May 4, 2011

What Pastors' Wives Talk About With Each Other

What do you get when you combine 12 Aggie pastors, 12 Aggie pastors' wives, and an all-expenses-paid weekend, free of responsibility?

It sounds like the start to a really good Aggie joke, but instead it describes the incredible senior pastor's retreat Kyle and I experienced this past weekend deep in the heart of Texas. Every year our former church (and the church we attended in college) hosts this retreat, providing us an opportunity to catch up with people we love, share ministry ideas, learn from one another, pray together and for each another, hear cool stories of what God is doing around the country, and rejuvenate.

I reconnected and rejuvenated with Bluebell ice cream. I do have my priorities.
Aside from really great food, shopping, canoeing, sleeping, and Bluebell ice cream, the very best part is always the sessions. The men go off and talk theology, missions, and church stuff in between rounds of golf while we women sit around and chat about pastors' wives stuff. You know, playing the piano and where to buy Little House on the Prairie frocks. Here are the goods on what we discussed this year:

  • handling expectations
  • how to know when you're done having children
  • protecting our children from people's unrealistic expectations of them
  • what we've been learning in the Word this year
  • snakes
  • guns that we use to kill snakes
  • hospitality
  • switch flops (I did not know about these!)
  • losses and disappointments
  • heartbreak
  • staff relationships
  • helping our kids grow in the Lord
  • Saturday night specials (and I don't mean singing)
  • highs and lows of the year
  • being intentional in our communities
  • our churches
  • how to love EGRs and NSAs: Extra grace Required and No Self Awareness people
  • keeping our marriages healthy
  • time off/sabbaticals
  • family/extended family/kids
  • God's grace
We also always recommend books to each other. Here are the books recommended this year:
  • A Praying Life by Paul Miller (it's a free e-book right now on Amazon!)
  • Undefiled by Harry Schaunberg (a book dealing with past or present sexual sin)
  • My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers
  • Valley of Vision (a book of Puritan prayers)
  • Jesus Calling by Sarah Young
  • The Whole Hearted Marriage by Stover & Smalley
  • Five Conversations to Have with Your Daughter/Son by Vicki Courtney
  • Sacred Influence by Gary Thomas (for wives about how they influence their husbands)
  • Wild Goose Chase by Mark Batterson
  • The House that Cleans Itself 
  • Wisdom for Mothers by Denise Glenn (a Bible study)
  • Parenting Moment by Moment
  • Open Heart, Open Home by Karen Mains (about hospitality)
All in all, it was a fabulous weekend that came at the perfect time for us. We left tired and stressed, but returned full and rejuvenated. Best of all, while away, I thought alot about our life in Charlottesville and about the people God has brought to our church. I realized how very much I love where we are and how much I love the people of CCC. Kyle and I named them one by one and thanked God for each of them, marveling both at what a privilege it is to serve them and how privileged we are to be served by them! 

How wonderful it was to go away so we could realize just how much we wanted to return home.