I know that I’ve shared this story publicly before, but I don’t think I’ve shared it here on our blog.
When Trisha and I were separated in 2005, the boys came to the house in which I was staying for a weekend visit. Our boys were 9, 6 and 3 at the time. I began to explain to them that I wouldn’t be living with them for a while. One of them asked if we were going to get divorced. I said that I didn’t know. I then said, “What I want you to know is that I won’t be living with you for a few months, and I won’t be the pastor at Genesis anymore.” Our oldest son Micah freaked out. He said, “You have to be the pastor, I’m the pastor’s son. You have to be the pastor. I’m the pastor’s son. You have to be the pastor!” His voice was quivering and tears were pouring from his eyes.
When we share that story, a lot of people audibly say, “Awe.” The first reaction is his response was so sweet. What his response was to me as a father and a pastor was a wake up call to how much I had allowed my kids’ identity to be found, not in the person of Jesus, but rather in the church and in my job. He was more upset that I wouldn’t be the pastor anymore than he was that Trisha and I may get divorced. I had not only found my value in my position in ministry, I had taught my kids to do the same. By everyone’s standards I was a successful pastor, but in this moment I realized how I had failed as a parent.
When we travel and speak one of the questions we are asked a lot is how we are different now in ministry than we were six years ago. So this week, Trisha and I will be sharing with you 5 ways I succeeded as a pastor but failed as a parent.
We aren’t perfect and don’t have it all figured out, but by God’s grace we know our blind spots and talk about our mistakes. We say all the time here at RefineUs that God can’t heal parts of our life we refuse to bring to Him. Our family has found healing and redemption as we have brought all of our heart as parents to Him.
My prayer is that God will use my mistakes this week to help you as you love your kids well and love God more fully.