Revive Me, Week 45– A Year of Growing Stronger in the Lord
Be a Gentlewoman
Gentlemen are a pleasure to be around. They are courteous, mannerly, noble, and honorable. I believe all Christian men should be gentlemen. They demonstrate sterling traits that represent Christ well. They stand out.
God desires all Christian women to be gentlewomen.
Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel—rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.
1 Peter 3:3,4
“Very precious in the sight of God.” Don’t you love that phrase? That’s how God feels about a woman whose heart and spirit are gentle. Do you have a gentle spirit? Gentleness is a trait of those striving to “walk worthy of their calling” (Eph. 4:1,2). It is demonstrated by those trying to “walk in the Spirit” (Gal. 5:16, 22, 23). It is an essential part of having “good behavior in Christ” (1 Pet. 3:15,16).
At the risk of sounding old-fashioned, women have a special knack for being gentle. Even Paul compared gentleness to “a nursing mother tenderly caring for her own children” (1 Thess. 2:7). Let’s not smother that God-given ability. It’s beautiful. Let’s not swallow the world’s presentation of the hard, edgy woman. When a woman displays gentleness, it doesn’t mean she lacks strength. We don’t think of a gentleman as being a weakling! No, a gentle woman has the greatest strength of all–the ability to draw others to Christ by her compassion, kindness, and patience (Col. 3:12).
“Let your gentle spirit be known to all men.”
Suggestions for the Week:
Practice gentleness in your speech, tone, and body language.
Would your husband describe you as gentle? Would your children? If not, start today to make sure they see your inner beauty.
Look up “gentle” and “gentleness” in the Bible. In what areas should we be practicing gentleness?
Smooth out any rough edges in your personality. Be attractive.
Revive Me, Week 26- A Year of Growing Stronger in the Lord
(*We are halfway through the year! I hope you are feeling strengthened in your faith as we grow together in the Lord!)
Consider How You’ll Be Remembered
Last night a remarkable Christian woman died in her sleep. What made Neva Morgan remarkable? Well, many things, but one thing in particular stands out for me, and that is her faithfulness.
Neva’s husband wasn’t a Christian but she wanted to make sure her children were brought up in the Lord. That meant that she alone was responsible for taking her children to Bible class and worship. Neva didn’t drive so she had to ask someone each week to pick them all up. She knew this was a huge inconvenience for others and many times considered staying home to avoid the hassle. It also wasn’t easy trying to make her children behave in worship since she didn’t have her husband with her to help. A lesser woman would’ve allowed these challenges to weaken her resolve, but Neva was determined to put God first no matter the cost. She knew her husband needed to see how important her faith was, that obedience to her Lord trumped everything else.
Neva’s perseverance paid off. Several years later her husband obeyed the gospel! Imagine her joy! What if she had given in to the temptation to stay home from worship? What if she had compromised in order to keep the peace? Where would her children be today? Would her husband have ever become a Christian?
Neva experienced other challenges in her life. She faced them with the strength of Christ (Phil. 4:13).
As a result of Neva’s faithfulness, she has left a beautiful legacy. Her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren will always have her story as an example of obedience and trust. Her perseverance molded her into a sweet soul who was easy to love. Those who knew her wanted to be like her. I know I did.
What kind of legacy are you building? Neva’s life reminds me to be heaven-minded (Col. 3:1,2). When I die, I want to be remembered for my faithfulness to Christ no matter what. I want my children to be able to view my life as one that glorified God. I want them to know beyond the shadow of a doubt that I am resting from my labors in the bosom of my Lord.
“Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord…that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow with them” (Rev. 14:13).
Suggestions for the Week:
1. Is anything challenging your faithfulness? Determine that no inconvenience, discomfort, or hard thing will keep you from putting God first.
2. Study the life of one who persevered through difficult times (like Job, Abraham, Hannah, or Paul). Perhaps use this as the topic for your family devotionals.
3. Consider your weekly schedule. In what ways are you showing your children/ grandchildren that you are a faithful child of God?
4. Write down how you think you will be remembered.
Read it. Memorize it. Live it.
Neva is in the middle with her daughter-in-law on the right.
Every interaction I’ve had with Renita Archey has left me smiling. She is delightful, and I was thrilled when she agreed to an interview. True to her transparent nature, she shares about herself in a warm and real way. Grab a refreshing drink and enjoy this chat with a fun-loving Christian woman.
Renita, please tell us a little about yourself.
Renita: I am a lifelong Tennessean and an only, and slightly spoiled, only child. I was blessed to be raised in a Christian home with both sides of my family being faithful members of the Lord’s church. In fact, when I returned to my home congregation to speak at a ladies day they asked everyone who was related to me to stand. My Mom, six aunts and two or three cousins were in the audience.
I graduated from Freed Hardeman and returned to East Tennessee (you can only return to Tennessee from Tennessee if you live here and understand that East, Middle and West Tennessee are each considered their own state) to work in local radio. But then, at a Wednesday night bible study I met a young, handsome man by the name of Jeff Archey. One year later we married. We have enjoyed 27 wonderful years this April.
I work in the CEO office of the Volkswagen Chattanooga Manufacturing plant. I can literally say I have been here since dirt because I was hired before the plant was build and watched the facility come to life during my first three years of employment.
Congratulations on your upcoming anniversary! As a speaker, your lessons are always Word-filled and practical. What are some lessons you think we need more of today?
Renita: No matter how old we are, a good reminder of the basics is never out of date. We can draw something new from those words we have studied many times, and I think we are strengthened every time. That is especially true as our nation appears to be making so many of the same mistakes the Israelites made as a nation. Drawing those parallels are very important reminders. It is also necessary to keep reminding ourselves of the basics because, unfortunately, as we look around our congregations, it is sometimes very evident that they are not being put into practice in our everyday lives. We see immodest apparel at worship services or our members posting in social media about ungodly activities in which they are participating.
From the very first time I met you, I’ve been drawn to your sweet spirit. To what can attribute your peaceful demeanor?
Renita: I am not sure if those who live with me on a day to day basis would call me peaceful. This morning I was sitting at the foot of my dad’s hospital bed watching him sleep and I thought of how practical, patient and even tempered he is. I have never seen him lose his temper. He always has practical advice to give, and has handled many difficult situations with wisdom and grace. That life-long example is where I hope I get my spirit. I hope I can be half as effective as my parents have been in the Kingdom.
What a blessing to have that kind of example from your father! He will continue to be in my prayers. Is there something you’d like to share about yourself that others might be surprised to know?
Renita: I am a pretty meat and potatoes type of girl. There is not much surprising about me. Jeff thinks it really cool that I was able to interview a couple of Presidents of the United States of America during my time as a news reporter, and it was neat…but I don’t know…I would rather someone say it surprised them to know I am 53 years old.
Jeff is right! What’s your favorite thing about being a preacher’s wife?
Renita: I think it would have to be the opportunities I am given at work. Most people call themselves “Christians” but because they call me “the preacher’s wife” many times co-workers come to me with Bible questions or with an issue in their life where they need help. I don’t believe I would be able to have as many bible studies over lunch without that “title”. Right now two ladies that I work with are attending my ladies’ class at the Chattanooga School of Preaching and Biblical Studies. It opened the door to an in-depth study on the role of women leaders in the church. Another co-worker approached me when her daughter came home talking about “a young earth”. She had never heard the term before and we studied for several weeks. I also cannot remember the number of times two of us have retreated to the restroom for a session of prayer over a specific issue they were facing. I pray that the small seeds planted each day bear fruit in the years to come.
Renita, I think that’s one of the best answers I’ve ever been given. I love your soul-winning attitude about the “title,” when so many preachers’ wives seem to resent it. Keep up the great work! What’s your go-to company meal?
Renita: Well…I am more likely to take you a mile down the road to a local “meat and three” we frequent than offer to cook for you . It is a quiet place most days where you can easily talk, and then we go back to the house for dessert. If I really need to fix something at home it will be easy like a large pan of lasagna and salad. One of our members once told me it was a sin that I had such a nice kitchen since I didn’t know how to use it.
Ha! Sounds like fun! Would you mind sharing one of your favorite books with us?
Renita: I love to read…there is nothing I enjoy more than curling up with a good book. I love workbooks and commentaries and lectureship books. But I am guessing I have read Daughters of Eve by Lottie Beth Hobbs a dozen times and Heart Bouquet by Louise Barnett Cox almost that many.
Thank you, Renita. Time spent with you is always refreshing. May God bless you abundantly as you continue to shine for Him!
Tish Housley made an impact on me. In March, Neal and I walked into her home in Montgomery, AL, for a meal. Her cozy kitchen and warm smile instantly relaxed us. In one weekend, she had us over for a home cooked meal three different times! She is an excellent cook and sweet conversationalist. What struck me the most about Tish, however, is how much her church family loves her. I watched her interact with members of all ages. Their faces would light up as she hugged and talked with them. The members talked about her behind her back but it was all complimentary. Even though I didn’t ask, they told me about her sincerity and loving heart. Here’s the amazing part–Tish isn’t adored because she is new. Steve and Tish have been serving with the Eastern Meadows congregation for almost 30 years! If we lived closer, I know I’d want to spend as much time as possible learning from this delightful Christian woman. Tish graciously agreed to let me interview her. I love her answers and I know you will, too.
Tish, tell us a little about yourself, please.
“I grew up on a dairy farm near West Plains, Missouri. Yes, I know how to milk a cow, with an electric milker. I attended Freed-Hardeman University, and there I met my best friend, Steve Housley. We married in May of 1980 after we both graduated. In the summer of 1980, Steve and I worked with the Central congregation in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Steve had the pleasure of working alongside James Meadows as the assistant minister. In the fall, Steve continued his education at Harding Graduate School, and I taught fifth grade at Harding Academy. After only a year, we moved to Lucedale, Mississippi, where we worked with the Rocky Creek congregation. During the six years we were blessed to be at Rocky Creek, Beth and Brooks were born. In November of 1987, we moved to Montgomery, Alabama, and continue to be at this wonderful church. During this time, I stayed at home with my children for ten years. Beth and Brooks attended Alabama Christian Academy, and I would help out at school when needed. Gradually, I found myself at school more and more frequently substituting, and before I knew it, I was teaching full time. I taught there for nineteen and a half years. I loved being there with my children. My father’s and father-in-law’s health began to decline so I retired to help out with them.”
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a preacher’s wife more loved by her church family. How have you been able to get into the hearts of your Christian brothers and sisters?
“First of all, I try to simply be a part of the congregation. I really think they are in my heart more than I am in theirs. I love them; they are my family! I don’t want it to be an “us and them.” I want it to be a “we.” Try not to hold back. Jump in and help no matter what the job is. Find ways to encourage but not take over.”
What advice can you offer other preachers’ wives who are trying to build good relationships?
“Be careful to be friendly to everyone. We all have our close friends, and we need that. Get with those special friends at another time other than before and after the worship service. Try to get around to everyone especially those that seem to be isolated.
Don’t be afraid to roll up your sleeves and work. I will never forget meeting Sister Howard, V.E. Howard’s wife. I was twenty years old on a campaign in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. We girls always did the dishes after lunch before going out door knocking. Sister Howard had eaten lunch with us that day. After eating, she didn’t just sit there. She stood up, walked over to the sink, and began washing dishes. That impressed me. I thought she was royalty, but yet, she did not think of herself that way. She was one of us. I loved that!”
What do you love most about being a preacher’s wife?
“I love being able to serve, but anyone can and should do that. I do think we have a unique way to serve in that we are closer to the preacher than anyone. I feel like I am his number one assistant. I want to make home special, a little vacation place for him. We might only have an hour in the evening to spend together, but I want that hour to be like a mini vacation.
I don’t want him to nervous about being able to invite people into our home. I try to keep it presentable.
I don’t think of being a preacher as his job; we are a team! I love that!”
You are very hospitable, Tish! What is your favorite company meal?
“The easiest meal is a roast. I can put it in the oven and go on with other things. I will put onions and carrots in the roast. Every once in a while I’ll put potatoes but Steve really likes yellow rice. I cook different vegetables to go along with the roast, but most of the time, green beans will be a side dish and also a salad. I love the Chinese chicken salad. For dessert, I will make an apple pie or red velvet cake.”
Would you mind sharing one of your favorite recipes with us?
“I will have to share two. (You can pick the one you want to keep.)”
I’m going to share both (see below). I’ve had your Tomato Pie and it’s delicious! Thank you, Tish, for your time and for your wise insight. I thank God for you!
4 tomatoes, peeled and sliced
10 fresh basil leaves, chopped (I use dried about 1 ½ teaspoon)
1/2 cup chopped green onion (You can also use a regular onion)
1 (9-inch) prebaked deep dish pie shell
1 cup grated mozzarella
1 cup grated cheddar
1 cup mayonnaise
Salt and pepper
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Place the tomatoes in a colander in the sink in 1 layer. Sprinkle with salt and allow to drain for 10 minutes.
3. Layer the tomato slices, basil, and onion in pie shell. Season with salt and pepper. Combine the grated cheeses and mayonnaise together. Spread mixture on top of the tomatoes and bake for 30 minutes or until lightly browned.