This Sunday is the next step in our series on "Building the Church." This week is "building the church by building our children." Nothing scares me more than speaking on the family. Allow me to explain.
The life of a pastor is one that can be challenging for the pastor himself. It can be unbearable for his family if he's not careful. For me, I can manage expectations others have for me. Those expectations are some that I signed up for when I began to serve as a pastor. But the expectations for my lovely bride and our son. . . . that's a different story. I convinced Julie to marry me based on the presumption that I was going to be a professor, not a pastor. She grew up in a pastor's home - she knew better than to marry a pastor! Furthermore, our son Joshua didn't have a choice. By virtue of being adopted into our home, he bears the burden of those expectations too. People expect us to be perfect, having all the pieces in their proper place and knowing where those places are. People expect us to never argue, never struggle with parenting, never have a recalcitrant child, never experience anger, never find ourselves at a loss, never experience natural and normal emotions or to find ourselves challenged by the ebb and flow of life. I don't know who started these expectations - as unrealistic as they are - but they have remained and thus have a life all their own. With that in mind, now back to where I started this post. . . .
Nothing scares me more than speaking on the family. My parents did their best in bringing me along but choices were made that were different than a traditional family. My mom and father divorced when I was only 4 (and I'm the oldest of three). My mom and step-dad married shortly thereafter. They divorced when I was a senior in college. My ideas and understanding of family and parenting are, therefore, decidedly non-traditional. I don't fault my parents for any of that - they did the best they could under their circumstances. Simultaneously, I don't want that experience for my Joshua. I want him to be stuck with me and his momma all the days of his life. Getting there? My guide will, as it always been, the Word of God. Thus, I'll stand firmly there and offer counsel that only comes from there.
Pray for me and I'll look for you Sunday - I'll be the tall one.