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Since the loss of one of my good friends, and my pastor’s wife, four weeks ago, I have had a huge burden for all pastor’s wives (and I don’t just mean the senior pastor). So, I want to be someone who encourages these specially called women, and I hope that I can get more women to do the same.

 

When I say open up to your pastor’s wife, I don’t mean what you think!

 

Open up with prayer: Women in the body of Christ need to open up to their pastor’s wife by saying, “I know you are always praying for so many of us, how can I pray for you?” She may not give you very specific things, but pray for her anyway! Pastor’s wives can’t just open up to anyone. You have to be trustworthy. She needs to know that when she gives you something to pray about, that’s what you are going to do. She needs to know you are not going to share it with someone else, and that you are not going to use it against her to get her husband out of your church! She needs you to check in with her on that specific thing, don’t forget about her. Don’t assume she’s fine and got it all together. Do assume she is much like you!

Open up your spare time: Open up your life to her by inviting her to go get a mani-pedi with you. Take her to get coffee, or fro-yo! Talk to her about her kids, and what she likes to do. Do you know if you pastor’s wife has a degree? Do you know if she scrapbooks? Do you know what she’s afraid of? Invite her to your play dates.

Open up your understanding: If your church is doing the will of God, there is no doubt that your pastor’s family is under satanic attack! Ask her where they are struggling most? One of the areas she will most often tell you is they don’t have enough time together. Right then offer to babysit that night or that weekend, so she and her husband can have a date. Then go buy her a gift card to something in your area they can do with the kids too. You need to know their life is hard! Being in ministry is very draining. They cannot pour into you if they are not being poured into.

Open up your eyes: Look at her, really look at her. On Sunday morning does she look stressed out? She probably is. She had to get the kids ready and to church all by herself, and make herself look presentable too. How many jobs does she have Sunday morning when she gets to church? You should watch her to see what responsibilities are hers. Then, when you see one that you are capable of doing, do it! Tell her you are taking it off her plate! Her job as a pastor’s wife is 24/7, literally. She has to give her husband to the church in the middle of everything they do. If you call him during dinner, he probably answers. Do you see how that affects her? Look at her!

Open up your heart: She needs a true friend. Be a friend. How often are you encouraged by your friends? She needs it too. She does not always believe she’s wise, godly, beautiful, a good mom, a good wife, or many other things, so tell her!

 

There are so many more things that I could share with you, but you can come up with your own. From what I have seen by being family and friends to pastors wives (and being in ministry ourselves), it is one of the loneliest jobs out there, let’s change that!

 

If you are a wife in ministry, I am praying for you. What you do makes a huge difference, and I want you to know it before you get to Heaven!

 

Serving Jesus by praying for you,

Sherry

 

 

Our Marriage Works

The Lord and I have been talking about Jeff and my marriage. I’m always so grateful for the amazing husband I have, and I try to tell the Lord as often as I can how much He’s blessed me with Jeff. Today I felt the need to put something out there for others to know too. I’m not even sure what He wants me to write.

There are just a few things that make our marriage work, here they are:

  1. More than anything else our number 1 relationship is with Jesus! Since this life really is all about eternity, our main priority should be a relationship with the One in charge of eternity!
  2. We pray for each other.  We pray for God’s will not our own to be done in each others life. We pray that the other is having quality time with the Father, and we pray that the other is hearing God’s voice. Since God is the One who created marriage He expects to be the center of yours, in fact I’m positive your marriage will not be what it’s meant to be unless His is at the center.
  3. We pray together. Praying together defuses any conflicts that may be trying to put a wedge in. Praying together lets you hear the heart of your spouse.
  4. We date. We find it extremely important to be alone and give each other our full attention at least once a month. We even make sure another couple does the same thing by trading baby-sitting. Your spouse needs to know they are the most important earthly relationship you have.
  5. We don’t fight. This is probably the one thing that most of you will say you can’t do. But you can! When Jeff and I decided to get married we committed to not fight with each other. We have both been married before and we were in fighting marriages. It was very damaging to us and our children. So, when we disagree, we state how we feel and let it go. I have the honor of being the wife, and I get the “trump card” as Jeff calls it. If we agree or disagree and he makes a decision that is wrong, he is responsible to God for our family and all decisions. I trust Jeff. I trust that when he makes a mistake, he and God deal with it, that’s not my job! I am to submit to him, according to God’s word (Colossians 3:18). I am to respect him above being right!

I know some of you will say, “I try, but my spouse doesn’t do any of these things.” You are not responsible for the choices your spouse makes, but you are responsible for yours. Marriage is not 50/50. Each of you has to give 100%. If you don’t you are at fault. You are to give 100% to your marriage no matter what your spouse does. Love is not a feeling, love is a choice. Some days we just don’t feel like loving anyone, but that does not have to make you choose to stop loving.

I had no idea marriage could be this way, but Jeff and I like to say we give each other a little Heaven on earth! He puts me first, and I try to put him first, but even when I don’t he doesn’t call me out on it, he just keeps loving me like Christ loves the church. That’s the perfect picture of Christ loving the church, even when I’m not lovely, I’m loved!

Soap box dismounted 🙂

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What’s my job?

Being a stay-at-home mom some days I can wonder, what really is my job? And this morning the Lord and I had some conversation about it:

Today I was reading Proverbs 31, and I told God that I don’t look very much like the woman in that passage. There are a few things that I can say I may resemble. But, for the most part, I do not look like her.

A good woman is hard to find,
    and worth far more than diamonds.       

This I believe
Her husband trusts her without reserve,
    and never has reason to regret it.
Never spiteful, she treats him generously
    all her life long.                                               

  This I think sounds like me
She shops around for the best yarns and cottons,
    and enjoys knitting and sewing.            

 If you know me at all, shopping is the least likely thing I am doing!
She’s like a trading ship that sails to faraway places     
    and brings back exotic surprises.                           

I do like to travel, but again, don’t like to shop so remembering to bring stuff back is very difficult for me.
She’s up before dawn, preparing breakfast
for her family and organizing her day.         

Um…not a morning person.
She looks over a field and buys it,                             
then, with money she’s put aside, plants a garden.   

Again, shopping, and everything I do have I give away.  Garden? what’s that?
First thing in the morning, she dresses for work,
rolls up her sleeves, eager to get started.
She senses the worth of her work,                      
is in no hurry to call it quits for the day.           

 Morning person I am not! Sleep in, and get done early, that’s  me!
She’s skilled in the crafts of home and hearth,
diligent in homemaking.
She’s quick to assist anyone in need,
reaches out to help the poor.
She doesn’t worry about her family when it snows;
their winter clothes are all mended and ready to wear.  

I can resemble these most days.
She makes her own clothing,
and dresses in colorful linens and silks.       

Um, no.
Her husband is greatly respected
when he deliberates with the city fathers.   

This is true, but I don’t know how much is has to do with me.


She designs gowns and sells them,
brings the sweaters she knits to the dress shops.
Her clothes are well-made and elegant,               

I can sew only slightly, and I am no fashionista!


and she always faces tomorrow with a smile.
When she speaks she has something worthwhile to say,
and she always says it kindly.                             

Currently working on these things.

Here’s the end of the chapter, I think you can see what I’m going at here.
She keeps an eye on everyone in her household,
and keeps them all busy and productive.
Her children respect and bless her;
her husband joins in with words of praise:
“Many women have done wonderful things,
but you’ve outclassed them all!”
Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades.
The woman to be admired and praised
is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God.
Give her everything she deserves!
Festoon her life with praises!

So after reading that I started journaling with the Lord. Here is what He told me:

This is where I have you. Your job is Rori and Jeff. I’m not concerned with what time you get up. It’s what you do with the time you are up. Pouring into your family My truths is what is important. Encouraging and showing love is important. What you wear is not. When you go out you know how to dress and represent Me well, and Jeff….Don’t compare yourself to others. Always check with me to see where you need to be.

Then I get on Facebook and someone has posted this article. It tells me that my job is to:

  • Love God
  • Love Jeff
  • Love my girls

That’s it! So, today I still love the Proverbs 31 passage. And it is encouraging to me. But today it’s in a new way. It encourages me to be the wife and mom He’s called me to be. If we all looked exactly like the Proverbs 31 woman, the world would be very boring! So, for today I will focus on loving my God, loving my man, and loving my family! Short and sweet, God will put all the rest in place!

I pray that this may encourage someone today to stop feeling like there is so many things to do, I am a great list-maker, but to just be instead. Be in the Lord, be with your husband, be with your family. I know this was a great reminder for me today!

Blessings to you,

Sherry

Really? Christmas, already?

I know I am not the only one feeling this way! Boy, it does not seem like Christmas should be here in 6 days. We have been so busy, I’m not sure what day I thought it was, but it definitely wasn’t any day in December.

Since I was not paying attention to the time of year (or it was just flying right by me) I did not get out Christmas cards this year. Maybe this can serve as my Christmas card and holiday letter.

This year the Grants have seen LOTS of changes. Early in the year we became a three person household. Just Jeff, me and Rori left in the house. We knew that day would come, but it is still weird!

Rori has become a pro at getting through security at the airport. We have flown quite a few times this year. Mostly to work at dance competitions, which we love doing. Rori has made great friends with Melanie LePatin, famous choreographer for “So You Think You Can Dance” and others. She also got glasses this year, poor thing she didn’t have a chance with me and Jeff as her parents!

Melanie and Rori

Here she is with Melanie, they even have a secret handshake!

In July we were able to celebrate my grandmother’s 90th birthday. It was a big surprise for her, and all her Children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and her great, great grandchild were there. Whew! We had a great time, but it was also sad because the party was just days before my brother and his family moved to Utah. So, this gathering will most likely be the last of it’s kind. We have all grown up and are going separate ways. It is really hard to get that many people together at one time!

Jekyll Island SONY DSC

In September Rori and I were able to go to Jekyll Island on a field trip with our homeschool group. We had a great time, and it was good for us to be able to go away together, just the 2 of us!

In October came the biggest change of all. Jeff stepped down from his job at Best Buy. We know God has called us to run iServe Ministries full time, and now we are! He still has 2 part time jobs, but we are completely dependent on the Lord to take care of our needs. We are supported by many wonderful families as missionaries here in Northeast Georgia. In case you did not know it, the US needs missionaries too! Jeff now has a home office, and that has taken some getting used to. I’m not sure he’s used to it yet, but Rori and I love having him here with us!

We just returned from our last trip of the year. It was to Orlando for Thanksgiving and one last dance competition. We are not in full Christmas mode, but we are trying to keep our focus on the reason for the season, JESUS! We continue to pray for our family that does not know Jesus. That is the hardest thing about ending another year, we still have not seen some very important people in our lives come to know the freedom it is to live in Christ. We will pray for your unsaved love ones too.

Merry Christmas to you all, and many blessing for 2014.

Loving Jesus,

Sherry

iServe Update

In Case you were wondering what is going on with us on the ministry side here are a few things:

We have been very busy the last few weeks. Jeff has officially started working from home, and we are getting use to being in each other’s space a little more than before. But for us, that’s the way we like it! We have brought in new desks for all three of us:
Our school room with a new look.

Our school room with a new look.

1391675_10151713475152984_1119542819_n Jeff’s office

We had a fund raiser on Saturday and raised a couple hundred dollars for the general fund.
We currently are serving families, through our “Bags of Love” program, in 8 schools. We are up to 120 families. Which translates into 2,880 meals a weekend if we serve everyone. For Thanksgiving we will be sending home boxes instead of backpacks to help feed them for the whole week, since they will be out of school. We also have a partner church that is going to buy a box of “Thanksgiving Meal” groceries for all of these families that choose to participate, so they can cook a Thanksgiving meal. God has given us some great partners, and we know He is going to bring more along-side of us.
Our “Feeding Jackson County” mobile food pantry continues to go well. We have consistently been feeding close to 350 families. We have already firmed up the 3rd Tuesday of every month for next year too. We also have in the works the 2nd mobile food pantry each month for 2014. Please pray for all 24 trucks to be sponsored.
We have signed up with Kroger Super Markets, Kroger Community Rewards Program. This program allows people to sign up to donate funds to us every time they shop at Kroger Super Markets. It might not amount to a lot, but every bit counts. The more families we serve the more we will need.
We are beginning to receive more and more calls to help people with their bills. We do this on a small scale, but it is very hard knowing there are people out there we cannot help. Please pray for us to have discernment in these matters. This is God’s ministry, and we want to make sure we are great stewards of everything He has entrusted to us.
Tomorrow Jeff will be recognized at our food bank because of these mobile food pantries. He will be on a panel and get to answer questions about why we do this. So, he will have the chance to tell people tomorrow about Jesus!
If you are interested in helping iServe in any way or supporting Jeff and I financially please contact us at: iserveministries@gmail.com You can also check us out at www.iserveministries.com We are working on some new info to add to the sight, but the info that is there, is good 🙂

Burdened

This morning I have an overwhelming sense of burden for the many who claim to be Christians but aren’t. We have so many people who come and sit in church with us on Sunday’s thinking they are saved. Or when the nation does a census, they check the “Christian” box, so we call them a Christian.

So, what does it really mean to be a Christian, and why do people think they are one, when they aren’t?

Galatians 5:19-21 tells us that people that live in a certain manner will not go to Heaven, here’s the list Paul gives:

19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality (any sex act with someone other than your spouse, even if you are not married, have never been married, if you commit a sexual act not with your spouse, this is sexual immorality)

impurity (containing something unclean, foul)

and debauchery; (extreme indulgence in sensuality)

20 idolatry (immoderate attachment or devotion to something: putting more importance on anything than God)

and witchcraft; (the use of sorcery or magic; communication with the devil or with a familiar) (this happens way more than we want to admit!)

hatred, (prejudiced hostility or animosity) hmmmm

discord, (active quarreling or conflict resulting from discord among persons or factions) OUCH!

jealousy, (feeling mean resentment toward a rival or competitor)

fits of rage, (an emotional reaction (fit); violent and uncontrolled anger (rage))

selfish ambition, (concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself : seeking or concentrating on one’s own advantage, pleasure, or well-being without regard for others (selfish); an ardent desire for rank, fame, or power (ambition))

dissensions, (disagreement; especially   : partisan and contentious quarreling)

factions ( a party or group (as within a government) that is often contentious or self-seeking : clique)

 21 and envy; (painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantage)

drunkenness, (resulting from or as if from intoxication)

orgies, (a sexual encounter involving many people; also   : an excessive sexual indulgence)

and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that THOSE WHO LIVE LIKE THIS WILL NOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD.

I like the Message version of these verses:

19-21 It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community. I could go on.

This isn’t the first time I have warned you, you know. If you use your freedom this way, you will not inherit God’s kingdom.

So, anyone who has even one of the above mentioned things going on in their lives, should NOT consider themselves a Christian.

But a Christian instead looks like this:

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

Or The Message version:

But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.

23-24 Legalism is helpless in bringing this about; it only gets in the way. Among those who belong to Christ, everything connected with getting our own way and mindlessly responding to what everyone else calls necessities is killed off for good—crucified.

25-26 Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original.

So, why do people think they are Christians when they are not? Someone led them down that thought path. Some preacher, or teacher told them to “say this prayer, and you’ll go to Heaven”. Someone show me in the Bible where it says if we pray A  prayer we’ll go to Heaven? If your life doesn’t look like you follow Christ, you don’t.

Colossians 1:6

In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world—just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace.

John 15:4-5 tells us that without Him we will not bear His fruit:

Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

2 Corinthians 13:5

Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?

Where do you stand? Do you have fruit? Do you pass the test? Going to church or checking a box is not fruit! If you would like to change your status from Hell-bound to Kingdom-Inheritor, here’s a few verses that can get you into a relationship (a romantic or passionate attachment) with Jesus:

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. (You must believe that God did this for you!)

Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (You are a sinner, no one can get to Heaven on their own merit)

Romans 10:9-10 That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. (You must believe that what the Bible says about Christ death & resurrection are true, and confess with your mouth the Jesus is truly the Messiah that came to save a lost world)

Revelation 3:20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with Me. (He’s just waiting for your invitation to come and be in control of your life, He WILL NOT force Himself on you)

Jesus loves you and wants to be in relationship with you. Invite Him to be King in your life today!

Things are very busy at the Grant home.

iServe Ministries is getting busier by the minute. This year we started our mobile food pantry, we call it “Feeding Jackson County.” We have been able to feed hundreds of families. We continue to serve around 90 families a week with the backpacks, and now we are selling coffee as a fundraiser. (http://iserveministries.greatcoffeegreatcause.com)

The frantic is me trying to keep up with all my wife, Mommy, teacher, and Mimi duties while working iServe. The frustrated is trying to get churches email addresses of the internet???? And excited is all that God has in the works!

We believe God is calling us to this thing full time. And, we feel it by how busy we are. We have people all the time telling us they need what we are doing in their area. We could be a consulting firm at this point! But, God has not brought us someone to pay Jeff a salary, and insurance for our family. So, we are holding tight till He tells us to take another step.

We get very excited when we meet people and they say, oh yeah, we’ve heard about you guys, you are doing good things! We know they really mean “God” things because He is the only way we do any of this!

We recently had a wonderful family donate a trailer to iServe, and we have 2 local Publix Supermarkets that donated 3 pallets of food last week. We have volunteers who keep wanting to do more, and we know God is going to continue to use us, and we are excited about what He is doing. We believe next year we will be doing 2 food trucks a month, which will add to our “business.”

Here are some numbers for you:

Weekly we serve about 2000 meals in backpacks
and monthly through our mobile food truck we can serve around 2000 people
We have had all months in 2013 sponsored which this year will cover $440,000 worth of food (retail price)
next year with 2 trucks that will be $960,000 worth of food (retail)

Whoa, that’s overwhelming!

Well, I guess this is just a jumbled update, but I hadn’t really blogged in a while, so maybe it’s just for me 🙂

Pray for us if you would, we really want to be exactly where God wants us!

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