For several years now I’ve debated writing this one, a post about what it meant to grow up a daughter of ministry. Family dinners few and far between. Christmas never spent around my grandparents’ fireplace. My own graduation lunch filled with funeral planning because a dear friend of the congregation had recently passed, and the ceremony was to follow immediately after this classic life monument.
I’ve grown up knowing that one wrong slip from my mouth could cause a church split, along with the love-burden of responsibility that comes with planting a church. With my parents having both been missionaries, going to YWAM (Youth With A Mission) was a bit of a conveyor belt thing to do, as well as a lifelong dream. Other than that though, I had never quite understood God’s purpose for bringing me there, specifically Hawaii when we had connections at a closer base. But He knew the events of my life up until that point had brought me to a place where I needed to leave, to get out of the alternating spotlight and shadow of being a pastor’s kid. As my own wedding bells were being prepared, a veil of mourning still shrouded my eyes. It was glued over me; no matter how I shook it refused to move.
So He removed me. He took me to a place where I could finally breathe in open space.
There, I felt my pain. At home, I couldn’t. Life kept moving too fast, and there were too many people for whom I felt I had to be strong. There, I experienced the freedom to choose my own life-path (not that the choice was ever withheld from me by my parents- they’ve always encouraged me to take whichever route the Lord showed me. But as I said, I felt a love-burden). There, I realized the emptiness born of any life not heightened by that sense of urgency, because this was the life I was created for. So I chose to return. And the decision was mine.
Because I never felt I came before the ministry, but that I was as called to it as my parents, it’s always been a joy, even in the most trying times. While I rarely had family dinner at home, I had regular dinners with my family of 150 people, equally as intimate. Every Christmas I can recall was spent with this same family, singing praises and exchanging gifts around the church Christmas tree. And now, though I missed my graduation, I am looking forward to a wedding possibly larger than even any I’ve photographed, with all those same 150 and others who have joined us over the years, each of whom I deeply desire to be there, celebrating with us. They truly are our family.
So to those parents I encounter on a regular basis, if fear of your kids missing out is all that is keeping you from ministry, as the daughter of ministry, it’s worth it. I may not have learned which fork to use, but the lessons and gifts given to me from my parents were far more eternal, and for that I will be ever grateful.