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      This article is my submission to the blog challenge sponsored by Darlene Schacht,, the founder and editor of CWO Magazine, Uniting Women of Faith.

Challenge #5 asked that I write a post telling how God has blessed me through blogging.  There are many ways. What follows are some of them!

  I have always been a journal-er (is that a word?)!  As young as about 10 years old, I can remember having a “diary”.  I can’t say that I am the most eloquent writer or that I follow the rules of perfect grammar, but I enjoy writing down my feelings.  Over the years my “diary” has taken on lots of different forms and today comes in two different forms. One is a prayer journal that I keep as I pray each day and talk to God or as I study His word and pray through what I am learning.  The second is through this blog.  There aren’t usually a lot of people checking out my blog but I really enjoy writing on it.  God allows my soul some rest when I write these things down turning them over to Him.

Writing a blog myself is a blessing from the Lord in itself but there even bigger blessings from HIM out there in the blogosphere.  Allow me please to give you a little background so you can see what wonderful blessings the Lord has bestowed on me. My hubby is a United Methodist Pastor, and in the Methodist church, pastors are on an itinerant system where they are appointed to churches by the cabinet of the church.  Last June, hubby was appointed to a new church about an hour from where we had lived for the past 6 years.  Moving was hard on me to say the least.  The place where we were before was really like family.  That church saw my husband and I get married and saw each of our three daughters be born.  It was very difficult to move but feeling that God knows best, move we did. 

Over the course of about 5 months after we moved, I became increasingly anxious and depressed.  To be honest – I had no idea that I was either anxious or depressed.  I knew I didn’t have much of an appetite and that I felt tired and not well most of the time but I didn’t think I was depressed.  By December of 2006, this past Christmas I was a wreck and stayed that way, in a dark place, for a while.  I just need to be honest here and tell you that as a pastor’s wife it is very difficult to have close friends. When you move to a new place and are known as “the preacher’s wife” it gets complicated.  People are cordial and nice to me, but generally don’t see me as REAL friend material.  For one thing, most of the time people have an established group of friends already. Especially if they have lived in this place their entire lives. For another thing, I’m the “preachers wife” and therefore cannot possibly understand their broken humanness…..It’s hard for people to see “the preacher” and the “preacher’s wife” as normal people. And another thing that I think makes it even harder for a Methodist pastor’s family is that people know we won’t be here in this place for the rest of their lives or ours so it is hard to want to get really close to people who will eventually have to move on.  The hard part is that I am the kind of person who needs CLOSE friends.  The kind of friends that you can tell anything and everything to.  The kind of friends who you can be honest  with about your relationship with your husband — friends who you can tell the good – the bad AND the ugly to.  Because, let’s just be honest, NO one is perfect and we all have the good – the bad- and the ugly in our relationships.

I do believe that the Lord has been teaching me through all of this to be fully reliant ONLY on HIM! To see HIM as by best friend and the ONLY friend I really need.  And I am learning to do that .  Slowly – DAILY and sometimes HOURLY – I choose to trust HIM and rely only on HIM, and to allow HIS grace to be sufficient for me.  And although, this is a continual growing place for me, I do think that The Lord has begun to bless me with wonderful sister’s in Christ, who feed my soul, out there in the blogosphere.

 One day about 3 months ago I got an email from my aunt to her daughter, Lisa’s, blog.  She thought I might like to read it since Lisa and I are both preacher’s wives and have much in common.  It is funny to me looking back.  See, Lisa’s step-dad is my uncle and when Lisa first became a part of our family, she was in high school and I was a “lowly” middle school-er…..therefore, by the laws of teenagers everywhere, we weren’t allowed to be friends.  I was closer to her younger sister who was only a year older than me and thereby still in middle school herself.  So, Lisa and I weren’t close and really only saw one another once in a while and after she got married I didn’t see her again for years! Literally. years. I have seen her since she and her hubby became a ministry family themselves once in a while but never long enough to really have deep conversation. Not to mention the fact that Lisa is the mother of 4 and I have 3 little ones – so deep conversation at family gatherings is – to say the least – IMPOSSIBLE.  Anyway, I digress.  Back to what I was saying.  Lisa’s mom sent me a link to Lisa’s blog. I read it, laughed so hard I thought I would cry and was hooked.  Lisa, over at The Preacher’s Wife is a blessing from God.  She teaches my soul and she makes me laugh. What a blessing!

From Lisa’s blog, I found CWO and Darlene Schacht. Darlene is the editor of CWO and she has her own personal blog.  The magazine and Darlene personally encourage me in my daily walk with HIM.  Darlene also started Jehovah Java Cafe’ and this group of ladies bless my socks off each morning as I read their posts.

Also from Lisa’s blog, I found Tracey over at Show Me State of Mind.  She is also a fellow “preacher’s wife”.  She is SO encouraging to me and is always the first sister to offer prayers when I’m in need.

From the Jehovah Java Cafe, I found Cindy at One Day More and Kim over at Lifesong. God always allows these ladies to have words of wisdom to speak to my heart!

From the CWO blogroll, I found In The Midst of It, Boo Mama and Big Mama.  I read this ladies blogs every day and when I am having a challenging day (which as a sahm of 3 little girls – ages 5, 3, 2 – and care giver for a 6 month old happens to be MOST everyday) they make me laugh and lighten my mood considerably.

How has God blessed me through blogging you ask.  I’d say in more ways than I can count!  The sister’s listed above are some of them. Most of these ladies don’t even know me – and may never know what a blessing they are to me. For the few of you who do read this, I hope you hear me when I say God us using you in a BIG way to bless my life and I am ever so thankful to HIM for allowing me to find these folks out there in the blogosphere! 

If you have made it this far into this long post, I ever so humbly THANK YOU for reading it!  God bless each of you this day!

Mindy

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***UPDATE***

Thank you so much everyone for the prayers.

I know that God was with me and hearing your prayers as I underwent the 1st part of the procedure yesterday.  I know your prayers worked because I was a LOT less nervous than I had been for days before when I thought of the procedure.  That particular part took about 30 minutes all together and it really wasn’t as bad as I thought. 

I have now had a smaller tube down my throat for almost 24 hours and really it is very painful — just annoying.  Makes eating hard but I know that you all have been praying because I was able to get some sleep last night. 

I go at 10:30 this morning to have the tube removed and I will be overjoyed when it is all done.

Again – thank you sooo much for your prayers!  I praise God for hearing and answering prayers and for seeing me through the past couple of days!

I love you all – God has truly blessed me with friends like you!

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A true friend is the gift of God, and he only who made hearts can unite them. Robert South

I just have to share this with you all.  See, God has blessed me.   I don’t know how the other preacher’s wives around here feel but it is difficult  for me to cultivate TRUE friendships with other women.  I am not really sure why – other than maybe that preacher’s wives are seen by some as someone they can’t possibly be friends with.  At least not close, intimate, true friends with.   I think maybe it has something to do with people thinking that the preachers wife is going to be appalled by something in their lives………

Let me say this, LOUD AND CLEAR, and please hear me on this – YOUR Preacher’s wife is NO better than you are.  Now – preacher’s wives who are reading this, please don’t get all upset with that said.  The bible says that ALL have fallen short of the glory of God and preachers and their wives are included in that lot.  ( Give me a minute while I jump down off my soap box!)But, we [preacher’s wives]really do need friends just like everybody else.

 For me it is essential.  See, I am an incredibly extroverted girl and I live with an incredibly introverted boy (and three little ones) and friends are something that I have needed and searched for in my life somewhat (cough) desperately at times.  And some days it is just plain difficult when the introvert has expended all of his energy with the people he’s been with that day and is now ready for some time to rejuvenate himself [ALONE] and I have been home all day have conversations that are dominated with discussion of which princess each one is going to be today and if it is time for Dora the Explorer or lunch yet?!  Sometimes I just need some good  conversation.  And I think that is what God made friends for!

Now, it took me a long time to learn and understand that God wants me to turn to HIM first and foremost.  Years –I mean YEARS and I am still learning and trying to remember to let HIM fill me up rather than expecting hubby or friends or family to do it.  That is HIS job.  And how sweet it is when we can really come to the point where we just hand it all over to HIM and let go of the control issues we have so that HE can fill our cups.  Like I said — it took me what seems like (and in all honesty HAS been) a lifetime for me to learn this lesson and I figure I will be learning it for a long time to come, too.

But that said, I can see how the Lord has begun to bless me with TRUE friendship.  True friends are something I have longed for and prayed for in my lifetime.  And I can see the blessings in my life.  I have a come to see these friends as my traveling companions.  These are the women who listen to my heartbreak and feel my pain.  But they are also the women who are quick to speak up and “hold me accountable in love” if need be.  This circle of friends isn’t big (although I hope it continues to grow) but it is PRICELESS! And these people fill me up so I can handle the rest of my life – whatever it holds.  These women come in all different shapes, sizes and personalities – As well as from quite a few different places. But there is NO doubt in my mind that God brought these ladies into my life as gifts from above.

This past Saturday, hubby agreed to stay home with our 3 girls, while I got to go with a group of my traveling companions to do  my other favorite things — some SHOPPING! Ladies – there is NOTHING like true traveling companions and some good retail therapy (Especially when you find a good sale).  And lunch…Going out to eat without spending the duration saying things like “Sit down”, “Get out from under the table”, “Eat your food”, “Chew with your mouth closed” or even “SHHHHH” was a bit of heaven for me!  We had actual conversation and fellowship.  God was there  – of course- because whenever two or three are gathered in HIS name – HE is there.   And HE was with us this past Saturday and I was filled with HIS loving kindness through some of my traveling companions. I drove home feeling happy and blessed by the Lord. 

TO any of my traveling companions who read this — and you know who you are!– Thank you for what you mean to me and know that I thank God for you and who you are! To the rest of you, I am jealous for you that you should have wonderful women like this in your life too! 

Do you have traveling companions in your life?  Put God first and HE will bless you more than you could ever believe possible.   Read and hear what the bible has to say about friends…

Oil and perfume rejoice the heart; so does the sweetness of a friend’s counsel that comes from the heart. Proverbs 27: 9

I hope that God will bless you all today!

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