IRL for a Pastor’s Family

Yesterday my husband, boys and I woke up before dawn and drove 3.5 hours to see our daugther for her university’s Family Weekend. After spending an hour redirecting Siri around campus since the streets were closed off for game day, we finally found parking and… our girl. But by this time the morning tailgates were ending and everyone was heading to the stadium. So really, we did all that and paid parking for nothing.

Farmers Table does not disappoint!

We had choosen not to buy game tickets so instead we went to a local favorite restaurant of hers and waited an hour to be seated. It was worth the wait (though the boys were starving!) and ended up being the best part of the day.

After lunch we stopped by her apartment for a bit before the Dad’s Day gathering at her sorority house. With a house of well over 400 girls + parents and siblings though, it’s easy to eat up time looking for friends and their families. Even if/when you find them it’s a hard place to enjoy leisurely and substantial conversations. But with that, it was time for us to drive the 3.5 hours back home. And that’s when the tears filled her eyes…

Everyone else was still with their parents and would be for the evening. They would also be with them again for breakfast, and had been with them the night before. They were having a true Parents’ Weekend. Our daughter- she only got us for a few hours.

Leaving is never easy, but it felt extra hard knowing in this case it was because work couldn’t be de-prioritized. For those who don’t know, my husband is a pastor. And for a pastor regardless of what is going on in his personal world and with the family, the sermon goes on. I share this simply to let you in on the “In Real Life” reality of a ministry family. Not so you feel sorry for us, but to tell you the nature of my husband’s calling as a pastor creates unique challenges for our family and at times, like yesterday, it is really hard.

My daughter wanted more time with us and we wanted more time with her. None of us could do anything about it- this time. (Our associate pastor is already preaching next week.) There are other times our kids don’t get all of my husband, or all of me (mentally or physically), because we are preoccupied with the duties and/or emotions of ministry. It’s just not a job you leave behind, which is why it’s a calling. But the calling of a pastor is not just his, but a calling for the family. Not always a calling we like, or truthfully feel adequate of.

So though you may see us sitting on the front row and think we have it all together that is far from the truth. Our smiling faces sometimes betray what’s really going on in our hearts. At times there is bitterness, sadness, frustration, lonliness, tiredness, selfishness, the desire to hide, escape or avoid. And like everyone else, we struggle to balance family and work life, and often fail.

But at the same time all of this is true, what else is true is God is at work through this calling to shape and mold each of us- my husband, me and our kids. He has each of us in mind. For this I’m thankful. And for this we must each fall back on when our expectations and desires don’t go as we want. All these circumstances unique to us, I trust he is using for our good. And by his grace for his glory too.

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9 thoughts on “IRL for a Pastor’s Family”

  1. this is great Kristen, thanks for sharing from your heart, I know you guys give up a lot being a pastors family.

  2. Love you beautiful family and all the gracious insight you share.

    ps. we just ate at the Farmers Table last weekend, took us 2 hours to get seats… neat place and great food!!

    1. Isn’t it always so reassuring to learn “You too?”!! Glad to hear this resonated with you…just to be understood helps so much at times.

  3. I think often is what your family offered me and my friends in RUF in the days when your own kids were so little. The ministry you gave us has been foundational for my entire adult life, but the older I get the more I realize how much it must have cost at times to devote so much love and attention and prayer to kids who weren’t your own! We continue to pray for your family as you minister to others. We love you.

    1. Thank you Megan, we so appreciate prayers! It is also so encouraging for us to see so many of our former RUF students as adults serving and loving the church. To think we had any part in that is humbling bc you are right there were times as a young mom I was exhausted and the last thing I wanted was students coming over!! But I also look back and see how that time was such a shaping influence in our own kids lives. I am beyond thankful for those years!

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