Many of you know that my wife Sarah and I have been going through a season where we’re “in over our heads”!
Many of you also know we’ve got 1 & ½ year old, 7 year old, and 10 year old daughters.
Our 1 & ½ year old is the neediest kid we’ve had yet! 😁She yells at her Mom in fits of separation anxiety all of the time, and sometimes we literally think she must want to go back into the womb because she’s often just mad at Sarah for being in her presence and existing! This kid doesn’t only have “separation anxiety”, but she has “relation anxiety” in proximity to her Mama- no matter what is going on! No joke! Dang that causes stress for Sarah, and it spills into the family too!
Our 7 year old goes to second grade at Summit Christian School which is a fifteen minute drive north from our house. We drive her there in the mornings and she takes the bus home. We carpool with another family. They drive her and their kid on Mondays and Fridays, and we drive them Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Our 10 year old goes to fifth grade at Miller South Visual and Performing Arts School which is an eight minute drive south from our house. We participate in a carpool where we drive to and from Miller South for my 10 year old and 2 of her friends with another family. We do the driving Monday morning & afternoon, Wednesday afternoon, and Friday morning and afternoon. Another family does the driving Tuesday morning & afternoon, Wednesday morning, and Thursday morning and afternoon.
We have a Beabull dog named “Rubble” that requires regular walks, and being let out. He’s on a few arthritis medications- he takes one kind in the morning and another kind at night in his food. He will only eat a scoop of his dry food when we pair it up with a slice of “Fresh Pet” Wet food chopped into smaller sections (we call it “dog bologna” y’all it’s nasty but he loves it!).
We’ve got a cat named Daisy who needs her kitty litter box scooped regularly. She pukes often enough to have earned the nickname “pukey”, and likes to puke at inopportune times in inopportune places (For example: on the fringes of a rug right when you’re already running 5 minutes late to leave the house!)
We’ve got a house that was built in 1929. It has water leakage issues in the basement. We’ve had squirrels make their way into our attic, and some of the siding is coming off. Multiple things need repairs inside. I’m not good with that kind of stuff, and neither is Sarah, and we’re too busy to youtube it and don’t currently have the money to hire somebody to do it!
I work a full time job as an urban pastor in the Kenmore neighborhood of Akron. I get paid enough to pay our bills. Between the many meetings and situations my schedule is sporadic and different every week, though I always make it a point to take Fridays and Saturdays to be with family.
My wife works a number of different jobs part time and sporadically- She consistently works part time regularly as an ice skating coach. She works sporadically as a host for events done by a group called fusion, as an in game events host for the Cleveland Guardians baseball team, as an online host for local TV shows like Akron Buzz and 330 to Go, and occasionally acting for local commercials. Often her jobs can lead her to needing to work during the entire time that I’m off of work- which can mean, at times, that I’m with my kids solo for the duration of Fridays and Saturdays that I have off. Most of the time, she just works Saturday mornings consistently as an ice skating coach.
We pastor a small urban Church of about 100 people in an under-resourced, under-served, under-reached area of Akron, Ohio. We have a congregation of people where about 75% of the people show up sporadically, and don’t serve regularly. A good amount of the population we serve can’t give financially to the Church.
We are currently becoming an autonomous congregation, and were previously under the umbrella of a megachurch in the area- one that supported us financially and logistically, but one that we have, for the seven years we’ve existed, had a lot of differences with missiologically, orthopraxy-wise, context-wise, and on some secondary theological matters. We’re in the thick of the transition into autonomy and there are many discussions happening- how will we stay financially stable as a Church? Should we merge with another congregation? Should we be under the umbrella of another more financially stable Church? Should we start a for-profit business like a coffee shop to resource our mission and vision? Who should we hire? Who can we afford to hire?
There are a lot of things spinning around me and my family right now. It’s often overwhelming.
I’ve excluded all the things I love about my life thus far for a reason- like:
- All the amazing moments I have with my wife, and our wonderful 21 year long friendship and 19 year long marriage,
- All the incredible, meaningful, quality beautiful moments I have with my three daughters,
- All the great things about our dog and cat! They’re some dang nice animals to have around and anybody who has visited us would agree!,
- How much we love our house, our neighborhood, and our neighbors where we dwell in the West Side of Akron,
- The things my wife and I love about our jobs, and
- All the meaningful ministry things we get to be a part of in our Church, as well as the greater body of Christ. How grateful we are for the megachurch that planted us giving the support they’ve given us, and the wonderful circle of friends and supporters surrounding us in our local congregation…
But I’ve intentionally excluded these things not just to complain, but to emphasize the fact that many things about our life are very difficult and complex right now! Can some of you relate? Are you juggling things right now that are tough to juggle? Do you feel like you can’t handle it all? Do you feel overwhelmed? We very often do!
And with all that chaos, more than ever I need people to just be myself around! I need people to walk with me in the good the bad and the ugly! I can’t tell you how grateful I am, especially as a pastor, for the friends in my life and in our community that allow me to be human and flawed! These people also will call me on it when I’m out of line and not put up with my nonsense, but they’ll also support me when I’m frustrated, let me vent, and let me be imperfect, all while pointing me to Christ and His love! Dang y’all- that’s what real discipleship should be about!
We need people who “get” us!