citizen should be entitled to life, liberty and the ability to check his email and post to his blog without having to pay $9.95 a day! For some reason, everywhere I have travelled, I have always been able to bypass this pesky (and unreasonable) charge by simply "borrowing" bandwidth from someone else's less-than-secure access point. But not this time. Everything in Baltimore is secure, secure, secure and I couldn't find free access ANYWHERE. (Until this morning, of course, when I walked the 3 blocks to Panera Bread and had breakfast and enjoyed their always-free WiFi.) If life as a pastor doesn't work out, maybe I'll run for public office on the Free WiFi For All platform.