I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
(Ephesians 4:1-3 ESV)
Over the last couple of months, several people have said something to me that gave me pause and concern and caused me to wonder why they think what they do. The statement usually goes something like this: He (Tony) was so busy with young adults, young marrieds and services and out so much and he has a wife and 6 kids and he should be home more and people need to understand that!
Here are my fears:
1. They think that was a heavy load because I complained about it.
2. They think I was an innocent bystander swept up and abandoned in the current.
3. They think that our church was uncaring and not in touch with our needs.
Only #1 has any possibility of being true.
As I have thought this through, I remembered an interaction I had with another pastor’s wife many years ago. Before I was a pastors wife I said to her: “When ever I see you I always feel sorry for you.” Encouraging right? Yeah, that’s my gift. Her response was this and she seemed saddened by it: “People say that to me a lot and I don’t understand why.”
I never understood the deep emotion in her response until now. Never understood that it would be a crushing idea to have people think that this call that you have taken up, this sacrifice you have knowingly and willingly made, was being forced on you. It’s a thought that brings you to your knees before your Father in sorrow that you have taken this gift He has given you and run with it and somehow you have done it in a way that has caused others to think you were unwilling.
And now, I find myself at a crossroads.
Here I am in Claremont, in a new and yet oh, so similar call and a choice to make.
Since we have moved here Tony has worked constantly. I think there was one peaceful week where he had time to spend relaxing and life was dreamy. Besides that week, he has been working day and night every weekday on into mid Saturday, then he begins studying on through Sunday until Sunday afternoon when there is church service. Then, we come home and unwind for 2 hours which can go several different ways and if you are a pastor’s wife you know what I mean. He may feel discouraged or encouraged, either emotion is an extreme one and envelops the man. If there is no pressing deadline on Monday then that week ends. Monday it all starts again.
This is what it means for us to be a pastor. This is what it means for us to be a computer contractor. We took on this call as a family and we understood exactly what we were getting into and we understand that it is for a season.
What others don’t see in the above schedule is this:
- The two year old who climbs into her daddy’s lap throughout the day just to say hello
- The 5 year old who gets to take a special walk to have a soda and chips with his dad in the middle of the day
- The entire family hopping into the car to drive to Anaheim to spend time with family for the day, stopping for gas and a car wash on the way out, the wife with a smirk of satisfaction on her face that she has actually brainwashed the man this quickly that he should buy gas every Wednesday, on schedule, no matter what
- The 13 year old acting goofy in his alter ego while the whole family is entertained
- The couple who can put the littles to sleep and send the olders to the attic and sneak out for 30 minutes of coffee in the late evening
It’s busy. It’s hard. But God gifts us with moments that are so sweet and I can see Him working and orchestrating through this season.
The question is, how will I choose to walk it? Will I embrace it joyfully, turning to HIM in the difficult times and growing through it or will I drag along like a beloved doll in the grasp of a two year old?
I choose JOY. Holy Spirit, shine through me.
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