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Archive for August, 2011

This week I made my final travel voyage before the birth of our baby boy. I spent the week with my family in Ohio, and I was so blessed to spend an evening with a few close family and friends. I’d like to thank those who came to celebrate our sweet baby. You mean more to me than I could ever express.

Here is some documentation of the love and blessing I received.

Delicious cupcakes!!!


My momma and I hanging pages from fairy tales.



The beautiful table!


Katie and Kate...having babies at the same time! 🙂 Love you sweet friend!


Thanks so my amazing mom and sister, Emmie, for putting on the shower. I love you so much!

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10 Steps That Will Help You Make A Hard Decision:

I hate making decisions! I can barely decide what to eat every day. Younger women always ask me how to know what is decisions to make in their lives. Certainly I’m not the only one who hates deciding.

I’m definitely not claiming to have made perfect decisions in my life. That would make me a big liar! However, I have had to make some very hard decisions in my short 27 years. Some of those decisions caused me lots of hours of thought, prayer, and tears. I’ve made decisions I’d never dream I’d ever have to make.

I’d like to share with you some of the steps I’ve followed to get me on the other side of a decision that seemed impossible. There are so many verses of advice about decision-making and wisdom in the Bible. These steps are based in scripture with a dash of personal experience. Some of these steps can be done in seconds and others may take time to work through, but they will all help.

Kate’s 10 Steps That Will Help You Make A Hard Decision:

1. Be honest.

This seems very simple, but in decision making sometimes it is very difficult to not let the main thing be the main thing. Simplify. Try taking out as much of the emotion as you can. Try taking out the “what if’s” of other people involved. Simply put, what is the decision you have to make. Make sure you are being honest with yourself. That’s a good place to start.

2. Read the Word.

Believe it or not, I’m not saying that the answer to everything is in the Bible. It simply is not. But the thread holding together every question in your heart is in there. So are the most important issues. And, most importantly, the voice that speaks the answer to everything is behind the words on the page. I believe that if you read the Bible enough, you will begin to hear the way Jesus speaks. Just like you can hear the author to any book you may read. You’ll know what He sounds like. You’ll know what His heart is like. You will feel close to Him.

John 1:1-5

3. Pray, Ask, Listen.

Three very simple things that are actually very easy to forget. Have you prayed about this? Have you asked God what you need to know? Have you listened for His response? Or are you too busy talking to everyone else or even Him to hear anything at all?

Luke 11:9-10

4. Ask for counsel.

Proverbs 24:5-6

“A wise man is full of strength,
and a man of knowledge enhances his might,
for by wise guidance you can wage your war,
and in abundance of counselors there is victory.”

5. Wait.

Sometimes just a little bit of patience can make a situation look a lot different. Of course it is not always possible or beneficial to wait on a decision. Some situations call for immediate action, but when it’s possible a waiting period can sometimes help you discern between emotions and reality.

One type of decision David and I always wait on is financial decisions. We never make a decision dealing with money right away, we give it time and come back to it. Often times afgter just a day or two, we find later that we change our minds for the best.

Psalm 62:5-6

6. Submit.

As Christians, we are always being called to submit. We are called to submit to Christ, to authority in our lives, and to each other. Being submitted is the most beneficial for us, when it is the most inconvenient. It’s often the most inconvenient during emotionally-charged change.

It’s easy to forget that God is sovereign. We think God’s will is easy to miss. In reality it’s hard to miss God’s will, unless we have a tight grasp on our lives as our own. We must remember that our lives are not our own.

Ephesians 5:15-21

7. Take Baby Steps.

Sometimes no matter how much you think, consider your feelings, ask for advice, and even pray about a decision, the absolute answer is just not clear. Most of the time in situations like this, I’ve had a sense or a feeling about which way is right, but the full clarity just isn’t there.

When this happens, I simply take small steps in the direction that I perceive to be right. So often as I step out with courage, the answer I’m looking for becomes more clear or more apparent that I’m moving in the wrong direction.

Proverbs 3:5-6

8. Check Your Motives.

A simple reminder to ask yourself a few questions:

Why is this decision important to me?
Is this a decision I need to make right now?
Is this a decision that can wait?
Is this a decision completely based on myself?
Does this decision include other people?
Have I thought about this decision from different perspectives?

9. Rid Yourself of Fear.

One of this biggest lessons I’ve learned in making good and difficult decisions is not never base a decision on fear. Passivity is never Godly when the lack of action is determined by fear. In the same way, hasty or decisive choices made because or out of fear are never Godly. God’s voice and His guidance is never one of fear. He is love. And there is no fear in love. One of the biggest things you can do to help you make a good decision is to completely rid yourself of all fears (even the fear of what people might think) before you think objectively about your decision.

Philippians 4:4-9

10. Have Faith.

Simple and sweet. Believe that God cares about you. That He loves you. That He is a deeply personal Savior. He sees you, and He is a “rewarder of those who earnestly seek Him.” If you depend on Him, you can believe in Him. He has every answer to every question and every longing in your heart.

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” Hebrews 11:6

KR 🙂

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Ok, maybe not MORE than anyone else in the world, but more than maybe you might think.

The RED is what is considered to be the Bible Belt.

It’s official. Jesus is about as common as Justin Bieber or the Dallas Cowboys in my part of the world. Not exactly where I imagined myself, to be completely honest. I always saw myself living somewhere else, somewhere where people weren’t like me. I’ve always just wanted to go. Truth is, I always just knew I was supposed to go. It was just deep down in me to go ever since I was a little girl. And go I did.

About 4 years ago, I met the man of my dreams. The best way I can describe it was I heard God tell me to go. I didn’t go to some unreached people group to share the Gospel and teach English. I didn’t move to some remote place in Africa. I found myself head-over-high-heels in love and smack-dab in the heart of the Bible Belt.

I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t baffled. Why would God call me to live in a place where there’s a church on every street corner? I had spent years defending what I believed in, and suddenly it was culturally and socially acceptable to be a Christian.

You would think that The Gospel of Jesus would be flourishing in Bible Belt USA. But I’ll be honest; my impression is that it isn’t. I mean, it is in places, sure. But I get the feeling that Gospel is so common here; it is almost forgotten. Many people attend weekly worship at churches, but functionally worship and put hope in lots of different things. The reality is that the Bible Belt needs Jesus more than ever before.

In my opinion….

6 Reasons Why The Bible Belt Needs Jesus More Than Anywhere Else In The World:

1. We have all the answers.

One thing is sure, nearly everyone in the Bible Belt of America has heard of Jesus and has probably attended church much of their life. Truth is, people who live and grow up in this part of the country are generally friendly, nice, and genuine. They have such great advice. I get in a friendly conversation with a stranger nearly every day.

The problem is when it comes to Christianity; good advice about being a good person isn’t the Gospel message. Jesus didn’t come to make us good people. We were in such need of saving, that He needed to make us new people.

When it comes to the Gospel, Jesus is the answer for every hurt, every sin, every problem, every joy, and every bit of your worship. Bible Belt Christianity tends to look a lot like behavior modification. But knowing Jesus is so much more.

2. We struggle to have authentic community.

People in the Bible Belt are some of the most loyal, faithful people I’ve ever met. People here are loyal to their people. They are loyal to their families. They are loyal to their friends. The problem is that this can cause a sort of “cover up” , “smile and wave” mentality. Dirty laundry stays under the bed. People will truly go out of their way to be put together, composed, and sunny-side-up in public. These kinds of relationships certainly foster tight-knit community, but are they authentic?

The Gospel isn’t performance based. It is grace based. That means that Jesus is real about your failures and sins. He doesn’t ignore them or hide them. He loves you in and despite them. He loves you to the point that “He who knew no sin became [your] sin, so that in Him you might become the righteousness of God.” Jesus did that for you.

Authentic Christians presenting an authentic relationship with Jesus would change this culture. Grace and love would abound, and this ugly performance thing could finally die.

3. We have no hope.

The Gospel message is that we are saved “by grace through faith.” The Bible says elsewhere, “Now faith is being sure of what you hope for…”. Human nature is to look outside of one’s self for hope. People will draw the reason for their lives and their identity from wherever they put their hope and faith.

When I look around, I see so many people putting hope in things that do not last. People are basing their lives and identities on fading things. Things like beauty, money, relationships, spouses, comfort…etc. weren’t created to give us what we are looking for. True hope is reserved for the One person who has given us grace and faithful love, Jesus.

4. We can’t find Jesus in this mountain of Moralism.

In the Bible Belt, it is acceptable and expected to be a good person. Churches become full of good people, because let’s face it Christianity will make you good. Often times our churches become about good advice for good people, and somehow somewhere we lose Jesus completely.

The Gospel is not about how good you become. The Gospel is not about you becoming a better, more righteous, more acceptable person until God is close to you. It’s not about our efforts at all.

The Gospel is about a God who came down out of His glory and comfort into the middle of our messed up world and messed up hearts. It’s about Jesus loving us so much that He became our sin and took our punishment, so that by accepting his grace through faith we become a new person.

We can’t accept the grace and love of Jesus until we give up on becoming something by ourselves and our Moralism.

5. Jesus has become like Waldo.

The commonness of Jesus in our society has made Him everywhere and nowhere at the same time. Jesus can become like Waldo. Everyone is so busy in his or her own lives, that we become apathetic in our search for Him. Even worse, we become apathetic about displaying Him to the world. Suddenly this story with His name as the title, written out in His blood, is just not important to share. He becomes so unimportant and hidden in our lives that we don’t even point Him out to world around us.

The Bible Belt needs Jesus. The Bible Belt needs people passionate about Jesus.


6. If we really got it, we could change the world.

This is so important. In this place where Jesus is common, think what could happen if people grasped the Gospel message. Think about what could take place in the world, if this region of the world stopped just adding in Jesus to their lives. Think about what kind of outbreak could take place, if we here, where it is acceptable to talk about Jesus, got the true message of Jesus! When we finally allow Jesus to change our hearts, He can change our world.

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Bullying is a man’s game right? Two guys get in a disagreement, throw a few punches, and they are best friends again. Seems so cut and dry. It’s all just a part of the dude way.

But every woman knows that women play a game too. It’s a game of hierarchy, rules, hidden meanings, passive aggressiveness, losing, and winning. Many guys have a hard time seeing it. Many times my husband and I will leave the same conversation, and I’ll ask, “Did you catch that?”. Inevitably he won’t have seen the hidden conversation that took place that was so evident to the females involved. Women have played their game with their own rules since little girls and barbies.

Little is being said about female aggression, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t shaping each new generation of girls. As Christians, as women, we have a responsibility to understand, talk about, and minister healing through the Gospel to all women. We can’t do this if we don’t acknowledge and seek to understand our relational faults and the redemption possible through Jesus Christ.

“What Makes Mean Girls Tick” is an article The Daily Beast posted this week about female bullying. The article is about a revised version of the book Odd Girl Out by Rachel Simmons that addresses this topic.

As a woman, how have to seen or experienced female aggression/or bullying?

As a Christian woman, how should we address this issue in the Body of Christ?

Most importantly, how can we minister the Gospel to women in a way that bring healing, understanding, and healthy relationships?

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This is my confession. This is my flash light shining on what it’s really like to be a pastor’s wife. Granted, maybe I’m not exactly the average woman married to a pastor, but I bet if you set my lists up against another, you’d be shocked to see how very alike we are.

I would like to continue my confessions with the very best things about being married to a pastor. If you missed the last blog in this series, Confessions of a Pastor’s Wife: What People Don’t Know, click the link, check it out, and leave your thoughts. I love to hear from people who read A White Stone Blog! And by the way, I don’t say this enough, but thanks for reading!

Here is my confession, and in no particular order:

The Top 5 Very Best Things About Being a Pastor’s Wife:

1. The Adventure.

My husband is a college/young adult’s pastor for North, a ministry of Trinity Fellowship Church. Being David’s wife has me leading a more adventurous life than I ever imagined. Together David and I have led people who attend the ministry all over the world with the mission of sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ and loving people. We’ve built houses in the most dangerous city in the world. I’ve taught young children about Jesus while David preached a sermon to their parents in a tiny village in Malawi, Africa. I’ve put together a VBS for trip we led to Managua, Nicaragua. And these are just the adventures we’ve had outside of the States!

Really every day is adventure, because every day we’ve decided to center our lives around the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are enamored by it. We are driven by it. The Gospel dictates everything that we do, every conversation we have, and ever day that we breath. There is so much purpose and adventure in living a life like that! I’m so thankful for a husband that is motivated by such a wonderful cause. He excites me about the exciting life that is gospel-centered!

2. Straight From The Heart.

Being in ministry with my husband taps into the greatest passions of my heart. It isn’t often that a person’s vocation is actually their heart’s passion. But there is a certainly indescribable fulfillment that happens when you get to do what you are passionate about.

While David and I’s roles in ministry don’t look the same, they bond into one work together. My greatest passions are Jesus, David, and people. Anything that involves those three things taps into a deep place in my heart. My role (or I guess job as David’s wife) isn’t something I do begrudgingly or out of necessity. It’s actually a deeply fulfilling “job” that I am very, very passionate about. It’s one of the most fulfilling things I do in my life.

3. Involves The People You Love The Most.

Similarly, this adventurous role that I am so passionate about actually involves my favorite person in the world. Being a support, help, encourager, counselor, friend, and co-laborer for the person I love the most in the world is wonderful!

I am so proud of my husband. He’s a wonderful husband and a wonderful pastor. It’s so humbling to see why my husband is such a wonderful pastor. This man, that I truly aspire to be like, loves pastoring people because he loves Jesus. And he loves Jesus because he is fully aware of how much Jesus has loved him. He’s knows how much grace and love and sacrifice that Jesus has poured out on his life, and that drives him to love Jesus and consequently be passionate about his profession as a pastor.

I’m honored to love and care for the man that is that kind of leader. And that’s one reason being his wife is so great!

4. It’s An Honor.

Being the wife of pastor and being in ministry is, in my opinion, a great honor and responsibility. All Christians are called to represent Christ and to fulfill His ministry on this earth, but pastor’s have the rep of being the guy that’s out front. That’s at least how they are viewed. And I view it as an honor and responsibility to represent the God that has loved me so much. I hope that my husband, my life, my marriage, and my family can represent the kind of love and sacrifice that I’ve experienced through my relationship with Jesus.

5. It’s The Most Rewarding Job On The Planet.

It’s true, being a pastor’s wife has to be the most rewarding job on the planet. I’m joined to the greatest purpose in life imaginable, invested in precious people, and have a front row seat to see God move on this earth. I can’t imagine doing anything else with my one and only life.

Want to read more on this topic? Check out Ron Edmondson’s blog post, “Honoring A Pastor’s Wife.”

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Our most PASTORLY picture. Right after David preached in Africa.

My Confession:
I graduated in 2006 and entered “the ministry” vocationally as a bright and shiny 22 year-old. I was a children and youth pastor for a Vineyard Church in Lancaster, Ohio. It was a blast. It was hard work, but it was a blast. And I was sold. I knew I wanted to be in ministry for the rest of my life.

Two years later, I fell head-over-high-heels in love with an amazing young adults pastor from Texas (insert my hero of my story). We’ve been doing ministry together ever since. I say “we” because that’s what David would say about us. We decided that I wouldn’t work fulltime, so that we could put our hands to the same task. It’s been wonderful. It’s hard work, but it’s wonderful.

What I didn’t know about my first two years in ministry as a single woman was that everything I went through was preparation for the hardest ministry I’d face: being the wife of a pastor. I would have never guessed the hardships of being in the ministry; I would have never imagined the hardships of being the wife of a pastor.

This blog is from one to (hopefully) many others, just to say “You’re not alone. I understand. ” It’s my confession. And for those of you who aren’t pastor’s wives, maybe just a peek into the lives of your pastor’s wife.

Kate’s Top 5 Most Difficult Things About Being a Pastor’s Wife:
(and don’t worry that good things are in the next blog!!)

In no particular order….

1. The Weight

Ministry is one of the most taxing vocations out there. It has one of the highest burn out rates to prove it! And every bit of the burden your pastor carries, his wife carries with him.
Ministry is physically weighty. It beats up your body. The schedule alone is exhausting. It’s anything but a 9-5 job. In fact, it includes holidays, weekends, evenings, early mornings, a 3am emergency, and you name it. It’s not confined to an office or even a building, it’s in your home and everywhere you go…even on date night.
Ministry is emotionally weighty. It’s emotionally weighty because you do it from your heart and with all of your heart. It’s not like a job where you turn it off at the end of the day. Your pastor walks through life with people, good and bad. And at the end of the day, the wife walks the pastor through life.
Ministry is relationally weighty. It’s all about people. Most people keep up with family and friends, but pastors and their wives care for and keep up with family, friends, and so many others.

2. Misunderstood Motives

My pastor and husband is motivated by ministry from his heart. In most other jobs decisions aren’t made from a place raw vulnerability. The problem is that most people never think about that. Harshness, criticism, and misunderstood motives feel very personal to a pastor. Most pastors have learned how to deal with their motivation and heart being questioned and misunderstood, but for the pastor’s wife this can be one of the hardest thing she faces on a weekly basis. Why? Because she sees the sacrifice it cost the person she loves the most in life. She sees the times he spent on his knees asking God for direction. And she saw all of the heart he has invested in the people and ministry. Most of all, she knows he did what he did to please God above all else.

3. Your Husband Is Public Property.

Most men are needed mainly by their wives and maybe some close family and friends in times of need. For pastor’s wives, it’s much different. Everyone needs her husband. People need pastors for hardships, questions, decisions, counseling…etc. One of the hardest things for pastor’s wives is to see their husbands be needed by other people. It’s hard for a lot of reasons, but it’s the most difficult when you see he is tired or in need himself. And the thing about being a pastor is that you are always a pastor. Have you ever wondered who is your pastor’s pastor? Your pastor’s pastor is his wife. It is her task to encourage, counsel, pray for, and speak the Gospel to the man who does that for everyone else.

4. You Are Public Property.

Some pastors’ wives work for the church, some are full time mommas and wives, and others have their own vocations, but nearly every pastor’s wife dealt with people who assume she is as available to them as the pastor….sometimes, even more. Unfortunately, I’ve experience people who have tried to get to my husband through me. I’ve experience people trying to hurt my husband through me. I’ve experience people trying to find things to gossip about my husband through me. I’ve experienced people who become angry with me because I’m not able to be close to them, befriend them, or counsel them.

The fact is, I love people. I love to help people. And I especially love to be a part of leading people closer to Jesus Christ, but because of the expectation I am sometimes under (even by sweet, well-meaning people) I have had to set very clear boundaries for myself. I do this so that my husband can be a more effective pastor that is healthy and in a healthy marriage.
My responsibility are in this order:
A. Jesus
B. My husband and protecting his place of rest.
C. My sweet baby boy and family.
D. To everyone else.

5. The Struggle for Authentic Relationship.

In the spirit of keeping my confession sincere, I’ll be very honest. For myself and many other pastors’ wives having completely open and intimate relationships is a huge difficulty. Most people have just a couple people in their lives that they can share in this type of a relationship. The Pastor’s wife has a hard time finding those people in her own life. Why? The pastor’s wife has a difficult balance. She has to remain authentic and real in her many relationships, while being careful not to “bleed” on the people she has a responsibility to help care for.
I’m by nature a private person already, and it takes a friend in just the right position in my life for me to be able to talk about my hurts, trials, confess sins, and ask for advice. This doesn’t mean I’m not “real” with everyone, but it does mean that I take my responsibility in life very seriously.

Well, that’s my honest confession. My next post is much more fun! My confession on the BEST things about being a pastor’s wife!

KR

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