Happy (Belated) Father’s Day! Today, like every day, I am thankful for you. For you as Father, but also as Pastor, because for as long as you’ve been my Father, you’ve also been my Pastor – these two things have always gone hand in hand. But, growing up as both your daughter and one of your congregation, I saw a side to your role as Pastor that not many others will ever see.
That’s the thing about being a Pastor’s kid – you sit in Church alongside the congregation week in, week out; but unlike the rest of the congregation, who see you for a few hours each Sunday (and a couple of hours during the week if they’re properly into it), we get you twenty-four seven. And what most people don’t realise is that being a Pastor isn’t just a job – it’s a way of life.
A Pastor just doesn’t “switch off” after they leave the Church on a Sunday. A Pastor is a Pastor whether the congregation is there to see it or not. And what many don’t realise is – being a Pastor is hard! I really don’t envy your job – and while you call it the most satisfying and greatest job in the world, I believe it is also one of the most challenging jobs – mentally, physically, and emotionally.
Being a Pastor isn’t something that you just “choose” to do – you’re “called” to do it. And as cliché as it sounds, you don’t pick the Ministry – the Ministry picks you. It just so happens that with this particular job, when God picks you to do it, He also picks your entire family.
I had no choice in which family I was born into. But I wouldn’t have had it any other way. There have been so many blessings that I have experienced not only because I was a Pastor’s daughter, but because I was YOUR daughter – and for that I am very grateful and so very lucky. I hate to think where I would be, how I would be, and who I would be had I not had your influence on my life.
Yet, while being in a Pastoral Family has had its blessings…being in a Pastoral Family isn’t always fun, and on some occasions, it has hurt deeply. It hurts to hear people speak harshly, hatefully, and falsely against you. It hurts to see and hear people oppose you, both quietly and publicly. It hurts to see someone who I love unconditionally be attacked verbally so often. I think I’ve lost count of the times that we’ve cried as a family, and the times that I’ve cried alone, with my heart broken, because of the way that you have been treated in your role as Pastor.
And while all this hurt absolutely stinks at the time, I truly do believe that it has made us into the people we are today, and the family we are today, because we’ve fought through it, we’ve trusted God with it, and we are a stronger family for it. I’ve learned a lot in my 24 years (and counting) as part of your family.
Being your daughter has taught me that we are the sum of our experiences, both good and bad, and that it’s up to us whether we choose to be bitter about the bad, or whether we choose to learn from it.
Being your daughter has taught me that Fridays are worth dancing over.
Being your daughter has taught me that the remakes are rarely as good as the originals.
Being your daughter has taught me that the Bible is the best book a person could read.
Being your daughter has taught me that a parent can also be a friend.
Being your daughter has taught me that time spent with those you love is never wasted.
Being your daughter has taught me resilience.
Being your daughter has taught me to stand up for what I believe in, even when it goes against popular opinion.
Being your daughter has taught me that it’s important to do the right thing even if no-one else is.
Being your daughter has taught me not to keep my feelings bottled up.
Being your daughter has taught me how to keep laughing and smiling even through the hardest of times, because even the hard times cannot steal our joy completely – we wouldn’t give people or circumstances the satisfaction of stealing our joy.
Being your daughter has taught me to dream big and to pursue my passions.
Being your daughter has taught me what it means to be a good spouse and a good parent.
Being your daughter has taught me that life is short – spend the money (wisely and responsibly, of course), take the trip, do the thing, have the experience, because memories are more valuable that money could ever be.
Being your daughter has taught me that a life spent following God and seeking to do His will is the best use of a life.
Being your daughter has taught me that family (both biological and unbiological) is the most important thing. And I’m sure glad that I was born into yours.
Thank you for being you, Dad. You are loved, you are valued, and you are my hero.