I walked away from a childhood of being in a missionary family with mixed feelings.
At times, I detested being in a ministry-family.
–I adored the people I met because of the ministry we never got away from.
I was frustrated with the fishbowl-effect missions gave my family.
— I was blessed because that “effect” is what brought so much support for my family when I became ill.
I was frustrated with the ever increasing dilemma my parents faced over spending more time with ministry needs rather than being completely wrapped up in us kids.
— I met lifetime friends that are only in my life because my parents were constantly in the middle of new “missionary-folks”.
I walked away from my childhood determined to never ever become a missionary or marry a missionary.
— Regardless of that resolve, I find myself seeking out ministry opportunities whether it’s my vocation or not; it’s something my parents taught me well.
My generation is stuck in this mindset of needing to blame something or someone for our unstable emotional outlook on life. Ministry kids (whether pastor or missionary) get stuck in that rut (it is a rut, by the way) more than any other group of people I’ve encountered.
Can my parents be blamed for my rebellion? Absolutely
Can my parents be blamed for my anger, distrust and annoyance towards ministry? Absolutely
Should they be? As God is my witness, NO!
I personally went through a time of hating anything vocationally ministry-minded. I hated the wounds that I felt ministry had inflicted on my family, I was confused by the way I felt towards God because of ministry. My parents knew of none of those reasons (that I know of). But did I blame them? Heck yes! When all else fails, blame the poor parents. It’s good for them, right?
No. Parents (usually) can’t be blamed. But then again, neither can missions be blamed. It’s our evil-natured “no-one’s-fault-but-our-own” distorted minds that can be blamed. The enemy (Satan) walks around like a roaring lion looking for those he can devour. (1 Peter 5:8) If he can use sacrifices made for ministry in order to turn kids (later young adults) against God, why not?! Two birds with one stone. Hallelujah. No pun intended.
I’m saying this to refute this new “movement” that ministry is traumatic to the kids and often the wives in ministry. Can it be? Yes. Was it for me? … Sometimes. But that doesn’t mean everything about that season was done wrongly. There was so much good done being brought up as a missionary kid.
Sure. I’m more cynical, more cautious of “believers” and a lot slower to say I agree with a ministry’s mission statement. But daggummit, none of that is actually a bad thing.
Overall, before jumping on the bandwagon that ministry is a horrible thing for a family or believing ministry is what “messed you up”; remember one thing. Remember that when you’ve bled that to death, satan will be looking for something else to use to make you bitter towards God. It doesn’t matter what that next “something” becomes. If you stay in bitterness, and focus on blaming someone for your wounds, there’s only one thing actively happening.
You’re stealing from yourself the blessing of being productive for your Savior. Which ultimately means you purposefully allowed Satan a victory.
Believe me, I know. I’ve done it.
Don’t deny that ministry was at times hard, wounding and harsh. If it was, you have my empathy and compassion. But seriously–
DON’T STAY THERE.