the best gift: awake again at 3 a.m.

Why Am I Awake?

Last night, like so many nights of late, I woke up while it was still dark. I quickly ran through the mental checklist. What’s wrong with me? Am I sick? Is it too hot? Too cold? Did I hear something? Is it too bright? Are the kids okay?

For the love………….what time is it?

No, I do not enjoy being awake at 3 am. The days are long and fast paced and sleep is a precious commodity.

Yet, there I was, fully awake. Again.

As I laid there totaling up the hours on one hand that remain until the little people jump into my bed, I found myself super frustrated.

I need rest.

I shouldn’t be conscious right now. Tomorrow is going to be another long day…

And just like all of the recent nights lately my mind began to race. Before I know it I’m consumed with the overwhelming thoughts of all of the lists of every task I haven’t yet accomplished and every thing I feel isn’t going right in my life.

The recent surgery and cancer scare.

The two massively large ugly scars from ‘said surgery’. 

The rental house we live in and the mold we found in it.

The large hole that is now in my wall because of ‘said mold’.

The last 30 workouts I’ve missed.

The horrifically messy garage and how desperately it needs to be cleaned out.

The house 2 states away we need to sell.

The ever pressing decision of whether or not to homeschool.

That one child whose fits might literally send me to the crazy house.

The emails and phone calls I’ve fallen behind on.

The 10 yr. old birthday party I haven’t yet sent invitations out for.

That thing he said that really hurt and the “should have said” self-talk-conversation that I push repeat on again and again. 

The never ending extended family difficulties.

The toilets that needs to be cleaned.

The eight loads of laundry that needs to be folded.

The summer plan I have yet to put in place.

The child I KNOW needed some extra attention earlier today.

Did I remember to lock the front door?

I can feel my heart beating faster as my thoughts seem to pile on top of another. My hands become clenched and my stomach begins to hurt. My mind plays out the worst of every scenario as I fret and worry and wonder about all the what-if’s and coulda-beens and should-haves.

Truth is, in those moments, I fear it’s not enough. What I’m doing just isn’t enough. And there will never come a time when it is enough.

I’m not making the cut.

I’m a failure.

I’m awake enough to feel the condemnation yet tired enough to know I’m not thinking clearly. And then, as gentle as the softest whisper, yet as clear as a freight train that hits me like a ton of bricks…..

I close my eyes tightly and rehearse once more the truths in my soul than run far deeper than the fears in my mind….

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.…” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me…” (Psalm 23:4)

“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” (Psalm 56:3)

“But you, LORD, are a shield around me, my glory,
the One who lifts my head high.” (Psalm 3:3)

Slowly, assuredly, my feet are set once more on the firm foundation. My heart begins to move out of the darkness. My fears begin to subside. My emotions are in order and my heartbeat slows to normal once more.

There is no amount of worrying, fear, or fretting that will remedy the sickness of unrest in my heart.

It is not enough to empty myself of the laundry lists of regrets, to-do’s, need to’s and should have’s…I must direct my heart to be filled with worship, thankfulness, praise and adoration.

Jesus says He is my rest. He is my peace. In Him alone there is fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore. And if that’s true, then why do I continue to wake each night at 3am????

Could it be that my restless nights are not a curse, but rather, a gift?

huh?

Just hang on…stay with me….

In the stillness, in the quiet, in the darkness, in the solitude….could it be that a loving Father has whispered to wake his overwhelmed daughter to let her know He’s near?

“I see you.

I am here.

I’m speaking Truth over you and my Word straight to you.

I know your days are busy, so let me meet with you here.

Now.

While I can get your attention.

Don’t be distracted anymore by all of those things that weigh you down. 

I’ll give you the grace, the ability, and the strength to handle tomorrow.

So don’t worry about tomorrow.

Today has enough worries of it’s own.

I AM what you need more than sleep.

I AM what your heart desires more than that cleaned out garage.

What is it that troubles you, daughter?

What is it you’d like to let go of?

What is it you’re fearful of.

I’m right here.

I’m listening.”

Without a spoken word I begin to share, to open up and to release my worry. I begin to hear the Truth more clearly than the lies.

For it is His kindness that brings me near.

It is His steadfast love that gives me hope for tomorrow.

It is His compassion and faithfulness that fails not.

It is His relentless pursuit of me even when I refuse slow down that breaks down the walls I put up around my heart.

It is His perfect life, death on the cross and resurrection from the dead that gives me the freedom to not have to perform.

And it is His mercies that are new each morning which gently lead me to celebrate as I watch, once more, the first sun rays pour through my window.

——

I wash my tired face and I begin to go about my day…but it’s different. Rather than anger filling my heart at the sleep I was robbed of, I instead think through the sweetness of those quiet moments in solitude treasuring them away in my soul as I busy myself with the mundane daily routines.

My heart feels lighter, my head is more clear…and although my body is tired, I am fully alert as I am reminded once more the joy of being loved without having to earn it. He has given me a new identity. One not found in accomplishments or failures, in appearances of having it all together, or the desperateness of realizing I surely don’t.

I am loved regardless of whether or not I hold up any end of the deal.

“Dear one, I’m here. Why are you awake? What is it that troubles you? Why are you downcast? What is it you fear?  How are you distracted? What is it that angers you?

I know it’s dark, but will you talk with me? May I meet with you?”

“My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food,
and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,
when I remember you upon my bed,
and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
for you have been my help,
and in the shadow of your wings
I will sing for joy.”
 (Psalm 63:5-7)

 the best gift; awake again at 3am | meg marie wallace

15 confessions from a pastor's wife

I’m only one wife to one pastor. And since it’s safe to assume that every single pastor’s wife is different from the next, it is clear I cannot in any way write this for the whole lot of us out there.

I honestly believe there could be way more we pastor wives have in common than some might guess, but the goal in this post is for me to be as open and honest as I can be about myself, not any other woman.

So, here are my 15 “confessions” pertaining to my role as “pastor’s wife”…and feel free to comment below if you have some of your own confessions or feedback to share as well.15 confessions from a pastor's wife

1. my husband and i are not gifted in the same way. 

We are so different from one another. He’s the one on stage, not me…and that is on purpose. Yes, we are married. And, yes, two have become one. But we are in no way whatsoever the exact same person. The things he is good at are not things I am good at. And vice versa. I have different talents, different giftings, different preferences, different skills, different strengths, and different weaknesses.

15 confessions from a pastor's wife

2. i’m human. 

I have fears, weaknesses, shortcomings, insecurities and struggles just like everyone else. At times I get sick, I get hungry, I get scared, I get tired, I get stressed out and I get overwhelmed. I don’t have it all together and I battle many of the same issues every other woman battles: marriage issues, extended family difficulties, finances, motherhood issues

3. i’m not unapproachable

I can’t speak for every pastor’s wife because we are certainly not cut from the same mold…but I am an introvert.

There I said it. Deep exhale.

I enjoy being in the background. I get a little nervous to talk to strangers and I have a very difficult time remembering names…which I feel just horrible about. I dislike small chit chat and would rather sit down to really get to know you instead of bouncing around from one person to the next.

But I’m not mean. I promise.

Don’t ever be afraid to come talk to me. And please let me ask for your name again without getting mad at me.

15 confessions from a pastor's wife

4. i guard family time like hidden treasure

Many pastor families speak often of having to cut vacations short or rearrange family evenings, or give up their days off for the various crises of church members, middle of the night emergencies and regular interruptions. My husband is essentially on call 24/7. So if there comes an evening or a day when he is unable to be reached, it is most likely because I have purposely left his phone in the car…or I have “accidentally” thrown it into the ocean. I’ll let him come back, I promise, but for his sake and mine sometimes I need to just shut it all off.

5. some seasons are harder than others. 

You know that saying: when it rains, it pours? Yeah, well ministry is seemingly always like that. There are times when I have a lot to offer others. I am able to reach out and I have the capacity to pursue, to counsel, to be present and to make time.

But there are other times when I just don’t. Whether it be the needs of my own home, struggles I am going through, or the demands on my schedule there are most certainly seasons when I am spread far too thin. A longstanding prayer I have is that I could do a better job in the midst of those seasons to communicate that with others. I desire to do all I can to help the people I love so dearly not be confused, offended or hurt by these seasons.

 

6. i often struggle with trying to be all things to all people

I truly enjoy making people happy, but sometimes I take that too far and say “yes” way too often. I worry at times about offending others. But, at the end of the day, I cannot sacrifice my main priorities to always include the preferences of everyone else and am deeply convicted for the times I have done so.

I am learning more and more to say “no.” I must be content with those times, and even the consequences, when I have to kindly decline. Please know it’s not easy and it’s certainly not a personal offense toward any specific person.

My husband, my children and my sanity must come first.

15 confessions from a pastor's wife

7. my life isn’t perfect. 

I’m not perfect, my husband isn’t perfect, and my kids aren’t perfect. I know this, but I really, really need others to know this. If there is a misconception that I have it all together, then others will likely either silently judge, quietly gossip or remain far off.

I’m so normal. Like really normal.

And my kids are too. They fight, disobey, and get messy just like normal kids do…because…drumroll please…they’re normal kids. We have to learn to walk by faith just like everyone else and we won’t turn away any encouragement, compassion and love to do so.

15 confessions from a pastor's wife8. ministry is different than friendship

Ministry is a lot of listening and a lot of question asking. It’s a lot of pouring out, pouring into and praying for. Ministry is service and care, concern and empathy.

Ministry can also feel very lonely at times.

I absolutely love getting to know you, but I deeply long to be known too. I desire friendship just like the next gal. I promise I won’t be offended if you ask me things, in fact, I’ll love it. I give you permission to jump right in anytime.

9. no church is perfect

I believe this goes without saying but, just in case, I’ll say it again: NO church is perfect.

Sometimes I think through what a public apology on behalf of ALL churches could look like. (Maybe some day I’ll actually create one and post it on this blog.)

We have messed up people leading messed up people…and it’s bound to be messed up in some places. Yet if it’s a good church, then your pastor, your pastor’s wife and the people beside you will constantly be pointing you to the only One that isn’t messed up…and that is Jesus.

15 confessions from a pastor's wife

10. we do not share the same pair of ears

His ears aren’t mine. What I mean by this is there are many, many people who have shared a story, experience, or hardship with my husband and then are later surprised when I am not familiar with the same story. Again, I cannot speak for every pastor’s wife, but my husband does not come home and tell me every single thing about every single one of you. He guards your stories and protects your information…even from me. If you’re going through something you’d like for me to know about then please ask him to share with me or come talk to me as well.

My ears aren’t his. What you say to me doesn’t always make it to his ears either. If there are things that you dislike, preferences you have, or issues you feel need to be addressed, going through me is not the answer. I have seen this many, many times when an individual will speak to the pastor wife in hopes of being heard, and then the wife becomes a megaphone to get her husband to do something about it…and it’s almost always a huge, huge, huge mess.

My job is to keep my husband sane, alive, fed, ministered to and cared for…it is not to get in the middle of all the inner workings of the church.

15 confessions from a pastor's wife

11. not everything has to be about church

Gasp! Wait, what?!

Nothing beats a heartfelt, meaningful conversation about good doctrine, sound theology or the work Jesus is doing in someone’s life, but I also love to let my hair down sometimes and relate with people about not-so-spiritual things too.

Yes, I enjoy normal things, not just churchy things, and would love to talk about culture, fashion, art, music, fitness, politics (okay not really so much that one) or food every once in awhile.

I like to have fun and I really, really like to laugh.15 confessions from a pastor's wife

12. i’m not your mom — this one’s for you D.O.!! 🙂 

Look, I get it. I’m the pastor’s wife…but I’m not your mother. There’s a big difference here. Yes, I care deeply about what is going on in your life and whether or not you’re walking by faith, but you’re not going to get “in trouble” if I find out that you didn’t buckle your seatbelt, said a bad word when you stubbed your toe or discover you’ve not cleaned your room. I’m not the principal just waiting to find a reason to send you to after school detention. So please, oh please, don’t respond to me that way.

Be real with me. Be yourself.

I’d love to truly get to know you and I’d love for you to feel free enough to tell me how you’re really doing, and feel free to throw in a joke, a story, and please care enough to let me know if I have something stuck in my teeth for cryin’ out loud! 😉

13. sunday’s are so hard. 

Like really hard. Although I may have showered and my kids clothes match, I have to be honest that some of my all time worst mom moments have been on Sunday mornings. Trying to get five little people with very different wills out the door on time is like trying to find the end of a rainbow blindfolded.

Sometimes I wish we could just skip Sundays (double gasp).

It’s hard work to juggle the needs of my husband, the cares of my children and balance that with being fully present and available to everyone that walks through the door. I often feel like my head is spinning to keep it all in check and it’s not uncommon for me to leave our gatherings entirely exhausted…and that’s only just the beginning of the week.

15 confessions from a pastor's wife

14. the “mama bear” in me is fierce 

When it comes to my family there is nothing…let me repeat…NOTHING that can make me more fiery than when I hear of someone using my husband’s name in a negative way or speaking ill of him behind his back. If I hear of unnecessary gossip, slander, or someone raising undue suspicion about him, it’s all I can do to keep myself in check.

I literally cannot handle it. It makes me incredibly sad, and nauseous and oh so very angry.

I’ll refrain from writing what I really want to here because I think it would scare you. So please if you have an issue with my husband, go directly to him to speak of your concern or by all means close your ever loving mouth.

(insert LOUD roar here)

And don’t get me started about my kids. I love girly and I’m all about classy. But if you have something negative to say about them or to them behind my back, what you will see from me might be less than refined. My husband just laughed at me for writing that, but seriously, please just come talk TO me instead of about me (or my kids).

15 confessions from a pastor's wife

15. i love you dearly

Being a pastor’s wife is hard. Ministry is hard. Church planting is hard. Church is hard. But the reason I do what I do is because I LOVE Jesus and LOVE His people. My husbands’ calling has become my calling. I’ve taken it on as my own.

And you are worth every.tiny.last.bit.of.it. No seriously. I love each one of you.

On the days I feel like giving up, throwing in the towel, signing off and moving far out to the country where no humans exist, it is all of your faces and your stories that get me up off the floor and back in the ring. There is no other aim than the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus and the edification of the church community that I want to pour myself out for.

Thank you, from every ounce of my being, for sharing your lives with me and letting me have the undeserved honor of loving and serving you. I am forever thankful and oh so very humbled.

 

oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together! psalm 34:3

15 confessions from a pastor's wife

 

Fast and Fancy on Father's Day

meg wallace | one glass slipper | fast and fancy

I love it when I go through to edit pics and I find little gems like this one. My “photographer” decided to come out from behind the camera to give a sweet hug and help me know where to stand! 🙂 He loves to coach me and often has great input.  I honestly think he might have a future in photography someday! Father’s Day was a great day yesterday. I asked all of the kids for their ideas of what they thought Daddy would like. They ALL agreed to the first part with no help from me whatsoever…first stop was his favorite donut place. He picked out his flavors (yes that was no accident that I wrote it to be plural) and also some coffee. We sat outside in the 100+ weather enjoying our little sugary feast.

meg wallace | one glass slipper | fast and fancy

meg wallace | one glass slipper | fast and fancy Then, based on kiddo #3’s idea, we began the hunt to find some new shoes for Daddy. The first couple of places were a no-go, so we kept trekking. And let me take a moment to insert some “real life” here…when we left in the morning one child decided to get into the car in roller blades instead of normal shoes. After we realized he can’t be going in and out of the car AND all of these stores in roller blades we had to make a decision…either call it off and go back home so ‘said child’ can get normal shoes…or break down and buy some for the sake of the shoe mission we were on. Thankfully there was an Old Navy nearby so we stopped off to get some cheap flip flops…which happened to turn into a few more items because there was a huge sale…I may or may not have bought a bag full of new workout clothes… Anyway, back to the shoe mission…once all of the children had appropriate footwear we went back to finding Daddy some! Finally, we did and the kids were so excited!!!! Mainly because the lesson of the day was finding joy in what other’s want/need instead of what you want/need and they were ready to be done with that lesson. meg wallace | one glass slipper | fast and fancy We were running behind though…which like never happens for us (I’m lying)…and we had only 30-35 minutes to get everyone ready and back out the door to go to our church. You know…like the one WE planted and HAVE to be at and CAN’T be late for! Ya, that one. Pretending to stay calm in those moments is the only way to keep sanity. My hope is always the same: if the kids don’t see me freaking out then maybe just maybe they won’t either! So we went into silent, Mother Teresa kind of calm on the outside while panicky, the sky is falling, here’s comes a tornado was happening on the inside. And somehow it worked… Quick showers, minimal makeup, hair sort of dry but not really and this dress is what saved the day. meg wallace | one glass slipper | fast and fancy

meg wallace | one glass slipper | fast and fancy

meg wallace | one glass slipper | fast and fancy

I love when clothes fit that way…no need to try it back on to make sure it works with how much I’ve been slacking on fitness these days…it just did. The rest of the evening went great. We grilled out, ate dinner together as a family and opened gifts before everyone totally crashed.   meg wallace | one glass slipper | fast and fancy on father's day

meg wallace | one glass slipper | fast and fancy on father's day

meg wallace | one glass slipper | fast and fancy on father's day

meg wallace | one glass slipper | fast and fancy on father's day

meg wallace | one glass slipper | fast and fancy on father's day

meg wallace | one glass slipper | fast and fancy on father's day To say I love this man is a total understatement. He’s the best daddy ever.meg wallace | one glass slipper | fast and fancy on father's day

Then, based on kiddo #3's idea, we drove to a few different stores to hunt for some new shoes. The first couple of places were a no go, so we kept trekking.

meg wallace | one glass slipper | fast and fancy


The dress was from a small boutique that was going out of business, so I don’t have a link to this exact one…but I’ve grabbed a couple of cute maxi dresses that I love in case you’re in need (or want) of one too!


 

Can We Still Be Friends Even If I Don't Join Your Team?

An Open Letter To My Sales Friends/Family:

To: My dearest friends and and family who sell for any company that is set up where one individual sells to another who then sells to another and so on….I know you call it really crafty things nowadays, but for the sake of simplicity I am fairly certain you still know who you are…

I know you just wanna educate me and you want to make a little extra income for your family too. I know you’re working hard at what you do. I trust your desire is for the good of those around you to share the great new knowledge you “have” with the rest of us that “have not.”

I see you.

Not like “Hey I’m a creeper and I’m watching you”…but as in “I truly do SEE you and love you.” I know you’re not intentionally trying to push me away, but I think it’s time I’m honest with you.

We need to start this conversation.

It’s so clear you love your “stuff.” And it’s super easy for me to see why. You and I both know it’s great stuff.

I see the before/after shots of that incredible mascara and am amazed by the convenience of a little tote bag that has compartments for all of my family’s snacks. I love the all-natural organic sunscreen that’s uber safe for my kids, the smell of those fancy candles, and I think using oils instead of medicines for all of my family’s emotional, physical, and spiritual needs sounds quite lovely. I love that potion you drink that will help me lose weight in half the time and I think the most amazing pizza cutter that cuts through crust like melted butter would definitely make my life a lot simpler…

And I get it. I am the perfect target sales person to add to your “team.” So you give me a call, shoot me an email, or reach out in a text…

…and you’re super bummed when I say no.

And I feel as if I’ve just killed your favorite cat.

It’s not that I just hate sales…though I do…but it’s more than that.

I have some concerns as I hear you share about your company. But really, though, if I’m honest, all four concerns flow out of the first for me…

Concern #1: Ruined Friendships

I cannot tell you how excited I am to see your name in my inbox or pop up on my phone! My heart skips a beat as I think of the memories we had together and how much time has passed since we’ve caught up. We chat, we visit, we reconnect…and then the bomb is dropped…”why I’m really calling is, you see, I’ve joined this new company and I really think you’d love it…”

I cannot tell you how big of a downer that is for me. I awkwardly fumble through how I can kindly decline knowing that I just cannot add one more single thing to my plate right now.  And you’re awkward but so desperately trying to hide it because I totally know you thought you had a for sure sale in me. But deep down as we are saying our goodbye’s I grieve that most likely I’ll never hear from you again. It wasn’t just about reconnecting after all this time…it was about me joining your team.

The truth is I miss you.

It’s not that I don’t care about what you’re doing, I just really wish we could connect and it not be about what you can get out of me.

Concern #2: Produces Surface Level Community

Honestly, your parties seem fun. But it’s extremely difficult to attend one of your parties and feel like it’s acceptable to just attend and not buy something. I know you say you just want me to come and have a good time, but I also know that the reason you are having the party in the first place is to either sell me a product or tell me about the amazing “business side” that has given you so much financial freedom.

So we tiptoe around surface level topics and dance around the huge pink elephant in the room, but in reality I feel trapped when I’m there. I love you as a person, but I need you to know I avoid your parties like the plague. Maybe if I don’t show at all you won’t be so upset when I haven’t purchased something.

Concern #3: Financial Gain At Great Expense

Yes, I know that your company can bring more financial freedom, but at what cost? My family? My sanity? My friends? Not only is there often a steep buy-in and/or a monthly minimum, but you are encouraged to start with those closest to you in your sales journey. So you ask your family, your co-workers, your friends, your classmates, and then branch out from there.

You request for me to get on a call so you can “get your feet wet” as your advisor above you teaches you the ropes.

But you and I both know it’s not just learning, yet because I love you I play the part anyway.

Your advisor is going to try to sell to me to show you “how it’s done” and to get you off to a good start in your own business.  I try to ask questions to sound like I’m interested, but in reality all I can think about is how to get off that call with our friendship in tact…and without losing my mind….or my husband who will totally kill me if I cave in and buy. You see, he also knows me better than anybody and he just has to give me “that look” and I know that without one word that he’s gently reminding me is there’s no way I have the time, energy or mental capability to add on anything else right now.

I struggle with knowing there is no part of me that wants to join at this time, but your advisor will most likely push to make the sale and deep down I really kinda feel used. I know it’s just how the system works, but I really, really hate that system and I really wish I didn’t have to play along for fear of losing you. My own fear-of-man comes out in a fierce way in these settings…

Concern #4: Time Killer

I don’t spend much time away from my family, but if I do I want it to be for a reason that’s worth it. If I am going to take the time to wash my hair, get dressed in something other than yoga pants, and leave my family for a night then I want to connect with you as a person, not as a salesperson. A party, group phone call or one-on-one girls night that is only about selling me items I never before felt I needed feels a little bit…or lotta bit…like a bait and switch, which reminds me again of reason #1.

I truly do wish you well in all you are doing. I think your “stuff” is great. Really. I do! And yes I see the difference when I use your miracle anti-aging serum and sure, you can totally send me a sample of your crazy awesome nail stickers because I’d love to know what you’re into these days.

The bottom line is this: I want you, not what you market, and there is no product, no matter how amazing, that is worth giving up our friendship for.

I honestly don’t mind if you share some info with me from time to time and who knows maybe one day I’ll find a company I can’t help but be a part of. But here’s the thing, I really would love to reconnect with you just to connect with you too.

And I’m wondering if we can still be friends even if I don’t join your team?

 

With much love,

Your friend, The Lone Ranger

 

*P.S. There are some of you who do direct sales and are wicked crazy awesome about it and I love you for it. Some of you are the absolute most lovely people and I know without a doubt you desire friendship and relationship far more than making a sale. So for all of you who love people AND are good at what you do…I ecstatically and enthusiastically applaud you…and want to hug you right now too.