Monday, June 27, 2011

*Mrs. Laura Faulk*...Wife of the Week!

Husband’s Position- Pastor, First Baptist Church of Groton, MA
How long have you been married? 37 years
How many children/grandchildren do you have? How old are they? We have 4 children, 6 grandchildren, and 3 grandchildren on the way
Our son Tom is 35 yrs old. He has 4 children: Ginnie (12), Andrew (10), Aaron (9), Timothy (2)
Our daughter Shannon is 33 years old. She has 1 child: Lauryn (19 mos) and a boy due Aug. 5
Our daughter Karyn is 29 years old. She has 1 child: Isaiah (5 yrs) and twins due Feb. 5
Our son Joe is 27 years old. He is married but no children yet.
1.      Where/How did you meet your husband? I met my husband during my senior year of high school while working a part time job in downtown Cleveland, Ohio
2.      When did you get saved? March 19, 1978 at Cleveland Baptist Church
Can you share your testimony? I was born and raised in a Catholic family. After my husband and I were married a couple years, my husband’s brother and his wife got saved. They would invite us to church every chance they could but we always said “No.” My husband had no interest whatsoever and I had always been taught that I would be a heretic if I even stepped foot in any church other than Catholic.  After a few years, my sister-in-law called me at work one day and invited me to their mission’s conference service that night. For some reason, without hesitation, I said “Yes!” I sat in the service and listened intently but nothing really spoke to me. During the invitation, I could hear many people crying and I wondered about this. “Why were all these people crying. Did I miss something?” After I got home, my sister-in-law came in, and I asked her so many questions about God and her church. A few days later my husband mentioned that he was thinking of going to a certain church so I said, “Can we go to Dan & Vicki’s church first?” He agreed so the following Sunday we attended Cleveland Baptist Church. My husband raised his hand for salvation during the invitation and a personal worker asked him if he’d like to come to the altar with him, which he did. I then asked my sister-in-law if she would go to the altar with me. We both got saved in that morning service, then went back for the evening service, and Wednesday night also. We’ve been in church every service since then unless we or the children were ill.
3.      How long have you been in the ministry? 26 years
4.      How did you know the Lord wanted you in the ministry? Was it hard for you to submit to that or did you know 100% sure right away that this is what God wanted for your life? My husband had struggled with the call to preach for several weeks which I didn’t know about at the time. For me, I remember watching my pastor’s wife constantly and wishing I could be as sweet and godly as she was. I remember feeling like the Holy Spirit was telling me to glean what I could from her although I had no idea why. The last thing I ever would have thought about was God calling my husband to preach. When my husband finally talked to me about what he felt the Lord was speaking to him about, I then realized that the Holy Spirit was preparing my heart to follow God’s leading.
5.      How old were you when you your husband first held a position of leadership? I was 30 years old when my husband became Pastor of his first church.
6.      And if you were young, did you have a hard time adjusting because of your age? Did you feel “ready” to be in that position? Did you feel you had a harder time being respected or taken seriously because of your age? I was 23 yrs old when I got saved, less than a year later we left for Bible college which took my husband 6 yrs to complete. From Bible college, we went right into the pastorate. At the time, I thought I was on top of the world and knew everything I needed to know about the Bible and the ministry. I felt more than ready to be a pastor’s wife, I was so excited! Most of the folks at our first church were very respectful and supportive. We did encounter some clashes but as I look back now, I can see that many of the struggles I faced were mostly due to my immaturity. I wanted to show everyone that I could handle being a pastor’s wife and that it was a very special calling which called for special respect. How foolish I was to think that “my title” would be enough to earn respect. I now know that having the title of pastor’s wife does not mean I am to be put on a pedestal! I had to learn to keep my mouth shut, to keep my feelings and opinions to myself (unless asked), and that my main job was to make it easier for my husband to Pastor the church. I learned that most church folks want to be loved unconditionally and accepted for who they are.
7.      Once you had children did you find you did less in the ministry and was that hard for you? I did not do less in the ministry because of my children.  Rather, I probably did less with them because of my involvement in the ministry. The main purpose of my life is to be a helpmeet to my husband and I always felt that he should come first which usually meant helping him in the ministry wherever he needed me. Of course, there must be a balance. Sometimes I look back and wonder if I would have done anything differently if I had the chance and I can honestly say that I wouldn’t.
8.      What are some ways you included and involved your children in the ministry?
a.      Baby… in church and the nursery as soon as possible after church
b.      Toddler… again the same as above plus we always made a big deal about Saturday being a day to get things ready for Sunday.
c.   School age… our children were always encouraged to get involved in church  ministries   as soon as they could. We made it a point to talk to them regularly about things going on in the ministries they were involved in.
10.  Do you ever worry that your children will resent the ministry and what are some ways you tried to make it fun for them? We had some pretty rough things happen to us in our years in the ministry so this was something that I always worried about. We always tried to stay positive with our children even through the trials. We were always honest about things going on in our lives but tried to let them see that we were trusting God for the outcome. I believe that our testimony in how we handle the ministry is the best example for our children to have.
11.  What would be the best thing you would tell a mom who is raising her children in the ministry? never ever stop praying for your children
12.  Are you naturally a submissive person or do you sometimes have a hard time easily following your husband? I am not a naturally submissive person at all! This is something I struggle with constantly although I think I have gotten better as I’ve matured in the Lord. It is one of the top items on my prayer list!
13.  What do you do to encourage your husband when he is discouraged with the work? Listen to him and pray, pray, pray!
14.  How do deal with any criticism toward your husband from others? This is the hardest thing for me to deal with in the ministry. I used to defend him but learned from a wise pastor’s wife not to do that. If a negative comment is made to me, I try to listen, then say “I’m sorry you feel like that” and try to drop it.  Then I go home and cry my eyes out!  I always pray for that person asking the Lord to change their hearts or show us how we need to change.
15.  How do you deal with personal criticisms? I often cry or fume but then calm down and pray for the situation. I always ask the Lord to show me what I need to learn from this.
16.  Do you set aside date nights/days with your husband? We don’t but this is one area that I would change in our earlier ministry if given the chance. Now I always look forward to Mondays because that is usually my husband’s so called “day off.” He might still do church work that day but it is a much lighter load – we try hard to make it a low key day. Sometimes we go away for the day, sometimes we run errands, and sometimes we want to just stay home.
17.  What is the biggest thing you have learned about being married to a man in the ministry? That I must share him with others and that my schedule needs to work around his.
18.   What are some ways you protect your husband from “those” women in the church? Sadly I have encountered this many times in the ministry. I actually point it out to my husband so he knows to be careful. He respects that from me and really works hard at not giving special attention. There was an incident once where I had to approach to woman about her flattery to my husband. We both worked with this woman which made it super hard to avoid her. Even after my husband & I both spoke directly to her, she still kept up. Finally, I prayed and told the Lord I couldn’t take it anymore and that he needed to remove her or move me.  Within a week, that lady was fired and left the area. For the first time as a Christian, I really learned firsthand how powerful prayer really is!
19.  Do you have a hard time sharing your burdens with your husband in fear that it will discourage him? Yes, especially if it has something to do with the ministry.
20.  What do you do to encourage yourself in the Lord? Read the Bible, listen to good Christian music
21.  What is your favorite Scripture? Eph. 3:20 “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
22.  Do you have a favorite song? Wonderful Grace of Jesus
23.  What is your biggest struggle in the ministry? Not having a close friend
24.  Do you have find that you are not able to have close lady friends in your church? Yes, I learned that the hard way. Now I try to just be friendly with all the ladies.
25.  When you are discouraged, do you feel like you can “show” that feeling to ladies in the church? Or, do you feel like you always have to portray the “perfect” happy Pastor’s wife? I think it depends on what it is that I am discouraged about. If it has something to do with the ministry or my family, I work very hard not show it. I don’t feel like I always have to be the “perfect” happy Pastor’s wife but I also don’t want my discouragement to affect the church.
26.  Have you ever made a big mistake or offended someone, and if yes, how did you go about restoring that relationship? Oh, definitely yes! Of course I never offended anyone intentionally but the Lord always seems to speak to me if there is even the smallest thought that I’ve offended someone. I always go to that person and ask for their forgiveness.
27.  Do you have other lady ministry friends that you go to for counsel and “venting” purposes? I usually don’t go to anyone but if I really need to, I do have several wonderful pastor wives in the area that I would go to without hesitation.
28.  Other than praying, what is the most encouraging thing ladies in the church can do for you? Be faithful to church and be supportive to my husband
29.  What is your favorite way to serve the Lord in your church? I love to plan activities, fellowships, banquets etc. I often get stressed out doing them but in the long run, I enjoy it. I also love doing the office work.
30.  Do you currently have special Ladies Bible Study, meetings, or fellowships? Not on a regular basis. We do have a yearly Mother/Daughter banquet, ladies Christmas Tea, ladies planning meetings, and other fun activities.
31.  What ways to you encourage your ladies to get involved in the work of the church? Our ladies are super and really don’t need any encouragement. They are so willing to do anything that is ever needed.
32.  What is the most important thing you pray to pass down to your daughters?  I want them to keep the faith and never stop loving the Lord! 2Ti 4:7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
33.  In all of your business, how do you fit your personal time in with the Lord each day? Have my personal time with the Lord in the morning before I do anything else. It is always a struggle even though my children are grown and married. Sometimes I wait till my husband leaves for the office when I can be alone.
34.  Out of all that you have learned being in the full time ministry, what is the most important thing you have learned? That my husband and I are a team serving the Lord together. I am no better than any other church member.
35.   How would you describe the “perfect” Pastor’s wife? I don’t believe there is any such person!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Joyanna Barbara is here....Our Birth Story!

Well, after almost 38 weeks of anticipation, Barbara has made her entrance into this world. This pregnancy has been dramatic, so why would her birth be any different? My dr decided to induce early because of all of the problems we have been having in the past few months. I was so excited and so ready for this day!
I went in Tuesday morning for an amniocentesis to make sure that baby's lungs were ready. It was the longest 2 hours of my life waiting for the results! At noon on the dot my phone rang with the good news!
My dr said instead of waiting to be induced until the morning she would try to get me in that night so they could begin the process earlier. I was told to call at 6pm and then we would know for sure if I could get in. Well, I called at like 6:04 so I wouldn't look too anxious! They told me every single room was busy and it wasn't looking like I would be able to get in that night. Matt and I went to run some errands and he took me to Friendly's for dinner. While we were there his phone rang and it was L& D...I was so excited to answer, but they just wanted to know my!! We went home and I tried to get some sleep. After a few hours I took a bath and I was half awake all night long.
I woke up around 5am and gave them a call and they said to call back around 7:30...I was thinking they would NEVER get me in! I fell asleep again and at 6am they called and said to come in! YAY!
We got to the birthing center at 7am and they said there was a jacuzzi suite available....I was wicked excited....little did I know I wouldn't get to use it!!
They checked me in and got me all set and I was feeling very realxed and confident that this would be a quick process...ha! They hooked me up to the monitors and surprise, surprise, baby's heartrate was flat and they wanted to watch her for a while before they started anything. I got checked and was almost 1cm. I got some bloodwork the nurse came in to give me my IV. My nurse was new and you could tell she was not very confident in giving the IV. It probably didn't help that I was a little dehydrated, but the first try she missed and my hand started puffing up with the fluid from the IV....and ouch! She finally got the other one and we were in business!
They were going to start with cytotec and then a few hours later start the pitocin, but because of the heartrate, they were uncomfortable doing that. They called the Dr and they decided to do a pitocin tolerance test first. We passed that test so they decided that the best route would be to go straight to the pitocin. They started the dose at 2ml/hr and every 20 minutes upped it by 2ml. My Dr came in to check on me a couple hours later and I was only 2cm. She said I was way too happy and smiley for being at 16ml of pitocin (seeing that the highest dose is 20ml) and I thought I was a champ, haha. I felt like that would mean that I would be in hardly any pain when they had it at 20ml...and would have it easy. She checked me and I was only about discouraging! She was going to break my water, but decided to wait for 2 hours.
When she came back 2 hours later, after I had been having consistent, uncomfortable contractions, I thought for sure I would be pretty far along...I was STILL 2 cm, almost 3. She broke my water to move things along, and can you say WEIRDEST feeling ever!?!
An hour later I was very, very uncomfortable so they checked again...4 cm. and for the next four hours, I remained at 4cm. I was in so much pain. It was so awful. I got a dose of some IV pain meds and they worked great...for about 10 minutes! Then another hour went by and I was still a 4. I was crying and in so much more pain than I have ever been in labor at this stage! I was literally begging for a c-section! haha. My dr said I could get an epidural, and I was so happy!! Unfortunately, the epidural guy never showed up, haha. My dr checked me and I was finally 6cm. The contractions were more intense than any other labor I have been in...maybe because of the pitocin? I was very nervous, because during the contractions baby's heartrate was dropping into the 80's, instead of the 120's where it had been. Anyways, she checked me about 20 minutes later and I was at 8cm!! I was so happy things were moving along. The problem was that baby was not descending and was still up high. My dr wouldn't leave the room. She was so amazing and supportive. Most times the Dr just comes in for the delivery, but she was there with me for a good hour. Praise the Lord for such a great doctor!
I got off the bed and onto the birthing ball hoping that would help baby. It was actually such relief to be out of that bed!! I hadn't been able to get out of bed because they had internal monitors on baby's head measuring her heartrate and contractions. I was on the ball for about 5 minutes then back in the bed. I sat up and had about 3 HORRIBLE contractions...I thought I was gonna die. I was so exhausted. I had been up for like 48 hours and hadn't eaten in over 24 and was just feeling so weak. My arms and were feeling numb, my legs were shaking, and I wanted to give up.
All of the sudden I knew it was time!! I yelled, "I have to push!!" And my Dr checked me and yelled down the hall and a bunch of nurses came running in and ripped the bottom of the bed and turned it into the delivery bed, and I had a contraction and I REFUSED to have another after this...I pushed with everything I had left in me and it was such a wonderful feeling! For you ladies that have children, you know exactly that feeling I am talking about. And then I felt that feeling, the final most intense feeling of pressure, and out she flew! It was amazing...Matt and I were both crying with relief and joy and excitement. SHE WAS HERE!!
They tried to give her to me, but her cord was extremely, extremely short, so it didn't reach. It was so short they did not let Matt cut it.
When they handed her to me, I was instantly in love again. I already loved her, but this amazing feeling washed over me...I did it! We made it...and she is beautiful, healthy, and alive. My doctor told me after that ALL of these problems were most likely because of her short cord. Who would have thought!
I was able to snuggle and feed her for about an hour and they took her to the nursery for her bath and weighing and all that goes along with that. They ended up keeping her for a couple hours so that she could be under the warmers for a little while. She came back around 12:30 and I fed her and asked if I could send her to the nursery for the night. I was so very tired and wanted to be able to get some rest so I could enjoy my first day with her. I had such a wonderful sleep. They brought her in around 5:30am to eat and we spent the morning together. She was absolutely perfect and even more precious and beautiful than the night before. The pediatrician came and got her and said she was perfect (I could have told him that!)
We had a great first day together, I feel wonderful today. I took a shower, which felt fantastic, and have no pain, other than some cramping while feeding her.
I am so happy, and even more blessed than you can imagine. Such a long road, but we have arrived at our destination...and this new journey has just begun.

Welcome, Joyanna Barbara!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Monday, June 6th...Baby Update #6

Well, If you haven't noticed yet, I am postponing our "Ministry Monday" for a couple of weeks because.....I AM HAVING A BABY!!!! yahoo!
This morning I went for my amniocentesis this morning to see if baby's lungs were mature enough to be delivered. I was really nervous going in! Mainly because I have never had a big needle stuck in my stomach before. It wasn't bad at all though. I read to many horror stories before going in, which did not help matters!
Anyways, I got the call at noon on the dot that baby is READY!! So, tonight I am going in to be induced! Please pray that it all goes fast and possibly pitocin free!
I am so excited and so ready to meet my baby!! Thank you all for your prayers!
See ya soon, Barbara Joy!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Baby Update #5....37 weeks!

Today I went in for my non stress test and Barbara Joy was a stinker, once again! This time it was more becasue her heartrate was dropping pretty low. Her normal range is not very high anyway, but this was lower. She usually runs between 125ish-150ish....mostly in the 120's and 130's. Today it was dropping into the 100-110 range, so the dr sent me over to labor and delivery. I was so thankful my mom was here, because Matt was in a different hospital a few miles away becasue he had knee surgery yesterday.
After 6 hours of monitoring, the dr decided she will do an amnio on Monday morning to check baby's lung development and if she is ready, I will be induced on Tuesday as long as they can fit me in. I do not want to be induced, but if that is what needs to happen, I am ready.
I am a little worried about the whole thing more because as of right now, Matt cannot walk and he will not be able to help at all. I was thinking about the little things like carrying the carseat when I am not supposed to be lifting, etc. This is a rough time for everything to pile on at once, but I am thankful the Lord has a plan, and someday, we will look back on this time and remember how the Lord brought us through this time and it will bring us joy.
So, either way I will have a baby 2 weeks or less from today. I am praying that I will just go into labor on my own, but I guess my ultimate prayer is for God's will ( I just want that to be it ;)
So, I will keep you posted! Pray for us....we need it!! =)