Monday, October 15, 2018

I Suck as a Pastor's Wife

I hate being a pastors wife!
There... I said it.
Now don't misunderstand, I love being Loren's wife, I mean... have you seen that plaid hotty??? He is the most emotionally stable, funny, non-annoying person I have ever met and he treats me better than I could have hoped for. I am abundantly blessed to have him as a husband. I just don't feel like I make a very good pastor's wife. And the fact that I am a pastor's wife has caused me to feel a lot of guilt, loneliness, and sadness the past couple of years. Notice I said that it was just the fact that I am a pastor's wife, and not that any person made me feel this way. In fact, there are people in our church who tell me that they love that I am just me... It was (and sometimes still is) my perception of what I think a pastor's wife should be.

Some History...

Six years ago I lost my mom. It was devastating for me and I still miss her like crazy. That year, and the years following, were difficult for me emotionally. One way I coped was working out with a group of girls while Marshall whipped us into shape. That group helped me through so much just by being there to complain about Marshall with, laugh until we cried, and to make it through something difficult together. Although I felt like a hot mess during that time, I have such great memories of how God used it to grow me, give me empathy for others, and give me a bond with a group of women that might not have happened otherwise. On the other side I can see how He used something that was terrible to create something beautiful in me. I had no control over my mom passing away. I know she loved me and I have hope that I will see her again one day and it will be wonderful!

The past year and a half has been devastating for me in a different way. I almost think it is harder because it is something that I have chosen instead of something that happened to me.

A couple of years ago I went back to school. I have always wanted to be an elementary school teacher and the timing seemed perfect. The kids were both in school full days, things at church were going well, and Loren's mom offered to help pay for me to finish my degree. How could I pass that up??? Although I was terrified, Loren encouraged me to go for it! He already had his doctorate at this point and I was excited that it was my turn.

I loved school and was able to finish 4 years in 1 1/2 doing an accelerated program. I would drop the kids off at school, do my schoolwork, pick them up, eat dinner, put them to bed and do more schoolwork. I was able to do my student teaching at the school where my kids were attending. At the time, Brent was the director of the school. Brent was the reason we had chosen the school and I had served in Children's ministry under him for years. I knew that he would be a wonderful, caring boss in an environment that I really felt like I could grow as an educator. I loved student teaching. I was excited about what the future was going to bring and the people that God was going to bring into my life to show His love to in this new adventure.

During this time I no longer was able to meet with women for coffee or lunch like I used to. I had spent the year before (my kids had just started school) going to bible studies during the day and pouring into women at church and felt like I knew most everyone. That was a fun year and for the first time since we moved to Utah I felt like a "pastor's wife". I was doing what a pastor's wife does to support her husband and the women in our little church. Now, I didn't do it perfectly, and there were always people that felt left out. I would try my best to reach out to everyone that I could. I am a people pleaser by nature and I remember starting to feel overwhelmed at all of the needs and brokenness of the people around me. There was also always someone who felt left out no matter what I did. It got to the point where I no longer wanted to organize anything in case I forgot someone. I didn't want it to be my fault that someone was left out. Now, don't get me wrong, I never intentionally excluded anyone. I just felt like I could never invite a group of people over and not invite everyone. And that is when I realized something about myself... I hate hanging out in big groups!

Now this is a problem! I was trying so hard to keep everyone happy and I was miserable. In big groups it is much harder to get to know people. I love sitting down with people and getting to hear their stories. In big groups I get really awkward. Usually I still laugh a lot because people tend to tell silly stories in big groups, but I leave feeling drained. When I can sit down with someone or go for a walk with someone and just talk real, it fills me.

I don't have family close by and I have some friends who have become like family. The problem with that is that I feel guilty. I feel like it's not okay to be close to just a couple of people when there were so many needs in the church. But I desperately need a close friend who I can just be me with. I have a friend who knows all of this about me and used to invite me and 1 or 2 people over to her house for things so I wouldn't be the one excluding anyone. I desperately needed that time and she knew it. I would never post anything about it on facebook or instagram just in case someone would see it and get their feelings hurt.

Now back to teaching... I began my first year teaching and it was nothing like I had planned. Just as I was finishing up my student teaching, Loren told me that the church was finally able to bring Brent on staff full time. NOW??? Seriously... NOW? I knew it was going to be great for the church, but it totally messed up MY PLANS! He was the original reason I wanted to be at that school, and now he was leaving. He was leaving to follow God's call and serve where he is totally gifted, but he was leaving me. I may or may not have had a bit of a temper tantrum about that (okay...I definitely did on more than one occasion).

So my first year of teaching was really difficult.
Change is always hard, and I had gone from being home with my kids to working 60 hours a week. My kids were at school from 6:45am until around 6pm with me any time that Loren couldn't come pick them up. I felt immense mom guilt and honestly, I just missed them. Even though they were at my school, I felt like I never saw them.

And then... half way through my first year...Loren tells me this...

Guess what! The owner is selling our church building and we need to find a new building for our church!"

NOW??? Seriously... NOW? (insert TEMPER TANTRUM) It just didn't seem fair. It was MY TURN. It was my time to pursue my dream and use the gifts that God has given ME!

So now I'm working 60 hours a week and Loren has to figure out how to purchase and renovate a building. It's pretty much the perfect storm. I wish I could say that I was totally supportive and excited for what God was doing, but I mostly checked out for the whole process. It was too much for me to handle and I cried all the time. I went to work, came home, ate, said goodnight to the kids and fell asleep. I was feeling like a failure in pretty much every area of my life and I was really lonely. I no longer was able to get together with friends because I had nothing left to give and so people stopped inviting me to things. I wanted to spend time with my kids, but I was so tired from the 26 I had in my class all day that my patience was gone. I pretty much only had time with Loren on Sunday after church and he would fall asleep watching TV while I would grade papers. It felt like we had shared custody of the kids, we saw each other when we were passing them back and forth.

The building is finally complete, and the Lord is beginning to change my attitude about it all. I have recently been reminded of all that God has done since we moved here. I have sat with people as God drew them to Himself. I have watched in awe of how He makes Himself known to people that I never imagined would come to Him. With all of my imperfections, He has allowed me to be a part of His amazing plan. Even in my tantrums, He has shown His goodness. And most of the time I didn't have to say or do anything. I just had to be present and watch him work.

This past weekend we were talking about the fruit of the spirit. When I think about the fruit of the Spirit in my own life, especially in this past year and a half, I think about how hard it is to be more loving, more joyful, more peaceful, more patient, more kind, more good...etc. When I just try my best to be those things, I fail over and over again. But when I go back to the cross and remember what he did, When I look more deeply at the gospel... When I understand that he died for me when my heart was ugly and he was raised so that I might have new life in Him... When I was throwing temper tantrums because of what HE was doing... he was loving me completely. He continues to show me grace even when I don't have the strength to come to Him. When I understand the beauty of that, it changes me. I show more love to others because I know what it is like to be loved even when I'm at my worst. I have more joy because I am complete in him. I have more peace because I know who's hands I am in. I am more patient because he was patient with me. I am more kind because I have been shown kindness when I was not deserving of it. I am gentle because he has been gentle with me as he lovingly corrects me. I know that I am not good, but He is.

The fruit is proof that the tree is alive.

Sometimes it takes those really crappy times for us to realize how loved we truly are. Sometimes it takes loneliness and failure to understand his grace better. Just as he made something beautiful out of the loss of my mom, I know he can redeem this past year and a half in me as well. I can feel the new fruit starting to blossom... hopefully Spring will arrive soon.

I share this because there are so many people in our church that I want to know. I have heard great things about people and have yet to find the time to introduce myself or sit down over coffee. Maybe there is someone who just needs a friend to talk to. My life is still just as hectic and I have made a point to prioritize my kids and my husband this year, but maybe some of you will have time to write some of your story and we can connect that way. Or maybe if we are all sharing our stories, we will find that we have things in common that we didn't even realize. I know what it's like to feel alone, and I know what it is like to feel like I don't fit. But I also know that when we share stories in small groups, I feel a connection with those people even after the groups change.

Also... If you're looking for a legit pastor's wife, give Chris Edwards a call... She's probably already introduced herself to you at church

Thursday, December 13, 2012

week 4

Week 4... I've almost made it an entire month!!!

So at about week 3 I started to feel just normal sore and not "I could be stuck on the toilet for days because I can't get up" sore. I was pretty proud of myself for making it this far and thinking "This isn't so hard".


I pulled a muscle in my stomach!!! Okay... do you know how often you use that muscle??? Um... sitting up, rolling over, bending down, sneezing, coughing, laughing, you name it, you use that muscle. I knew I did something to it on Monday and Loren made me promise that I would tell Marshall that I actually injured myself and I am not just sore.

Hello... He's not going to believe me because I whine the ENTIRE time I am working out. I am literally the girl who cried wolf in this scenario.

So I try to tuff it out and do the army crawl across the mat. BAD IDEA. I move an inch and curl up into fetal position and cry!!! Now he believes me.

At this point he modifies my exercises for me. I do push ups against the wall and squats facing the wall (he says it is to help my technique) I am noticing that everything he is making me do is facing the wall. I am pretty sure I was in time-out the rest of the hour!!! The next day I was still sore!!!

Week 4 I feel a bit better. My muscle still hurts a bit, but I can do way more. I did 20 push ups. (when I started I could do 3) That is a huge accomplishment for me. I am able to handle our warm up run much better (I was a sluggard for 19 years remember, warm-up was killing me)But I am noticing a bigger problem...

Marshall decided that he wants us jumping rope. Sounds fine, right? Well... after pushing out 2 babies... and just being old... I can't not pee my pants. I was focused!!! It didn't matter. I peed on every bounce. Well... every bounce that I wasn't tangled up in the rope that was too short for me. If it's not one thing it's another, but I am sticking with it! I'll just wear depends tonight I guess.

My mother-in-law is coming for a visit today so I am super excited to see her. This will be our first Christmas without going home or having family with us so it will be nice to have a pre-Christmas visitor. I think it is going to be a very hard Christmas for me without my mom. I was hoping to still be in the denial stage of grief... but I'm pretty sure I just moved into anger! Bummer! On a positive note... It was good timing for Marshall to have us start punching the bag! I can now left jab, right jab, and left hook. It actually helped. I wonder if that was for me? Thanks Marshall.

Dad... Can you please buy me some boxing gloves??? Thanks

Friday, November 23, 2012

2nd night of boot camp and the days to follow

So... Thanksgiving was fun, even though I could barely move due to the SEVERE butt kicking I got on Wednesday night. Monday was nothing compared to what Marshall put us through on Wednesday... Nothing!!! I am just happy that I didn't die. Holy Cow I am out of shape!!! I realized that the last time I worked out this hard (actually having to push myself and not quitting because I got tired.. I'm totally a quitter) was probably about my senior year of high school. That was almost 19 years ago. NINETEEN!!! How did this happen? When did I get this old???

The best part of the night was when JaNeal realized that she signed up for a 10k on Thursday morning. (which, by the way, she ran in 55:22 with her legs feeling like jello the whole time! I am so proud of her!!!) Some day I hope to be as amazing as JaNeal! All of the other girls are so much tougher than I am. I feel like the biggest wuss ever! I am so happy to be on this journey with them because otherwise I think I would be ready to quit right about now... I'M A BIG FAT QUITTER! That is what I would be without them!!!

Every move I made hurt yesterday... while I roasted the Turkey, peeled and chopped sweet potatoes (I really wanted to cuss while doing that) cleaned the house, set up tables and chairs for 20 people, and carried everything DOWNSTAIRS, I kept reminding myself that I asked for this!!! This is good for me!!! I am going to be super hot one day!!! Although, all I really wanted to eat yesterday was peanut m&m's and a diet soda and the smirk on Marshall's face as he watched me struggle down the stairs with a giant jug of water while he sat on the couch almost made me want to punch him... almost.

We had a great Thanksgiving with some of our church family. I am so very thankful for all of the people God has put in my life here in Utah. They make it much easier to be away from my biological family this time of year. Especially this year when all I really want to do is to be able to call my mom and tell her that I love her. I just want to hear say "Happy Thanksgiving, Honey" I can almost hear it in my head. I cried most of the morning.

I am also thankful for an AMAZING husband who allows me to be me... always... and often puts my needs and wants above his own. I am thankful for the 2 amazing boys that God has entrusted us with (hopefully He will provide a good therapist for them someday). I am thankful for my family in CA who are always there for me even though we don't get to see each other very often. I am especially thankful that Jesus took a prideful, selfish, utterly sinful woman (ME) and showed the most perfect love of all to me when he died in my place so that I could be fully excepted by God. Thank you Jesus!!!

Now I need to figure out some sort of fun cardio to do today since I didn't do anything yesterday... Instead of a dance party, I ate pumpkin pie. Don't judge me! For Pete's sake it was THANKSGIVING!!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

nutrition plan

I realized the LAST TIME I was on Marshall's nutrition plan (Don't judge me... I was doing really well, my life got crazy... and I really wanted ice cream, end of story.) well... what I realized was that I had to change the relationship I have with food. I enjoy food. Even more, I enjoy junk food. A lot! It is what I go to for comfort, and it is what most activities are centered around! I love to go out to eat. I love to bake and eat sweets with my friends. I crave them... EVERY DAY! So starting to change my diet right before Thanksgiving is a brilliant idea, right???

For the most part I enjoy many of the things I am allowed to eat. Meat and veggies are great. Quinoa and brown rice are okay. Apples taste really sweet when you aren't eating junk all day. And even though I really REALLY want a soda... I feel much better when I don't drink them. All these things are fine. For me it is a mental thing. Before I go to bed I want ice cream. When it is snowing outside I want a cinnamon role. I pretty much always want a little piece of candy as an afternoon treat once I finally get the kids calm enough to get a break. I reward myself with sugar. So... day 1 of retraining... here we go!

I haven't been to the store so I am having to make due with what we have. For dinner last night I was making brown rice, veggies, and chicken. It was the worst food fail I have had in a long time! My rice cooker broke last week so I had to make it in a pot. Just put it in boiling water and let it simmer. Simple, right? Apparently not, because mine turned into mush. More like oatmeal than rice. 6 cups of mush. It actually would have been good if I was allowed to have brown sugar, or maple syrup on it. Since I couldn't, I ate veggies with plain chicken. It was yucky. I had to pick the corn out (it's not on the list) and so my 4 year old came up to comfort me...

"Someday when Marshall has a house of his own, and he goes to it, then you can eat these again, okay mommy. I'm not doing Marshall's list so I will eat these for you."

My kids are so good to me!!!

All in all I am doing okay... I had a 40 minute dance party with Loren last night to get my cardio in. He's such a trooper! I made up some new moves to Kidz Bop 17 while constantly fearing that Stephen was hiding in a corner getting it on video. I should probably check youtube. I am drinking a ton of water and I am more sore than I have ever been in my life. This combination caused some problems today when I was almost trapped in the bathroom many times because I didn't have the strength to pull myself off of the toilet... and the thing I feared would happen about "the time of the month" kicked in about an hour ago... (Don't worry Marshall, I won't say PERIOD!) So I am super excited about Marshall kicking my butt tonight! Do I look skinnier yet???

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Boot camp day 1 recap

First night recap!

It didn't take long for the hilarity to ensue. We all came into it a bit scared, not knowing what to expect. Here is the gang! I love them!!! I also love that Rose was wearing her new Twilight shirt!

So Marshall begins explaining our circuit training. While he is explaining one of the exercises to us DeeAnne says (in a very serious manner)

"So it's like doing KEGELS for your stomach"

KEGELS!!! Yes... This happened! I have never experienced the look of shock and disgust on Marshall's face before. It was priceless. I think at that moment he realized what he got himself into... I don't think he could look DeeAnne in the eye for the next few minutes. I couldn't go to sleep last night because I kept thinking about it and couldn't stop laughing out loud.

So about 10 minutes (that's all, just 10 minutes) into our circuit training I already had to make a run for the barf bucket because I was going to toss my cookies. As I was sitting on the floor dry heaving, the Lord's hand shone upon me and the drinking fountain that I was sitting next to switched on and blew cold air in my face. That was a close one!!! In my defense... I am in the "time of the month" where I get nauseous very easily. I will not tell you the truth about how long it has been since I have really pushed myself hard... I mean, it was probably just because of the "time of the month" and NOT because I have been a sluggard for the past 15 years.

So... speaking of my time of the month... My cramps that feel like I am in labor should kick in right around tomorrow. I will blame my soreness on that too. I am so excited I can't even contain myself!

After circuit training we moved to the mat where Marshall proceeded to punish us by making us climb mountains and do other things that had suicide in the name (that's never good) We may or may not have whined and complained...

We all survived and then Marshall ended with a pep talk. He didn't even make fun of us one time. That was impressive.

Now to start the nutrition plan... this is the part where it is not fun to live with Marshall. When I am eating a handful of almonds (following Marshall's nutrition plan) and he is sitting next to me eating a mixing bowl full of fruit loops (which is definitely NOT on the list). I guess if I worked out for 4 hours a day I could eat that too.

This is good for me this is good for me this is good for me this is good for me.
I keep telling myself this. I'll update on the eating situation tomorrow.

Pray for me!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Boot Camp

My Mom passed away a little over a month ago. I'm not really ready to write all about that, but I will say that I miss her terribly!!! I didn't realize how much I thought about her. Even with me living in a place she has never been, I see things and do things that remind me of her every day. I cry a lot.

So... after forgetting to eat anything with any nutritional value for about 3 days (I basically ate my kids halloween candy) and realizing that what I really want to do is just sit and watch TV... or lay on the floor and watch TV... or sleep... and since Sean Lowe's season of The Bachelor hasn't started yet, I decided that it is a good time to change some things.

Enter Marshall Pulliam:

Marshall lives in my basement and happens to be a personal trainer. Convenient, right? He came home from work and I said "Can we talk later?" NOTE: I probably should have clarified what I was going to talk about because he was worried for the whole rest of the afternoon that he has done something wrong... like turning the kitchen into a bubble bath because he used the wrong kind of soap in the dishwasher again.

Well...I told him that I have no motivation to exercise or eat. NONE! I asked him if he would commit to getting me into shape and I would try to find some girls to do it with me... so I would actually look forward to it! He said yes, but warned me that he would be the boss of me or 3 hours a week. I may regret this!!! I found some really fun girls to do this with me and think it would make a pretty hilarious reality TV show... I would totally watch it and cant wait to see how Marshall is going to handle us. Pray for him!

We start tonight and I have already gotten messages from 2 of the girls saying how scared they are. I am scared too. I am also extremely PMS-ing so we'll see how day 1 goes. I will probably cry!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Valentine's thoughts

Valentines day is coming soon and I have been thinking of some fun things to do with the kids and make for Loren. As I was brainstorming ideas... I began to think about how happy I am to be married to my Loren.

Loren and I have been married almost 9 years and I am only now realizing just how much our relationship has changed and grown. While we were dating I was all giddy and twitterpated each time I would see him or hear his voice or even think about him. I couldn't believe that such an amazing, funny, outgoing, sincere, godly, handsome man would want to be with me. He was perfect!!!

Our first year of marriage was wonderful and hard at the same time. I began to realize how selfish I am. I always thought of myself as free spirited and easy going... but marriage made me realize that I was that way only as long as it was on MY terms. It was hard to give up some control of my life and think of this other person first. I was homesick and everything in my world changed all at once. I got married and moved across the country. I hadn't realized how much my identity was wrapped up in my friends and my ministry at home. I had a bit of an identity crisis as those things were not in New Jersey and now people only knew me as Loren's wife. I was extremely proud to be called that, but I still wasn't sure what that was supposed to look like. I had never been anyone's wife before. We had a lot of fun and had so many amazing experiences together, but I also made a lot of mistakes that first year. I said many words to Loren that I regret and shed a lot of tears. And through all of it, Loren showed me so much grace!

We moved to California the next year and that was even harder. More and more stuff from the deep parts of my heart was being brought to the surface and it wasn't pretty. I thought I was more spiritually mature than I actually was and I had a big struggle within myself to be able to surrender. It wasn't really a surrender to let Loren lead our family, I always new he would be better at that than me :-) It was a struggle to trust God to take care of us through it all. It was a struggle to trust that the Amazing God who created me knows what will fulfill me much more than I do ... Especially since I was still having my identity crisis. But during this struggle I have to say that many times I was much less than wonderful to be around.

About 3 years into our time in California, I finally felt like it was home and I saw that we were exactly were we were supposed to be. I began to love Fresno and our church and all the people around us... and then 2 years later we moved to Utah!... and I went through it all over again! go figure ;-) I am so thankful that I went through all that I did because it brought me so much closer to Jesus... and so much closer to Loren. The funny thing about it is that my relationship is closer with both of them for the same reasons. Loren saw me in my sin. He saw many things about me that I know he didn't see before he married me. I said hurtful things, I did many things that I wish I could take back, and sometimes I was just a big ol' mess. He saw all those things and he loved me through it. The longer we are married, the more he really knows me...and he still loves me! That is the part that overwhelms me sometimes. I love him even more now than I did when I was giddy at the thought of him. Our love is more real now... with 2 kids and a lot of craziness... because we actually know each other. The good and the bad. He is my best friend and I am overjoyed to be on this journey with him.

The even more crazy thing is that Jesus knows me even better than my husband does. He can see right into the depths of my heart. He knows not only when I sin, but even when I have any sort of unrighteous thought or feeling about someone or something. He knows the REAL me and he looks at me and loves ME...the real ME. Not only does he love me, but he gave his life for me so that I could have a relationship with God through Him. If I didn't realize how ugly my heart really is and how sinful I truly am... I wouldn't be able to understand how great His love is for me. I wouldn't be overwhelmed and changed by it! Thank you Jesus for your gift of grace! I know I don't deserve it.

Wow! I just got a whole new perspective on Valentine's day. This makes me think I need to make the John 3:16 valentine picture I saw on pinterest. If I make it I will post a picture! I will also do some things involving love notes and chocolate ;-)