You might wonder why Dustin is going now that he is 18 and graduated from high school. Well...they asked him to be a counselor! Wowee. What a moment for me when I realized my son is now going, not as a camper, but as a counselor! My boy is indeed growing up.
Our boys have always loved PK Retreat. They can't wait for it! They get all excited when the brochure comes in the mail. I can't thank the AG enough for having this retreat. It means so much. If only people knew what pastor's kids went through. Let me just give you a little teeny glimpse.
By the time a PK has reached 18, they have seen so much it's amazing they are sane or saved. Even if they have parents who shelter them, and don't share with them the "negative side" of the church, kids aren't stupid. They see it without you saying a word. They aren't blind or deaf. (At least most aren't and even if they were they would be perceptive enough to figure it all out.)
Even the most sheltered PK's end up seeing "stuff" in the church because for one, they are just there so much, on the scene. They practically live at the church. There are big sacrifices of their time and their parents time. This is not a complaint - it's just a given in ministry. The reality is, sometimes PK's have certain perks, but they also have incredible sacrifices. A few perks make those sacrifices easier to deal with sometimes. (Remember, their parents "signed up" for ministry - they didn't.)
PK's see people mistreat their parents through the years. No church is problem free. Even in the best of places, PK's are gonna see this - if their parents have been in ministry for any length of time. Many times they see that many people their parents did the most for, turn on them and leave. Not to mention, people do this to the PK personally. Many times they see the worst things from people their parents have invested in the most and it hurts them so. It's daunting to the strongest of kids and can make them wonder who in the world to trust. My kids have watched people betray us who they saw us minister to late in the night at our doorstep, or those we have left the house in the middle of the night to care for in a crisis, or those we've hosted in our home for many meals. They ask why. You don't have answers...only, "God knows, and He is keeping score..." and "it's never for nothing when we love with no return..." It's so difficult for PK's to not become disillusioned.
They sometimes see things you never saw coming and couldn't protect them from...because you didn't know and were caught off guard. One time years ago in a previous church, unbeknownst to me or Larry someone had called a business meeting (unauthorized). At the close of a service, all these angry people were waiting for my husband in a meeting that got pretty heated. It was all over the fact that one woman thought we should build a new building when our church wasn't anywhere near ready to build a building. Instead of doing things through the proper channels, she just thought she'd go ahead and "call a meeting" and push her agenda. If you've been in ministry for any number of years you've probably seen this type of circus at least once. Well anyway, my kids walked out into the sanctuary into this absolute mess of people yelling and out of order and Larry said, "Deanna, get the kids and get them out of here and take them home now!!" and I remember grabbing all three of them and putting them in the car and it was raining hard. All the way home, I remember the tears on my face being mixed with the rain that had just come down hard on me me while getting them in the car and Dustin and Jordan saying, "Momma, what were those people doing?" and "Why were they acting like that?" My husband had gotten up and said, "folks, this is an unauthorized business meeting and I'm going to have to ask you go go home." At that, a few women hit the floor and were laying there crying out to God, "Oh Jeeeessssuuuuus....help our pastor see the truth about this building and have this meeting...Jeeeeessus....." So all the way home my two boys are saying, "Momma, why were all those people in there yelling about a building and then those ladies were laying on the floor screaming to Jesus?") I tell you, it's all rather funny right now. I just look back on it now and laugh but truthfully, nothing was funny about it then. PK's see some utter craziness sometimes!
My kids have seen the gamut of "church stuff". I was determined years ago never, never to lose them over it. Tomorrow I'm going to share, especially for you PW's (that's pastor's wives for people who don't know) some important things I see in keeping PK's close to our heart as parents, and keeping them for Jesus and His Church.
But today I'll just close with this. I'm so glad PK retreat is there for my kids. The speakers are grown up PK's themselves who have been there, done that and bought the t-shirt and are still alive to prove it. They speak into these kids lives about the realities and hurts they face. They do more than talk about problems - they pray for the kids and have powerful altar times. The healing power of God flows at those altars. My boys have come through things pretty well and are now at the point where they are praying for their friends over issues like this. Last year they talked about what a blessing it was to go up to the altar and lay hands on and pray for their friends who were pouring out their hurts to God.
Let me also say I'm really thankful for church members who understand and reach out in love to my children. There are some people here at our church who really reach out to my children. It makes such an impact when they make a point to stop, to give a hug - to look beyond the surface and see a bit of what our children's lives are like sometimes. They are just normal kids but yet they have abnormal expectations on them so many times.
More on this in tomorrow's post...