"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

Rachelle Burleson: A Reflection on 2006

{The following is written by my wife of twenty-three years, Rachelle Burleson, in response to a request by fellow blogger Alyce Lee that Rachelle let others know her feelings about the events of thia past year. No editing by Rachelle's husband has occurred :)}

Several days ago, a dear member of our church approached me saying she was glad to hear that I was going to write a post with my thoughts of the past year. She went on to say that, “it is important that they realize how other people have been harmed.”

I appreciate her concern for me, but her statement got me to thinking. Have I been harmed by the events of the past year?

Certainly January, 2006, began in a way I would never have anticipated, but there are many things in life’s journey that are not anticipated and it is through those events that we are most changed.

Furthermore, in honestly reflecting upon the events of the past year, my feelings do not center around a perspective of harm done, but rather I feel enriched by what we have experienced, and enjoy a deepened sense of the presence of a great and gracious God in my life.

Since Wade speaks very well for himself, allow me to share a few of the personal things God has wonderfully encouraged me with over the course of this past year:

(1). The blessing and encouragement of both new and old friends. I have long loved the story of Aaron and Hur holding up the arms of Moses during battle as told in the book of Exodus. In the same way, we too have been strengthened through the strength of many.

(2). The peace of the knowledge that we are carried along by the Spirit of God in every area of our lives, and it is He Who is actively at work designing the tapestry of our lives for His good pleasure.

(3). My pursuit of a nursing degree which has served as a wonderful distraction to the whirlwind that has swirled around us.

(4). The stalwart support of our church family, which is a constant source of refreshment and encouragement, and for whom we both remain ever grateful.

(5). The rewarding experience of witnessing the same character qualities in the man that I fell in love with some 25 years ago still at work in his life today.

Wade and I met on a blind date two days before classes began my freshman year at Baylor University and I quickly knew that he was someone very special. I was attracted to him because of his deep convictions, his passion for life and his Lord, and his personal sense of identity and purpose. And on top of that, he was (and still is) a STUD!! I jokingly told him about six weeks ago, that if I’d only known where the character qualities that so attracted me all those years ago would lead us, then . . . . I’d fall in love with him all over again!

Finally, I am reminded of the story of David and Shemei. David was king of Israel and one of his subjects, Shemei, was not very happy with the king. As King David and his entourage walked through a valley, Shemei stood on a high ridge hurling insults and curses at the king, including slandering him by saying he had killed Saul.

Abishai, the huge and loyal body guard for King David, upon hearing the slander from Shemei said to the king, "Let me go cut off that dead dog's head."

King David responded, "No. Let him alone. God hath bidden him to speak."

I am always reminded of that story when I hear things said about my husband by people who have never met him or do not know him. I have loved him for nearly a quarter of a century and I know him better than anyone. However, King David's words ring in my ears . . .

"God hath bidden them to speak."

I am grateful that we serve a sovereign, gracious God who promises that His purposes for us are infinitely better than we could ever hope or imagine. 2006 has been a rich and rewarding year.

I can't wait for 2007.

Rachelle Burleson

25 comments:

Kevin Bussey said...

Rachelle,

I'm glad I got to meet you this summer. I am blessed to have spent time with you, Wade and Paul. I appreciate your sweet spirit and your husbands heart for God, family and the SBC.

Alan Cross said...

Rachelle,

God has given you a great perspective on all of this. I enjoyed meeting you in Greensboro as well, and I really appreciated the interest you took in me and my son, Caelan. You didn't have to do that, but I was very impressed witht the way you listened and were genuinely concerned. Both you and Wade have been examples to me of courage, strength, determination, good humor, and humility throughout all of this, despite what his detractors have said. I look forward to what God has in store for you in the days to come! You are both in my prayers.

By the way, a stud? Love is truly blind . . . :)

Paul/Mary Burleson said...

How about a word from your mother-in-law (the most cartooned and dreaded relationship of married people).

When Wade brought Rachelle home to meet us, his folks, I was worried. She just didn't seem good enough for our handsome, brilliant, passionate, and special son. I didn't think she would ever make a pastor's wife. (Isn't that funny, but so typical?)

How wrong can one person be? We now wonder if Wade was good enough for Rachelle. Hmmm. . . (Just kidding. You guys are a great duo, rather dynamic!)

Thanks for your post, Rachelle. You're the best. I'm very privileged to be your mother-in-law and your friend. For those who don't know you, I want to testify that your words are genuine and truly express how you talk and live your life.

One of our most moving moments during this past year's events was your post defending Wade. Brought us to tears of gratitude and appreciation.

Again, you're the best!
Mom B.

martyduren said...

Stud?

You used to date Wade's Dad?

TruthOfActs said...

Rachelle,
I wrote your name ten minuets ago and that’s as far as I got. How do you share thoughts to someone you know you’ve hurt? Wade says, “I just smile and go on”, but for the wife that’s harder to do.

Close to the end of a race, the crowd was cheering my daughter to stay in the lead. Seeing her face white with pain made my heart ache for her to stop. I’ll never understand how God’s love could endure his Son suffering for us.

“Why are you carrying a lighted lamp in the daytime?”
“I’m looking for an honest man.”

I believe the man could have blown his light out if he had met your husband. In my opinion, he’s not always right but he’s always honest.

My wife may have expressed your feelings:
“I’m tired of everyone picking on you.”
“But, they say they do because they like me.”
“I don’t care—I’m tired of it.”

Of course it’s not “everyone”—only a few don’t like what Wade stands for.

Many women have not withstood the ‘pressure’ of a pastor’s wife, not to mention one trying to change the direction of the SBC. Thank you for your strength and your love.
Rex Ray

Chuck Andrews said...

Rachelle

You are proof that Job is the exception and not the rule. I have a firm conviction that beside every man, who can stand in humble strength during a tornado of controversy (as we have seen Wade do), is a woman of deep, deep faith. Since I know you and Wade, I can attest to the fact that as a couple you walk as equals, beside one another. Since you know me, you know I’m blessed in the same way.

Thanks for sharing your optimism and humor and insight. You are going to be a great RN.

Chuck

Ken Colson said...

Rachelle,
You are truly a diamond in a dark world. I have never met you nor Wade, but 5 years at Southcliff gave my wife and I a love for your Inlaws. Please continue to share your thoughts as you feel led and able. We already look forward to Wade's comments....now...how about you?

TruthOfActs said...

Mary Burleson,
Thank you, thank you for loving your son’s wife. I’ve heard many jokes about mother-in-law troubles.
Not long ago, our pastor preached on anger. He said he picked up his mother-in-law’s antique rocking chair, raised it to the ceiling and smashed it to pieces on the floor.
I asked my brother-in-law if that made any sense for a pastor to tell that on himself? He said, “No sense at all unless she was in it.”

I have often wondered why those jokes existed, when my mother ALWAYS took my wife’s side.
I was in the middle of a story when my wife said we needed to go home. I said OK but let me finish. My mother pushed me out the door with me still talking.

Many times I’ve wished for a mother-in-law as I only saw once what would have been her—at her burial.

Some men grow strong alone, but Wade is lucky to have a Burleson army behind him.
Rex Ray

Benjamin S. Cole said...

Rachelle:

God hath bidden Balaam's ass to speak also. I'm not sure your husband prefers an analogy to his life from the cursing Shimei over the cursed David. Only the wife of Wade Burleson could read her husband into the narrative as Shimei, and not as David.

Thanks for not making us say it.

BSC :)

Wade Burleson said...

Ben,

Your usual keen mind is not firing on all neutrons today. My wife did compare me to the cursed King David and not the cursing Shemei.

But who cares about Shemei? The comment she made that really stuck with me was the 'stud' comment --- :)

Benjamin S. Cole said...

My apologies, Wade. She did compare you to King David. Let's just all be grateful that your love for her has surpassed the love of men.

BSC

Benjamin S. Cole said...

One more thing...

At least she didn't call you "Mephibosheth."

As in "Me Mephibosheth."

BSC

Wade Burleson said...

Ah, Mephibosheth!

My favorite.

fourdays said...

Dear Rachelle,

Thank you for sharing your perspective with the blogging world. You are a woman of the word and a woman of deep faith, that is clearly heard in your words. The places that the Lord leads us are not always the most comfortable, but being able to watch Him at work is always worth it! I continue to pray that He supplies you with every ounce of strength, peace, and joy through it all.

Pursuing a RN degree? You go girl!

Blessings to both of you.

Kim Day
M in Thailand and fellow pastor's wife

Bryan Riley said...

Wade, Proverbs 18:22 and Proverbs 31! Wow!

Rachelle, thank you for sharing these words. The story of Shimei is absolutely spot on. I know that Tara and I have been blessed by getting to know you and Wade and look forward to seeing you again.

Bob Cleveland said...

Rachelle:

Peg and I were so pleased to meet you in Calvary Baptist in McLeansville. That's not an in-depth experience, but I've certainly gotten to know Wade and it appears to me that the two of you were made for each other.

As John Calvin might have said, you're sure a lucky couple.

Thanks for sharing on this post.

TruthOfActs said...

Wade,
Can you imagine readers all over the world looking in dictionaries to find the definition of ‘stud’ and their amassment of why anyone would fall in love with a piece of wood or a horse?
Rex Ray

Wade Burleson said...

Rex,

That's funny.

Benji Ramsaur said...

Rachelle,

I think it is safe to say you are one of the elect.

Anybody who would call someone as old as Wade a stud definitely has the love of the Lord in her heart.

:}

Benji

Wade Burleson said...

Benji,

I resemble that comment.

Paul/Mary Burleson said...

Rachelle,

Your words were you then [Jan. 2006] and are you now. I've never been prouder of anyone. In appreciation I want all to be reminded of those words then.

The following is the comment you wrote nearly one year ago as Wade was on his way home in a most difficult moment. I thank youe again.

DAD


Wade,

I knew the actions that the board took yesterday to remove you were certainly a possibility when you first chose to respond to a question concerning a quote the press attributed to you from the last board meeting in Pensacola. To say that I am surprised at the board's actions wouldn't necessarily be correct since their actions continue to be consistent with how they have chosen to respond to any questions that have been raised concerning any of their actions.

As your wife and one who has had a front row seat of the events of the past six months, I want to say that I applaud the manner in which you have conducted yourself -- with honesty and integrity. You have shown great courage in refusing to quietly stand by and be a "rubber stamp" for a suspect agenda. I am proud of your committment to the IMB, its staff, and all of our missionaries who sacrifice so much. They have had a passionate advocate in you.

Wear the action of the board as a badge of honor and march on. I walk beside you with my head held high.

Thankfully, our trust is not in the actions of men, but in a Sovereign God.

I love you!
Rachelle

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Alycelee said...

Rachelle,
What a wonderful word from you and what I heard is words seasoned with grace. Someone once said it is always "solid at the bottom" meaning that where ever, what ever God calls us to, he gives us the grace to do it. Wade has certainly examplified that and it is obvious that you do also. I expected nothing less :)
I look for wonderful things in 2007.
Blessings and Agape

Tim Sweatman said...

Rachelle,

One of the things from Greensboro that stands out to me is the gracious hospitality and servant's heart you demonstrated. Wade, your family, and your church are truly blessed to have you in their lives. The way that both you and Wade focus on God and what He is doing rather than all of the negative things you have faced is an encouragement and an example for all of us.

Jeff said...

Rachelle, as a person who has been your friend and has loved and admired you for many years, these words are who I know you to be. Yiur deeo love for Wade gives him the strength to do what the Lord leads him to do because he knows if all else fails you will be there in his corner. Thank you for posting. Even though Wade was the one "under fire" because you are one, I know you were affected to. Thanks for showing me again our heart of mercy and your heart of Grace that you have shown to me many, many times in my life. I pray for you often. BLESSINGS Pege Rogers

Jeff said...

Rachelle, Jeff is embarassed at my post ....I used his blog password....HAHAHAHA!! Sorry...It is from me...Pege not Jeff....HUGS