My whole life I have been a pastors kid. Now my story is not of one rebellion or of being too sheltered. When I think of my life growing up in church, I think of survival. I think of trying my hardest to separate church politics with the place I gather once a week to praise God with my community. That life has not been easy.
I think a lot of people have probably felt confused about how close my family is, or how sometimes I would rather go out with my parents on a Friday instead of my friends. But when you go through what we have gone through together, I am sure it will make more sense to you.
Here is what a lot of people may not realize when they think of people who are in a (church) ministry family... you see the business side of things. Not always, but most of the time pastors move from one job to the next within a span of five years or less. Then there is the process of finding a new job at a different church. The hiring process can take months, there are candidate visits the individual will make; generally the first on their own then if they are liked enough they may come back with their spouse and or family. Then it can be even more waiting to hear if the individual applying even got the job. Sometimes this process goes on with one church at a time... sometimes it can be even more.
Then there are all the secrets. When my dad would be searching for new jobs there were only a small number of people that could know what was going on. Because the hiring process is never certain, it would not be smart to keep many people in the loop. But keeping secrets from loved ones is never easy. Not being able to share prayer requests in my high school small group sucks, or avoiding future plans with your friends because you truly have no idea where you'll be in six months is a terrible feeling. And I wasn't the only family member experiencing this. We all felt that awful feeling in our own way.
During these trying times all I really had was my family. Of course I had other support from friends and mentors which I am forever grateful for. But no one really got how I felt except my family. And even during the off seasons when my dad was at a steady job, we still felt that exhaustion. We still dealt with the business and political side of church as well as people who mistreated us.
Many times I have asked myself why I never grew to hate church or the people leading in church. Mostly it is by the grace of God alone but also because The Lord knew that wasn't how I was meant to live. Every staff member of a church I have ever encountered was put there for a reason. I also know for a fact there is no person out there that is perfect at their job. We are all out there trying our best and hoping God can be glorified through it all.
I am very thankful for where God has put me now. I am thankful for a church that acknowledges where they are weak because they know God is strong. And yes I believe my family members will always be my best friends. We have gone through hell and have survived. We fought hard and came out better (although a little more tired) on the other side. When you experience something like that with multiple people, you are bonded forever. For that I am beyond grateful.
If you have been hurt by church or have negative feelings towards it, I would love to talk to you. My social media and email accounts are all linked on my site. Don't hesitate to shoot me a message! I am so happy that there is forgiveness and healing in this crazy world. All the churches I have been to I can now look at fondly because The Lord is bigger than my anger. I am thankful they are still out there and trying their best to do Kingdom work. Love you all and thank you for reading until the end!