joanna jespersen

When They Say the Wrong Thing

Speechless. Flabbergasted. I walked away from that brief one-sided conversation at church, not knowing if I should laugh or cry. Why would this person say something like that to me? I know his particular personality, quick-witted and humorous, always with something funny to say. I knew his comment was most likely not intended to ruin my day or cause me mental grief for the next few years. So, after obsessively dwelling on it all afternoon, I ended up having a conversation with myself and told myself I needed to lighten up.

As a pastor’s wife, I realize... [continue]

Keeping Sabbath

As minister’s spouses, “Sabbath-keeping” may not necessarily mean getting “rest” on Sunday like most people. For the majority of our families, Sunday is the busiest day of the week, especially for a minister’s spouse. If you have small children (or children of any age), you know the challenge of getting everyone dressed in their Sunday best, fed and out the door on time to get to church.

It can sometimes be quite stressful on Momma, especially, if minister Daddy is already at the church early that morning preparing and praying for all that God will do that day. And it... [continue]

GO: Family Missions

I used to think that being a “missionary” meant that you packed your bags to fly on an airplane to another country to do “missions.” In my mind, a “missionary” was someone who loaded his or her suitcase with American food like beef jerky and cheese crackers (just in case they didn’t like the local food), wore fanny packs and big straw hats with a camera around his neck, ready to take a picture of something exotic, and ready to do “missions” for God.

Thankfully, my view of what “missions” and “missionaries” are has drastically changed over the years! The world has... [continue]

5 Ways to spiritually fight for your kids

"Where is my wedding ring?" My heart started racing in panic.

I noticed my ring was missing and immediately started to look around, thinking quickly about where it could be and why it wasn't on the ring holder like usual. My thoughts went to my then 4-year-old daughter, Rachel Beth.

Immediately I questioned her. "Have you seen my wedding ring, Rachel?"

She replied, "No. I don't know where it is."

I asked again, my anger and frustration welling up inside me because I knew she might be up to something by the way she was squirming. After another... [continue]

God: The “New Thing” Maker!

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" 2 Corinthians 5: 17

This past summer, Ryan and I were given a used dining table from a relative. It was beautiful, simple and had "good bones." But I thought it could use a little updating, like a new stain color on top and maybe a little paint on the bottom. I was happy to get this table home, a table that had been at the center of so many past family memories and had the potential to become a new gathering place where many more memories could be made.

As I began... [continue]

How to practice healthy boundaries

In the 1990's, when my dad was a pastor, he and my mom set certain boundaries they fiercely protected both at home and church. There were no cell phones around us at that time. If the land-line phone rang during dinner, they didn't answer it. My dad would not respond to people until the next morning when he was back at the church office, unless an urgent message was left on the answering machine, to which he tended to the need at the moment.

Today, times are very different. Because of cell phones and social media, we stay connected with everyone all the... [continue]

How to choose the perfect ministry outfit

One spring afternoon in Fort Worth, Texas, I roamed aimlessly around Dillard's, focused intently on finding the perfect "ministry outfit." I was one of five women who won a contest at seminary to go on a shopping spree to get a new outfit for our ministry positions and roles. The five of us were all admittedly excited about winning this fun contest, and as a poor seminary student myself, to be told I didn't have to worry about the price tag was a strange and unknown feeling! The four other women were soon-to-be pastor's wives, whose husbands... [continue]

Have I told you lately that I love you?

One beautiful summer evening, my family and I went to visit some friends to have dinner and swim together. This family had just moved into their new home and my friend was telling me that during the waiting period of buying the house, it was imperative for her not to begin "mentally and emotionally living in the house" until they knew it was theirs for certain.

"We need to be falling in love with our spouse, not a house," she said without hesitation. Wow, what a powerful statement! In our society today, where so many marriages are both... [continue]

7 Things I Want “PK’s” To Know

The year was 1990. "New Kids on the Block" was the #1 boy band that climbed the music charts during the '80's and '90's, selling more than 80 million records worldwide. Every teenage girl I knew in the DFW area, including me, the "preacher's kid," had a major crush on the band. NKOTB was going to be in concert and I wanted to go with some church girlfriends. But there was a small problem.

I found out the concert would be on a Sunday night. I failed to tell my parents this minor detail because I knew what the answer would be. And I was right. They said, "No,"... [continue]

Unzipping our hearts

Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: "What? You too? I thought I was the only one!" -C.S. Lewis

"Momma! Momma! I don't want to be alone in my room. I need you to come in here and be with me. "

I was in the next bedroom and responded to her, "Rachel Beth, I'm right here in the next room. Do you hear my voice? You are not alone. You are fine."

She needed to make sure I was nearby. She thought for a moment she was all alone, which scared her. Once she heard my voice, my 4-year-old daughter was back to dancing and singing songs... [continue]

Called by Name

Do you know what your name means? My parents disagreed with what to name me when I was still in the womb. My dad wanted me to be "Joanna" and my mom preferred "Jennifer," the most popular girl name in 1976. Well, my dad "won the battle" and I was named "Joanna," which I found out later means, "God's gracious gift." I have to admit I liked my name a little more once I found out what it meant!

Names are very important to God, as we can see all throughout the Bible. In the beginning, God named the light "day" and the darkness "night." God named Israel His "chosen... [continue]