Tag Archives: community

Just Bring a Pizza

Last week, a friend posted a deal-i-o on Facebook that I instantly shared with a “YES” comment. Many FB friends shared it, so it must have touched on a nerve. It touched on a nerve with me too.


The next morning, the deal-i-o  was still giving me thoughts, so here they are. Incidentally, the same friend who shared the deal-i-o also shared a fantastic (and somewhat cynical) blog post about the deal-i-o on Monday.  I highly suggest that you read it.  I started this post over the weekend but just wrapped it up today.  She encouraged me to publish it even though it was so close to her post date.  I love encouraging friends!

God doesn’t give bad things.

There is seriously so much wrong (in my opinion) with the statement, “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.” Right away, we are grabbing onto the idea that God is giving us all of the trials we encounter.  In fact, it would seem to me that we give ourselves some of our trials, we give each other some of our trials, and illness – a physical side-effect of spiritual sin being in the world – gives us most of the others. I have never believed in the kind of God who sits in heaven trying to decide which of  us should have cancer based on who can “handle it.”  Hello!?!?  Even the book of Job is more about getting us to learn how we deal with trials…not realize that all of our trials come from God.

What is more than we can handle?

Most of our lives seem to be recipes for disaster.  We over-commit ourselves in all areas of our lives, and we leave little room for margin.  When the tough things come along, our schedules have no room to handle anything.  A change in my schedule is more than I can handle.  Getting a cold sends me into a tizzy.  Anything more than that is seriously more than I think that I can handle.  And who is to say that I can handle less than you can?  Where does this phrase come from? Why have we integrated it into our line of thinking?

How do we view God?

I have sat in many prayer circles over the years.  There is a rare person in the circle who gives time to praising God for who He is, for what He has done, and for what He will do through us and for us.  Most of us treat our personal and corporate prayer times like a McDonald’s drive through window.

“I’ll take one healing of cancer with a side of extra healing for my dog, please.”

We forget that, though capable of our physical healing, God is more concerned with our relationships with Him and others as well.  The healing that Christ offered while here on earth was equal or more parts spiritual, emotional, and relational over the physical healings that He performed.  While God cares about us (consider the birds of the air…), God is far more concerned with the state of who we are than of how we are.

God created us for community.

God intends for us to celebrate with others (think birthday parties and weddings) as well as to mourn with others (think funerals).  In the in between of those kinds of moments is real life.  God created us to live life together – to play hard, to cry with each other, to listen well, and to encourage one another.

Before crisis hits, we need to take stock and prepare.

  1. Get in community and start supporting each other.
  2. View the trials of others as trials alone as opposed to consequences of decisions or “gifts from God.”
  3. Create margin in life to both take in our own trials as well as to assist in the trials of others.

Consider ways that we can help each other in crisis.

  1. Laundry
  2. Coupons for pizza delivery or groceries
  3. Childcare

Be ready to accept help from others.

Someone commented on my shared post of the picture above that people have to be willing to be helped in order to get help.  Ya sure. You betcha.  Maybe we would all be more willing to take help if we have done a good job of giving the kind of help that actually helps.

Just bring a pizza!

Idle promises of “praying for you” (and then we often forget to do so) will sound much more like promises if we just bring a pizza to their house and say instead, “I have been praying for you, and I thought this might help ease some of the burden.  I’ll be by next week to fold laundry if you would let me do so.”

It’s not easy, though.

I know that I sound like I’m chastising us, and I might be just a little bit.  I am not any better at this than the next person – on either the giving or receiving of help side of things.  When my mom died over a decade ago, one of the best things that a friend did for me was to bring me clothes for the funeral from (where we lived at the time) Minneapolis, MN, to (where the funeral was held) Grand Forks, ND.  I will never forget that generous act.  Even if we are not comfortable going to someone’s house to fold laundry,  something as simple a gift card for gas to help defray the cost of cancer treatments or for groceries to help ease the blow of losing a job will be a big help to those going through a trial.

Let’s look around today and consider how we can help each other.  That is what we are meant to do.



Filed under faith, Relationships, Social Justice, Thoughts

Music Monday: “Home” by Phillip Phillips

There are songs that can completely change the direction of my day when they come on the radio. Let’s face it, today Midwesterners need something to change the direction of our day.  I have already spent four hours on Minneapolis highways and bi-ways this morning because of a massive snow storm. For those of you who have snow days, it must be that Irish luck leftover from yesterday.

So – how can we change the direction of our day with just a song?

Take a listen to Home by Phillip Phillips. I have already heard this song four times today as I have driven around and around the metro….

I do not own the rights to this song. I have put it here from the YouTube link.

How could that song not change your day?

Being alone – in the sense of feeling like everyone has abandoned you – is one of the worst feelings we can experience as humans.  We were created by a communal being (God – the three in one), and we were created to be communal.

Know you’re not alone…

When we feel alone, it is so overwhelming. And it can happen in a large crowd as often as it can when we are sitting by ourselves.

But know you’re not alone…

I think those might be the best lyrics ever written (not by Phillips) and sung (yes…by Phillips). And then the ah..ah..ah…ah…that is just so fun!  It makes me want to stand up (even when driving) and do a little jig of happiness.

I could write more, but why?  I think we can resonate with it without much more explanation.  Just listen to the song again!

And – know you’re not alone…

Happy Monday!

What songs have a tendency to change your day?  Please share with us (in the comment section of the blog) so that we can all take a listen!

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A Clean Slate

I have stared at the blank page on my computer screen for the past ten minutes with breaks to check email, Facebook, and order a Christmas present on Amazon.com.  Last night, I spoke with someone about how I “used to blog daily” and was intrigued by the conversation as it followed a friend’s comment on Facebook earlier this week: “…btw, did you know you haven’t written since October?! Having withdrawals here you know.”

I want to write a blog post.

I really do.  I always have so much to say inside my own head as well as verbally.  I always want to sit down and write. But what started out as a little project to slow my racing mind had turned into a demand on my life that I felt I needed to do so that others would be pleased.  I found my mood being swayed – positively and negatively – by the number of comments made on posts each day or the number of hits or shares I saw.  I would watch the stats of a post and hit refresh every five minutes.

This was not what I had intended to do when I started writing blogs.

And so, I needed to take a break.  I shared that publicly back in October – the last post before this one.  And the blog went silent.

Until today.

Last night, I attended a joint Christmas service at our church.  It was a joint effort between our church and a group called FreedomWorks, a post-prison ministry for men, which meets in our building on Thursday nights for food, fellowship, and a service.  As part of last night’s service, men involved in the ministry (therefore, former prison inmates) shared about their experiences, how the ministry had impacted their lives, and what their lives were now.  As they talked and then throughout the singing of Christmas carols, one phrase kept coming to me – “Clean Slate.”

Christmas is a great time to consider how invested in us God is.  He cared so much about our state as humans – sinful and separated – that He sent Jesus to us.  From that humble day in a stable in Bethlehem, Jesus was on a road to only one place – Calvary – where He would die to pay the price for the sin in me and then rise again to conquer death.

God provided Jesus to give us a clean slate.

I often live my life as if I am carrying around my list of dirty deeds, but that is not what God ever intended me to do.  Yes – He wants me to recognize that I am a sinner, but that is simply a truth that I must acknowledge so that I realize my need for Jesus.  Once I recognize that need and hold firmly to that truth, I am to live a life of freedom.  Galatians 5:1 tells me that “it is for freedom that Christ has set us free.”

Living life with the dirty deed list in one hand does not free me completely do and experience all that God has for me in this life.  He wants my hands free and ready to act in love to others.  He wants my hands free to experience the blessings He has for me.  God wants my heart to be free from the burden of guilt that I carry.

As we consider the manger this Christmas and thank God for all that He has done and will do, I think we need to remember that Christ came to endure life as a man and to die on our behalf to free us – to give us a clean slate.  And in living out our freedom in service to God and others, we honor His death until He comes again.

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Mother’s Day Musings

It is Saturday evening, and I cannot write a blog post.

I have sat in front of the computer screen, walked around the house, opened the refrigerator, taken my blood pressure, unloaded the dishwasher, and put on my sexy anti-embolism stockings.  Basically, I want to write a blog post for Mother’s Day that is inspiring and wonderful, but it just is not in me.

I just want to sit in front of my iPad watching “Law&Order: SVU” – I am pretty sure that I am addicted.

This is my ninth Mother’s Day without my mom; she died in June 2003 from a weird cancer.  I try very hard to enjoy Mother’s Day even though she is no longer with me.  I try to find another woman to celebrate in some way.  Most years I give a card or a gift to someone who has been important to me or could use encouragement in that year.  It has been a great way to enjoy Mother’s Day.

This year, I was supposed to be in Rhode Island visiting my grandmother and other relatives – most of them women.  I had looked forward to this Mother’s Day as a way to be with those wonderful women on Mother’s Day.  Due to the recent health stuff I had going on, I returned home rather than going out east.  As much as I see this being necessary and good, I am sad.

And I am excited about tomorrow because I have great kids who will celebrate me well.  I honestly have no idea what my problem is!

Earlier in the day, “Really Rosie” crossed my mind.  The kids had decided to go to Southwest High School’s production of “Little Shop of Horrors” – the boy saw it last night and wanted to see it again.  The small cast size of the show reminded me of some of my community theater days, and “Really Rosie” was one of my favorites.

You can watch the cartoon of the musical on YouTube.  It is only about half an hour long. Click here to watch Part 1Click here to watch Part 2.

Musicals have been a huge part of my life which makes them a big part of my life both as daughter and as mother.  My mom and I worked on a musical together when I was in high school.  My kids love musicals, and we are having a great time working on these together.

It is now Sunday morning, and I remain stuck.  I took a break thinking that maybe I would come up with something great and inspiring…but I have not.

Being a mom is the best and hardest thing I have ever done.  Pouring myself into little people who are now grown people who can drive places on their own while I sit at home and pray that no one hits them on the road…well – the best and hardest thing I have ever done.  I love being the mom of my children. They are so great, and I feel as if their greatness is in spite of me rather than because of me.  I am so flawed….how could I possibly have raised these young people?

Being a daughter when the mom dies young is hard.  But when is it not hard to be the daughter when the mom dies?  I look at my friends who are ten, twenty, and thirty years my elder as they lose parents, and it does not seem any easier.  In fact, there seems to be a difficulty in their experience that I cannot relate to – they had more years.  At first, I was jealous about this and almost indignant that they had less right to sadness than I do.  But I have come to realize that it is just different.

Loss has no singular experience.

And then I know that Mother’s Day is hard on so many for other reasons – women who want children of their own but have not or may not ever, women who have lost children to miscarriage or death, and women who had chosen abortion in their past but now feel that deep loss.

So – if Mother’s Day is full of sorrow and loss, why do we celebrate?  And if this curse of pain stays with us from year to year, why should we set aside an entire day for this painful experience?

Days like to day are important.  When grief is part of our experience, we can push it under the surface and move on without having to deal with it.  We go on as if the painful experiences did not happen.  Our culture expects us to do this.  Other cultures allow for extended mourning periods, but ours does not.  In order to face our culture, we give in to it and pretend that we are ok.  And in doing so, we harm ourselves.  Because others do not know how to deal with us in our pain – even, at times, those who share similar experiences – we create an unhealthy façade.

We hurt ourselves in this, and we hurts others in doing this.  We provide an example for those around us that we says, “I can handle this.”  And in doing so, we also say, “You must handle your loss as well.”

But days like Mother’s Day come, and we cannot ignore the pain or the sorrow.  The truth of our experience wells up in us and – because we have not dealt with things appropriately – we hurt and want the day to go away.  We want to stay home from church where we are faced with other people’s Mother’s Day moments because that is not our experience – maybe it never was or maybe it just is not anymore.

But we should not stay home from church, and we should not hide our pain.  We were built for community, and our community was created in order to share with us in our sorrows as well as in our joy.  Even in the midst of our pain, we need to be able to celebrate who our mothers were and the joys of others who still have their mothers with them.

Additionally, we need to look around us and see others who are in pain as well.  Pain shared is easier to carry ourselves.  Having a good, possibly brief, cry of remembrance together could be what we all need today in order to then celebrate what we have or what others have.

And for me – I need to look in the faces of my children and remember that this day is as much for them as it is for me.  They want to celebrate me (they gifted me with a great bag this year, and I love it), and I need to be 100% in that celebration without tainting it for them.

This has turned into quite a little rant, and I doubt that it has much coherence, but I am going to hit “publish” anyway.  If anything, I want to encourage us all to look a bit outside of ourselves today and honor those who have mothered for they have done a difficult work.  And may God bless us with the joy and hope that comes from His word and His saving act of sending His son to die for us.  It is in this that all pain and sorrow will one day make sense even though today it seems beyond our understanding.

Happy Mother’s Day!


Filed under faith, Parenting

A Night of Drivel and Darling

IMG-20120329-00366Last night was opening night of Radio Daze, a play portraying the life and times of a 1940s radio show (aka “soap opera”) called Dreams and Delusions on the brink of becoming a television show.  In addition to the “drama” of that pressure, there is also a German spy in and a US federal agent in their midst.  As the script description says, “Overheard rumors, mixed-up scripts, and leaked ‘secret information’ combine with romance and laughter to make you stay tuned for a play that’s a salute to the glorious ‘daze’ of radio!”  Full of laughs, intrigue, and flirting, this comedy’s large cast of characters entertained me and about 100 others last night and will tonight and tomorrow as well.

Fridley High School’s drama team has pulled this off!

Of course, I have some major connections to this show.

IMG-20120329-00363The girl plays “Darla Drivel,” one of the writers on the show.  One of the funniest lines in the show is when the sponsor says, “It’s just a whole lot of Drivel.”  This is one of the many plays on words in the show in addition to fun figures of speech such as “letting the cat out of the bag.”  The girl’s husband – “Mr. Drivel” – and she have a friendship off-stage that allows them to portray this couple’s friendship well.  Many thanks to Michelle, friend and owner of Texture Salon (on our block!) who is doing the girl’s hair each night.  It is perfect!


The boy plays “Dash Darling,” an aging star with grey hair and a belly (yes, they had to add a pillow or something to the boy’s middle!) who also plays “ Dr. Jonathan Worthy” on the radios show.  Dr. Worthy is supposed to be young and “dashing.”  He and his love interest on radio “Linda Stern” played by “Connie Carol” played by a talented senior have some of the funniest interplays on stage.  And the boy wins the award for “best line of the show” with his dashing, booming voice as he says, “Everybody hide!”

If you need a laugh, the $9 admission fee for adults and $6 admission fee for students or seniors is well worth it.  And if you come to the show, you will get to see me in my usual spot – in the ticket box.  Parent involvement in their kids’ activities is important, but that is another post…off to my “real” job for the day!

Happy Friday!

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Lucky? Yes–I Am!

St. Patrick’s Day’s origins would make a much more profound blog post that the one that I am choosing to write. The rich history behind the saint himself, the country of Ireland and its religious strife, and just the folklore itself would be a great blog post. However, all week long I have thought about today’s post, and one thought keeps coming back to me.

I feel like I am the luckiest person alive right now.

To be honest, more often than not, when I look backwards on my 37 years, I sometimes can only see the negative things that have happened in my life.  I have written posts about those and the lessons I have learned or the way that I have seen God’s hand in all of it. To a certain extent, though, I have realized that sometimes I need to make a list of all the things for which I am thankful.  When I do that, I feel blessed – amazingly so – or…if you will, I feel lucky.

usI am thankful for my husband.  I appreciate him so much.  We do not have the perfect marriage, but that is because neither one of us is perfect.  The difference between a good marriage and a bad one is in the acceptance that two imperfect persons cannot have a perfect marriage.  It will always take work; we need to daily choose to sacrifice our own individual wills for the good of the two that has become one.  I am daily thankful for the fact that we have each chosen to remember this on more days than not.  I am daily thankful that we have given each other permission to call each other out when our personal wills get in the way of the good of the marriage or the family.

kidsI am thankful for my children.  They bless me as individuals as well as together.  When they put their minds to do great things, they achieve great things.  They each have their strengths, and they often complement each other when completing a task.  I am impressed by them, and they motivate me to be a better mother.  I am thankful that they are growing into amazing adults-to-be, and I am thankful that I have a few more years with them before they go off to do great things in the world.

I am thankful for the church family with whom we minister at Faith Baptist Church in North Minneapolis.  I am thankful for the that many of them play in the raising of my children.  Just last night I shared with a friend about the numerous men and women from our church who have played key roles – no matter how small – in helping us raise our children.  This is the key to changing the way that youth are growing up today.  I am thankful that I have been called into this community, and I pray that some day all children would have communities like this (faith based or otherwise) to assist in their development.

The list continues…but I have a speech meet to attend as a judge.

In what ways do you consider yourself lucky today?

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Bringing Christmas and Easter Together

A friend posted a link to a song on YouTube yesterday that really got me thinking.  I reposted the link, and a different friend commented, “It’s Christmas and Easter all wrapped up in one.”

That really got me thinking too!

The link (just click on the word link, and you will be off in YouTube land).  And the lyrics (thanks to a Google search):

Follow the star to a place unexpected
Would you believe, after all we’ve projected,
A child in a manger?
Lowly and small, the weakest of all
Unlikeliest hero, wrapped in his mother’s shawl –
Just a child –
Is this who we’ve waited for? ’cause…

How many kings step down from their thrones?
How many lords have abandoned their homes?
How many greats have become the least for me?
And how many gods have poured out their hearts
To romance a world that is torn all apart
How many fathers gave up their sons for me?

Bringing our gifts for the newborn Savior
All that we have, whether costly or meek
Because we believe.
Gold for his honor, and frankincense for his pleasure
And myrrh for the cross he will suffer
Do you believe?
Is this who we’ve waited for?

All for me…
All for you…

For many, this season is all about Christmas.  We decorate our houses, our yards, and our streets to reflect a celebration “fit for a king.”  And we should!  This time is all about Christmas.  But it is also all about Easter.  You cannot separate the two as they point to each other.  When we celebrate the birth of Christ with joy, we also need to consider the sober reality that His whole life was an example for us and ultimately, as we remember on Easter, ended in death for us and then resurrection.

And what gifts are we bringing this king who has done this great thing for us?  Have we stopped to consider this at all in the crazy, busy, hectic, and chaotic season?

Nothing I have to give is worthy of what He has done for me.

And He does not want just anything…He wants everything – all of me.

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Judging Gingerbread House Decorating Contest

Because the huz is a pastor and because our family is a bunch of fun nuts, a group of young adults asked us to be the surprise judges at their First Annual Gingerbread House Decorating Contest last night.  We arrived, dressed in black, just after 8 p.m. ready to be as witty as the judges on American Idol.   By the way, my daughter is kind of like Paula – she had to make every feel good…even the losing team.

The judges with Team 2’s house – the losing house.

The judges with Team 1’s house – the winning house.

These are some of the great things that we get to do because of my husband being a pastor.  While there are plenty of hard times as a pastor’s family, for the most part we love our call as a family and love that we can minister to and minister with others.  We love our church family and the neighborhood in which we live. We are excited that a bunch of college students and early career kids got together on a Sunday night and enjoyed being together doing crazy things like make gingerbread houses and having the pastor’s family show up as the surprise judges.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I experienced a “crash” in my bipolar self this weekend. I am on the other side of that and slowly coming back to balance.  I did take a nap yesterday afternoon (missing a commitment, but some things do have to be sacrificed in the midst of these crashes) and dreamed up wonderful blog posts that I now cannot remember.

As we move into the last few days before Christmas, I am hopeful that balance will return for me.  I am also prayerful for those who experience similar struggles and know that this week is not always easy – especially if a loved one has died recently or if a change in family situation has occurred.

May we all remember that Hallelujah! is possible even when our hearts are broken.


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Scrapbooking – Community of Memories

Every year for the past ten years, Village Creek Bible Camp has hosted four scrapbook/craft retreats. In the week prior to the retreat, the staff at the camp transforms the gymnasium into a work space for 110 women. Although the weekends are not billed as “women’s retreats” per se, there is something inherent about the subject matter that makes this event a female-only crowd.  Eight foot tables cover what normally is a volleyball/basketball court or floor hockey area.  The rock-climbing wall is completely blocked off from use by tables.

I love to spend a weekend each year with this group of women.

I am not a scrapbooker.  In the first few years after my mom passed away when all of her leftover scrap and craft stuff moved into my basement, I tried to like scrapbooking.  My sister-in-love and I even made a book of our kids for our mother-in-love.  This really showed me that attempting to make a square peg go into a round whole truly is a futile moment.  It just did not work.  I am not something…patient, maybe?…enough to do well at scrapbooking.  I also did not enjoy it.  Those are the two elements that need to occur in any activity one pursues: enjoyment and success.  If I would have had success, perhaps I would have enjoyed it more.  And I even would have persevered and tried to get better if I had enjoyed the activity…even without success. I simply did not accomplish either.

My name is Stacy Bender, and I do not scrap.

Although I have accepted that I am not a scrapbooker myself, I have several friends who both enjoy the activity as well as being successful at it.  They make beautiful albums for their children, their trips, and their families. These women tirelessly produce great books of memories.  They put pictures, journal pieces, and embellishments into their beautiful scrapbooks.  Because of my love for these women as friends, I choose to be with them on weekend events in the midst of their creativity while I do other activities such as blog or create presentations for an upcoming workshop.  Sitting around the table with them at these events has been a learning experience.

The group of women who tend to scrapbook together at these events at camp or on evenings throughout the year have created a community that celebrates accomplishments as well as mourns together.  They have seen children be born as well as pass away; they have seen children get married as well as have marriages fall apart; and they have watched as rebellious children graduate from high school and mature into wonderful adults.  As they sit around the scrapbook tables and ask each other for advice about color combinations, they share life, support one another, and pray and cry together.

Although I am not a scrapbooker myself, being with these women around the scrapbooking table helps me to understand community.  In the same way that pioneer women would have crafting bees, quilting evenings, and ladies’ aide meetings in their churches, modern women have “Crop ’til You Drop” nights.  I originally had written “Scrap ’til You Crap,” but that did not sound right on so many levels!  It would make a funny tshirt slogan, though!  On the outside, these evenings appear to be about finishing pages and creating books; however, once inside, it becomes clear that they are less about productivity and more about connectivity.

In a world that is becoming more and more fractured with relationships that are less and less authentic, this practice of coming together around a table filled with photographs and memories allows women to connect, share, and remember.  Whether through creating scrapbooks, taking walks, or sipping a cup of tea, we need one another to support each other and to celebrate with one another.  Life is hard; we need community to walk through it with us.  It not only makes it eaiser, but it also is the way that we were created.

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Love Those Pastors’ Wives!

On Monday night, Kerry and I attended the 2011 version of what has become an annual event: Pastors and Wives Appreciation Dinner.  Held in August for the past four years, this event is hosted and provided for by the Minnesota Association Executive Board members who treat the pastors (and wives if they have them…in Minnesota’s case all of the pastors at the moment are men – with wives) to a beautiful spread of food that includes yummies from the grill.  My personal favorite this year happened to be the mushrooms.  Is that weird?

As usually is the case at these events, the men migrated to one another and started talking shop while their wives migrated to each other and asked about updates in life.  Although the pastors get together once a month for prayer and support, we wives rarely do.  Our schedules do not tend to mesh well.  Two of us work in public education, one is the church secretary and recently started working a bunch of hours at a flower shop, and yet another is a daycare provider.  None of our time off seems to overlap, we are spread out from one another, and our jobs do not give us release time to get together like our husbands’ jobs do.

Being the wife of a pastor is different than being the wife of just about any other man with an occupation.  While every other job has its own family “requirements,” few people understand the exceptionally unique elements of the pastors’ family.  I find that being in the company of other pastors’ wives relaxes me.  They understand our strange rituals, odd hours, and secret handshakes.  Ok – that one might not be true!  What is true is that we do not have to explain much.  A knowing look communicates so much when we are together.  Needless to say then, it was great to chat with these fabulous ladies.

Typically at these dinners, we sit as couples for the main course; this time was different.  As ladies, we had been sitting in sort of a semi-circle in close proximity to a table.  When the “servers” (they are wonderful people!!) announced that it was time to gather around the tables, the wives sat at one table.  After some jabbing from the pastors (I am not sure if they were jealous that we were laughing so much or what), they sat at their own table as well.  The hosts gave us a bit of a hard time, but the women would not budge.  Some might say that I was a ring leader in this whole thing; I do not know where that idea comes from!

I cannot recount every conversation in this blog post – in part because of protection of my dear friends and in part because some of it may have only been entertaining in the moment.  Our conversation covered a grand pendulum swing from updates on our children’s lives to a performance of “The Wiggles” live to the costs of weddings and funerals and the various ways that they could go badly.  One of the most entertaining conversations recounted the strange unwillingness of a wedding caterer to serve decaffeinated coffee at a reception.  Yet another spoke of inconsiderate, though well-intentioned, actions of funeral attenders.  “The Wiggles” conversation had me laughing so hard that I wiped tears from my eyes.

These encounters, though infrequent, are precious to me.  My fellow Minnesota pastors’ wives are not cut from a specific mold.  Our approach to how we support our husbands differs in each of our lives.  They represent, though, a strong back-bone to each of their husbands ministries.  Everyone present last night has lived longer than I, has been married longer than I, and has been in ministry longer than I.  They have seen their struggles and their joys in their marriages, in the raising of their children, and in their churches’ ministries.  They march in front me and encourage me to keep marching.

I love our church; I would not trade it for another at this point in my life.  However, being in ministry, no matter how much one loves her church, can stretch us out of our comfort zone.  Few of us thought “pastor’s wife” would be one of the many hats we wear.  But we do.  And those women sitting around the table with me last night model for me what I can become and, at times, offer their guidance and support as I stumble along the path of the pastor’s wife.

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