Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Raising children in the ministry

I knew as far back as college that I would marry a minister. Thirteen years ago this June I did just that. A little over 2 years later we went from a ministry couple to a ministry family when our daughter was born. Now we have 3 kids and life in the ministry has changed many times over the past 13 years.

We are often at church when no one else with small children are there. There are many Sunday nights when my kids are the only children in worship. Sometimes there is no nursery and the 3 y/o just has to go into worship with us. Once I left and went to the park because he was just too disruptive. I figured if I was going to sit in the nursery with my own kiddo and no one else's we could play just as well outside. The up side to this is that they get to know people they otherwise would not interact with. On visitation night they get to help their Sunday School teacher write cards to their classmates and will often take a card home to pass along to a classmate the next day. They are learning evangelism at a very early age. 

When I was growing up there were a lot of jokes about pastor's kids (PKs). Often these children are put on such a pedestal and expected to b have so well that as they grow up they rebel. We are careful not to tell our children they must behave because they are the youth minister's kids. Instead we try to impress upon them the need to behave in a way That is pleasing to God. 

All three of our children have gone to church camp as infants or toddlers. Two of them were partially potty trained at youth camp. I decided, though, that I did not want my children to always go to camp with us. If they grow up going to camp every summer then when they are old enough and their friends are going there would be nothing for them to look forward to. Instead we take that time as a opportunity for them to spend a week with family they don't see very often. 

We try to take our children with us as much as possible. God has really blessed us with friends to help with our kids when we can't take them with us. It's a lot easier to take one child along than three. And it's easier to find someone to watch one child than three. I don't think our friends who help us really know how much they mean to us. 

It is difficult sometimes to plan a weekend away. Sunday is the biggest day for my husband as it is the day most people come together to worship. It's his busiest day of the week so we don't miss it much which means we have to miss other things. We try to emphasize to our children the importance of worshipping  God and not just "going to church". 

Raising children, working my own full time job and being a partner with my husband in ministry can be a difficult plate to balance. I want my children to grow up knowing we are not consumed by the church or the work of the church but that we are consumed by Jesus. 

If you are a ministry mom what are some of the struggles you face?
How do you raise your children with a focus on Jesus and not on just going to church because it's what we have always done?

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