In a recent interview for our daughters’ new school, I was asked some personal, thought-provoking questions about my walk with God. My answers surprised the interviewer a little: “I didn’t grow up in a home that served God,” he said, “so I am fascinated by those who did. I always just assumed their lives were easy and somewhat perfect.”
I am so thankful that not only did I grow up in a home that served God, but that my parents devoted their lives to helping others serve Him as well. However, those of us who grew up in the ministry or who are raising children in it know it’s far from easy or perfect.
I love my dad for many reasons, but I adore the fact that when I was asked to write this article, he said, “Share what you need to share to help other ministers and their families.”
So as the daughter of a pastor, I want to offer a few thought-provoking questions based on insights I’ve discovered in hindsight to help you in your family relationships. If you’re dealing with any regrets, I hope you’ll find healing and even keys to restoring those relationships.
1) Are your kids secure in their identity as children of God? My parents did many things right. I cherish the fact my dad always adhered to his statement: “I would raise you the same if I were a minister or an appliance salesman.” I don’t ever remember feeling pressure to behave a certain way because of his profession. Children of ministers or high-profile parents need to know the church isn’t where their security lies, but rather in being a child of God.
2) Does your family feel neglected most of the time? It’s so easy to start down that slippery slope and believe ministers have a get-out-of-jail-free card with their families because of the work they’re doing for the kingdom. Growing up, this was probably my biggest issue with my dad. I needed more quality time with him. He was often gone in the evenings and on weekends, and when he did get home he was exhausted. As an adult, I’ve shared with him that I felt his job in ministry came before us. He knows his actions make it very difficult to argue with me. His heart was in the right place.
3) Do you know how to be real with your family? Many people are turning away from the faith, including those raised in the church. I believe this stems from a feeling of hypocrisy as we watch our leaders say one thing and do another. Our families keep us grounded; they see us at our worst. Your congregants and supporters, on the other hand, can often make you feel great about yourself. Sometimes it’s easier to be with them than with those who call you out from time to time. Not only does your family need you desperately, but you need them.
4) Are you praying for your family? Not long after I got married, I received a prophecy: “The prayers your dad prayed for you will liberate you. Your dad and you won’t always see eye to eye, but his prayers for you have been powerful.” Growing up, my dad and I had few disagreements. However, during a devastating season in our family, our relationship began to crumble. Underlying issues and pressures grew to a level our family could no longer contain or ignore. I’m so thankful for the breakthrough and healing that’s taking place in our family by getting real and getting help when needed.
Unfortunately, I’ve seen too many families who don’t have this happy ending. I don’t believe in spiritual formulas, but I do believe in the power of prayer. Trust in prayer over the power of your platform. We will all make mistakes as parents, regardless of our profession. Trust the Holy Spirit’s direction, and speak to our Savior often about your family.
Julie Evans Albracht is the daughter of Jimmy and Karen Evans. She is a consultant to ministers and their families, a writer and an interior designer. She and her husband, Cory, have been married for 17 years and have twin 11-year-old daughters.