Thursday, June 27, 2013

How Do You Feel?

I have been bombarded with questions recently about my feelings on "gay marriage." When I do not give what others perceive as the "correct answer," I notice that it is asked in a different way, yet it remains the same question.

So, for all of those enquiring minds that will not rest until the preacher's wife answers the burning question of the are my thoughts, and they are solely MINE.

First, I feel that a lot of times when someone asks me a question regarding my feelings on a myriad of topics, they are not actually hoping to learn how I truly feel about something, they just would like to trip me up. Maybe, they even believe that as a pastor's wife, and a Christian, that ALL of my feelings and beliefs should perfectly line up with scripture! I wish that life were that simple. Sadly, I am a very flawed HUMAN being. While I know that I am not God, I do strive daily to be Christ like. It is a goal that, until the day I take my last breath, I will still be working toward.

Second, my answers will NOT be the same as every other Christian walking this earth. Just as many have very passionate beliefs regarding homosexuality and abortion, among other things, so do I. I may not walk around waving a banner and shouting from the rooftops what I believe and how I feel, but I still FEEL. Examining my heart on a daily basis is very important for me to keep me in right standing with my heavenly Father. So, that said, there are many things that I keep in my heart, deeply personal, between God and I.

This is what I will say.....I believe in "loving my neighbor."  Who is my neighbor? My neighbor is the unwed mother... the school teacher......the gay or lesbian couple..... the attorney.......the adulterous man or woman..... the preacher......the lying teenager..... the grocery store clerk.......the prostitute....the person that ignores the plank in their own eye and trying desperately to pull out the speck in another's......the abuser.....the elderly...the waitress....the college student, etc.

I believe in "loving my enemy." Who is my enemy? Anyone that doesn't believe exactly as I believe? No! Someone that is hostile towards me and is bent on destroying me. That could be ANYONE! I am forever vigilant in watching for the enemy that roams around like a lion looking to devour me. So far in this life, I haven't found that to be anyone that has committed what so many find to be the worst sin imaginable, homosexuality.

There are so many sins spoken of in the Bible. I am indeed a sinner. I am saved by GRACE. Thank God for His mercy anew each day! Where would I be without it?

So, my thoughts are this.....I am on this earth to LOVE. I can love ANYONE and EVERYONE because HE first loved me! I am going to love EACH and EVERY person put in my path in this lifetime. I am not going to ask "Are you gay?" "How much money do you have?" "Have you ever lied?" "Did you ever have an affair?" You see, I do not need to know all of that in order to love the way Jesus loves. Being a Christian has not made me one of the ELITE....or thrust me into an exclusive club. I am a sinner saved by grace...a dirty sinner made clean by Christ.

I eat with sinners. I hang out with sinners. I am even married to a sinner. (And so is he!)

I guess the way I answer the question "How do you feel.....?" my honest answer would have to be....I feel undeserving of God's perfect love. I feel humbled by His grace. Now, how do I make others feel and know this love?

Monday, June 24, 2013

Feed Me

A lot of changes have occurred in the Wallace house since I late wrote on my blog. Scary, exciting, stepping out on faith type changes.

I told God and myself last year, that 2013 was going to be a time that I stepped out of my comfort zone. Being relatively shy and "blending in" is where I am most comfortable. However, for the last several years, I have been hearing that still small voice, urging me to step out on the water. Not being the best or strongest swimmer, I have hesitated. Actually, I have refused. But that all changed for me in May.

After having taken Lay Speaking courses since Ken and I married, I hadn't done a whole lot with it. I enjoyed going to the classes. I soaked up the knowledge that was presented by the pastors that taught the classes. I even LOVED writing the sermons. The hard part for me was to stand in front of the people and deliver the sermon. I am in no way trying to be arrogant when I say this....but, I knew that the sermons were good because whenever I begin to write anything, whether it is a letter, a blog or a sermon, I ask God beforehand to give me the words HE wanted me to convey and I would write them. I did everything else on faith...signing up for the classes, getting up early on two weekends to attend, getting there on time, putting everything I could into the class, going home praying and then writing the sermon...and then, time for the presenting of the sermon....I froze. I felt like if I stepped out of the boat, I'd sink straight to the bottom.

I told my husband on several occasions  that I loved writing the sermon, I just could NOT preach a sermon. I allowed my fears to take over and rule me. This went on for almost 5 years.

In May, I decided that God had been patient with me long enough and I was just going to do it! I contacted the Director of Lay Speaking for the Clarksville District and let him know, I was ready to go out and speak and to please keep me in mind. He had returned my call almost immediately and let me know that he would indeed keep me in mind, but there hadn't been that many to need anyone lately. I have to admit, I breathed a huge sigh of relief. Then, two days later, he called me and asked me to preach at a two charge church. I agreed. While in the middle of working on that sermon, he called yet again and asked for me to preach at another church the following week. I agreed. A few days, later, yet another phone call to preach at another church! I agreed.

I have to admit, I had to take a minute to process it all. I even told God, "Okay, I got your message, I am going to step out of the boat and even though I am scared to death. I am going to keep my eyes on you and just do it scared!"

I got through the first time, the second time, third and now fourth. And, while I am not an ordained pastor like my husband or a lot of our friends...this is what I have seen in these four churches and every other church I have ever gone to.

Some people come to church because they have always gotten up on Sunday mornings and gotten themselves ready and headed to church. Others, come because they want someone, the pastor, a Sunday School teacher, spiritually spoon feed them. While others, prepare their hearts before they ever walk out their front doors, for worship. They go to church in anticipation of being blessed and/or being a blessing to someone else.

I also realize that the sermon that God has laid on my heart and given me the words to preach...are not going to touch everyone in the same way. I can either feel crushed by the weight of others judgment or thank the Lord for speaking through me to that ONE person that needed those words.

I love my church and my church family. I also love contemporary Christian music. We do not get a whole lot of it in my church. That use to bother me a lot. But it never keeps me from praise and worship. I listen to the beautiful words of every song and watch our choir as they sing and it moves my heart. Not every sermon that my husband preaches, sends me into the "Amen, Hallelujah" cheering section.....but, I am not there for the church to spoon feed me spiritually. I have my Bread of Life at home that I dive deep into daily....I have a direct line of communication with my Savior, so when things are not "happening" for me in HIS house....I ask God to show me FIRST, what is going on IN ME, that is hampering me from getting fed. He always shows me, and I never resent it because I know that there are areas I need to always work on in order to be fed.

It is so true....every church you go to has the same 5 people. Bishop McAlilly spoke about this at a pastoral retreat my husband attended. So, even if we grow discouraged with those people in one church, rest assured, we will find them in another.

One of my favorite stories in the Bible is when Jesus feeds the multitudes. The disciples were there and they knew that the people were hungry, but there was nothing that they could do because they had limits. But Jesus did not, did He? I think this is a reminder that when we, as Christians, look to men or women, flawed human beings in their own right, to give us what we think we need, we are ALWAYS going to come up short. Jesus is the only One that can fill you up!