Warm sunny days have finally arrived in our neck of the woods. I am in agreement with my daughters that these precious days of clear blue skies and warm breezes should be spent out doors, soaking in every ray we can.
While I chase my fair skinned red head around with a bottle of sun block and floppy hat, begging her not to burn.
When we woke up this morning to beautiful, bright sun shine pouring in every window, our agenda was clear to everyone, even 7 month old Leila. Well, okay... maybe Leila wasn't in on the plan, but she certainly did not object to it either. Our mission: to eat, dress and clean house as quickly as possible to get outside for our customary walk around the neighborhood. When fair weather is present, we walk. Every day. While Seth is at school, or maybe we walk to school to meet him at the end of the day. Or maybe not until after dinner, with Daddy making the walk even more fun. On bikes with training wheels, tricycles, scooters, stroller or dress up princess shoes. Whenever, however... but we will walk. Oh yes. There will be walks.
This afternoon, before the current hiatus for naps, I sat in a swing on the church property while my playful infant happily slobbered a hair clip in my lap. While the older girls played with cousins, Grandpa and Daddy methodically mowed nice straight lines through the church lawns. And I basked in not only the sunlight, but also the fact that we live a good life.
I do not know what ministry life is for other pastors or assistant pastors and their families. I can not compare, nor would I want to. I did not at all know what to expect when marrying my young pastoral theology major. He probably did know what life he had been called to, since he grew up a pastor's son. I had a few misconceptions, and a few expectations that were correct but mostly, I did not know what life for us would hold. And largely, I still do not. The ministry is people... so whatever plans we may make, we're always prepared to drop them at a moment's notice. Outside of the school routine, I do not know what Seth's duties will be next Thursday. Only that today, it was taking care of some needs on the church grounds.
One of the notions I had thought life "in the ministry" held was that there would be little to no time for family. I do not know why I believed this... maybe I had heard it from other pastor's wives, or maybe I had falsely assumed the ministry would be as hectically busy as college life. But the truth is, I feel blessed that my children and I get to see Seth probably more than many husband's working to support their family. Sure, some seasons are busier than others. There are certain time frames throughout the year when Seth is gone before the girls wake up and isn't home again until after they are in bed. But the majority of the time, we have the tremendous blessing of spending lots of time together as a family. Seth usually eats lunch and dinner with us every day. Many responsibilities can be completed with some or all of us tagging along. Church needs toilet paper? Lets all go. The girls make good companions for driving an elderly person to a doctor's appointment, or sitting on his lap while Seth mows. Sometimes Maddie goes with him to plow in the winter, but usually that chilly task is done before they (or I!) am awake. I make a decent secretary when record keeping or media projects come up. And I don't have to worry about his secretary flirting with him (and I surely will be). The girls really enjoy going out on Saturday mornings inviting people to church. What 3 yr. old doesn't love ringing a door bell? (And have to be restrained from ringing it 7 times in a row?!) Our dining room table makes a perfect assembly line for everything from mailings to candy bags to sorting Sunday School material. Complain about Seth bringing his work home? NEVER. I love it. While obviously, many things must be done with us at home, and Seth at church or elsewhere, I feel as though it is not Seth in the ministry. It is the whole McCoy family.
It's a good life. No fat bank account. We will not likely ever own our own house, or even two vehicles. Two week long vacations to tropical locations aren't in the plans. But it's a good life. We lack nothing. I get to be a stay at home mommy. We witness God working in people's lives. We get to invest our time into eternal matters. We've even had the extra blessing of having our children's grandparents live nearby. But mostly, today I am thankful that there is no choice to be made between serving God or being "there" for our family. Duties never conflict. We get to do both, and (usually) have a fun time doing so.