This week is the last week in the first section of our Parenting Spotlight series. I’m excited to introduce to you my pastor, Ted. I first met Ted when he was the young adult pastor at our church. Several years later, we moved with him when he, with the support of our church, planted a new church in another part of our city. Over the years we have appreciated Ted’s wisdom, learned and been challenged by his teaching, and enjoyed his and his family’s friendship.
So grab a cup of coffee, pull up a chair, and enjoy a visit with my friend, Ted, as he talks about our calling as parents.
Hey, Ted! Thanks for joining us. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’ve been married to Jen for 15 years. We met our senior year in high school and then dated for the last two years of college – getting married a week after I graduated. I love Jen because she is everything I am not. She is grounded, not easily distracted, classy, thoughtful, organized, consistent, quiet, and persistent. These differences cause friction at times because there are differences, but I love it because I am able to be more who I am because she balances me perfectly. We have one son, Trey, who will be 8 in January – and he has an amazing mind. He is able to think abstractly and pull together ideas from various sources to have a great discussion about everything from gravity and the solar system to the trinity and theology. Claire is our amazing kindergartener who is always making us laugh. She is intense and also very funny. She has recently starting doing impressions of people, and we’ve received stares at restaurants as we are rolling with laughter at her antics.
What has being a parent taught you about your relationship with God?
Being a parent is a continual learning process and ever growing source of enlightenment about how my Father must feel about me. More than anything, the concept of unconditional love and grace has moved from being simply a commitment that God has made to an emotional love that He has for me that includes joy and tears and smiles and frustrations. I also am growing ever deeper in my understanding that God has a plan for me and orchestrates things in my life that I will never be able to grasp.
How do you guard your time with your family against the other demanding pulls in your life?
Because the demands on my time are seemingly “infinite,” I have made clear boundaries in my life. First, I never make appointments or commitments past 4:00 in the afternoon, so that I can always been home by 5:30 for dinner. I also try, as much as possible, to schedule evening meetings for a time after the kids are in bed … this means that leadership meetings often start at 8:00. I also try to get up early in the morning for time with Father before the demands of everything else comes swirling in. Finally, I have people in my life who hold me accounta! ble to k eeping life simple – remembering that I can’t do everything I might want to. I have to say “no” so that I can “yes” to what is absolutely most vital and important. One last thing – I see “games” or other events that my kids do as appointments that allow me to say that I am not available for something else. I can always meet with someone the next day or week, but I can’t get that game back.
Many people consider the call to vocational ministry as they only type of “high calling.” How is parenting just as high a calling as vocational ministry?
It is unfortunate that people make distinctions like that. Ministry is simply being used by God to be conduit of His mercy and grace. This can happen any where, and every follower of Christ has this call on their life. Aside from the Old Testament prophets and New Testament apostles, the call to a “vocational” ministry is not the norm for the people of God. What is the norm is that everyone plays a part. As a person in “full-time” ministry, I simply see myself as someone whom the body has freed up to serve full-time because of training, gifting, and availability. The ministry of serving my family is my primary ministry and then comes my ministry with the church. My ministry is always to whoever is in front of me – it just so happens that my family is in front of me everyday!
So how do we live up to that high calling?
First, we live up to that calling by taking it seriously and seeing it as a calling – it is ministry, just as much as anything else. Second, we live up to that high calling by investing as much time, energy, and creativity into it as anything other calling. Third, we see it as ministry and theref! ore allo w the Father to lead us and give us the energy we need to accomplish. Finally, I to understand that my family is not about me – it is about me being used by the Father to do what He desires. I am serving Him.
Ted, thank you so much for sharing your insight with us today.
I hope you were encouraged by Ted’s words just as much as I was. One thing I love about him and his family is that even though they are in such an important leadership position, they are accessible to us and are trying to live authentic lives. We are blessed to call him not only pastor, but dear friend. Check out his blog for some more great insight into walking out our faith.
To read the other interviews in this series, click here.
For more inspiration regarding your high calling, no matter what your profession, visit High Calling Blogs.