Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas at our house

Christmas Day was very special at our house. It was a little more humble in terms of gift giving to our children, but not once did anyone say "I didn't get what I wanted" or "I wish I had gotten more." What a blessing to us parents! In addition to that, we had relaxed time together and Dad (me) got to enjoy most of the fun with the kids toys. Sally got me some beautiful Fernando Ortega music and I (being very practical) followed my children's suggestion to get her a new purse. Noticing her recent enjoyment of coffee, I purchased a small 4-cup coffee maker that hopefully will serve as a blessing to our family and friends who visit. On Christmas eve, we stayed home after I returned from work, at a warm and satisfying home-cooked meal, and enjoyed The Nativity Story -- a film I would heartily recommend! Recently, Hannah and Jacob have been very clear about explaining to me what Christmas is about and how Jesus died for our sins. With her boldness, God would use her as an evangelist someday...maybe sooner than I think.

We will enjoy visits from both sets of parents in the coming days. Always a blessing to have them stay with us and give us the privilege of showing hospitality.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Getting Back to a Simpler Life

For the past 7 months, I have been working a second job in the evenings to supplement our family income, in addition to keeping up most of my ministry responsibilities. Sally has been working part-time two days a week, and although our financial stress has mainly been relieved, it has created a new family routine that has had some negative consequences. Starting in January, I will go back to being more full-time in the ministry. Here are a few things I have learned during those 7 months:

  • Working two jobs can be difficult and a strain on a family. Not impossible, but difficult: physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Physical problems can contribute to emotional and spiritual problems. A consistent lack of sleep and rest can wreak havoc on relationships but often are not seen as the primary cause of the problems that arise.
  • Children need time with their parents. A lack of regular time with either or both parents can contribute to unseen problems in the family dynamic.
  • It is hard to be a shepherd of people (whether those people are your immediate family or your church family) if you are always tired because that "tiredness" will preempt you from spending extra time with people, especially if you are an introvert by nature.
  • Bivocational pastors are by no means inferior in character or skill to full-time pastors. To each situation God has a purpose.