Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Reality: Vocation Woes

There are articles upon articles written about how hard it is to be a pastor's family.  And while I fully admit the difficulties, I am put off by the tone and expressions used to convey them.  Being a pastor's family is the best vocation on this side of eternity.  There are struggles, there are crosses to bear, there are days and weeks (and probably months, if I am being honest) that make it hard to admit how great we have it, but the truth is, there is not a single better way to spend your life than to watch your husband give God's Gifts to those whom you love.

To all my fellow pastors' families, this is not written to make you think you have it easy.  I am quite aware of how hard it can be sometimes.  I am aware of the uncertainty.  I am aware of the loneliness.  I am aware of the moments you watch your husbands bear more burdens than one man can handle.  I am aware of the stereotypes and expectations.  I am aware of the hurtful statements that can be said (in total innocence or in total defiance).  I am aware.  And I know you are too.  It is hard.  Sometimes it is harder than others.  

I recently had a conversation with a grown-up pastor's kid.  She flippantly told my husband and I about how her co-workers are trying to get her to enjoy the holidays because, "Well, I was a pastor's kid and that time of the year...well, I just saw how crazy my parents got and how ridiculous it was for him...It was just too much.  I just don't like this time of the year."  

Wow, dagger to the heart of every pastor/dad and mom/pastor's wife who ever lived.  
But, wow, what a reminder for me.  

The way I talk about my vocation matters.
The way I live out my vocation in front of others matters.
The way I think about my vocation matters.

Maybe this is a lot of Law.
I don't know about you, but sometimes I need to hear a lot of Law. 

All the times I speak viciously about our God-given vocations...
All the times I live in a way that shows others how much I can despise our God-given vocations...
All the times I think poorly about our God-given vocations...

All those have already been forgiven.  

So, now, I go in peace this holiday season - living as one who is forgiven.  

May that be how I think and speak about my vocation.
May that be what my children remember about the holiday season.  
May that be how they live out their holiday seasons this side of eternity.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Reality: Children Need Fathers

1.  My children need to see a man royally screw up AND then watch him humble himself by apologizing and repenting.  They need to see a man live as one who is forgiven.

2.  My children need to fall and scratch their knees.  They need to get hurt.  They need to be cuddled by the strong embracing arms of a man who will bend down and kiss that knee as many times as it takes to heal it.

3.  My children need strong discipline.  They need to hear the firm command of their father.  They need to disobey, apologize, and hear their father's forgiving voice.

4.  My children need to see a man read his Bible, receive Christ's Gifts in church, and pray (more than just before he eats).  They need to know it is possible to be manly and humble.

5.  My children need to see a man love a woman like Christ loves the Church.  They need to see him sacrifice.  They need to watch him put his needs below the needs of his bride. My children need stability.  They need leadership.  They need a head of household.  They need to watch their mother honor their father.  They need to see a healthy marriage built by God.

6.  My children need to watch their father and mother kiss, hold hands, hug, and show affection.  They need to learn that sexuality is beautiful when it is between husband and wife.  They need to see what joy awaits them in marriage.

7.  My children need a protector.  They need a safety net.  They need an un-emotional ear to listen. 

When my husband proposed seven years ago, he gave me seven gifts each representing completion.  
As a married couple, we complete each other.  
As parents, we do the same.  

My children need their father.  
All children need fathers.

Fathers complete mothers.

Thank you for completing me, my love.  

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Reality: Why I don't go to the bathroom.

This morning my husband scolded me (sarcasm) for saying that I don't have time to go to the bathroom during the day.  We often talk about this conundrum.  My usual response is, "Don't you think I would go...if I could!"

So, why don't I go to the bathroom?

Here is how it usually goes -

My thought:  Oh, I have to pee...wait, new potty trainer hasn't gone in awhile...have to take him.

Upon finding said potty trainer, he is having an accident.

My thought:  AHHHH!  One minute too late!  Off to the bathroom we go.  Note to self, remember to clean up pee.  Note to self, remember to go to the bathroom while you are in there.

New potty trainer completes bathroom trip, and baby starts screaming.  I finish potty trainer up quickly, and dash out to get baby. 

My thought:  Rats, I forgot to go.  Go now.  Take the baby.  It will be fine.  Don't forget to clean up that pee.

About this time, I hear a fight break out in the living room between two toddler boys.

My thought:  Just go pee.  Ignore, go stop them.  Better to catch them now than when they have started hitting.

As the two toddlers are passing out apologies and hugs, I take a dash toward the bathroom with baby in hand.  Then, she spits up.  Not just a little.

My thought:  OK, grab new clothes for me.  While I am changing, I will pee.  For real this time.  Then I have to clean up that pee from earlier.

As I am reaching in my drawer, I hear someone slip and fall.  WAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!  Yes, a toddler did just wipe out in that spot of pee. 

My thought:  I am such a terrible mother.  I should have cleaned up that pee earlier.  This is my fault.  Poor baby.

Snuggles for the toddler.  Baths for everyone.  We all have pee on us now. 

So, you might be thinking, "Of course she went pee while she was in the bathroom giving baths, right?" 

Not so much.  I forgot I had to go.  Have you ever tried to bathe a 3 year old, a 2 year old, and a 3 month old?  Let's just say that there was a lot of peeing going on, but it wasn't me.

I just spent 15 minutes writing this blog post.  I should have gone pee.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Reality: Somebody Vs. Everything

Let me tell you a story.  I used to be somebody.  I don't mean to toot my own horn (in reality, I do), but I was good at what I did.  I was really good at it.  Out in the workforce, there are accolades to gain, plaques to be given, stories to be written in the news, congratulations thrown about for achievements -   it is a pretty "pat yourself on the back" kind of world out there, and it feels good.  And in that world, I was somebody to a lot of people. 

Then I decided to stay home with our kids.

As a stay-at-home mom, you choose to lose your identity (or at least that is the choice I made).  I became, "(insert child's name here)'s mom." You choose to give up the chance of accolades, plaques, news articles, and congratulations.  You choose to give up being a somebody.

In exchange for being a somebody to those out there, you become an everything to those in here.

There is a huge amount of responsibility that comes with being somebody's everything.  When you are an everything, your strengths and mostly your failures shine brighter.  They are reflected in the eyes of those who see you as everything.

When I was a somebody, I did it well.  But...
For every judicial meeting I conducted, another somebody out there could have done it. 
For every handbook I wrote, another somebody could have written it. 
For every meeting I conducted, another somebody could have ran it.

Sure, maybe they wouldn't have done it as marvelously as I did (sarcasm), but they could have done it.  They could have earned the accolades, the plaques, the news stories, and the congratulations.

When you are an everything, you are irreplaceable. 

That is why I chose to stay home with my kids.  That is why I chose to give up being a somebody. 
The world out there has so many shiny things.  It is enticing.  It is delicious.  In my little world, where I am everything there are no shiny things (besides the dishes I so marvelously cleaned).  It is intimate.  It is long-lasting.  It is home. 

Someday, maybe my children will be somebodies. 
Someday, I hope my children will be somebody's everything.