I read Mary DeMuth’s final book, Life in Defiance, in the Defiance Texas Trilogy in under 24 hours. It is a murder mystery, and about 10 times throughout the series, I was sure of “who done it”. The story line was very compelling, causing me to really immerse myself into the environment of Defiance.
Set against the backdrop of Defiance, Texas, book three reflects a choice we all face: reveal our secrets or bury them forever … and live with the consequences. .
What I really liked about this final book was that the struggles Ouisie Pepper dealt with are ones we all face. I identified with this Pastor’s wife on many levels. I am also a Pastor’s wife. My husband doesn’t beat me up, (he beats me at Rock Band, but that’s about it) but thinking I need to “maintain an image for the good of all” is something I deal with all the time. I am constantly reminding myself to be myself and not worry about what people think about my words and choices.
I love that Mary knows how to piece a story together, weaving mystery and intrigue with deep life lessons that challenge my soul. It’s a great read, and I highly recommend the series to anyone who loves a great story and has the courage to face the secrets buried in their own life.
From the cover:
In a town she personifies, Ouisie Pepper wrestles with her own defiance. Desperate to become the wife and mother her husband Hap demands, Ouisie pours over a simple book about womanhood, constantly falling short, but determined to improve. Through all that self-improvement, Ouisie carries a terrible secret: she knows who killed Daisy Chance. As her children inch closer to uncovering the killer’s identity and Hap’s rages roar louder and become increasingly violent, Ouisie has to make a decision. Will she protect her children by telling her secret? Or will Hap’s violence silence them all?
Whitney had birthday money from Grandma to spend, and Maddie had money left on gift cards from Christmas burning a hole in her pocket, so we took advantage of their day off of school, and took them to the mall yesterday
I had been dragging my feet about it for days, and one of the girls said to me, “Mom, why do you hate the mall so much?” Since we spent a long time there yesterday, I had plenty of time to take some mental notes. Here are just 10 reasons I hate the mall:
Everywhere I walk I am accosted by someone trying to spray me with stuff I am allergic to.
Breathing recycled air is gross.
The kiddie train at our mall always tries to run over crowds of people
Mall pretzels are way overpriced, and they charge you for water, and the water is more than pop, so you end up getting your kids the pop you didn’t want them to have.
Mall creepers. These are people who don’t work at the mall, but seem to be there every time I am there. I make up stories in my head about how sad their lives must be to end up at the mall all the time, then I am depressed while breathing in recycled air. This gives me a headache.
Every store I take my girls in has loud, blaring music that makes my headache worse. Then a sweet sales girl starts shouting in my face descriptions of all the amazing items that are 1/2 price today only, and I better hurry up and grab them before they are gone.
I have 3 girls with remarkably different interests. While one is fully engaged in one store, the other 2 are rolling their eyes and bolting for the exit. Yesterday I set the alarm off at Aeropostale twice, trying to grab Isabelle before she left the store, causing the sweet sales girls to glare at me, and I think the other was about to tackle me.
I realize that I don’t have money to buy what I want or what the girls really want. I have to tell myself and them “No” a hundred times.
Unique to my situation, people will stop Rob without noticing he has his family with him, and delve into deep discussions of theological nature. This is always really odd and uncomfortable for the rest of us who are just there to eat a really expensive pretzel.
I simply hate shopping. With a passion.
So, What about you? Are you a mall lover or hater, or some place in-between?
Occupation: Stay at home Mom, but I have picked up a few babysitting and puppy sitting jobs in the neighborhood to make ends meet. I am the only mom that stays home in my neighborhood, so it works out well for me!
Rob and I attended the same church growing up. When I was 12 and he was 15, he became good friends with my older brothers. It was love at first sight for both of us. We were best friends first, but started dating when I was 16 and he was 19. We were married when I was 19. I have never regretted being married so young.
How long have you been a PW?
16 years- Rob started working at GCC right out of college. I followed him here after we got married.
What is something you wish church members knew or understood about you (or your family)? We love to see GCC friends in public and say hi, but my children get confused when people start crying and telling their dad their problems at the mall or the McDonald’s play area.
What is your favorite way to partner with your husband in ministry? I love hands-on ministry in India or at Son City Kids, our ministry to the children of inner-city South Bend.
What's the hardest thing about being a PW? Making and maintaining friendships.
What are some of the perks of being married to a pastor? Of course the very spiritual answer would be “all the changed lives” , but other pastor’s wives know that already soo…
Traveling with him to India and seeing the Taj Mahal.
Conferences that are located in WARM places during the winter.
I got to eat lunch sitting next to President Jimmy Carter and his wife Roslyn once. That was a pretty big perk.
In what ways would you still like to grow in your role as a PW? I love the age and stage our children are at right now, but it really limits my “hands-on” time for ministry. I am really looking forward to the day when I can travel to India more often with Rob, not just to see exotic things like the Taj Mahal, but to serve women and children of the third world. I look forward to the day when I can invest more of my life there.
How do you help your kids deal with the pressures of being pastor's kids? My kids are pretty fortunate to be raised in such an amazing community and church. I rarely see our church members treating our children any differently than the other children at our church. Our senior pastor, Dr. Mark Beeson and his wife Sheila paved the way for us in the way they raised their children in this same community and church. They did not allow their children to have special privileges or use the term P.K. with them. Neither do we.
What is the most meaningful thing you do to support your husband? Being a dutiful housewife (sarcasm intended). I am not Suzie Home-maker, but I do my best to maintain our household at a level that brings peace and happiness to all. This is really hard considering I have rheumatoid arthritis and have three extrememly spirited little girls.
Do you have any PW mentors? I sure do.
Gail MacDonald has been an amazing friend and mentor to me in many ways. She is a fountain of wisdom, and she speaks to the deepest part of me.
Sheila Beeson, our senior pastor’s wife is an amazing wife and mother to her grown children. She and Mark did so many things right in raising their kids, I just want to be like her.
What's playing on your iPod? I don’t have an iPod, but I do have a Zune, which was supposed to be my Christmas present. (I accidentally opened it because the package had my name on it.)
I just downloaded Handel's Messiah. It's a huge part of my personal Christmas tradition every year. The girls don't appreciate it, so I listen with my headphones.
Other stuff that's on it:
John Denver (don't laugh)
Your husband is a pastor at a church with four weekend services (2 on Saturday and 2 on Sunday), how do you manage that weekend schedule?The girls and I usually attend Saturday nights when Rob is on. It's easier for me to get them ready in the evening than the morning. I used to attend several services before we had kids. I really wish I still could, but with 3 kids, it's just too much.
Have you encountered any "expectations" in that regard?Nope, none whatsoever.
How do you like to spend your husband's day off? Sleeping in, going out to breakfast together if the girls are at school, hanging around home, going hiking, having family pizza/movie night so I don’t have to cook.
I don’t always like women very much. Women can be nasty. The jobs I have kept that have all women on staff are the hardest jobs I have had. Women have this tendency to rip one another apart. I suppose gossip and slander are our ways of making ourselves feel better about our own insecurities.
A few months ago I had the opportunity be on a panel for a Pastor's Wife Q&A. The attendees were all women who had the same thing in common. They were all Pastors’ wives. They were all at different ages and stages of life, but their questions had an uncanny theme. The thing they asked most about was how to deal with criticism and the bitterness that follows.
Pastor’s wife or not, all women deal with feelings of bitterness when they are betrayed by a friend or criticized unfairly by someone they care about. Here are some things I have done to deal with these issues:
· Never fight back in the moment. You will say things you regret.
· Try to see the hurt the other person is talking through.
· Ask yourself if there is even a small amount of truth to what they are saying.
· Don’t feed the fire of your insecurities by brooding over these things in your mind
· Focus on others. A pity-party will only bring you down more.
· Keep a sense of humor. Most of what people find to be critical about is pretty funny.
· Wait till you are home or with your spouse to laugh. Laughing at them in the moment is almost as bad as fighting back in the moment.
· Remember that Jesus was criticized and betrayed by the ones He loved the most. He sees. He cares.
Psalm 56:8 You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.
We took Maddie to the mall last night for a Mall Extravaganza Birthday Party. Rob and I do not know where Maddie got her love for the mall, since we both detest shopping there, but that is what she really wanted to do for her birthday, so that’s what we did.
We had 5 excited little girls with us. At one point we were crammed with 35 other customers into a store the size of my walk in closet, trying to keep track of all 5. Isabelle, our 3 year old was with us, so every other sentence out of my mouth was, "Where’s Belle?…Anyone seen Isabelle?" I had to follow a trail of things she had knocked off the shelves, then I found her.
Then it happened. There was Rob locked in a conversation with an emotional woman. I wasn’t surprised. It happens all the time. Someone sees their pastor, then feels the need to tell him the 100 things she/he has always wanted to say to him but never had the chance. I was angered by the inappropriateness of the situation. It’s our daughter’s 9th birthday party….Get a clue! I thought to myself.
What even made me more mad was that when Rob introduced me to her, she simply said, "Oh." and looked away and stopped talking.
I was thinking about this last night as I was going to bed, and the song, People are Strange by the Doors kept going through my head. I got a good laugh, and went to bed.
But then this morning when I was thinking about it, I felt sorry for that woman. I felt bad for her that her emotions were so close to the surface, that the first available "compassionate" person in her eyes bore the brunt of her emotions and problems.
I’m learning to deal with people like this. I just worry about my kids. They think it’s normal for grown women to display this kind of emotion when they see their dad. Is this going to be ok for them? I hope they will learn compassion early , as I am learning it late!
My life can sway from absolutely serious to absolutely hilarious in a matter of seconds. I guess that’s what you get when you work with PEOPLE. People are wonderful. God made people. Rob and I are committed to investing the rest of our lives into building up people so they will become fully devoted followers of Christ. So, to say the least, we really like people. But, the flip side of that is the mess people bring with them. I thought I’d share a few funnies.
So here are the top 10 funniest moments I remember from the past 15 years of ministry at Granger Community Church:
10. At our garage sale this summer, a frantic woman jumped out of her car and stalked right up to Rob, who was sitting in our garage, and said angrily, "Do you do weddings here or what?"
9. While working at the register at Pages in Time, I overheard a woman and her friend talking about what a terrible place GCC was, and how they would never, ever send their children there because GCC does not sing hymns. When she stepped up to my register, I introduced myself as a pastor’s wife from GCC. I was glad to meet her and happy to answer any questions she had about our church. I seriously wish I had a camera to record the look of horror on her face.
8. A few years back when someone was looking for that youth guy , "Robin Michelle".
7. When a church member saw me through my bedroom window sitting on my bed at my house yelled through my window, "I KNOW YOU ARE IN THERE! I NEED TO TALK TO YOU!"
6. When the girls’ friend came to church with us for the first time and said , "My Mom said it was ok to come to church with you becase it’s not real church anyway."
5. When a woman insisted that she needed weekly one on one time with Rob for prayer and counseling (alone). Rob didn’t go for it of course! 🙂
4. Several times over the years I have had well meaning adults ask me what Rob does with the rest of his time since he only preaches like once a week.
3. When people ask me if Rob is like "that" at home.
2. On Easter Sunday one year I answered the phone and a lady kept yelling, "Tell Rob to meet me at 7-11. My life is falling apart! I just need to touch a Pastor. I just need to touch a Pastor!"
1. Before Rob and I even had kids, a lady asked me how my baby was. "I don’t have a baby." I said. "Yes you do." "No…I don’t." "Yes! You do!" she yelled, and walked away.