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Dad, I understand now

During my second childhood my father became a pastor of small church.  He didn’t want to be the pastor of the church but God called him there and so that meant that we had to go along as well.  Our lives were uprooted, friends left behind, new schools to fit into, and a fresh set of responsibilities that came with living in a fishbowl.

The church was so small that they could not pay my dad so he had to work a second job to take care of his family.  I say second job because his first job was the church.  And it seemed that it was our job as well.  We were the ones who showed up early and stayed late, the ones who shoveled walks and painted walls, the ones who gave our dad away to every need that the church body called him to look after.  In short, our life revolved around the church night and day, week in and week out.  We all paid the cost for our father to be pastor to a small flock of God’s children.

Most of my fondest memories from that second childhood aren’t around leisure activities with family because we didn’t have many.  They encapsulate working side-by-side with my dad and brothers whether it was on a roof or visiting a church family.  They had to become the best memories because that’s where the majority of the memories rest – in working.

Tonight there are some other memories that are standing out.  I remember the many nights that my father was on the brink of leaving it behind.  There is always going to be criticism or let downs when working with people.  But, wow, I understand something now.  When you pay such a high cost to be a servant, it can be very difficult not to feel the stings.  Some people may say you need to develop a thick skin but isn’t that just another way of saying, “Stop caring”?  Dad could have left the job of pastor behind, kept doing his ‘second job’, and been able to invest more time, energy, and money into his family.  And we would have welcomed it.

Yeah, tonight, I am feeling a connection to the man my dad was during those days.  What cost is my family paying for my investments into God’s ‘kingdom work’? I know they would welcome the investment in them and the likelihood of criticism would dramatically decrease.

Bummer, huh?

I wonder what God is trying to teach me through this.  I have lots of thoughts but no clear direction at this point.  There are times that I find myself unbearable because of a certain proclivity to over analyze situations.  Time to dig into the Word and definitely time for prayer.

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