Monday Morning Club

The Monday Morning Club is Claudia's monthly e-mail sent to ministry wives, or others, for encouragement. Join the Monday Morning Club by emailing Claudia at cbarba@ipresson.com.

Our friends had invited us to what they called a 'Friday night fish fry,' so I dressed the way any good Southern girl would dress for catfish, hushpuppies, and sweet tea. But we weren't in the South anymore. When we arrived at the address we had been given and were offered valet parking for our Volkswagen bug, I knew I was in trouble.
Fish fry? It was a gourmet seafood buffet in an elegant setting--china, crystal, string quartet, and all--and everyone but me had known to dress up. Way up. Our friends quickly forgave my fashion faux pas. At least they seemed to get over it much faster than I did, and it did give us all something to laugh about. But a very young pastor's wife living in a new city wants to do everything just right, and I still wince when I remember being so badly dressed.
After that, I learned to ask more questions and so far have managed not to repeat that exact mistake. But more often than I'd like to admit, I've been a poorly-dressed ministry wife, clothed in garments entirely unsuitable to my calling.
That's not the Lord's fault. The day He took me as His own, I gave Him my filthy rags and put on Christ instead. Since He's faultless, I ought to be always perfectly turned out. But sometimes, without planning to, I slip back into my wretched, stinky rags. Temper, resentment, envy, fear, egotism, and deceit slink out of some secret closet in my heart and slither onto me before I even notice. Yikes, those clothes are ugly--and sometimes I even wear them to church! Others may not notice (hypocrisy's a handy cloak), but I know without doubt that I'm badly dressed, and that it's certainly nothing to laugh about. The Lord's not impressed with my ensemble, either. It's not just unsuitable; it's hideous. And prickly and uncomfortable.
I can't wait to change, and I don't have to. Even in the middle of the church lobby, I can turn to my Savior and by His grace swap those ill-fitting works of darkness for the armor of light. Suddenly I'm dressed just right'in the tender mercy, kindness, humility, meekness, and long suffering that are always in style for a ministry wife, entirely appropriate for every occasion.
What did you wear to church yesterday? If the answer makes you cringe, don't despair. The Giver of all good gifts will gladly provide perfect garments. Whether it's to church or to a 'fish fry,' you and I can always be dressed just exactly right.
(Isaiah 64:6, Galatians 3:26-2, Romans 13:12, Colossians 3:12)
My husband Dave has just finished a book for men in ministry. Press On!  is a small book packed with  encouragement for your husband to enjoy God's calling and carry on through difficulties. It's a Biblical, practical, and often funny book (and the last chapter was written just for you). Wherever you are in ministry, we've probably been there! I'm also happy that my second book of Bible studies for women has been published. When Christ Was Here examines the truth of Christ's incarnation and its practical implications for a woman's life.  Both new Barba books are available from Journey Forth (www.bjupress.com).
Thou rulest the raging of the sea: when the waves thereof arise, thou stillest them.

Psalm 89:9

I was 9 years old when I discovered my Dad's Kodak Duex camera in his bedroom closet. Capable of taking 16 pictures on size 620 film, it was a "miniature camera that makes album-size pictures." I shot a roll of film and had it developed at the corner drugstore. I was hooked. Though I enrolled in college to become a cinematographer, God changed my direction (and my heart). God's goodness has allowed me to remain a camera bug during all my years of ministry . . . so I will occasionally post a photo or two here for your perusal. Enjoy . . . and reflect on the Maker of all things.
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