Pastors, Dogs & Motorcycles….

As a pastor’s wife, I see, hear and feel the stresses of my pastor husband.  Look on line, the internet highway is inundated with information about pastors and all the stress and pressure with which they have to deal.

Pastors tend to hold on to all the church burdens as if they were caretakers of the pain of their people.  They are concerned about every little nuance that is taking place within the church.  They just don’t seem to be able to let it go.  But I learned a long time ago, a pastor may have to deal with church issues, but he/she can certainly help to alleviate the build-up of stress.  

In Acts 20:28 Paul states “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.”

To “be on guard for yourselves” means also to take care of self.  So we not only guard the flock, but we also guard ourselves.  Jesus paid the price for His Church.  He has placed us here as stewards of His ministry. But if we don’t guard ourselves, how can we guard the flock? 

When I first met Earl, I quickly came to realize that he rarely if ever slowed down in his church work.  He even dragged his children to the hospital on visitations when he was a single dad.  Well, luckily I came along!  It was time for him to loosen up a little and relax a bit. 20 string trio feb 2012 family shelter

Earl is a man of so many interests that it is difficult to recall them all.  As time goes by, his interests just keep adding up.  Years ago, I knew of only one main interest he had – music.  Earl is a composer and a singer.  He actually has studio recorded CDs.  He has boxes and boxes of music that he has composed since his teenage years.  He has written serious classical music and Christian music, but he can also rock! He plays guitar with a group at the church called, “The 20 String Trio.”

He is an amateur astronomer, and an art collector.  He can repair some electronics and repair almost anything around the house.  He likes boating and airplanes, and he is even taking pilot lessons.  He used to run 5Ks regularly in Georgia.  He also water-skis and snow-skis.

   Earl Motorcycle Jan 2013 2Earl also took up motorcycling about 5 years ago.  From time to time, we take the bike out for rides and have even taken one out for a vacation – just driving through God’s country and enjoying the beauty all around us.  We spent New Year’s Day 2013 on our bike, island hoping.  Some of the prettiest roads we’ve ever been on are the oak-canopied roads right here on James Island and Johns Island.  Earl has compiled quite a bit of garage jewelry with his motorcycles and the old automobiles that he has acquired over the years of our marriage.    He does his own maintenance on his toys and his own repairs, which does save us quite a bit of money.    He is not afraid to get down and swim in the oil to fix his own cars or those of his children.  It’s a physical and mental exercise that when completed, grants him a sense of accomplishment.

When he isn’t riding bikes, Earl and Maggie, our dog, play chasing games.  Tug of war is also a favorite.  Earl laughs and laughs at Maggie’s antics.  What a simple way to reduce all the toxic anxieties of stress.  Like they say, “laughter is the best medicine.”

Maggie & Earl Folly Beach Jan 1 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But my favorite stress reliever is taking Earl away from his local ministry field.  I make sure that every year, we plan a two week vacation mid-year to take him completely away from his church work.  And we make sure that he takes a week off after Christmas. 

Earl - Israel ruins 2010

Earl – Israel ruins 2010

Without this time away, Satan can wear a pastor down so that he ends up being a useless servant to the Lord.  And that just is not what God expects of His shepherd whom the Holy Spirit has made an overseer of His church.

So what have you done lately to help your pastor be the best pastor he can be?  He may not be able to see that he needs a reprieve.  So I ask pastors’ wives and congregations to make sure your pastor is in the best shape physically, mentally and emotionally.  We all want God to continue to use him/her to help us see Christ and to grow as His disciples.

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Come, Have Dinner with Me!

Deutsch: Gastronomie om Schlosshotel

        It was Friday night and as many know, Friday is date night for Earl and me each week.  But last week it was a little different.

     Earl began CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) classes at the end of August, and they last until December 18th.   This past weekend was his first of eight, overnight, on-call volunteer times.

     So we decided that we would have a date night on Thursday night.  We tried a restaurant in downtown, Charleston.  We love sampling the food at different restaurants, and I almost always prefer Italian.  Unfortunately, we left the restaurant $60 poorer and still hungry.     Whoever heard of leaving an Italian restaurant hungry?         

                                                                           

Friday is also Earl’s day off (on call 24/7 always, but we say it’s his day off), so he got up early, worked on his computer, went into the office (he feels guilty now that he takes a day or two for the chaplaincy program, so he goes in on Friday)….then he came home and worked on one of his many auto projects before dressing to the nine’s and heading to the hospital. 

Before leaving he asked me, “Would you come to the hospital and have dinner with me?”  OK, I’ll be honest here, as the pastor’s wife, my first thought was not positive.  It was more like “What?  You’ve got to be kidding!”  But even as he was asking, and I was rejecting, I knew without a doubt, I would be going with him.

It’s not often that I deny Earl his heartfelt requests, and anybody who knows me, knows this is true.  But why would I deny myself an opportunity to spend a little time with Earl, even if it is in a hospital cafeteria?  As many people know, a pastor’s family life is very difficult.  Check out the blog-post here that I wrote concerning statistics on a pastor’s life and family.  So with this knowledge, I know not to make our life any more difficult than it already is.  If I’m given an opportunity to be with him, and I can do it, I’m there! 

When I met him at the St. Francis Hospital cafeteria, I must say that we enjoyed a fabulous fish dinner with rice and greens along with drinks and bread – all for less than $10.  The meal was fabulous!  My date continued on with a tour of the chapel, the CPE offices, and then I was brought upstairs to see where he would be spending the night.  It was in a small room on a tiny little single bed.  Earl is 6’2”, and this was not going to be comfortable for him to say the least.  Not only that, but the bed wasn’t even made up.  Ghee-gads!  Earl and I spent a few minutes locating the linens and then without a second thought, I was making up his bed for him. 

I figure it this way, I feel so blessed that God has given me a few things in this life to oversee, whereas Earl has been given much to oversee.  I certainly want to make sure that I do all I can for such a caring, compassionate and humble pastor, so that he can touch the souls of those in distress and those that are depressed and dispirited, by the Spirit of God that works through him.

Matthew 9:36 NASB

36 Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd.

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