february was a rough month for us…
wrapped up in our family and life circumstances, stress abounded, fighting resounded and weaved into all of the frustration, i have not stopped coughing like gollum.

nothing unusual.
nothing earth shattering.
just life.
tough circumstances visit everyone on this planet. stress makes itself at home in our houses. disappointments knock on our doors. frustrations take root in our backyards. no one is immune.
we all view what makes up stress, frustrations, disappointments and tough circumstances differently.
we see from the lens of the life we live. our perspective.
how we choose to react is what makes us unique.

we have chosen to wallow in our self pity. we have allowed it to suck our life away, steal our joy and frustrate our spirits…but not for long!

in the past month of coughing like gollum, i’ve been talking about being sick and how i wish i was feeling better and woa is me and blah blah blah. and it hate talking about sickness. and adam hates listening to me talk about it .
one night i could not stop coughing, adam was laughing at me and suggested i try laughing when i felt a cough coming. and it worked. HA! each time i felt the need to cough, i would yell HA instead. yep. i sounded crazy, but i didn’t cough the rest of that evening. for that one night, i was cough free. if you have a lingering cough, you should try it sometime. my joy returned.

in the past month, selah has been refusing to go into her children’s ministry class. this may sound like no big deal for some…*but for a pastor and his wife leading worship, it can be a big deal to have their three year old sitting contentedly thru a church service for approximately 100 minutes.  
this past sunday, she was unusually feisty, refusing to go into class. she laid in the hallway while every one else, including our children’s director, walked around her. no one was shocked by her antics.
i had to leave her there to begin the service with worship. my stress rose up and my attitude went downhill. adam went to check on selah as we began service almost ten minutes late. during that first song, my heart began to change. i see adam bringing selah into the sanctuary. my frustration with her was gone. she wanted to be with us and in worship. my joy restored.
then during adams sermon, she sat with me, quiet… until she hit a point of boredom. i was ready to take her out of the service… she yells out ‘i’m tired!’ and in the middle of his sermon, adam responds to her, “i’m tired of you crying.” it was hilarious. we all started laughing. she quieted down a few minutes later and fell asleep beside me for the rest of the service. whew.

our kids argue and fight, which i know might be hard for you to believe. yes. they do. they are not ‘perfect pastors kids’. those don’t even exist, btw. and when they do, my emotions can snowball into getting upset right along with them. but those times when i am full of joy, i respond differently. i start laughing, which immediately makes the tension lighter. they look at me for my response… “just take it outside, go ahead, beat each other up.” then they look at me like i’m crazy because they know i’m not being serious. suddenly, whatever was frustrating them melts away.  sometimes, we make them hug it out as their punishment. and other times, if i sense attitudes rising, i just smile and say “you betta check yo’ self!” that’s always a good one 😉 oh and we adults are not exempt. a pastor and his wife can argue too. we get so upset with each other over the silliest things. thankfully, we insist on always communicating and won’t stay mad at one another for long. laughter breaks up the arguments. joy replaces the anger.

these are just a few life circumstances we try and eventually laugh about. they seem trivial after we ‘check ourselves’. they aren’t life or death situations or anything… but we have experienced deep pain and chosen joy. we have lost our jobs, struggled thru deep disappointments, felt wounding rejection in relationships, experienced the loss of a child thru miscarriage, and just a few weeks ago, we said our earthly goodbyes to my grandpa.

we chose joy when we almost lost salem at three months old. that night he was sleeping in his crib and adam felt the Holy Spirit prompt him to check on our little ‘bubs’. he was barely breathing and turning blue. we called the squad and the next thing i know, we were in the back of an ambulance being rushed to children’s hospital. he had every medical test known to man done to him. he was poked, prodded and prayed for. at the hospital we called our families and church for prayer support. after we knew salem was out of immediate danger and stabilized, i reverted to making jokes. it was my coping mechanism. we were under such stress. we were in the hospital for five long days and celebrated our christmas that year in salem’s hospital room. upon his release from the hospital, he was perfectly healthy. the doctors had speculation, but after all the test results were in, there was never a finite answer for the cause of his almost death experience. he was released from the hospital: cause unknown. 

we know prayer can change anything. we trust that God is in control of all circumstances. we chose joy in that stressful time of our lives. upon returning home, we watched salem every night for several months, worried it might happen again. we are so grateful that now he is a healthy amazing six year old boy!

this might all sound like silliness and simplicity. but we choose to laugh in the face of stress and frustrations. smile in the face of our disappointments. and choose joy in the midst of our all circumstances.
we will put our hope in Christ and choose joy!

the apostle paul is one of my heros when it comes to having joy in all circumstances. he was shipwrecked, hungry, tired, imprisoned, and lived with a thorn in his flesh. he suffered adverse circumstances and severe persecution, and he maintained joy at all times ~ all for Christ.
paul talked about his suffering. he never pretended it didn’t exist. i don’t know why – in the american church – we ever started doing that! keeping silent or pretending about what your circumstances are is the worst way to handle things. it will isolate you from the community Christ has called us all to. and the enemy can more easily discourage and defeat those who isolate themselves. God Himself was three-in-one {Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit}.
paul remained in community whenever he could. he was authentic with what was going on in his life. he was honest about his aches and pains. but he didn’t dwell on them. he didn’t stay in the pit of despair. he relied on the community he was called to serve for their support. he gave thanks in all circumstances and encouraged them to do the same.
one of my favorite books in the Bible about maintaining joy in all circumstances is Philippians, especially chapter 4.

if you are discouraged or despair in your circumstances, reach out to Jesus, to others, find a healthy church community and read Philippians.
then take time to laugh loudly {LOL!} in the face of your distress and give thanks in all circumstances.


2 thoughts on “hahahahaha

  1. Sherrie says:

    I love this. I'm a pastor's wife as well and have related to so many of your posts. Posted just moments before you on much the same topic of the hard stuff of life. Thanks, from one PW to another, for your honesty.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s