Monday, August 27, 2007

Wonder Woman Part III

Today I'm continuing, and finishing the highlights from my "Wonder Woman" teaching that I brought at the ACMC. Here we go:

6) Have a game plan

I have a call of God on my life to pastor, to write, to preach. I also happen to be a wife of 20 years, and a mother of 3 children who are 10, 16, and 17 at this time.

When my children were born, I had a strong desire to continue pastoring, writing and speaking. I heard everyone talk about how my life was going to completely change and although I desired to have children, I feared the change. What started the fear in the beginning of my pregnancy with Dustin (my 17 year old) were people in the church where my husband and I served as youth and music pastor, respectively. As my pregnancy progressed, people would come up to me and hug me, with a look of sadness and say, "It's been so nice having you, Pastor Deanna. It was nice working with you." After several people doing this, as if my ministry was in the past tense, I thought, "is something going on that I don't know about? Am I about to be fired, and everyone else knows it before me?" I thought everything was okay...that I was doing a good job, that the pastor and I were on good terms.
Well, we were. Everything was fine with my job performance and with the pastor. The truth of it is, the people were used to seeing women stop everything once they got pregnant or had a baby, and some thought it was "the only right thing to do" for any woman but especially a Christian woman and...a pastor's wife? Most people just assumed I was going to resign everything once the baby was born. A lot of people were shocked that I kept leading while I was pregnant. I found this with all three of my pregnancies. Well, times have changed and this is not as much of an issue now, but even 20 years ago, it was harder than it is now.

I have to be honest with you that I sought the Lord and first asked Him if it was alright with him that I continue. I sensed from Him that I was not to stop. So despite the "vibes" I was getting from some other Christians I decided to follow my heart. I told the Lord that I'd be willing to do whatever it took to continue in ministry not only in my home but outside of it. I found that what it would take was a tremendous amount of forethought, planning and organization.

A week after Dustin was born, I began by giving the baby and myself two and ½ hours to prepare for church. That first week set me on a course of planning that has served me well to this day. I learned that nothing can be left to chance.

Notice in our cities, in our nation, there is an “emergency plan.” The mayor, the governor, the president all have one. So the woman in ministry must have one. Each day I have my “emergency plan” in place.

Since the kids were born, except for each of their births, one gall bladder operation a few years ago, one bout of the flu this past March, and my son’s hospitalization two weeks ago, I can't recall that I’ve never missed much of anything in 17 years, and that’s largely due to my emergency planning. I expect an emergency every single Sunday morning and Wednesday night.

HOW DO WE AVOID THE SUNDAY MORNING CRUNCH?

Since the kids were just babies, I have given myself double the time it takes to get ready for church. A mother must first get herself up before the children and get completely ready otherwise things are chaos and quickly get out of control. Once I was completely ready, I began to get the kids ready. In their baby years, I gave it 2 and 1/2 hours. One hour for me, one hour for them, and then 30 minutes for any "emergency." I discovered, 30 minutes is more than enough time to change a last minute messy diaper, to completely change a set of soiled clothes. It’s enough time to change a pair of panty hose with a runner. It’s enough time to change a flat tire. It’s enough time to fill up the gas tank if you get in the car and the tank is on “E”.
Some things I always did...some that I still do:

1) Every Saturday night I get everything laid out -- no exceptions. This means down to the socks, shoes, belts, underwear jewelry, etc. for EVERY SINGLE FAMILY MEMBER. Ironing done, and nothing left to chance.

2) Bottles prepared (I nursed my children and I used to pump an extra bottle or two, then freeze them and take out what I needed for Sunday morning or Wednesday night and put it in the diaper bag. I always had a pumped bottle ready for the kids if I would be ministering on the platform and they started screaming, someone just gave them one of the bottles I pumped until I was done leading worship or preaching. As soon as I was done I usually went to my office or the nursery and fed them if they had not already taken it.)
3) Bibles, notebooks, briefcases, diaper bags - (completely stocked up, organized, in car the night before (except for bottles.) At this point in our lives with older kids, we aren't dealing with bottles and diapers but I still put anything I need in the car the night before such as briefcases, etc..
4) I always prepare lunch for Sunday on Saturday (unless we plan to go out after church.) I also set the table the night before so we can just come home to it. It really helps because I'm tired on Sunday afternoon and it's nice not to have to do it then.
5) Coffee pot set and ready to go for morning. "Starbucks cup" ready to fill up and take to the office/church!
6) Check to see how much gas is in the car

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail!

If the family wants to go somewhere or do something Saturday night they know all this needs to be done first.

You say, "this will make me so tired." I submit to you, it's a lot more tiring to be running around at the last minute, with chaos reigning. It's a lot more stressful to have a bunch of things piled up because you procrastinated. It's a lot more tiring to be running late all the time or not arriving at all. I always hear people say, “we’re just in survival mode.” I’m convinced it doesn’t have to be that way.

Note that these things above work not only for Sunday mornings but for anytime!

7) Use spurts of time during the week wisely

If I have even 15 minutes free time, I use it constructively. If I am waiting for someone to arrive at my home and they are a few minutes late in meeting with me, I take time to clean out a small drawer in the kitchen, or I throw a load of clothes in, or clean out a rack of the dishwasher.

Resources to help:
* Emilie Barnes books
* Alexandra Stoddard books
* Flylady (http://www.flylady.net/)

Regarding home I have found it helps to:
· Do a load of laundry a day
· Focus on one room a night after work
· Take 15 minutes here and there on small chores like cleaning out a drawer
· Never just sit and talk on the phone – always be doing something. I always make sure my cordless phones are charged up…if somebody calls I don’t just sit there and counsel them – I’m usually re-straightening a linen closet or throwing old stuff out of the fridge or something.
· Throw mail away the day it comes in if it’s junk
· Do all deeper cleaning on Saturday
· Enlist the family’s help – how can our kids be a missionary in Africa if they can’t even make a bed?

8) Be willing to accept help.

Don’t be too proud to accept help. Some people feel a call to help those in leadership. Or you may have a good friend that wants to bless you by helping in some way. Let them.

Everyone who has ever been successful in life had someone who helped them get there.

Bill Gates, CEO of Microsoft, has a photo in his office of a turtle that is up high on a fence post. It's clear that the turtle had no other way to get on that fence post other than the fact that someone put it there. Bill has this up in his office to remind him that it takes people to get us where we need to be.

There are people who have helped me over the years with my children, with my home, with the church…they are Godsends. Do not be too proud to receive help, to delegate, to allow people to serve you, and then thank people appropriately.

9) Invest in yourself

Your health – your body (no matter how you feel about it) does amazing things for you each day. You have to take care of it because it is what houses your spirit while here on earth and is the vehicle from which you carry out your ministry. Keep up with diet, exercise, doctor's appointments, etc.

"The best gift you can give the people you lead is a healthy, energized, fully surrendered, focused self. And, no one else can do that for you." Bill Hybels

Your emotions – friends are important – SCHEDULE THEM IN! Prioritize time with them. This is not an option for health - it’s an necessity.

Your mind – books, conferences, seminars, etc. When you stop learning, you stop growing.
YOU ARE WORTH IT!

10) Rest

By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Genesis 2:2 NIV


Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work your judgment will be surer. Go some distance away because then the work appears smaller and more of it can be taken in at a glance and a lack of harmony and proportion is more readily seen.
Leonardo Da Vinci


One of the most important things to a Wonder Woman is rest. If you don’t get it, it will be kind of hard to see the wonders God wants to do through you.

Rest is one of the most important things in self leadership. Because if you don’t rest, you can’t keep going.

God had a Sabbath day…He rested. Jesus would come away to the mountains to rest, to pray, to get away from the crowds.

Mark 6:31 NIV “Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest."

SOLITUDE IS ESSENTIAL.

On my day off, I don't feel guilty that I am taking time off and that I expect people not to contact me except for emergencies. I have earned my day of rest. I work hard, and I have no problem taking my Sabbath.

May you put these principles to work to accomplish more in your lifetime for the Kingdom of God than ever before! I bless you to go forth...to flourish...to be wise in the way you use your time...to redeem it! As you commit your work to the Lord (Proverbs 16:3) I believe it will succeed! I pray that God will use YOU as HIS Wonder Woman!

2 comments:

Pastor L said...

Great advice! And very encouraging to someone who's thinking about starting a family in the near future...people say I'm being "idealistic" when I say I'm not going to let kids consume my life, but rather fit them into my life - it's nice to hear from someone who actually has done that :o).

Sharon said...

There are some great ideas here.
I found that when I was going to be teaching it never failed that Satan would try and trip me up any way he could.
Before I learned how to protect myself from him--I avoided things that could go wrong especially on Sunday morning by getting ready Saturday night.
Schedule is very important on Sunday morning. We also made a habit of praying before we left the house. If you needed to get something right with someone we did it before we left the yard. There is nothing like showing up at church with your teeth on edge and wishing you had a pack of cigs to smoke you were so uptight. (That is from a former smoker)
So- a little preparation and a desire to have the spirit use you will do amazing thing for a schedule.
Your words on ministry touch something deep in me--and that is coming from a Southern Baptist girl who has the call of the Lord on her life.
Thanks