TJ Maxx

Up until last year I never understood my mom and grandma’s obsession with the store TJ Maxx. Weekly, they would visit the store, and always find a treasure. They would often bring me home some extraordinary thing they purchased, and it was always great. The funny part was every time they would invite me to go, I’d be willing to go along thinking I would find the same awesome buys they did, yet I would never find anything.

When I think of their frequency of TJ Maxx, it often makes me think of how I used to feel about going to church. I would see my high school boyfriend (now husband) attend church with his family and have a relationship with a God I hardly knew. I had a make believe idea in my head of what church and church people were like, and had a closed heart. At one point I think I even resented this part of his life I didn’t understand.

Like TJ Maxx, I would attend services,  feeling like I was surrounded by people getting everything about God, and me not finding or understanding anything.

Sometimes life is unfair. And sometimes in those unfair moments when we are feeling our lowest our hearts can open the widest… if we are willing. It wasn’t until I saw how important a faith in God was when it seemed like everything in the world had crashed that I realized I needed Him. Seeing others lose people so close to them, and losing the best man I’ve known, my grandpa began to wake me up to what this whole church thing was about. I realized that church isn’t about tradition and following every liturgical rule… its about a real relationship with a God who loves us even when we are at our most distant.

The funny thing about all of this is that I now like my grandma and mom shop at TJ Maxx every week. I see all the treasures they saw before that I was blind to. Back then it wasn’t the right time for me to understand what was before me, and like all things in life it’s all about timing.I also finding myself in the midst of building my relationship with Jesus Christ which is something I will work on everyday for the rest of my life. I see the treasure in worshiping Him at church and talking about a faith that I was also blind to before. Heck, I even married a youth pastor and am a teacher in a Christian school.. something back then would have been a future I never saw coming… yet feel so blessed that it’s the way life has worked out.

If you feel like you don’t understand the treasure of church or a relationship with Christ.. its OK. Someday I pray that whatever is closing your heart opens so widely and that you come to know that there is a God that loves you more than a love we can ever understand. A God who sent his only son on this Good Friday to die on a cross for us.

I leave you wondering what is/was your TJ Maxx story? It’s funny how life works out, isn’t it?

 

 

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It’s OK To Love Two Things

It’s OK to love two things at the same time.

Let this sink in for a moment.

Last August, I began my career at a school affiliated with the Church I have attended for a long time. It is such a blessing to serve in a place that I love, was married in and have grown strong in my faith in. I wake up in the morning excited to come to my job and have the ability to not only teach the traditional school stuff, but get to share God’s love with my students.

Last August, I began a journey with my husband in his career as a youth pastor. Just as God does, he threw us a curve ball, because he always knows what the best plan is. Through my husband’s job we would be serving in a new church.

Now for those not working in the ministry, you may be wondering what’s the big deal? Unfortunately, it can be hurtful to those in one place of worship if you are not devoting all of your faith walk in one place. I understand this. I invite those who feel this way to have an open heart and realize that it is ok.

If we are on fire for God, it should be ok to serve in multiple places because we serve the same God, and that is amazing. Where and when you physically sit on Sunday should not matter, but rather where your heart is sitting.

My job as a Christian school teacher, and wife in the ministry at different churches is a tough one, but also extremely rewarding. It is something that is on my heart daily. Sometimes it feels like church all the time, and I know that it is ok. I know that my heart is to serve the Lord and if I can do that in more than one place, all I can say is praise be to God.

I urge you to reflect on the statement “It’s Ok to Love Two Things” Think about this and how it relates to your life. For you it may not be in the ministry but in something else.

Whatever you do know that it is ok.

And to that I all I can say is Amen.

What My Husband’s Job Description Didn’t Tell Me.. Confessions Of a Youth Pastor’s Wife

I’ll never forget the moment Brad got the call. We stood in our kitchen jumping up and down like 5 year olds on Christmas morning, I being the emotional one that I am, cried and jumped at the same time. I remember the moments past, holding him both in disbelief of the opportunity that lied ahead.

I’ll never forget the moment when Brad got the call, and this time I don’t mean the type on the phone. I always knew Brad would someday end up as a youth leader in a church, I just didn’t know how or when. Last August, those questions were answered.

Flash forward 7 months, I sit here with a new appreciation of a career I knew little about before. Being a youth pastor is a 24/7 job, and many do not realize all that the job entails. Many wonder what do they do during the day? My answer to that, work! I’ve come to realize that to be a youth pastor you wear many hats; a spiritual leader, counselor, church leader, organizer, listener, flash mobber, the list goes on.

So why write a blog post about being their wife? Coming home from a youth pastor’s conference this weekend, I realized that there is a community of youth pastor’s wives out there who share the same joy, struggle, work, and dedication, yet feel like we are the only ones sometimes. This is my opportunity to share my heart not only to relate to spouses in the ministry, but to give an appreciation of the lives of youth workers, and raise awareness for things that effect our teens. I wish when my husband became a youth pastor someone was there to mentor me, and share the description of what my job description was in the ministry.

I often laugh saying that churches have it right. In any ministry role that hires someone who is married, the church is getting 2 for the price of 1! I know I am not alone in saying that youth pastor wives spend just as much time planning, going to church and youth events, mentoring kids, and sharing various other talents as their pastor spouse. Is this something to complain about? Absolutely not. But can it be stressful, and difficult sometimes? Sure. This is why I hope to reach the many like myself who share this unique role.

As a teacher, when I say the phrase “my kids” I am referring to my students which mean the world to me. As I embark on this journey in the ministry I now have two meanings to this phrase, my second being our youth group family, and I wouldn’t change that for the world.

I leave you wondering what other youth pastor wives have gone through, and how they have managed this lifestyle. I hope that many can share their story with me, and I someday can share it with others. Please send me your story to jamielynnlewis11@yahoo.com, and maybe this community will have our voices and stories heard to inspire others.

In His Service,

Jamie Lewisheart