Author Archives: Brandi Wilson

Stand Firm: Shield of Faith

Written by Brandi Wilson

In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.

Faith has been a bit of a tricky battle for me as of late. I think over the years I have developed the habit of allowing my faith to be built on circumstances rather than being built on trust. That’s a big mistake when things are different than my “plan.” And when I do that, my faith gets shaky. My faith doesn’t resemble the strong faith of a shield but more like the weak plastic shield my children have in their costume basket. My heart needs this shield. A large, metal shield that protects and fends off attackers. A shield built for a real battle that blocks and STOPS FIERY ARROWS. Yes, yes, yes!

My faith, your faith will be tested. You will have seasons where fiery arrows are piercing your faith. I’d like to give you a few suggestions on how you can stand firm when your faith is being tested:

  1.    Connect with Friends in the Faith – There are times when I just need those people in my life who really love me to remind me that God is on my side and loves me. Friends who remind me they are walking beside me helping hold up my shield of faith when maybe it is too “heavy” for me to hold up on my own.
  2.    Reflect on Your “Stones of Remembrance” – Remember when God had the Israelites create a memorial using stones of remembrance so they could remember the way God had delivered them through 40 years of wandering into the Promised Land? We need modern day stones of remembrance to help us remember to continue to stand firm in our faith. Because even when we wander, God still delivers. 
  3.    Believe for Yourself What You Preach and Teach to Those Around You – Often in ministry we believe in God’s power for those sitting in the seats of our churches, for our volunteers, and for the people in our small group. But for some reason we stop believing the power of God in our own lives. Stop and remember that the same power that conquered the grave lives in you.

As leaders, people are always looking to us as their examples. But sometimes we don’t have the energy or courage to admit we’re struggling in our faith. Remember the difference in being authentic and transparent. We should choose to always authentically be ourselves wherever we go. But we need to find a few people we can truly be transparent with. People who walk alongside us on our faith journey, who help hold our shield up and lift us up in prayer.

Praying for those of you who are struggling right now. My heart goes out to you and I pray Jesus raises you strong and mighty.

Unlocked: From Isolation

Hidden right at the end of 1 Chronicles 16 are 12 little words that have the power to change our lives and leadership.

As King David returns the Ark of the Covenant, he walks among the people in the tent assigning leadership roles. He chose some to lead worship. Others were called to play drums or trumpets. Still other men were assigned as security guards. And as David selected others, these powerful words are written, “with the job description: ‘Give thanks to God, for His love never quits!’” (MSG)
 
What if we as pastors’ wives and women in ministry – no matter our various roles – were to fully live out the job description: Give thanks to God, for His love never quits?
 
Are you a women’s ministry director? Your job description is: Give thanks to God, for His love never quits.
A worship leader? Your job description is: Give thanks to God, for His love never quits.
A student pastor’s wife? Your job description is: Give thanks to God, for His love never quits.
A children’s pastor? Your job description is: Give thanks to God, for His love never quits.
A church planter? Your job description is: Give thanks to God, for His love never quits.
A senior pastor’s wife? Your job description is: Give thanks to God, for His love never quits.
 
 
But there are many struggles and challenges that keep us locked up from fully living out that job description. Join us as we launch into a new series called Unlocked as we get unlocked from isolation, fear, hurt, self-doubt, uncertainty, and more so we can live out the job description: Give thanks to God, for His love never quits.
 
 

How To Mess Up Your Vacation

Brandi WilsonStep 1. After an incredibly exhausting season of ministry, plan a perfect time away for your family to a place you are all excited to go. Use your calendar to mark down the days with a big, fat X to build anticipation for your family. Excitement and rest are both high on your list.

Step 2. Become informed that a request has been made of your husband to speak at an event extremely close to the same place you’ll be vacationing during the exact same week.

Step 3. Debate. Debate. Debate. In the end, accept speaking engagement with the thought process that the honorarium your husband will make will actually cover the cost of your perfect vacation (even though you know in your gut you already have money saved to cover the cost of the vacation). A “yes” answer is given. Neglect to think through all the details of your “yes”.

Step 4. Start to get bitter you have to work on your vacation. Begin dreading the prep that the event will require. Get mad at yourself for being dumb and making a work commitment during your family vacation. Fulfill the commitment with a positive attitude but ultimately regret the time it took away from your family vacation.

Obviously, this is a scenario my family has recently walked through. And unfortunately it’s a mistake we have made more than once.

We were replaying this scenario to our neighbors, who also happen to be pastors, when my friend said “Oh, you turned your vacation into a trip!! We always work hard to define if travel is a vacation, a trip or a visit.”

Often times these terms are used interchangeably but clarification of what each represents has been so helpful for my family.

Vacation –  Time away from work with the intention of resting. Rest can look different for each family. For us, we almost always choose the beach for vacation. Some might enjoy sight-seeing, taking tours, trying new restaurants. Whatever feels like rest for you. For us, vacation means a whole lot of nothing. And definitely no work.

Trip –  Traveling somewhere with the understanding work will be included. My husband and I just had the best trip to New York. We both agreed to speak at a conference in New Jersey. The conference was our first commitment, however, we built in some extra down time to explore New York. We had a blast together on our work trip. And even though it was enjoyable, it was different than a vacation because we went on the trip expecting to work.

Visit –  Usually involves going to see people you love. Visits are valuable because they often include extended family or community close to your heart. But even being surrounded by people you love doesn’t necessarily mean rest. 

All of these forms of travel have specific purposes. The key is in clarifying, maintaining and protecting expectations. You can’t go on a “trip” expecting a “vacation.”  You’ll come home frustrated and usually more tired than you were when you left.

What boundaries do you have to protect important family time like vacations?

 

When The Bags Are Packed: When A Staff Member Leaves Your Church

Brandi WilsonIf I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me. Psalms 139:9-10

When I received my blog topic several weeks ago, I remember thinking, “This is going to be an easy one; I can write from a past situation that we’ve walked through and healed from.” I’m not exaggerating when I tell you it wasn’t a few short days later that I learned a beloved staff member of ours was being called away from our church. This wasn’t just any staff member but someone who had become a close and trusted friend. Someone I had dreamed with. Someone who had walked through tough times by our side and celebrated the shared joy of triumphs. Someone I believed I would be telling Cross Point stories with 20 years down the road. Someone I thought I would have the honor of working with and doing life side by side for a very long time. After that description, I am sure you can tell my heart is still a little tender.

One of the reasons I think a staff member leaving your church is so difficult to walk through is because our hearts are so torn. We are seeing someone we love dearly follow God’s call in their life. How exciting is that?! We want everyone in our church to follow God’s call in their lives… except when it is someone we love and God’s call is taking them away from us, right? No, following God’s will in our lives comes without any exceptions. We have to celebrate the departing staff member’s obedience to His call while our hearts are aching. It is a tough situation for our hearts to navigate.

Several years ago Pete and I had the opportunity to have dinner with Rick and Kay Warren along with several other pastors and wives. At one point during the dinner someone asked the Warrens how they handle it when a staff member chooses to leave their church. In her usual manner, Kay had some great words of wisdom. She said in the past she used to take it personally and would be hurt when staff would choose to leave. But over the years she has come to look at the departing staff member’s time at Saddleback as an investment. They were “in training” at Saddleback for some God-ordained purpose, and when they left God had moved them somewhere else to minister. Saddleback was part of their experience and part of their journey.

Truly, they were words of such depth. I loved her attitude and her positivity. I loved that you could tell her words were words spoken from experience, something she’d worked through in her own life and learned how to feel her way through.

Here are a couple of thoughts on transitioning staff members that I have learned:Brandi Wilson b

1) Just because they are being called away from your church doesn’t mean they have been called out of your life. Will the relationship look different? Yes. Mainly because the amount of time you spend together is going to change. But the relationship itself still exists. Who they are to you as a person is still the same. Continuing to be a cheerleader for them as they transition and move on speaks volumes to their hearts. We have to remember even though God has called them away and their next steps are exciting, their hearts are hurting, too. We must always care more about the people than the job they do for the church.

2) Ultimately we must remember we are still serving God’s Church. God is going to call people away. He is also going to bring the people He wants serving on the front lines with us. Anytime I start to feel anxious about transitions and who is going to fill certain roles, I take a second and remind myself: “This is still God’s church; He will provide abundantly more than I can imagine.”

Whatever our former staff member does from here on out, our church is part of her story. Cross Point helped train her up and helped her grow. I have to trust our church shaped her in the way God intended during her time with us. We are honored that God chose us to be a permanent part of her personal story. And that blesses me.

How have you navigated through staff transitions? What important lessons have helped heal your heart.

 

Mixtape: Pleasing vs Trusting

Brandi WilsonOne of the struggles I’ve faced over the years has been my tendency to work very hard at pleasing God, rather than simply trusting Him.

The first time I found myself facing this dilemma was when I was just 21 years old. I was engaged to this cute boy who told me God was calling him to plant a church in rural Kentucky. As I processed what that looked like in my life, I became very aware that in order for me to flourish I had to make sure I was trusting God. I spent a number of years “doing” what I thought I needed to do in order to be a good Christian girl. But then I found myself at a crisis of belief and realized I wasn’t called to please God. I was supposed to trust Him. God’s invitation for me to work with Him led me to act out of faith – to fully trust.

Pleasing God was about working on my sin so I could have an intimate relationship with God. Sounds super spiritual, huh? Sell out, shape up, work on… but it led to self-sufficiency, guilt, hypocrisy and exhaustion. It left me confused and directionless.

I couldn’t go into that church plant because I trusted my future husband. I couldn’t plant a church because I trusted our launch team. I could only move forward by trusting God. What a lesson that was to learn!

Over the years I’ve come to realize that pleasing God is actually a by-product of trusting God.

You must make sure you’re trusting God with your sin. Trusting Him with your doubt. Trusting Him with your finances. Trusting Him with your marriage. Fully living out who God says you are. This path seems far less heroic.

Sometimes it means just stopping and saying , “God I don’t know where You’re going, but I will trust You. I don’t know where You are going to move us, but I will trust You. I don’t know if I’m talented enough, but I will trust You.”

Jesus is your rock and fortress. Lean into this truth as you step out on faith and TRUST Him.

Anyone else face the battle of pleasing God vs. trusting God?

(originally posted October 2, 2012)