I remember when I first started in ministry. I had lots of naysayers, including people in my family. I was not the one expected to commit to full time ministry. That job was reserved for my much more “religious” brother who didn't commit as many sins as I did. Working in children's ministry was one of the only places in my life that made any sense at the time. Besides being a mom, it was the only thing that came natural and that I was good at.
Regardless of the comments from the doubters, I knew it was where I needed to be. But it didn't come without consequence or mistakes. I was so overwhelmed at that time in my life, trying to balance it all and be it all for Jesus that I lost a really great friend, and unfortunately hurt her in the process. I gave up opportunities to work elsewhere making more money, which as a single mom I needed.
No longer was I, or am I, able to make “gut” or logical decisions about my future. Every move I make or don't make involves prayer and more prayer and wise counsel, and often times tears. Me being in ministry has put my entire family in frustrating positions and financial difficulties.
Ha! I'm obviously not the salesman of the year when it comes to convincing you that ministry is awesome! Oh but it is! All of those sacrifices and struggles are worth it when you hear a teenager pray for the first time, or a kid run up to you and hug your leg on Sunday morning. When the kids in the neighborhood want to know when you will start a Bible study for them, and when teenagers don't want to move because youth group is so important to them. Then there are the proclaimed atheists who now know this Jesus that adores them. And the addicts who know that Jesus is the only answer.
It is just that in times like these, when me and my husband must make a hard decision where we don't seem to win either way, it is so hard not to feel guilty. Ministry is not just a sacrifice for me, but for my husband, for my children. I am so incredibly grateful that the sacrifice Jesus made was enough for my family to be 'all in.' But it is hard to swallow that in order for me to pursue what Jesus has for me, my husband must take a second job to support our family or work countless hours of overtime.
Ministry has these moments when you and your family must come together, completely unified, with faith in God that He will make all things right. It is ugly and beautiful all at once.
Don't give up.
What are some sacrifices you've made for ministry? Comment and let me know.
Yah, I got sucked in! Preacher’s Daughters is a new show on Lifetime. I’m always interested in how the mainstream interprets the lives of those in ministry. I could definitely tell a bit of “overacting” when the camera got too close. Because just in case you didn’t know, Reality TV is often NOT actually reality. Sorry if I ruined your day ….
I think it’s interesting to see that the families that were picked had ‘real world’ issues. Divorce, teenage pregnancy, disobedience. As a fellow “pastor” (and I use that term loosely) it is refreshing that Christians aren’t made out to be perfect.
I was reminded of walking with a neighbor a few years ago and we were chatting about the kids in the neighborhood. As we passed a house she pointed and said, “Those kids are the worst. Always cussing and acting stupid. And they are even pastors kids.”
Later I walked to my house after dropping her off and wondered if Pastor’s kids had some sort of special DNA or gene that exempted them from temptation and the realities of sin. The world definitely has an expectation on families in ministry to act differently and respond differently to the culture and the natural sinfulness of the world.
But like everyone else, we are only human. We have a heart after God, wanting to do His will and lead people to Him, but we don’t always get it right. And often times our kids are just along for the ride.
I don’t agree with everything on the show. I definitely see the brokenness in the single mom and the way she parents in fear and other parenting struggles where the camera adds ten pounds.
Regardless of our vocation, one with eternal purpose or not, it’s hard to raise kids. Everyone is different and we have become a different person with every child. It is a daily prayer walk of fully relying on God and trusting Him to do His part as we do ours!
You are loved,
The last few days I’ve spent ample time with Zac. He’s been home from school with pulmonary junk. So between the million breathing treatments, we’ve watched the Karate Kid at least as many times. Zac loves to punch and kick and flip. So after the millionth time of me asking him to sit down and stop putting himself on the brink of respiratory failure, he settled in with my iPad.
“Mom, how do you spell karate?”
Before I knew it, Zac was on Karate Depot investigating how much black belts cost.
“Mom, can I buy a black belt?”
So being the fantastic, insightful mom I am, I replied with, “A black belt can’t be bought. It must be earned.”
Quickly, Zac was just as insightful, “I am going to earn it–well, I’m going to pretend I did.”
Isn’t that the American way? We want to pretend, or live as if, we have earned something. We want a fantastic marriage, but we don’t want to fight our way through it. We want kids who are well-adjusted and able to handle no matter what comes their way, but we don’t want to impose the boundaries. We want that deep faith in God, but shrug our shoulders at the thought of daily prayer and Bible reading.
All of us on some level want to pretend we’ve earned all the benefits of maturity. We shop at a Karate Depot, or Marriage Depot, or Parenting Depot, hoping to find something that will give us an outward badge of honor–to show the world our amazing-ness. We are willing to pay the $29.95 and even the inflated shipping fees if only it will give us the shortcut.
I wish I could purchase a black belt in writing, and in teenage dating issues, and in church planting, and in marriage. But even if I did, when it came down to the time to battle the enemy, I would lose.
I finished the conversation with my determined child forehead to forehead. I looked him in the eyes and said, “We can’t cheat our way through things. We have to work hard, train, do whatever it takes to get our black belt. Even if it takes 15 years to get it. And that’s not just with Kung Fu. We have to work hard to be whatever it is we dream about. We can’t buy our dreams on the internet.”
He flipped and kicked his way upstairs and came down with his Judo uniform and proudly tied his white belt. The kicking and flipping never stopped, but hopefully he learned–hopefully we have learned–that whatever it is we want to be best in, whatever we want to wear a black belt for, will take doing the hard work!
Happy Friday. You are loved!
It was a bad case of the Mondays. I spent the day in bed, not feeling well–trying to fight the guilt of not feeling well–trying to force myself to feel better. I even got up and showered, did my hair & make up, but soon after I grabbed all the kids from school, I went right back to bed, fully clothed. I lead a youth group about 20 minutes away on Mondays, so I found a little strength after a pleading prayer and headed out.
After a great night of hanging with amazing kids, I headed home to my own amazing kids… to find this greeting me:
Now what is disturbing to me is that I hate Nicolas Cage. I’m sure he’s a nice person blah blah blah, but as an actor, I think the world of film could do without him. When I see him, or worse hear his voice, I think of the slicked back creepy uncle who walks around with his hand his pocket jingling his “change”. I imagine him with a Marlboro in one hand a luke-warm half drank bottle of beer sitting in front of him while he invites his nieces and nephews who are passing through the kitchen to come and sit on his lap. He just…creeps. me. out.
Now I know there are people out there who think he’s wonderful, artistic, blah blah blah. But I think he’s a creeper. And now thanks to my two teenage children, who will remain unnamed
Alyssa and Cody I now have creeper status pics all over my house: My mirror where I sit to put my make up on, the microwave where I cook my food and the computer mouse where I sit typing. He’s freekin’ everywhere.
What I love about this rather disturbing prank is it came from my kids. Our lives get so bogged down–get your homework done, hurry up and eat we have football–don’t make too much noise dad has to work overtime tonight–go to bed—do…-go…-do…-go. Sometimes as families we forget to have fun. Fun and humor is such an important part of your family. If your family doesn’t feel like you can play together, there is a sense of safety that is missing–and it is vital.
We should be able to joke with one another, even pick on each other (within limits) and maybe even once in a while, post creepy pics of your most hated actor all over your house. Simply cause some laughter, connect, and show that you care–in a round about crazy sort of way, a way that shows your kids that you know them, and that even as an adult, you know how to have a little fun. With spring break approaching, now is the time to put down your agendas, and have some fun with your kids.
How have you created an atmosphere of fun in your family? Comment–let me know, I would love to hear from you!
I have all these kids that come to my house on Wednesdays. We call it Uth. I feed them, we play games, and sit around my living room (usually piled on top of each other) and talk about life, and what the Bible says and why it’s true.
So many of them don’t think it’s true. So many of them think anything can be true. They think whatever works for you is ok. They don’t think. I’m certain that’s the problem.
There is this constant state of confusion. So many of them don’t see anything wrong with their lives, their choices. They don’t see their need for Jesus. So last week when half of them raised their hands that they didn’t really believe that Jesus was the only way I became nauseous. I told my testimony of why Jesus is MY only way and how I KNOW that no other self-proclaimed god would rescue me, transform me, love me.
I went to bed that night convinced that what I am doing is not enough. My heart was in a frenzy, my head spinning, I had to do more, be more convincing, persuade them. For a week I contemplated, pondered, even considered everything I’m doing as completely meaningless.
This morning I said, “Jesus, what should I do. How can I convince them?”
He said, “That is not your job. Your job is to give them truth. My job is to show them that it is true.”
I want every child who walks out of my door on Wednesday to understand the tremendous love and grace and justice of Jesus. But if they don’t, it’s not my problem. In fact, I’m certain Jesus doesn’t see it as a problem he sees it as just another seed planted that he will water and nurture and grow to His perfection.
So tonight, I will pull up my overalls, throw on my rain boots and trek into the garden of precious kids, some sprouting, some blooming. But I will nourish them with the truth, give them a few hugs and wait for Jesus’ love to overwhelm them so they can no longer be contained in their seed.
Pray for us, would you?