Last Sunday we had the privilege of being with my parents as they celebrated 35 years leading First Baptist Church in Callahan, FL. When they came to the church on July 2nd, 1979 my Mom was 19 and my Dad was 24! A lot has happened since then, and I’m so grateful for God’s providence in placing our family there. Five years ago (wow – those years have FLOWN by!) when they celebrated being at FBC Callahan for 30 years I wrote a post about it. And because I still feel the same way (and am too lazy to write something else) I wanted to share those thoughts with you again!
I’m so thankful for God’s plan and for my parents’ obedience and willingness to follow that plan for our lives. God’s grace is so evident in our family. The other day I was reading in I Kings (not my favorite book if I’m being honest!) when I came across a passage that jumped out at me:
In the eighteenth year of the reign of Jeroboam son of Nebat, Abijahbecame king of Judah, and he reigned in Jerusalem three years…
He committed all the sins his father had done before him; his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his forefather had been.
Nevertheless, for David’s sake the Lord his God gave him a lamp in Jerusalem by raising up a son to succeed him and by making Jerusalem strong. For David had done what was right in the eyes of the Lord and had not failed to keep any of the Lord’s commands all the days of his life…
So Jeroboam wasn’t a good guy. He wasn’t devoted to God. BUT. God continued to bless Jerusalem, because of his forefather, David. I love that! And I’m convinced that God has shown me favor over and over again, partly because of my parents’ faithfulness and earnest prayers on my behalf. Even at times when my “heart was not fully devoted to the Lord” he has shown me mercy.
From June 29th, 2009:
I’m thankful that I grew up in a church that loves and supports their pastor. I’ve met a lot of other minister’s children over the years, and many of them don’t have the wonderful experience that my brother and I have had. It makes me so sad to see bitterness in their eyes that I know comes from a place of deep hurt. We’ve always felt loved and accepted (even though we’re both a little weird). Over the years people have taken time to invest in our lives and have helped us to grow in our relationships with Christ rather than judging us when we messed up. People regularly ask us both what it was like growing up being the preacher’s kids, and I can honestly say it was a privilege! No. It was not a club we signed up for. If that was the case I don’t think anyone would! And yes, it was a little awkward being in the fishbowl at times, but our parents taught us to focus on the positive. And there is a lot to be thankful for. Like having over 600 people at our wedding last year – people who watched me grow up, treat me like family, genuinely love me, and share in my joy! There are also a LOT of shoulders to cry on during the trials of life. Romans 12:15 says that as Christians we are to “Rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn.” FBC Callahan has always been faithful in doing both with our family.
I’m also thankful for my parents – for their leadership, faithfulness, transparency, compassion and grace. I told my mom last week that I’m convinced being a pastor’s wife is the hardest job in the world. (Being a pastor runs a close second in my book!) Mainly because of this: you know how when someone treats you bad you can handle it, but when someone treats your loved ones bad you want to claw their eyes out? Yeah. You get the point! Pastor’s get a lot of criticism. It’s part of the job! Mom is perfect for the role though. She loves people, and they just naturally love her back. If they don’t, she kills them with kindness until they give in and realize it’s just easier to love her than not! My dad has an authoritative personality and is a natural leader. I think God had a plan there! I’m proud of him, because he has always been faithful to preach God’s Word-all of it. Not just the verses that give people a warm fuzzy and make them feel good about themselves. :) I see so many ministry leaders struggle with a balance between doing the work they’ve been called to do and taking care of the family they’ve been called to lead. My dad always told us (and most importantly, showed us) that we – his family – came first. Growing up, they always told me and Don that God blesses faithfulness. It sounds like a simple concept, but if you can really grasp it, it’s huge. They’ve both given their lives to serving Jesus Christ and have impacted thousands of people because of they’re faithfulness. God has blessed them over and over again. A lot of people have no idea where Callahan is, but heaven sure does!!!
Mom and Dad,
I’m SO PROUD of you!!!
2 Corinthians 9:13 – As a result of your ministry, they will give glory to God. For your generosity to them and to all believers will prove that you are obedient to the Good News of Christ.