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"...She Laughs without fear of the future" Proverbs 31:25

Have you hugged your pastor’s wife lately?

I’ve been a pastor’s wife in one shape or form for nearly 10 years. Certainly not long enough to be an expert by any means. In that time I’ve been married to a youth pastor, worship pastor, college & career pastor, senior pastor, and most recently a campus pastor. Same man… just to set the record straight…whoa.

Many of my friends are also pastor’s wives, which sort of makes me wonder why we’ve never been approached for a new reality spinoff, “The Real Pastor’s Wives of the Protestant church”…probably not enough scandal for prime time but I could see it getting a decent day-time rating. “This week on RPWPC, Jenn worries she wont get all the baking done in time for community group, while Sara teaches her adorable homeschool children how to churn their own butter, and Shaena’s 3 year old gets kicked out of Christian school.”

Anyway…

Since the networks don’t seem interested in airing the reality of being a pastor’s wife can I just tell you one thing I’ve learned about your pastor’s wife? Sure, I’ve learned other things, but this one is super important.

YOUR PASTOR’S WIFE NEEDS A HUG!!

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Your senior pastor’s wife probably needs 2.

Her job, if you want to call it that, is sort of hard.

1. She has to be nice all the time. I get that this is easier for some than it is for me, but have you ever tried being nice ALL the time? Of course no one really expects her to be nice all the time, she isn’t Jesus, but believe me she’s going to hear about when she is not. If your pastor’s wife is just the sweetest woman you’ve ever met, go give her a hug! She ain’t being fake, God is showing Himself strong on her behalf!

2. She has to share her husband. Um hello! Your pastor’s wife married your pastor because she thought he was even more awesome than you do! And now she willingly & sacrificially shares his time and talents with you. And she is happy to do it! In fact, she is super blessed knowing that her husband is a blessing to you! If you are blessed by your pastor’s ministry, go give his wife a hug!

Let each of you look not only to his own interest, but also to the interest of others. Phil 2:4

3. Some people expect more out of her than Jesus does. God is satisfied with her rockin’ heart that loves Him and the church…it’s not always enough for the rest of the congregation (1 Sam 16:7). And she has to filter through their expectations too. If your pastor’s wife is confidently committed to pleasing God and doing what he has called her to do, even when it means she wont please man (Gal 1:10), go give her a hug.

4. Hugs are free. Encouragement will cost you nothing to give and just might be the most valuable thing you possess! Give it away! Give it all. Give it radically. Give it to people you aren’t even sure need it, like your pastors wife! Go on, write her a note, shoot her a text, GIVE HER A HUG! Tell her all the things she’s told you. Remind her how God is using her to change your church, your city, and your home. Tell her you’re behind her and you support her in whatever God calls her to do. Cheer her on when she is blessed and don’t judge her when you realize she is real woman who needs Jesus too. Tell her you are thankful she is willing to stand at the front lines alongside her husband and let the darts fall where they will. Let her know how much you appreciate her.

“God is patient with leaders. You ought to be as well.” Pastor Skip Heitzig

My pastor’s wife Lenya Heitzig is a rockstar of a woman. Lenya, consider yourself hugged! Thanks for all you do to serve Calvary Albuquerque. For the sacrifices you are sure to have made throughout your many years of ministry. And for the love and encouragement you give. Thank you for your faithfulness to the word of God and your eagerness to teach the treasures you’ve uncovered!

Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in word and doctrine. 1 Tim 5:17

(Btw- Lenya leads an awesome ministry called She ministries. You’ll want to click that link because you are just in time to register for an incredible Bible study in 1 John held online or live at Calvary Abq . It starts next Tues Sept 10, so register today. Yay!!)

Well there you have it ladies, I challenge you all to hug your pastor’s wife this week. See if she doesn’t shine just a little brighter next Sunday.

Warning: encouragement is contagious. Start giving it freely and you just might change the world friends!

Xoxo,

Shaena

What are some things you love about your pastor’s wife? Leave a hug here!

Embracing the “mom cut”

Beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised

Proverbs 31:30

I cut my hair.

You know what they say, “as the kids get older, the hair gets shorter”. I don’t actually know of anyone that says that, but it seems like something “they” would say. Who the heck are “they” anyway?

Anyway, I did it. I got the mom cut. I’d like to think it’s more of a Katie Holmes/ Victoria Beckham kind of mom cut, but a mom cut nonetheless. It has taken a little getting used to it as I first had to mourn my long shampoo model locks that were mostly in my head rather than on it. They were really painful to loose.

Why do people make such a big deal about the mom cut anyway? It’s as if there is this unspoken fear that the people who see moms in the grocery store will know that they are moms and not young hipsters by their haircut. OH THE AGONY. As if that magical flowing hair would have hidden their children who are undoubtedly with them in that store! Or okay, not hidden them…but at the very least the long hair says “she’s cool, she’s like a young, hip, mom”. And every mom wants to be a cool mom right?

Eh, cool is overrated. Motherhood is not. When my kids were babies I wore their barf like a badge of honor. Later… and still, I wear bags under my eyes to remind the world that I get less sleep than my kid-less counterparts. And now, I will proudly rock a mom cut or any other tell that screams, “she’s a mom people”.

I love being a mom. I love being their mom. They, my two little gems, are my heritage, my gift of grace, and my proudest achievements. They tell the world that I have labored, and loved, and live a rich life alongside two perfectly imperfect little people.

Maybe it took cutting off my hair to realize being a mom isn’t about giving up youth and beauty; although there is a fair amount of that. It’s about labor, and love, and the legacy you leave behind.

I’m embracing the mom-cut ya’ll, but more than that… I’m embracing the gift of being a mom.

Look out mom jeans and t-shirts with my kids face on them; here I come! God, please no!!!!

Praying for you moms especially this week. That you will learn to love each wrinkle on your forehead, stretchmark on your stomach, and every other little tell that lets the world know how richly you’ve been blessed!

And for those of you who aren’t moms but made it to the very end, GO YOU! And let me encourage you too. Fully embrace the season you are in! Be sure to give as much, if not more, attention to your character as you would your haircuts. Whether you ever rock a mom cut or not, beauty is fleeting, oh girls, but a woman of godly character can change the world.

Xoxo

S

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My life out loud

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I’ve been meaning to tell you a story.

I love stories.

I collect them like little jars in my heart. Each one filled with a secret, a memory, a treasure, a lesson, and a gift. I’ve been wanting to share one of those stories with you, because I hope it will challenge you to collect stories of your own and share them with others. And that in doing so, you’d come to realize the richness of our lives is preserved through our stories.

My story is this:

I grew up in an ordinary home, in an ordinary town. I went to an ordinary school. Lived in an ordinary house and ate ordinary food. I honestly don’t remember most of my childhood except for it was pretty ordinarily wonderful. Fascinating, I know.

In high school and the start of college I did the ordinary thing, with the usual amount of compromise, and suffered the ordinary amount of regret.

And then, something extraordinary happened.

I met a Christian. Just an ordinary Christian, from an ordinary town, who ate ordinary food, but lived an extraordinary life of faith and dependence on an extraordinary God. And he lived that life out loud.

And because of that, I heard Him, and I saw Him, and I knew Him.

And I realized that we were never meant to be ordinary, but image-bearers of an extraordinary God.

Genesis 1:27 God created man in His own image. In the image of God He created Him; male and female He created them.

And when we realize this, and purpose to live our lives out loud, the people we meet along the way hear Him, and they see Him, and they can know Him. And that knowledge makes them image-bearers too. And lives that were once ordinary become extraordinary.

We all have the extraordinary coded within us, waiting to be released. Jean Houston

My story is simple: just an ordinary girl who met an extraordinary God. And everything: my husband, my children… my stories… are evidence of Him. And those stories are catalyst to a life that is lived out loud.

So what’s your story? Would you be so bold as to live your faith out loud so that others might see, and hear, and proclaim, that our God is extraordinary!

Praying for you sweet friends.

xoxo,

S

5 Truths about Mentorship for young Christian women

So, you think you need a mentor?

You’ve read Titus 2 (older women teaching younger women), you know where you fit in the model, and you’ve decided a mentor is just the thing you need!

Awesome.

You’re probably right.

Actually, you’ve just joined an ever growing population of women who are ready to admit there are still scores of things that we don’t know. (It took me longer than most people, so, if you are coming late to the game I totally know your pain. )

Congratulations! Admittance is always the first step.

Now here are 5 truths about mentorship that will help you on your way!

  1. Mentors are easier to find than you think! Widen your scope just a smidge. You may not find a once a week coffee with the author of your favorite book or Bible study. But, I am willing to bet there is an awesome woman, filled with wisdom and truth (THAT YOU DON’T HAVE); and she’d willingly pass it on to you! The truth is, there are WILLING mentor’s everywhere! In every church, in every city, in every school, on every computer… everywhere! Seriously girl, if you can’t find a mentor, it’s because you aren’t looking hard enough, or because your scope is too small. I know that sounds harsh so let me be your cheerleader and say, you can do it!!! I believe in you!
  2. If you want a mentor, YOU will have to seek one out. The truth is, your mentor is probably not out looking for a new protégé. Why not? Because they are busy being awesome at the very thing you’d like them to mentor you in. So, if you want to be mentored, you’re going to have to learn the art of hustling (the Jon Acuff kind, not the other kind…awkward). Put yourself out there. Really, the worst thing they can say is no, and I promise that really isn’t as bad as it sounds.
  3. You need clear expectations. I wouldn’t expect your mentor to have a 6 week mentorship 101 class outlined for you. I’m not saying it can’t happen, but it shouldn’t be an expectation. The gift your mentor gives to you is time, wisdom, and experience. What you do with that is in large part up to you. It’s a great idea to have your expectations outlined before approaching a perspective mentor so you both know if what they can commit to is actually what you are looking for.
  4. Expect to have multiple mentors. Insist on it! Even if you found a woman that is just the epitome of all that you want to be, remember that she is not you! And you are not her. Don’t try to be something you are not. God made you special! If you need a one-person example to imitate, look to Jesus. He’s got it all. I feel so blessed by the many women who have poured into my life. Women who have helped shape who I am as a mom, homemaker, wife, speaker, writer, and friend. Each of them make me more like Christ… He is the ultimate mentor!
  5. You need to be an awesome student. Should you get a mentor? Yes. Get several. But understand this: the quality of your mentor will not affect the quality of your ministry unless you are willing to put in the heart work. The buck starts and stops with you young Padawon. Prove you want to grow, by being an awesome student: show up on time, be prepared, and find creative ways to use the knowledge and insight you gain.

There is it ladies: 5 truths about mentorship that’ll get you on your way! Now go prepare your big ask! YOU CAN DO IT!!

Here’s a great blog on women mentoring women! Thanks Bianca, I’ve carried some of your thoughts with me for a couple weeks now. Which is especially weird because I can’t even remember what I ate for dinner. Anyway, hope you guys like it too!

Praying for you this week. That the Lord would reveal the desires of your heart and you would believe He is able to do more than you ask or think!

Xoxo

S

Amazing Grace

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“You’re like God”.

His words took my breath away.

I had heard of kids saying similar things, but this was my kid and, well…quite frankly, he knew better. He had to be confused…or maybe I misled him. Man, did I ever mislead him!

My mind flooded with memories of all the mistakes I’d made in his short life. The time when I fed him sweets and then forgot to brush his teeth, and the time when I forgot to feed him at all. The numerous times he’d seen me lose my temper, raise my voice, or storm out frustrated.

He’d seen me rude.

He’d seen me impatient.

He’d seen me unkind.

Unloving.

Unforgiving.

He had to know I was imperfect in every way.

And I was his, “like God”?

In that moment, it was hard to imagine a less suitable comparison. This picture of an imperfect God my son had painted over a lifetime living with an imperfect mom had to be corrected. Still saturated from the flood of emotional memories, and barely audible,  my own voice somehow managed to reply simply:

“How so, babe?”

His answer challenged me.

“Well, you always love me. Even when I sometimes don’t listen, or I throw a fit. Or even if I have to go to time out, you always love me the same. That means you are like God. That’s the same as like he love’s me”.  And suddenly I understood.

Grace.

Favor unearned, undeserved, and inexplicable apart from a holy God.

It was grace.

My son wasn’t confused, nor was he misled into thinking his mommy was something more than what she was. He understood God was perfect and he wasn’t trying to create Him in my image the way I’d sometimes done when I loved something. To him, I am “like God”, because I am covered in grace.

And my love for my children is just a reflection.

If you do everything else wrong sweet mommas, do this right. Teach your children about grace. Teach them that it was by grace that they are saved (Eph 2:8-9), and that their confidence is found in it (2 Cor 1:12).  Tell them God is able to make all grace abound in them, that always having all sufficiency in everything, they will have an abundance of grace for every good thing they do (2 Cor 9:8). Teach them grace was given to each of us (Eph 4:7), that we are justified by it (Titus 3:7), and stewards of it (1 Peter 4:10).

Look, I know you have a lot of things you need to teach them. Teach them those things too! But teach them to value grace above those things. And if you do that, precious friends, your children wont just receive grace, they will distribute it.

And THAT has the power to change the world.

Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord” 1 Peter 1:2

Did this blog encourage you? Why not share it with a friend? And while you are here, you might also enjoy, Surviving Elly’s World.

Praying for you! That you will walk in grace, and that the world will know from where your confidence comes!

A New Chapter

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It’s been 2 years.

2 years since moving to Arizona.

2 years of ministry and life that changed the way we do ministry and life.

2 years of blood, sweat, and tears poured out so that Christ would be proclaimed and hearts would be ignited by the power of the gospel.

2 years of struggle, disappointment, disillusionment, and the kind of heartache that leaves you sobbing on the floor crying out for mercy.

Honestly, I have never experienced the fullness of God’s grace the way I have here. God has shown Himself strong on my behalf an innumerable amount of times, and in ways that only He is able.

2 years of laughter, joy, excitement, and resurgence while I watched God move in unimaginable ways.

My heart has overflowed with happiness, excitement, and joy unspeakable! I have been challenged, tested, broken, and in a word, transformed.

It’s been 2 years of discovering who I am in Christ and realizing we are all just recipients of great grace, privileged to be a part of God’s work no matter where it takes us. 

I can’t believe it’s only been 2 years.

2 years is just a breath. For this season, it’s been a lifetime.

After 2 years living in Arizona, our time here is ending… our family is going home.

It’s really exciting, and a little scary, but we are transitioning from Chandler back to our hometown in Albuquerque, NM.

This is a bittersweet transition.

We are excited.

Of course we are excited. We love Pastor Skip and Lenya and have remained connected to Calvary of Albuquerque during our time here. Our hearts beat in sync with them and we are just excited about all the crazy adventures up ahead. This is a homecoming. And we look forward to living and serving with our family again. 

But we are leaving a family here too. And it’s hard… really hard. The worst actually.

We can’t even begin to express the depth of gratitude for the people we have served with here in Arizona. They are truly some of the finest, most loving, sacrificing, faith-filled, and loyal people we have ever known. It was a display of grace that we were able to know them, never mind serve alongside them. They protected Nick and I from darts of criticism, held our hands while we wept, and lifted our eyes to point us to Christ. They watched our kids… a lot, joined us for meals, and filled our home with laughter and dancing… you know we danced! Nick and I marvel that we were able to be part of such a creative, passionate, and distinguished community. Seriously… you guys are the bomb. We will miss this place, this team, and the people here.

It’s funny how life’s course can change so unexpectedly. My husband preached an awesome message yesterday that is definitely worth your time listening (here). In it, he made this point:

The puzzle pieces of our lives don’t always seem to fit into our plan. But God is masterfully connecting each piece to make you look more like Jesus.

After 2 years, I am confident in this: 

In all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

 

Thank you for your support, love, and encouragement. Excited for a new chapter.

My heart is not the boss of me.

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FICKLE: likely to change, especially due to caprice, irresolution, or instability; casually changeable: fickle weather (Dictionary.com)

 

Yesterday I realized something very important about myself.

My heart is fickle.

Look, this isn’t always a bad thing. It usually means when I get upset about something, it is rarely for very long… that’s really good right? (Rationalization is an awesome form of denial)

My heart is fickle.

One day I want to climb the tallest mountain and scream out for revival and then go door to door splashing people in the face with water until they wake up to the reality that they are on a merry go round going no where! (Side note: I don’t recommend splashing ANYONE in the face with water as a form of evangelism or…pretty much… ever.)

And the next day, I don’t even want to go outside.

My heart is fickle.

Before you start handing out the Zoloft samples (which btw- I’d have no problem taking if I thought it would help), let me reassure you, I am not depressed… or bipolar… my heart is just fickle.

Which is why, my heart is not the boss of me!

 “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure…who can understand it” Jeremiah 17:9

When I let my heart do the driving, my life becomes a scattered mess of confusing emotions that can go from 0-60 and then back again in no time at all.

That is why I let God direct my steps and not my heart!

My heart is fickle, but God never changes!

“I the LORD do not change!” Malachi 3:6

Um…can I get an AMEN!! He never changes!

What that means for you and me is this:

  • When my heart is fickle, bouncing from being broken, to bewildered, and then absolutely thrilled by what He has called me to do- His heart remains the exact same.
  • When nothing around me is constant or sure, He never changes. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” Hebrews 13:8.
    • His love never changes
    • His mercy never changes
    • His goodness never changes
    • His ability to provide never changes
    • And… His will for my life never changes!!!

My heart might be fickle, but my God is constant.

An encouragement for girls like me, with fickle hearts that make life a little unpredictable: Your heart is not the boss of you, God is. No matter what else changes around you, and no matter how you feel about those changes, God in all His greatness will never change. Don’t follow your heart, follow Jesus.

 Praying for you, that you’d have steady hearts that rest in a God who never changes. 

 What about you, is your heart fickle? How do you encourage girls like you? Leave a comment.

 

The worst advice I’ve ever given…

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HOW TO MAKE LEMONS OUT OF LEMONADE:

Ingredients:

Lemonade.

People give plenty of advice on what to do when life hands you lemons (you know, the crap-scented parts of life that no one ever talks about and bloggers love to blog about?). But there seems to be a lack of advice on what to do when life hands you lemonade… and YES THAT HAPPENS! Sometimes, life is good, people are happy, bank accounts are full-ish, bills are paid, love is in the air, people are makin’ babies… though not necessarily all at the same time. Sometimes, life hands us blessings that are sweet, refreshing, and satisfying like a tall glass of lemonade.

And that is really what we are trying to avoid here.

To be sure your lemonade turns into a good sour lemon follow these four easy steps:

1. Ignore it. This is really the quickest way to turn lemonade into a lemon. Simply ignore it. When life hands you lemonade, you let someone else drink that tall glass of happy. You, my friend, are committed to the process of being miserable!! Wipe that smile off your face, WE ARE MAKING LEMONS PEOPLE!!!

EXAMPLE: You are feeling really discouraged when out of the blue a friend calls and invites you to go out for coffee. YOU SAY, NO!! Now hang up the phone and continue feeling sorry for yourself because no one understands you.

2. Reject it. Never let anything that might threaten your unhappiness fill your glass. “Get that junk out yo face!!”

EXAMPLE: You just had a baby/ got a promotion/ moved to an exciting new city/ got married… these are all horribly sweet things that can easily be made into lemons with a little rejection.

3. Endure it. You don’t want to be rude and just walk away? Or maybe that lemonade just came to you and it was completely out of your control. Not to worry, you can still make a lemon out of it by refusing to enjoy it. Try telling yourself things like, “lemonade will make you fat” and “sugar rots your teeth”. That’s usually a great way to turn something sweet into something sour. Key here is really never living in the moment. Keep your thoughts always focused on something you lost or something you have not yet attained and you’ll be sure to endure but never enjoy any blessing that comes your way.

EXAMPLE: You have a great job and a beautiful family, but your neighbor has a better paying job and the freedom to move around. Focus on him.

4.Hog it. This is surefire yet subtle way to make a super sour lemon out of life’s lemonade. Drink it all! Do it fast or store it somewhere secret where only you can get to it, but whatever you do DON’T SHARE IT. I guarantee that once refreshing drink will be sour lemon in no time. If you hide your lemonade long enough it might even start to rot!! Yay! BONUS!!

Example: Tommy has two beach balls and Sally has none. Tommy laughs at Sally and walks away with two beach balls and no friends.

There it is, 4 easy ways to make lemons out of lemonade.

This recipe can easily be converted for people who’d like to make the most of life’s blessings by following the above steps in reverse order.

When life hands you lemonade:

Recognize it.

Receive it.

Enjoy it.

And Share it.

But what fun would that be?

What about you? Ever made a lemon out of lemonade? How do you avoid doing it?

Taste and See that the Lord is good! Psalm 34:8

Praying for you today, that your cup will overflow with sweet blessings.

 

ECHO

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I love fireworks.

I love lying on blankets next to my husband and my kids, watching the fireworks burst with color and fill the empty sky. Few other things can get us outside in Phoenix in July. Fireworks are special.

Last night was exceptional. The four of us snuggling together surrounded by thousands, and yet completely alone. Getting caught sneaking peaks at the kids watching the display with wonder and amusement in their eyes.  Even my son, who spent the majority of the night complaining and pretending not to be interested, was eventually sucked in by the excitement of it all. I saw a glimpse of that same amusement in my grown husband as I watched him looking on knowingly, expectantly, and with anticipation for each new explosion of color.

I probably watched the three of them as much as I watched the actual show. And all the while watching, I could help but think:

Lord, would you just amaze us one more time?

Not because we’ve earned it, certainly not because we deserve it, and maybe because we could never earn it or deserve it.

Would you just surprise us?

Could you just do the things that only You can do so that this whole city will look to the heavens with the same wonder and amazement that a child watching fireworks has.

Lord, would you bring revival?

Resurrect the hearts of men and women who have fallen asleep or just forgotten that you are God and there is no other.

REMOVE the obstacles that keep us looking inward with fear and anxiety instead of upward with anticipation and expectancy.

Lord, could we… could I ask forgiveness?

Because You know that there is shame, and it’s conflicting, and it’s blinding. But your grace has set us free!

God, could you just open our eyes?

Restore HOPE, PEACE, and UNITY. And together, make us a city on hill and beacon of Truth for all the world.

Would you just remind us?

That your word is truth, and your promises will endure, and that you have asked only that we be FAITHFUL.

Would you make us FAITH FILLED also?

I echo the cries of countless others who plead:

Pour out your Spirit, rain down your love, surprise us with a greater display of power than we can dream up,

AND Just Come!!

 

I’m really not sure what else there is to say.

I love fireworks.

Heck, I love anything that forces me to look up and remember that greater things are still to come.

2 Corinthians 4:16

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.

Praying for you today. That you would echo the hearts of many and beg God to restore wonder and amazement as we wait knowingly, expectantly, and with anticipation for His kingdom come. And maybe, there are a few of you who will be so bold as to echo a cry of your own.