03 May 2006

Back where she belongs

I'm taking my daughter out of daycare.

It's not that the daycare did anything wrong. In fact, they probably were more attentive to her than I am on an hourly basis.
But I'm her mama and regardless of what finger plays they come up with or what Sesame Street they don't watch, she loves being with me and hates being away from me.
And I don't like being away from her, either, even if it is just for 8 hours once a week.
I've struggled with how to juggle ministry and motherhood. I never thought that anything could trump the call to ordained ministry until I became a mommy. Then it became clear that the ministry of mommyhood is a far greater calling. I don't say that to deny my congregation their pastor or the importance of pastors, but let's face it -- raising a faithful family is a far greater calling.
I've prayed and prayed since realizing this, figuring that God would just remove the call to ministry so that I could be a mommy, but that hasn't happened. We aren't in a financial position for me to just leave ministry. And more importantly, beyond that, I know that God wants me here ministering to this church. And things at church have gone a heck of a lot better since they got word Annalivia was going to daycare. But as much as I know God wants me to do a good job ministering to my congregation, I know God wants me ministering to my baby girl, too.
So somehow Dennis and I are going to have to juggle this around and figure it out. We are blessed to have Dennis' mom nearby and, thank God, she is available to watch Annalivia so that I can get in some visits. And Dennis loves to have time alone with his daughter and is happy to be with her so that I can go direct choir and do bulletins and such. And Annalivia and I are just going to have to be more disciplined about getting to church in the morning (i.e. sticking to a morning routine).
But I think we can do this. The truth is, being a mother has made me a better pastor. And being a pastor, will probably make me a better mother, if I choose to use church obligations as a gift and an opportunity instead of a requirement and punishment. It will also help if I put the future of this congregation in the hands of the True Caretaker, instead of trying to raise it myself. And Annalivia will grow up with the love of many people with whom she wouldn't interact if we just went to church somewhere. She'll also grow up knowing that God sometimes calls us to do more than we believe we can and doesn't fail us as we strive to be faithful.

So, that's where we are. Two more weeks of contractually obligated Tuesdays at daycare and then she's home. Thank God.

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