Security In The Spotlight – From a Grown Up PK turned Pastor’s Wife
by Amy Toornstra
At age five, I was the cute preacher daughter with my “nearly white” blonde hair and giant blue eyes. The elderly ladies doted over me. My family spent countless Sunday noon lunches at church member’s homes. My sister, brother, and I were “little entertainers” and loved the extra attention. I was a normal kid like every other child in the church, but I was often thrust into the spotlight. While it rarely bothered me as child, the spotlight became more evident as entered into awkward adolescence.
At some point I was not very cute anymore. In seventh my grade my family moved to another church one state over. I was a scrawny tomboyish junior high girl with bad hair and braces who craved friends within our church. After making an effort to become friends with the other girls for two years, I lost hope. I decided to attend youth group (with the support of my parents and our church council) at a different church where I flourished with friends. Around this time conflict erupted between people in our church entrapping my dad in a state of depression. I wanted to walk away from the church entirely. But I didn’t. I realized at that point in my life that God was bigger than the arguments that were ripping our church apart. He had a perfect plan for me. Little did I know that plan included re-entering the spotlight.
At some point in your ministry you, your spouse, and/or your children will face times of loneliness, pain, and frustration. It is inevitable. I grew bitter at the church and it was difficult to express this to my family. I worried about being judged or misunderstood. I was grateful for all the breaks from the stress of church life. My parents were intentional about creating meaningful family vacations. In the times when it was difficult to separate yourself from the frustrations, counseling was something several members of my family benefited from. Including me.
It is easy to be a mommy of PK’s right now. My children are five, three and one and irresistibly cute. Church members pass them around and give them treats. While I do not know what the future holds, I know I want to be available when it gets challenging. As parents in the ministry, let us make any effort to love and nurture our children no matter what age they are. They crave our undivided attention and long for quality time with us. The ministry is not easy for us. We have to remember it is difficult for them too.
Amy is a mom to three kids (ages 6, 3 1/2, and 22 months) and a pastor’s wife. They live in Salem, Oregon. She’s a news correspondent for The Banner and she blogs at Everyday Mom She enjoys running, digital scrap booking, and writing.
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