What if Martha Ordered Pizza?

Martha, Martha, Martha. Oh wait, wrong reference–one you’d have to be of a certain age to understand: the Brady Bunch age. Marcia Brady could order delivery pizza. Martha in the New Testament could not.

In my post for Pastor’s Wives this month, I share my heart about Martha, the much-maligned sibling of Mary and Lazarus. Put yourself in her shoes for a minute and ask yourself what you would have done when the Messiah walked into your living room (Luke 10:38-42). Continue reading

God for Us and Our Marriages

I am not a singer. I want to be, but I’m not. Still, I can belt out worship songs with the best of them…as long as the people around me are a little forgiving.

I like to worship beside my husband who, like me, sings out loud (even when he doesn’t know the tune yet) and raises his hands with the best of them Continue reading

The Weight of Waiting

Imagine Hannah’s heart (1 Samuel 1) as she trudged up the hill to the temple yet again without a child. Imagine her inner struggle as to whether she should continue to believe God.

We’ve all been there: times when we were ready to go but God was ready for us to wait. It’s a unique kind of burden.

It usually requires years of experience in petitionary prayer to get the perspective necessary to see some of the reasons for God’s timing. In some cases we realize that we needed to change before we were able to receive the request rightly or without harming ourselves. In other cases it becomes clear that the waiting brought us the thing we wanted and also developed in us a far more patient, calm, and strong temperament. There are other nuances and beauties to God’s wise schedule that we can just barely glimpse.  -Tim Keller Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God (2014, pg. 236)

This month on Pastor’s Wives, I reflect on waiting and how God expects us to act in the meantime. Continue reading

Redeeming Halloween

This month on Pastor’s Wives, I share our approach to Halloween for the last couple of years. Whether you have children in the house or not, here’s one way to bless your neighbors on a day that seems not-so-blessed!

In the fifteen years we’ve had children in the house, we’ve tried just about every option. One year, we even hid in the house with the lights off and hoped no one rang the doorbell.

For the last two years, however, we’ve approached this cultural observation differently. We’ve chosen to redeem Halloween—at least on our street—and use it to bless our neighbors. It’s a friendly, non-threatening way for us to meet our neighbors and for them to rub shoulders with real Believers.

Click on over to Redeeming Halloween to read about our approach. If something strikes you, leave a comment there or flip back over here to let me know.

The Season of Our Discontent

This month on PastorsWives.com, I talk about a challenging time in our ministry lives when God was preparing something new but we had to wait on it. There were some restless nights.

It starts like this…

Sometimes an indefinable restlessness comes upon a Christ-follower…a dissatisfaction with life even though nothing has changed. We’ve learned to call it holy discontent.

When God called us to move to a difficult, distant location, we hung contentment on the wall like a plaque. We memorized Philippians 4:11, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances,” and we determined to choose contentment regardless of what happened. Because really, contentment (the flipside of gratefulness) is a choice. Will I focus on the difficulties, troubles, and inconveniences in my life, or will I focus on God’s blessings?

Continue reading

Authenticity and Some Good Advice

I had the enjoyable privilege of catching up with a fellow writer when I went to Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference back in May: Sandra Allen Lovelace.

Afterward, I interviewed her for PastorsWives.com because her wisdom is worth sharing! Even if you’re not a pastor’s wife, you’ll find some good advice here for managing church relationships.  Continue reading

Escaping Stereotypes

I can’t speak for everyone, but in my experience, our brains automatically stereotype based on personal observation and experience. What image comes to mind with each of these?

  • professional basketball player
  • soccer mom
  • construction worker
  • woman missionary
  • minister’s or pastor’s wife

If I asked for an image of a “dogwood flower,” you probably think of the white flower above (calm, pure, little tinge of pink on the edges), but the riotously-fuchsia flower on the left is just as much a dogwood as the white one!

Growing up, I had a really strong image of what a minister’s wife was “supposed” to do and look like. Because my own life and personality were so far removed from that stereotype, I struggled when that role became mine.

This month on Pastor’s Wives, I talk about it. Catch the post here, then leave a comment over there or come back and talk to me here. I’d love to hear what you think. Am I right in my advice? What would you add or take away?

God always knew you would be a #pastorswife, and yet He made you this way anyway! (click to tweet)

Above All Else, Guard His Heart

I’ve read the statistics. Many full-time pastors don’t spend personal time in the Word of God. Sure they study the Bible in preparation for teaching and preaching, but they don’t just dwell in it for their own spiritual nourishment. This month on PastorsWives.com, I share a couple of ways pastors/ministers’ wives can facilitate (or at least not prohibit) their husbands’ time alone with God and His Word.

Check it out: Above All Else, Guard His Heart, then leave a comment there or come back here to let me know what you think. Any other ideas on this topic? I’d love to hear them!

Prioritize your husband’s personal time with God to see a stronger minister and a better #marriage. #pastorswives @Carole_Sparks (click to tweet)

Hidden Assumptions

Sometimes we meet people and immediately make a judgement about them. Even if you don’t consider yourself judgmental or prejudiced, it can happen…

Her hair was dyed and styled with copious amounts of hairspray. Her eye shadow was bold, what you could see behind the thick mascara, that is. She laughed loudly, dressed loudly, sang loudly. She was the opposite of most the women with whom I went to seminary.

As I sat down opposite her in a women-only Sunday School class at our new church, I decided she wasn’t very spiritual. I didn’t realize until later that I was making assumptions about her. Stereotyping, really. You see, I had never stopped to think how homogeneous my seminary was. Sure, we had international students and a few students from varied ethnic backgrounds, but they were mostly quiet and studious, like me. After forty-one months on campus there, I had unwittingly internalized a spiritual ‘type’ for women.

To find out how God used this beautiful woman to teach me a much-needed lesson, head over to Pastors’ Wives for the rest of the story.

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