Since moving to Nashville I have had a hard time really wanting to settle down at a church.
As a pastors daughter I have around a billion emotions and opinions about the church, but recently Zach and I have finally decided to settle down at a church here and to my surprise it has been far more emotional than expected for me.
My dad has been my pastor since I can remember.
He is a GREAT pastor but an even better father to my three older brothers and I.
Up until I met Z he has been my best friend and my favorite super hero.
I also have the greatest mother in the universe.
She is a public speaker and an author.
My family has always laughingly said that my mom is a better pastor than my dad but while we laugh we all know it is true. She is his battery, the Great and Powerful Oz behind the curtain, and the best helper I have ever seen.
I have never even seen a professional sports team function together as well as my parents do.
This church Z and I have been attending is pretty rad.
It’s relatively small and reminds me of the church my dad served at in Birmingham before it really grew to what it was when we left.
This pastor is really awesome and a great teacher.
And he has a daughter.
I’m not totally sure how old she is but she’s probably somewhere around eight or nine.
This morning she was proudly wearing a tiara while she ran around the church as if it was her actual home.
She has a bit of mischievous in her little smirk.
And you can really tell she loves her dad.
Every Sunday our pastor goes to the alter during worship and the congregation is invited to pray over him.
I haven’t been attending this church for very long but every time I have been there this little girl makes her way to the front from wherever in the sanctuary she is and she goes and lays hands on her dad to pray for him.
This morning in particular as I watched her little hand on her dad I was overcome with emotions I didn’t even know existed.
I didn’t know whether to pull her aside and tell her to run for the hills or to assure her that her father is actually a superhero and to never pass up an opportunity to pray over him.
At first I wanted to seriously tell her to take his hand and convince him to find an occupation where people are nice.
I wanted to tell her that if she continues to trust her dad he will eventually introduce her to her Heavenly Father and then there really is no turning back.
I wanted to tell her that if she chooses to love whole-heartedly like that, it really might end in her surrendering her life to the gospel.
I wanted to explain to her that following in the footsteps of ministers and pastors wives means that your doors will always be open,
you will love people a whole lot and those people will hurt you,
and even worse, they will hurt her family.
I wanted to tell her that her father speaks truth,
but that truth means abandoning everything.
That type of abandonment might mean living overseas separated from her dad, and that sometimes it’s really scary to have a dad that does what’s right instead of what’s easy.
In the same breath I wanted to tell her that he has the hardest and coolest job in the world.
He is doing a job that will impact eternity.
He is doing something that matters and that’s way bigger than himself.
I wanted to tell her that what he speaks is truth.
And that, while it is hard to believe, her Heavenly Father loves her way more than her earthly father will or ever could.
I wanted to tell her that that is the only type of love that is worth abandoning everything for.
And that one day it will seam a lot less like “loss” and a whole lot more like “gain”.
I wanted to tell her to love even when it hurts, and to do the right thing not the easy thing.
I wanted to hug her and tell her that it’s okay to speak truth.
I wanted to tell her that the church will hurt her family sometimes but Christ was hurt first and He understands that type of pain.
I wanted to tell her that one day she might be preparing to go to the ends of the earth with her husband, that her dad might not be able to talk about exactly where she is or what precisely she is doing in front of his congregation in order to protect her.
I wanted to tell her that it is all totally worth it.
Almost a year ago my dad stepped down as the senior pastor at a church.
I would be lying if I said any of it has been easy. Doing the right thing sucks sometimes.
I want so badly to protect my parents and honestly I never want him to pastor another church.
But I know that if he does, it will only be because God has called him there.
With that being said, I figured I’d write a letter to the next church my dad pastors just
Dear church… CONGRATULATIONS!
Your Pastor Search Committee has good taste! All kidding aside, I truly believe there is not a couple that is more qualified to love and lead you than my parents.
I know you’re technically hiring my Dad, but don’t get it twisted,
He comes with a powerhouse of a wife,
She is the most hospitable human you will ever meet and an awesome cook, there’s pretty much an open invitation at their house but either come hungry or don’t come at all.
If you’re looking for a super quiet pastor’s wife, you’ve got the wrong one.
She’s a crazy good public speaker, she has read the bible all the way through every year since I was like three, and she knows more about theology than many pastors.
Not to mention her and Jesus are on like a first name bases because she spends so much time talking to him.
She is patient, kind, encouraging and graceful, but quiet is not the word I would use.
He also has three incredibly intelligent sons, the oldest one is a pastor, the second one just graduated seminary, and the third is starting seminary now.
They all have the wisdom of my dad but the compassion of my mom.
And last but not least he has a super obnoxious and opinionated daughter.
And while I might live on the other side of the planet when you read this, I am crazy and will always only be a plane ticket away.
We are a package deal.
We would die for my parents.
And none of us are rookies at this.
… so buckle up.
…Truth is we all love the Body of Christ… The Church.
We are all devoting the rest of our lives to making disciples, and we are all sinners like everyone else just trying to figure out who God is what it looks like to pursue him.
We have been hurt by the church, as I’m sure many of you that are reading this have, but Jesus commanded us to love his people, so here we are.
We are all coming out of a time of healing and, for the first time in my life, are ALL in a period of transition.
Take care of my parents, they probably already love you more than you know.
Thanks for loving us.
I know this blog has been pretty different from my usual rambling on,
I try to end every blog with a more practical challenge to kind of explain the purpose of writing it,
But the truth is that this blog was primarily written for fairly selfish reasons,
I wanted to give a better look into my family for some of you guys
And I also promised when I started this thing that I would write about my real life and what this journey REALLY looks like and feels like for me,
but I also wrote it because it was really therapeutic for me personally.
I guess the only real application from all of this is that most humans know a pastor or minister’s family,
They’re real people,
With real feelings,
And most of the time they have some really real issues.
Pray for your church leaders,
and choose to love the church not because it’s fun, but because Jesus takes his bride seriously.
I PROMISE I WILL UPDATE YOU GUYS ON WHERE THE LORD IS LEADING Z AND I THIS FALL.
I can not promise that I will be able to say the specific location that we are planning on moving,
Just know that Z and I are currently (like literally tomorrow) having some pretty crazy meetings that could ultimately determine where we go and for how long.
So please be praying for wisdom as we try to discern where the Lord wants us for this next season of our lives.
To The Ends of The Earth