You know the song because you are probably still humming the next line but did you know it’s scripture?
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! Ps 95:2
If you knew the song you probably could thank some worship/music pastor. This month is Pastor Appreciation month and while I would say we have too many holidays to honor everyone-because we all need to feel honored- (look up daughters day-we can’t even agree when it is) I feel that too often we forget our pastors. Especially those who aren’t the senior pastor or main teaching pastor each week. Please don’t think that comes off sounding bad from some jaded pastor’s wife but I have to say looking at our 8+ years in ministry its been the norm. I’m not doing this as a pity party because I’m thankful at the places God has allowed us to minister, I’m thankful for the notes (they’re probably all still in my possession), I’m thankful for the gift cards or checks that have come during times of need…or sometimes just times of blessings. But as the woman who sifts through this with the man of my dreams and someone willing to say hey this is a glimpse of the other side, I know he needs your encouragement.
So I’ll talk about ways you can encourage your Worship Pastor/Music minister today:
- Respect his position– Simply put respect his education. These days they need the same seminary degrees as a teaching pastor. So please, unless he wants to be called a choir director- don’t insult him with that term, he does so much more than that. (Thanks choir directors-I couldn’t do what you do)
- Respect his time– Arrive to practice on time and prepared! He’s more than likely been there all day and could’ve ran sheet music off ahead of time if needed. Just a note from the wifey side: when you are late to practice just know I’m wrestling 4 kids who want to see their daddy, and its past their bedtime, and I probably want ice-cream, and I definitely need a shower!
- Respect “his” time on Sunday– Arrive to service on time. Treat it as you would a wedding or meeting with your boss. Worship is much more important than those events and I don’t know if you have read what is currently happening in heaven but its not standing around “fellowshipping”, its worship. Now my husband wouldn’t phrase it his time like I did, but it’s what he has spent the majority of his week doing…planning, practice, set up, practice, lights, sound, practice.
- Enjoy worship- Act like you are excited to be there. You can show this by participation (in your seats for those who can’t sing a tune), smile, stand, raise your hands, allow the music to say what your heart may not always be able to express. I understand not everyone enjoys singing but unless you only ever listen to talk radio you probably do enjoy some type of music.
- Watch your tongue- remember he has worked hard to do what he does so gentle criticism and kind words go a long way. Yes, you may not get your southern gospel quartet every month but once a quarter or so may be feasible. This is also where you can silently have his back…he doesn’t ever have to know that you are helping put out fires for him so if you are able to redirect some harsh words from another- he’d appreciate it!
- Engage him outside of music- his world revolves around music but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have other interests. Find out what they are and build a relationship outside of music…especially if music ain’t your thang…or maybe you are the sound guy, married to the pianist and always at their house doing stuff…you will need something other than music to talk about!
- Serve- he can always use new help, people to help bounce ideas off, sound guys, people to make sure the platform looks nice before practice or service, etc etc. Remember if there was an event in the sanctuary sat- it probably falls on the worship guy to get it set for Sunday service. Wifey note #2: that means he’s there earlier than usual and lifting things he probably could use help with.
- Gifts- if you feel led, go for it, I’m sure it wouldn’t be turned down. But just be careful about music because it is their life they may already own it….same is true if he’s an avid reader-check to make sure they don’t have it already. My husband may or may not have been given the same book 3 times one year! He appreciated it each time and those who gave it are dearly beloved by our family.
- Love their family- may I be selfish for a moment…help out the wife and kids. As with the other pastors wife’s we often get the kids ready for church alone so any help wrangling a few kids from the parking lot to their class is much appreciated. Remember that our kiddos spend lots of time at work, practice times, and “visiting daddy” (i.e. family work day). Also please remember to not critique the worship service in front of my kids. Save it for the chinese buffet…or better yet just know that next week it will be different and maybe you will enjoy the song selection more (because it’s all about us right?).
Please note a good bit of sarcasm throughout all my writings. I know its often hard to tell is she being really critical or sarcastic. Bottom line…let us show some respect to our music guy. I have vested interest in you doing so.
Very few things bring my heart rate up…running after a loose toddler in a store, church issues, and race discussions are probably about it. It pretty much always stirs something within me to want to scream. Think Kim, circa late 1990’s baseball field when my brother was pitching and we had a poor umpire…its not pretty.
But here’s the deal- racism isn’t just a “white” issue. It’s a people issue…I would say an American issue but since I’ve not gotten over my phobia of traveling to other countries because I’ll get sick and throw up we will just stick to people issue. Essentially everyone has race issues.
Here are a few Let Us items:
- Let’s drop race when we describe people – you don’t tell me what color shirt they are wearing so why is the color of skin important? If it doesn’t matter in the story then don’t mention it…
- Let’s drop race in our humor – one race isn’t more lazy, one race isn’t more entitled, one race isn’t taking all the jobs, one race isn’t inherently better at technology…did i cover everyone?
- Let’s instead love one another with brotherly affection. (Rom. 12:9-10) Don’t just say it….do it. Come along side someone who is struggling, if it happens to be of another race awesome then have some real conversations about race issues.
- Let’s talk about real statistics the kind that can put you at ease about profiling others as criminals. Yes, you should be concerned when you walk alone in the dark towards your car…you’re alone in the dark, you are vulnerable! But if you encounter two people along the route don’t assume that the one of the same race as you doesn’t have ill intentions just like you don’t have to assume someone of the other race is only there to commit a crime.
- Let’s try our best to not sensationalize the news…or if we do read/listen to such sensationalized stories that we get the facts before discussing or, goodness, posting to social media.
- Let’s not assume something and slap it on everyone of that race okay? It doesn’t work that way, it benefits no one. Don’t assume I am happy with the way race relations are in America. Don’t assume I don’t see things that need to be changed. Don’t assume you know how it feels to be of a different race either because you don’t. Your glasses are always tinted based on history-more importantly your history. Not the history written about in books. No, the history of your parents and yourself! How your parents reacted to say the Civil Rights Movement affects how you react today to Ferguson or Charleston. What in your history has made a positive or negative impact on race relations on your life? If you love me and my family I pray that Wee-wood 3 has made an impact and that you’ve dealt with some feelings of your own. I pray that if his sisters bring home a black boyfriend you embrace him and say don’t hurt her heart just like you would if she had brought home a white, asian, or other boyfriend.
- Let’s agree that racism is a sin issue not just a cultural issue. Sin issues have lasting effects…for generations…until the earth is purified by fire (2 Peter 3:10-13), we will never escape sin issues. In this, please agree that nothing I can do can make restitution for what my ancestors did, which some weren’t even in the country during the time slavery was going on in the U.S.; therefore, don’t look to me as if I personally owe you something because I have nothing to give to make the situation better except acknowledging it is a broken sinful world and I’m trying my best to put pieces together as best as I can. Yes, I acknowledge I have benefitted unknowingly from being born white just like I have benefitted from being born a woman. However, I cannot get mad that I wasn’t born a man I just have to deal with the fact I am a woman. This was very evident for me when I was daily working in the labs. Women are highly underrepresented so yes I may have gotten perks from being a woman in the sciences but I dealt with a lot of people also thinking I wouldn’t hack it.
I know they’re are plenty of people who have lots of time to post all these “studies” that say this or that. I don’t have time for that. Daily, I take care of 4 children. Because of some choices we have made I have to devote myself to looking into homeschool curriculum, studying my Bible, studying church trends…I wish I could spend time researching race relations, but until I do have that time let me tell you the best research is done one on one. Part of the reason I don’t is because getting unbiased data on all fronts is nearly impossible….its like the GMO debate. Oh mercy, my head hurts trying to unpack it all. You know what I have learned? Having those awkward conversations with people often times turns out not so awkward.
Let’s all admit we have some work to do. And TOGETHER LET US do it! Let us listen to the words of Lecrae who is working hard to improve race relations.
Wee-wood 3’s current obsession is lawn mowers or more specifically broom-brooms. You know its the sound the lawn mower makes. He loves them. He knows what color they are, what type-riding or push behind, he knows who owns it, climbing on them, and watching the neighbors cut their grass. He even talks about them all day playing with his pretend lawn mower to cut the carpet “aka his grass”. It’s cute….until you turn the lawn mower on. Then he stands far away with his arms cross saying he is scared. Or he will run to me and jump into my arms begging me to go inside. Upon further investigation he likes the idea of a broom-broom but putting it into action isn’t up his alley. He’s comfortable watching the neighbor do it through a pane of glass…the safety of the living room but don’t ask him to actually cut the grass.
How much are we like this when it comes to getting involved in ministry? We may read all the new books, talk about ways to get involved, maybe even plan something (aka play with our pretend broom-brooms) but when it comes to actually sitting behind the wheel of the tractor and cutting the grass suddenly we are out. Or maybe we get “involved” by weed whacking or edging but God is calling us to do the mowing…its a much bigger job and honestly doesn’t look as nice as the beautiful edging people notice when they pull up.
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. Colossians 3:23-24
So what is God calling you to mow today? What have you been watching from the comforts of your living room through the pane of glass as others work hard? I started with the song lyrics that say there is none like you…no one else can touch my heart like you do. God does amazing things in his people when they band together to do his work. How can you get involved?
I love a good calendar. My life revolves around it. With He-wood working retail and leading worship at various churches, Wee-wood 1 having orthodontist appointments, and Wee-wood 4 going constantly for infant well-checks I cannot live without it. I also LOVE a good meal planning menu however due to our living situation its been a tad too difficult to nail down a whole month at a time.
So how about I link up to another calendar of sorts for you. Lifeway Women All Access blog has a calendar for this May with scripture-it also talks a lot about light this month. May it challenge us to talk about His Word more with our children. If you know me just a bit I have an obsession with Lifeway. I only cheat on Lifeway when Amazon is cheaper…crying shame I know. As a trained chemist if I could convince them they need to hire me I totally would! Mostly in their promotions department for their Lifeway branded Bible Studies. I have a thing for Bible Studies- you may have noticed that if you are my Facebook friend and saw how much I promoted Angie Smith’s new study Seamless. It’s a great one to check out if you are looking for a 7 week Bible Study.
Okay so here’s the link for the May calendar. Hope you enjoy it!
When we first started homeschooling I was super freaked out (read verge of anxiety attack) on teaching my kids to read. Don’t get me wrong I love to read I just have no clue how to teach it! I also didn’t want them to grow up hating reading so a firm foundation was key. Don’t even get me started on spelling. While my younger sister went to the D.C. for the spelling bee, autocorrect and I are bffs…well when it doesn’t change my word to something ridiculously stupid!
So enter with my mom’s suggest on All About Reading. We LOVED Ziggy when my daughter was 4! Ziggy is a zebra puppet that helps with the pre-reading curriculum.We start with their pre-reading at 4. She was a very advanced 4 year old since she knew how to write and already read several words but we did it anyways. She quickly grasped rhyming with Ziggy. Pre-reading is great because each day there is an easy craft and it varies so it isn’t always coloring.
Kindergarten we began AAR 1. We saw much success and we are now finishing it with out second daughter. She wasn’t as advanced as her sister but she even enjoys sitting down doing her flashcards by herself. I love that there are many different ways we can use the fluency sheets.
One thing I do need to say is that it is super portable! You can use the tiles for spelling reading words on cookie sheets or put them in an old diaper container and take them to a playdate to do school while the younger kiddos play. My favorite is to take a fluency sheet to a restaurant and reward the kiddo with an ice-cream cone after she finishes her sheet for the day. We’ve also done fun things like using bingo markers to mark out the words, dividing up larger sheets so it isn’t overwhelming, and rolling dice to see how many rows to read at a sitting! It’s so portable that when we did pre-reading with our oldest we were living in two different places 80 miles apart for my husbands job. We bought the full kit with the little tote bag and just threw in what arts and craft supplies we needed for those days we would be away from home!
We formally introduce spelling in first grade. So since we LOVED the reading we chose their spelling also. I love that both their reading and spelling curriculum tell you why we do it this way and some exceptions. Having missed or forgotten those rules growing up its been a great learning tool for this momma!
My oldest has one more year or so of their reading curriculum and many more years of spelling with them but we are thankful for the firm foundation it has given us. It’s also a great tool for non-homeschool families. If your child is struggling or just needs extra practice its an easy and quick way to incorporate it into their life. Great way to keep their brains working over the summer weeks when school is out!
You can see in the picture it even makes an appearance at Kindergarten graduation. To show reading fluency we allow them to choose a story to read or a book. My daughter chosen an AAR story she had recently read.
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As She-wood has shared, this day is a strange and difficult day for us. It has been exactly one year since we were let go from our previous church staff position. In that past year we have seen crazy life changes. It was also exactly one year ago today that we found out that We-wood #4 was on her way. Kind I a crazy day like I said. However, over and over again God has demonstrated His faithfulness toward us in His provision and guidance. We have seen Him work over and over again.
I have been drawn to Colossians 2:6-7 which says,
“Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.”
We have had no option but to walk with the Lord over the past year. We have had to follow where He leads as we wade through life on faith. But I don’t say this as a bad thing. We have had our faith built and our trust in Christ strengthened over the past year in a way that we never could have imagined.
I was reminded of something last week. On Friday we visited the Atlanta Botanical Garden. It is always fun for me. The kids love it and it is beautiful. We saw this flower there.
This flower is only about 3 inches tall, but it is gorgeous! In the picture you can see the detail that God put into creating it. The color, the detail, the mastery; God created a beautiful thing. It dawned on me that the very same power that God used to create this flower is alive in me through the Holy Spirit. He loves me and has a purpose and plan for my life and the life of our family. We are still waiting to see what it is as of yet, but I know that He is good and that whatever He leads us to will glorify Him.
Have you ever seen the rays of sun through clouds? Its a beautiful sight isn’t it?! Its one of the rare times we can actually see the light in its little column coming through the clouds to us. And if you are awesome when you pull into a shopping center you can snap a blurry picture of it then realize its blurry pop out and snap a much better picture of it. It may not be the prettiest picture because the restaurant “Chicken World” is featured in the picture but hey it reminds you that the sun is there…in my case HOPE and blessings. If you are as awesome as I am you will email said awesome photo to post into a well written (haha) blog to share with 2.1 readers, and delete the blurry one…or was it the good one you delete leaving your readers to stare at awesome blurry picture. Ahhh yes….early morning fringe hours you strike again and ruin my plan.
But it made me think, we often think clouds are bad. In fact clouds are beneficial for many things. Our wedding photograph told us an overcast day was best for lighting and they make for cooler weather during a summer baseball game! On this day they allowed me to reflect on the beauty God created. It created a pause in my day, a pause to take the pictures, to reflect that without the clouds of life (our trials and storms) would we really pause and see God as the author of our good and bad times. Our waiting times, our loss of a baby through miscarriage, our grief in not being able to parent a child that we advocated for and waited hours to feed its first bottle, our times of unemployment, the times people have deeply hurt us, the times that our plans don’t align with his plans. But through those times we see pictures just like this-God showing beautiful rays through the clouds telling us, reminding us to pause and remember him. Through an encouraging word, pizza brought on a devastating day to share over tears, homes opened up for us to live in…all piled in one bed, cards with gift cards/check to provide food, churches to play at and quilts to sell to pay the bills, friends to clean mouse infested kitchens, the same friends to pack a uhaul when our plans are not his plans and we move away…we could go on and on couldn’t we.
James 1:2-4 Consider it great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing
May we always remember to count our blessings and keep the faith. May my children be able to see the faith leading to endurance and the endurance to maturity. May we always hold on just a bit longer and lean into Him. And if I’m being honest may we soon be singing a new tune and have a new place in ministry and home.