When Enough Isn’t Good Enough

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Taking a three-week trip from Texas to Michigan and back again with five children is nothing to sneeze at, especially if one is crazy enough to drive. It was the most ambitious trip we’ve taken to date, and by the end we were all getting on each other’s nerves a bit. Okay, a lot. Especially the last few days in the car, everyone was on edge, complaining about every little thing. When I handed back granola bars for the kids to snack on, they grumbled about which kind they got. When we stopped for dinner, they fought about how many chicken nuggets they received. When it was time for a movie in the car, inevitably one of them was mad at the selection. At one point I was so fed up with the constant whining that I said, “Would it be too much to thank your dad and me for everything we do for you, rather than complaining that it’s not exactly the way you want it? Do you have any idea how spoiled you sound?” But even as I said the words, I was convicted. Because, you see, I’m the same way.

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Life on the Plain (from the archive)

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(Originally published in 2015, I found myself thinking of this article as our family vacation draws to a close and we have to go back to life as usual.)

Last weekend I was blessed to attend a pastors’ wives retreat. It was marvelous. It was refreshing. It was uplifting. I was able to meet other pastors’ wives and swap stories with them. I stayed up late with them, sipping wine and eating chocolate. I had free time to walk, write, and relax. I went kayaking. Our group of ladies had wonderful sessions together. We sang together. We harmonized together. We did devotions together. We learned different methods of doing personal Bible study. It was a wonderful weekend. And then I came home.

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One Big Happy Family


This weekend was bittersweet for our family. My father, a pastor, retired after forty years in the ministry. The last twenty-eight of those years he spent at the same church in Michigan. He took a call there when I was in the fifth grade. I consider it my home church. It’s strange to think of my parents going anywhere else. But retiring is different for a pastor than for other vocations. If someone retires from an office job, say, there’s no need to switch churches as well. However, when a pastor retires, in most cases he leaves his church as well. This is difficult, because often that’s their support network and social circle. These are the people who have celebrated together in good times and pulled together in difficult times; people who worship together every week. Indeed, they are a church family. And it’s hard to say goodbye to such a family. Continue reading “One Big Happy Family”

What a Pastor’s Wife Wants You to Know

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(Originally posted on Sister, Daughter, Mother, Wife on June 2, 2017)

I know, I know. You’ve read it all before. You get it. Pastors’ wives are sick of living in a fishbowl. They don’t want to be compared to the former pastor’s wife. They’re tired of the expectation that they’ll do everything from leading VBS to starting a women’s Bible study to doing secretarial work for free. They hate the stereotype that their children must be perfectly behaved or know all the answers in Sunday school. You know all these things. You’ve seen other blog posts to that effect. And it’s a good and helpful thing when congregations realize this. But honestly, too many articles of that nature makes us PWs seem sort of…well, resentful. So please allow me to share a few other things I’d like parishioners to know that may help you understand your pastor’s wife (and your pastor) better. Continue reading “What a Pastor’s Wife Wants You to Know”

Read Like a Lutheran

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The start of summer is widely associated with Memorial Day, so by those standards, summer is here! And what better way to celebrate summer than by entering a summer reading program? Concordia Publishing House is sponsoring a reading program for the entire family–adults and kids alike. The title is “Read Like a Lutheran,” and they have lists of books for each age group, and your name will be entered for a prize when you reach a certain number of points! I’m already signed up, as are my kids. If you have any number of CPH books around your house, you may already have enough to attain your goal. Arch books for the kids, for example, or (ahem) Our Faith From A to Z all count. As for adults, Grace Alone is on the list! Check your church library or swap books with a friend if you’re looking to expand your repertoire. What a great opportunity to curl up with some books! Happy reading!

One Common Destiny

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It doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you’re sincere.

All roads lead to heaven.

People may call God by different names, but we all still worship the same God.

Nice sentiments, aren’t they? Why trouble yourself too much about religion, after all? What difference does it really make in the end? If we’re all going to heaven, it doesn’t matter what we believe or how we live our lives on earth, right? But is that true? Do we all share a common destiny? Actually, in one sense, yes. But it may not be exactly what you have in mind.

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Highlight Reel

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What do we know about Adam and Eve? We know God created Adam from the dust of the ground and formed Eve from Adam’s rib. Adam named the animals. Oh, and Adam and Eve were the first ones to sin. That’s kind of a big deal. They lived in the Garden of Eden until then, but were barred from it ever after. They had children and one of their sons murdered another. But seriously, Adam lived 930 years, and that’s all we know of his life? In all that time, something important had to happen, right? Or what about Noah? The ark, naturally. And the fact that he got drunk and passed out naked in his tent after getting off the ark. But again, this guy lived 950 years, and we only know two accounts from all that time. How’s that for a highlight reel?

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How to Change the World

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The power to influence the world belongs most of all to God’s children.

The quote made me stop in my tracks to consider the implications of those words. I was reading my devotion in the Today’s Light Bible, working through the book of Amos. Like many other prophets in the Old Testament, Amos warned God’s people that destruction was coming. They would be taken into captivity for their gross idolatry and failure to repent. In Amos 7, God shows His prophet two visions of the future. In one, a swarm of locusts completely strips the land of all crops. In the other, a fire consumed the land. After both visions, Amos cried out to the Lord and begged Him not to send such calamity upon Israel. And in both instances, God listened to Amos and relented from sending the disaster. Amos’ prayer changed the course of history for his nation.

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