23 Sep

“Silent Casualty”

My heart goes out to pastors’ wives’ as I hear their stories of heartache. Their husband maybe going through a difficult time in the church. He maybe wrestling with a conflict with an elder or layman. Maybe a person is critical of his preaching or he isn’t visiting enough shut-ins. One story I heard is a couple of women were upset that the sink was rusting in the childrens’ Sunday School room only to find out, after the pastor inspected it, that it was dry rust colored paint. Or, the pastor is spending too much time on his sermons and not enough time visiting people. The service is too long, too short, not enough prayer time, too much prayer time. The worship songs are slow, fast, loud, soft or not musical enough. These are just some of the minor complaints and conflicts. These complaints are the tip of the iceberg.

Lets go a little deeper. Your pastor/husband is dealing with the heavy issues of a elder that has an addiction. Or, a child in the congregation is being molested by their father. A wife is being verbally or physically abused. An angry layman is barging into his office demanding he apologize to his friend only to find out that when he (the pastor) does apologize, the friend said… “you didn’t do anything wrong.” An elder is upset that you yelled at the ref at his son’s basketball game. Pastor’s have a difficult job… a difficult calling. Which means, the pastor’s wife is the “silent casualty.” She hears and sees all this stuff going on and needs to remain quiet, supportive and love the people that make their husband’s job so difficult.

Let’s go a little deeper. Your pastor/husband is fired. The elders share with the congregation that we are letting the pastor go not for moral or fiduciary reasons but irreconcilable differences. What does that mean? Doesn’t it mean that in a body of Christ we should be able to reconcile our differences? The PW (pastor’s wife) has lost her church body, friends, and in my case, family members and is left to silently walk away from all that she loves and enjoys. And not to mention the poor pastor’s kids that are displaced and hurt. Both the wife and the children are silent casualties. When the average man loses his job in the secular work force the wife and children are affected financially but the wife and kids normally don’t lose their community. When a pastor is fired the whole family loses their community and, in my case, we also lost our extended family.

Over ten years later, after my husband’s firing, some of the major players are coming to apologize to my husband regarding his firing. My husband graciously meets with them and listens. He forgives. He actually already has forgiven them but it is good for them to apologize so that they are freed from their actions. But the wife and the kids… they are the silent casualties that need to forgive but without any discussion or conversation on how the elder, family member, or friend hurt them personally.

What do you or I do with this? How do we work through being a “silent casualty?” I know that biblically I am to forgive those men/women who have hurt my husband, my kids and me. It is a mandate from scripture. Colossians 3:13 says, “Forgive as the Lord has forgiven you.” But I do think it is helpful for those people who have hurt the pastor to also come to the wife and the children to apologize. Our youth pastor wrote a beautiful letter of apology to my husband and then, apologized to our son on how his actions have hurt him too.
I know that it takes a lot of going to the Lord in the pain and loss and spending time with him to help you/me process the grief. In Psalm 73:28 the author writes,

But as for me, it is good to be near God.
I have made the sovereign LORD my refuge.
I will tell of all your deeds.

My heart breaks for the PW’s whose husband’s have been fired, cast aside or asked to resign. I hear the stories all the time of those heartaches. I understand how the PW and their family is the “silent casualty.” Stay near to God and make the sovereign LORD your refuge.

01 Jul

If  You Want to Accomplish Something, You Have to Do It!

I pondered this thought the other day as I was debating whether to work out.  My mind went through all the reasons why I did not need to work out that day.  I know all the right arguments for being proactive and working out and I also know all the arguments for skipping the workout.  I also know the process of “productive procrastination.”  “Productive procrastination” is accomplishing a task, and it is important,  instead of doing the task you should be doing.  I may need to work out but instead I am going to clean my room, clean the refrigerator out, write a letter, pay bills.  You see my sound logic regarding “productive procrastination.”  We can accomplish anything that we want and justify the task and feel good about ourselves.  We are just not doing what we really need to accomplish.

My daughter is working on her PhD.  She is in the middle of writing her dissertation.  She is the person who revealed the pattern called “productive procrastination.”  Kiersten needed to write an article for the school newspaper.  Instead, she went grocery shopping, worked out, and cleaned out her closet.  She was very productive but the article did not get finished that day.

So, back to my thought.  “If you want to accomplish something, you have to do it.”  Discipline does not miraculously develop.  We just don’t wake up in the morning and decide to eat in a healthy way.  We don’t just lose 10 pounds because we are careful with our carbs and sugar.  We don’t learn to write well just by writing an article every few weeks.  Or what about public speaking?  Do we become an amazing public speaker by not practicing?  That room you are planning to paint is not going to be painted not unless you pick up the brush and paint it one wall at a time.  Discipline is developed by doing what you don’t want to do.

I read an article about a teacher who ask her student to “try to pick up the book”  from her desk.  What does “trying” to pick up the book look like?  Do you pick it up and drop it?  Do you touch the book but don’t pick it up?  Do you stare at the book hoping the book will pick up itself?  No.  Either you pick up the book or you don’t pick up the book.  You can’t try to pick up the book.

So, “if you want to accomplish something you have to do it.”  You can’t “try” to accomplish something.  We know that doesn’t work.  I guess you can “try” to workout and you chose not to because you had a appendicitis attack and you had to go to the hospital instead.  That would be a real “try.”  You could “try” to paint your room only to find out that an earthquake destroyed your house.  That would be a real “try.”  Do you get my point?  “Try” is not a good excuse for not accomplishing what you need to do.

As NIKE branding slogan says, “Just Do It.”  And remember, discipline is developed in accomplishing something you don’t want to do.  So to accomplish something, you have to do it.

04 Jan

Confident Hope in the Psalms

You have just received a phone call from your son and his wife has cancer.  You have a friend whose husband has had an affair and leaving his wife and family for another woman.  You have been diagnosed with breast cancer.  What about your adult child that comes to you and shares with you that they no longer believe in your Jesus.  We live in a broken world and how is it that we find hope in the midst of the uncertainty and unknown painful situations in life.  Do we mope and wander through our house feeling defeated and asking ourselves what is the point in being here on earth?  No!  The Psalms is a place you can turn to daily in the midst of the messiness of life.

David writes in Psalm 25:4 – Show my your ways, LORD, teach me your paths.  Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.  God is our personal God.  He is our personal God and Savior.  He shows us his ways and teaches us along the way.  When I experience unrest and anxiety I go to my Lord and Savior and I ask him for his help and his ways to know how to process the pain and gain his perspective.

Also, David writes in Psalm 27:1 – The LORD is my light and my salvation —  whom shall I fear?  The LORD is the stronghold of my life — Of whom shall I be afraid?   I live in his light.  I am his child and he has saved me from living life in hell.  I do not have to fear anything.  He is my rock, my strong deliverer and I have no reason to experience fear.  He is with me.

It is in the Psalms that I , personally, find hope.  Not just a little bit of hope but a confident hope that I hold onto for dear life.   We find that God, his character, his strength, meets us at the core of our heart and mind to give us that confident hope in Christ.

28 Dec

The Repurposed Life

Think about the time when you were 14 to 16 years old. What kind of goals, visions and dreams did you have for your adult life? Did you want to be stock broker, a missionary, a wife and a mother staying home with your kids? What were your spiritual goals? Did you have any spiritual goals?

What does your life look like now? Is it what you expected? Or is it completely different than what you envisioned? I am sure your life as well as mine has been repurposed several times.  A repurposed life begins with a defining moment where you were going one direction and something happens that changes your course.  Depending on the circumstances, unexpected losses, or changes, whether good or bad, you have experienced a repurposed life.

Mary, the mother of Jesus, had a life that was completely different than what she expected as a 14 year old. Perhaps she woke up one morning and was pondering her engagement to Joseph and how much fun it will be to be married to a carpenter. She may have envisioned having lots of kids and living in a community that supported one another. But then her repurposing began.

The angel Gabriel came to visit Mary and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Mary was greatly troubled at his words, (as she should be) and wondered what this greeting meant. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him ‘Jesus.’” Really? A son? His name is Jesus? The conversation goes on as Mary asked the angel, “How can this be since I am a virgin?” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.” Do you think she understands that her life is being repurposed?

I love Mary’s response. “I am the Lord’s servant. May your word to me be fulfilled.” Mary submitted her will to God and she humbly accepted her calling. She was willing to embrace her newly repurposed life.

Jesus, the son of God, the God/man, is the ultimate repurposer of our lives. When we come to Christ and confess our sins, believe in who Jesus is and commit our life to him, we become a repurposed new creation. As we walk with Christ and we seek his ways, our lives are changed from one degree of glory to another, or should I say, “We are being repurposed from one degree of glory to another.” We can fight the repurposing or we can willingly submit our will to the Lord (have a “Mary Moment”) and respond, “I am the Lord’s servant, May your word to me be fulfilled.”

14 Jul

The Battle of the Rudder

We have a cabin in Ione, Wa on the Pend Oreille River.  The other day a paddle boat was floating down the river and we decided to go and retrieve it and call the sheriff just in case someone lost it.  No one has called so my husband and I decided to try it and now we know why is was floating down the river.   The rudder was broken.  A friend of ours fixed it the best he could but their was still some funky way the rudder turned in order to go straight.  Mind you…  straight is the goal.

Yesterday, while down at the dock, I decided to try out the paddle boat in the river to retrieve my dog’s tennis ball.  No kidding, it took me twenty minutes to finally get that ball.  Remember, the paddle boat does not go straight when you turn the rudder  to go straight!  It actually has a mind of it’s own.  I am sure if the neighbors saw me out there they would think I was crazy in the maneuvering of this boat.  I was out past the dock, bumping into the shore, going in circles but I was not going straight to get the stupid ball!  I even tried to enlist my other shepherd to help me get the ball by holding unto his collar while he swam to the ball.   I realized that if the rudder is not working correctly the boat will not reach the ultimate goal.  I will not hit the target without the right tools to help me hit the bulls eye…  (the ball).

As I reflected on the “battle of the rudder” I realized that when a person has a goal or vision to achieve they need to have the proper tools to accomplish the goal.  So, think about it, what is your goal?  What is your vision?  What are the tools you need to hone in on to accomplish that goal?

Maybe you want to lose 10 pounds or get into better shape.  The tools are workout clothes, good tennis shoes and a gym, bike or a workout video.  Also, a tool is keeping track of the calories you put in your mouth or writing everything down.  Maybe you are going to cut out gluten and sugar but only eat meat and vegetables.  The goal is the 10 pound loss and the tools are working out and monitoring your food.

Another goal may be changing your behavior of losing your temper.  Your husband and kids are getting weary of your outbursts.  What are the tools that can help you change that pattern?  Go to a counselor.  Read a book on anger issues.  Learn what your triggers are that set your temper in motion.   Ask your husband for help when he starts to see you becoming agitated.  The goal is to change your behavior of losing your temper.  The tools are counseling, books, accountability and honesty with your behavior.

What is your goal or vision that you would like to accomplish?  Is it weight loss, health, anger or you fill in the blank.  Whatever your goal is that you want to achieve,  utilize the right tools to help you accomplish your goal.  Otherwise, you will have the battle of the rudder and end up paddling all over the river  except in the straight direction to retrieve the stupid tennis ball.!

10 Jun

What Identity Door are you Walking through Now?

I loved being a mother. I enjoyed my kids and I committed my time and energy to them. I had fun being a mother. I often think that I had kids so I could stay a kid. But slowly and surely my kids decided to fly and leave the nest.

Our third-born left four years ago for the Marines. Now, being a “Marine mom” is not for the faint of heart, not because they may get injured or because they might struggle in the Marine “non-moral” environment (although, my prayers is that he flees from ungodly behavior). My “faint of heart” is that I missed four years of his life. I missed watching Hayden come and go in the summers, Christmas breaks, and all that happens in the weening process of col- lege life. Marine life lends itself to an isolation and distance of time together since when they are gone, they are gone.

As my four years of distance with our son is winding down and with the expectation he will be home for good in two months, we received a phone call on Monday and he told us he re-enlisted. My husband and I were broken heart- ed. Here goes another four years of distance. By the time he gets out, he will be 28 years old. Once again I have to walk through the “identity door.”

What is the “identity door?” It is a door we walk through in times of transition, and when we do we are asked: “In whom is our identity?” Do we live for Christ or do we live for ourselves? The “identity door” is a passage way that reminds us of where we find our satisfaction. What give us the most joy and peace? Where do we land when we have nowhere else to go? Do we land in the presence of God, or do we land looking for something else that gives us happiness? Who defines who I am — my identity.

In Philippians 1:21, Paul writes, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Paul was all about living for Christ. His very being and every breath was about living passionately for Christ. A mentor of mine from several years ago told me about how she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. I was heart bro- ken for her. She told me, “Don’t worry about me; after all, worry is a sin.” She also shared with me what she shared with her doctor. After she was told about the cancer she cried and then went into her doctor’s formal office to talk about the prognosis. He asked her how she was doing and she told him. “If I live, I live with Christ in me; if I die, I go to be with him in heaven. So, actually, I am in a win-win situation.” Her identity was completely and totally in Christ.

Back to my “identity door.” This time of sadness and loss and transition is a door, and as I walk through it I must affirm that my identity is in Christ. My identity is not defined by whether or not my kids live near me, or if I have grandkids, or if my kids walk with the Lord. I will be sad if they don’t walk with the Lord, and I pray constantly that my kids will walk passionately with him; but my joy and satisfaction needs to come from my own vibrant relation- ship with Jesus Christ. As I walk through this door, as I leave behind my son and another four years of absence, I cannot turn my head and look back at him and what could have been, but rather turn my head forward and walk through the “identity door” with my eyes focused on Christ, the author and perfecter of my faith.

08 Jun

Are you nice because you are nice or are you nice because you want something?

The other day I was in Best Buy and I was working through a refund issue on a refrigerator we were purchasing.  It was becoming a headache but the customer service people and I stayed with the issue and worked it through.  In the process they gave me 30.00 back in rewards and 50.00 dollars back on my gift card even tho I was using it for my new purchase on a refrigerator.  It is all confusing.   Sorry.  The bottom line is I walked away with an extra 160.00 dollars.  I asked the customer service people why they were being so generous to with me.  They said it was because I was being nice.  (I was thanking the Lord that I was nice that time!)

My daughter called the other day and she said she has learned an important lesson.  If a person is nice then people are much nicer.  She was involved with a mock interview for a job and she learned that even in the awkwardness of getting started with the interview if she is nice to the interviewee the discussion starts on a positive note and can continue on a pleasant path.

Nice does work.  I do think we can get further in life in a more positive way if we are nice.  But, I do question myself, at times, why am I nice?  I started asking myself  “am I nice to be nice or am I nice because I want something?”  If I am nice to be nice then I am exemplifying the fruit of the spirit.    Galatians 5:22,23 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.”   In the core of my heart I am behaving with kindness or being nice.  If I am nice because I want something then I am manipulating a situation to my advantage or, even worse, behaving like a narcissist.  The definition of a “narcissist” is a lover of self.   The motive of a “narcissist” is does it benefit me?

A great example of “narcissism” is I have a German shepherd dog named  Rufio.  He is an independent dog and isn’t very affectionate with us.  He does become engaging and affectionate when he wants something we are eating.  He will come and hang out with us in the morning while we are eating our Hostess Donettes and nuzzle up to us.  He is being nice because he wants a donut and, of course, we give him his donut allotment.  He is nice to us because he wants something and I guess we have trained him that way.

My husband and I have a friend named Josh.  Josh has a heart that has no will of it’s own.  His heart is full of  the love of Jesus and he lives his life to the will of his father, God.  Josh is nice because he is nice.  He has no hidden motives.  He genuinely gets a deep satisfied joy in being kind and nice to people.  Anyone who knows Josh will attest to Josh’s character that he is the nicest person they know.  It says in  2 Timothy 2:24;  And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.   Josh is kind/nice to everyone.

This is my challenge to myself and to you.  When ever I find myself being nice I ask myself.  Am I being nice to be nice or am I being nice to get something.  If for some reason it is to get something then I ask the Lord to help me to understand my motives.  Why do I in the core of my heart not desire to be nice to be nice…  even if I do not get something out of it.

29 May

Change or Transition

I learned in William Bridges’ book, Transitions, about the difference between “change” and “transition.”  Change is outward.  We move to one city from another.  We go to a new college.  Get married.  Open a business.  Change is outward.  Change is situational.  Change is an event.  Transition is psychological.  Transition is what happens internally from those events.  As Bridges writes, “Transition in an inner reorientation and self-redefinition that you have to go through in order to incorporate any of those changes into your life.  Without a transition, a change is just a rearrangement of the furniture.”

Retirement is a change.  When we retire we need to make sure we have enough money to retire and we need to find an adequate place to live.  We may move to another city to be near our friends or kids.  But deep down inside a psychological change is happening and it should.  There is a three fold process of an ending, neutral zone, and a new beginning.  You are transforming inside from one person to another.  As Bridges writes, “it is a death-and-rebirth process.  It is a process in which we re-create ourself.”

I have gone through my own transitions in which I have re-created myself.  I left the pastorate ten years ago and I loved ministering with my husband as a “PW – Pastor’s wife.”  We left the church and I had to re-create myself and it took about four years.  In that time I needed to work through my “Ending” and then I was stuck in the middle of the road called the “Neurtral Zone”, which is the hardest place to be and then I finally enjoyed a “New Beginning” which is Robin Mounce re-created.

It is a scary time and a time of unknowns to be in the “Neutral Zone.”  I could not hurry up the process because emotionally I was too tapped out to try to fix my situation.  The “Neutral Zone” is when we make  the most dramatic changes.  I will talk more about this tomorrow.

07 May

Finding a new “trajectory”

I realized the other day that my strength in Life Coaching is giving my clients a “trajectory.”  I enjoy watching my clients reach goals that they never knew, originally, existed.  “Existed” is defined as “to have life or the functions of vitality.”

To have life or the functions of vitality is a purpose that we should all strive.  I have noticed that women in their fifties, after their kids have left the nest or they have gone through a significant life change, think about going back to work or they desire  to change their careers.  They may want something more purposeful or meaningful but they may opt for a job at Starbucks or working in a school kitchen.  Those are not bad jobs and many women benefit from those jobs.  One may find much purpose and meaning in those careers.  But others are wanting something different and they want a place to work where they are passionate about their occupation and calling.

You  may desire to wake up in the morning excited and full of zeal to get dressed and clock into a situation where you feel you are making a difference in a person’s life and in this world.

I was one of those women that needed a new “trajectory.”  My last son left for the Marines a few years back and I needed a new calling and passion.  I wrestled, read books, prayed and sought the Lord for guidance.  Eventually, I found my new passion in Life Coaching.  I found that I enjoyed helping women take flight in a new calling and soar by using their strengths and giftedness.

I would love to help you to become the woman of purpose and passion.  I would love to have the opportunity to help you with your new “trajectory.”

07 Feb

Life Coaching

Life Coaching helps women find a new passion for their life.  It can help you change patterns that are getting in the way and distracting you from succeeding and achieving your goals.    How about a new motivation to lose some weight and get into a healthier life style?   How about an ending?  You have gone through a death of a husband, loss of a child, empty nest, divorce or job loss.  Whatever is your ending, Life Coaching can help you find a new beginning.  I would love to help you move through your journey and encourage you to your next destination!

Robin Mounce

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