Saturday, September 28, 2013

On Being The Cleavers

Until recently, I kind of had this idyllic idea of the lives of those in ministry. I imagined the households ran and the relationships functioned a lot like The Cleavers. You remember Ward and June, and their mannerly and oh-so cooperative boys, Wally and "The Beave"? In my mind, husbands and wives communicated openly. Children were well-behaved and mannerly, even in their mischief. Parents talked in loving, even tones to their children...

...and then it hit me. That's US. We are "the family in ministry"...and we are so NOT The Cleavers.

We're impatient.

Our boys are...well, "active." I'll just leave it at that.

We raise our voices too often (See previous two statements). 

We don't always get up early to have our quiet times. 

We frequently make poor decisions about how to spend our time and oftentimes, our money.

We don't communicate well.

We're snappy and sarcastic and sometimes just downright mean to one another.

We struggle with temptations...and the guilt from sins when we give in.

And that's just the half of it, people.

When Jeff decided to start seminary and work toward becoming a full-time minister, I'll be honest, I panicked. I am NOT preacher's wife material. I'm opinionated and speak my mind (READ: I struggle with the "submissive wife" role). I'm loud (and some might add obnoxious). I take on too much and forget things too often. Just pray for his churches now, people!

Ministers (and their families!) are not perfect. They flawed human beings with a sin nature just like everyone else. The life of full-time ministry is not glamorous or easy. It's busy and chaotic and for us, often feels like a game of tag - "You have bible study and I have the kids." TAG. "You're it. I have prayer group and you need to feed the boys." 

I feel like we often meet ourselves coming and going - and now that we are BOTH in ministry, well, we're just hanging on and praying our kids make it to school some days. 

We are not The Cleavers, and honestly, we don't want to be. We make mistakes, own them and then, try to learn from them. Our children act up, and we discipline them in love to correct them and (hopefully) grow them into Godly young men with a passion for bringing others to Christ. As a couple, we argue and fight too often and don't make time in our lives for date nights often enough. Outside our home, it's not much better. We frequently hurt others (albeit unintentionally) and often miss many opportunities to help because of our own busyness and preoccupation with self. 

It's not easy and it's certainly not getting easier in our household. Our boys are getting older...and so are we. (Blah...that's for another post.) 

In short, our lives are pretty much a mess.

BUT (and here's the most important part!) we know that our God will sustain us through the rough times. He always has and His promises assure us, He always will. In the chaos, I cling to John 16:33

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. 
In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

He continually turns the mess that is our lives into something beautiful and this chaos will feel like a blip when it comes to spending eternity in heaven. Until that time, we must work hard to ensure that everyone we know will be there with us. We must carry His message of HOPE and MERCY to the ends of the matter how weary we get in doing so.

And just for the record, we are NOT The Cleavers.

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