Experience Health & Joy

Weekly Blog

Relational Wellbeing and Romans 1

Reading time: less than three minutes. I'm convinced I'm right.  I've been testing my theory in congregations over the past couple of years, and I think I can say from my research that I have this figured out. When mutual trust, respect and love prevail, the Church and its workers thrive. And sadly, I find the converse to be true: when relationships are suffering, the Church and its workers are hampered in their work.  Do you agree? Read More

We are Women of Honor…

By Dcs. Heidi Goehmann I have a big mouth.  It's no secret.  I have worked really hard over the years to get it a little bit under control and I'm happy to say that age and experience have brought me to a slightly better place of keeping my foot out of my mouth.  However, dignified is not my strong suit.  I tend towards compassionate, but unfailingly honest. So, 1 Timothy 3:8-11 and I never quite gelled.  Well to be more honest, take a closer look at verse 11 and you'll see my problem: "Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain.  They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience.  And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless.  Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things." Alright, slandering I can stay away from.  I can even be sober-minded most of the time, concerned about things eternal, things that matter; but dignified.  Yikes.  Most Sundays I'm working hard to simply keep it together, as it were. Why does all this matter?  Because in searching the Scriptures, there are many different words for honor, with various definitions.  But the Greek word used here is semna, which can mean dignified, serious, weighty, or deeply respected because it has majesty/because it is worthly of awe*.  So there are some options.  Deeply respected certainly helps us understand it more, particularly in the context of our churches.  Do you know another woman of God in your community that is deeply respected, who you deeply honor?  Do you even know someone who you hold up with a little bit of awe or weight? I do, and I pray you do too!  What a blessing these women of influence are in our lives.  God, in these verses in Timothy invites all of us, each as women of Christ, to be semna, worthy of a bit of awe and honor, and I don't doubt that you probably are to someone around you and you have no idea. You see, I'm not so sure I'm awe inspiring, but I know that God working in me is. Oh yes, He is!  Whether it's in quiet words of Truth or compassion undaunted, or friendship extended, forgiveness proclaimed - God's light shining purposefully through us is always honorable, always worthy of awe, with more than a touch of majesty.  Our semna is always Him, flowing through us. Read More

Spiritual Wellbeing and Acts 26

Reading time: three minutes. I recently suggested that Psalm 103 could be a guiding scripture for Baptismal Wellbeing.  I’m going to continue that thought all the way around the Lutheran Wellness Wheel, this week focusing on Spiritual Wellbeing. Here’s a passage for you: Acts 26:14.  Not even the whole verse.  This is the part I like: “…and I heard a voice saying to me in Hebrew, ‘Saul, Saul’.”  Do you see the part I like? “In the Hebrew language.”  “In the HEBREW LANGUAGE!!!!”  Sorry for shouting, but I want you to hear what hit Saul right between the ears.  No, check that, right IN the ears. God speaks, and He speaks in language we can understand. Read More

Loving on our PKs

Written by:  Dcs. Heidi Goehmann Perhaps one of the more frequent comments I hear from ministry wives is the concern for the impact of ministry life on their children.  Will they still love church?  How can I help them see Church as a Gospel-based place to be?  What about when they mess up?  How do I handle rebellious or even just misbehaving kiddos in the pew? So, here are my thoughts on PKs, or MKs or DCEKs or any Ks...  Love them. Seriously Love them.  This world is a difficult and scary place.  Church work kids are probably more attuned to this than many others because they hear difficult conversations, attend more funerals, see the stress of ministry life, and may have a heart for the unreached very early on in life because it flows out of the family unit.  Kids don't know what to do with all that.  You can be a shelter from all the giant, scary stuff of the world, whether your child is a church work kid or a kid, period.  Loving them means a whole lot of Grace, physical affection, taking time to listen to their stories, and communicating that they are precious little treasurers, God's wonderful masterpieces. Recognize that if you feel lonely, they probably do too. Loneliness seems to be a product of this sojourning life on earth until we get to heaven, but can also be amplified by church work life.  Ever feel left out, longing for loved ones far away, endlessly searching for one close and intimate friend, preferably geographically near?  Your PK probably experiences all these things too, but may not be able to identify its effect on their heart and how it seeps into their adolescent struggle to find out who they are and what's important to them. Don't make them acolyte every time someone doesn't show up.  If they love it, that's one thing, then by all means let them robe up!  But if you get the stink face, let them choose how they would like to serve in the house of the Lord, when it's not a Catechism assignment.  They will connect with something and you can have that expectation that says, "Our family serves.  That's how we roll, kiddos."  Help them sort how that looks for them in particular, though. Let them epically fail at memory work one week. This may be hard for you, because you really want your child to not only be an example for others, but you really do care that they take confirmation and spiritual growth seriously.  I would propose, that your PK (Or any child really), needs to know that Grace will be there when they fall.  This communicates to them that their salvation isn't wrapped up in the successful memory of Luther's Small Catechism.  That it's important and eternally valuable, but Jesus came to forgive us in every weakness and loves us not for our perfection, but rather loves His children as weak and weary individuals, in need of Him. Ask what's hard for them at church. No one loves 100% of every aspect of their church, especially church workers, who know all the dark forty year long arguments and dusty corners of complacency and disgruntlement.  Your child probably has their challenges there too.  Ask them what's hard for them, pray about it.  Talk about Christ's definition of Church as a living and breathing and not-so-perfect Body.  And pray about it with them some more.  Be honest with them - the church isn't perfect - but, boy, is it worth it! Lastly, and this is a big one...if someone comments on their behavior, defend their complete and utterly inarguable right to be a kid. Did you do stupid things when you were a kid, at two years of age and at 16 years of age/  Do you do stupid things now?  Why yes, yes I do.  There are behaviors that are sinful and unacceptable.  There are also behaviors that is not good and require some discipline. There are also behaviors that look more like getting the wiggles out and trying new and exotic hair colors.  All of these behaviors, though, should not be amplified or specialized because our children are church work kids.  They get to be children. They get to be teenagers.  They get to be prodigals.  Just like everyone else. We get to pray them back and hug them tightly and whisper words of understanding and forgiveness in their sweet little (and big) ears.  Dear parent, please give them this opportunity, and dear congregation, please give them a safe place to grow and learn and just be them. Read More

Baptismal Wellbeing and Psalm 103

Reading time: less than three minutes Just in case you haven't had reason to sing to the Lord yet today, here's one: the splash of the water!  God has made you His child by the water and the powerful word of grace, cleansing and renewal of holy baptism, and that's enough reason to rejoice and sing.  Anytime.  Anywhere.  Always. So what do we sing?  How about a song the Lord Himself has written through His inspired servant, David.  How about a song of celebration from the anointed prince of Israel, a great sinner (like me) who knew the joy of sainthood (like me)? Here's a song for you: "Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name" (Psalm 103:1). Read More

Reflections on Wellness after Three Years

Reading time, three minutes. I don’t know everything about church worker wellness, but as I pass my third year anniversary as the Program Director for Grace Place Wellness Ministries, I’ve been thinking that I’ve gained some significant insights along the way. I’ll begin a new eight week cycle around the Lutheran Wellness Wheel next week, but this week, let me offer five words that speak to me about church worker wellness.  I hope you’ll find a quick blessing in here somewhere. #1 Jesus. Everything begins and ends with Jesus, so let’s start here. Read More

Everyday Can’t Be French Press….

Written by:  Dcs. Heidi Goehmann This is the day that the LORD has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24 I heart coffee.  It's a well known fact.  I love it like no ones business.  I'm not the person who drinks copious amounts of it, but I like good coffee every day.  My husband and I were introduced to the world of French pressing several years ago, by an Alton Brown TV spot where he rode around on a motorcycle and made French press coffee out of fresh snow from the Rockies.  Yum! French press coffee is amazing.  The oils in the coffee beans rise to the surface of your cup.  There are more layers of flavor and body in your coffee than you can imagine.  The problem:  it takes a lot of time and a lot of beans.  It's expensive, you have to boil the water to a perfect temperature, so you stand there and watch it;  you steep the beans and come back, but you need to dedicate time to savoring your delicious cup because it because it gets cold fast at said perfect temperature. I love French press coffee, but the reality is, I can't have it everyday. This applies to so much in my life.  I want excitement and adventure.  I want hyperbole.  I want everyday to be fabulous, every meeting to be fantastic, every conversation to be life changing, every moment to "matter."  (Can you say, my own breed of prosperity gospel?) Read More

Ministry Wives Online Fall Bible Study

Stay tuned for our upcoming Ministry Wives Online Fall Bible Study on Philippians 4:8, beginning September 21, 2015. The study will be 8 online sessions and include a Scripture engagement tool each week.  All posts can be easily found at http://ilovemyshepherd.blogspot.com/.  Click on Philippians 4:8 tab… Read More