A Preacher’s Daughter

I have a confession to make:

I am a preacher’s daughter.

My dad has been in ministry ever since I can remember.  He’s an elder in the denomination I grew up in and gets to sit right next to the pastor in the pulpit.  As much as that can be interpreted as subtle sarcasm, it is not actually was not meant to be.  It can be a wonderful experience to have a father that has answered the Lord’s call and devoted himself to the ministry.  However, being a preacher’s daughter is something that most people will never completely understand.

First of all,  growing up I always felt the pressure to be more than simply “good enough” beause anything I did would reflect negatively on his parenting and ultimately his ministry.  Whether this fear was real or irrational, I don’t completely know.  But I do know that there definitely are those people that judge others based on the choices of their children which is completely unfair.  Even now, I still feel people question everything that I am becoming as I venture out into the world on my own.

Second, you are forever identified by whose child you are.  In certain circles, if I say my last name I am already associated as an elder’s daughter.  Again, this is not necessarily a bad thing, but people often carry preconceived notions about who I am and what I should act like.  Sometimes it just nice to be Haley, with absolutely no association to my dad’s ministry.

Third, when your father plays an important role in the running of the church, it may mean that you almost live at church (especially if it’s on the smaller side).  If the doors were open, you were probably there.  “I’m tired” was never a valid excuse.  

Fourth, people always want to talk to you, but it’s hardly ever about the things you actually want to talk about, at least until you get older.  No one realizes that preachers’ kids question their faith, leave the church, have life struggles.  If you know a preacher’s kid, give them a break from the church and take them to a playground or a movie or coffee.  That’s where real life happens anyway.

Fifth, my dad being a preacher is not the only reason I’m a Chrstian.  Yes, my parents raised me in church and showed me love and taught me about God (it is truly a blessing), but in the end, if I had never had a personal experience with God, I WOULD NOT be following Christ.

Lastly, not all preachers’ kids are destined for the ministry.  That is a particular call God has placed on some of our lives, but not all.  It is okay for a pk to go into business, medicine, science, or any other field that’s not full-time ministry.  And it is perfectly fine if they make that their place of ministry.

Trust me, it is a wonderful blessing to a have a father that is able to speak the word of God to others and tries to embody what it means to be a man of God.  But as a preacher’s daughter, I think my life is pretty normal, lacking any special expectations or requirements.  It’s a part of who I am, but not necessarily my identity.  

I am just Haley.

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A Year of Seasons

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This is my team (minus the person standing next to me who is my friend and decided to photobomb us)…And we have had quite the year.  There’s only 12 of us.  This picture includes our wonderful seniors that were done after our fall season was over.  Anyways, we started our fall season with 26 girls.  By the time preseason was over, we had 24.  Then at the turn of the semester, we lost another 14 girls (this includes our 5 seniors).  It was kind of a “where do we go from here?” point.  Then it hit me that God has given us a very unique opportunity, to actually take part in rebuilding our team.  We got to define what we wanted our team to be…and I think we did.  It was a little rough around the edges, but I think we learned how to be real to each other, real in our frustrations, real in our accomplishments.  We put underlying dysfunction on the table and said we need to deal with this.  How cool is that? This isn’t meant to be a tell-all about my team or some kind rant about how awesome we are (though we do have shirts that say “be more awesome” which is almost impossible), but rather it is about change.  Sometimes life throws us a curve-ball and you can stand there or you can hit it.  But it really is a beautiful thing, at least I believe it was in my team.  Next semester we we be a completely different team with 16 new freshman and only 11 returners (4 of them are goalkeepers).  We are definitely the underdog, but I’ve read that God loves to use the underdog.  I hope for their sake that we have a foundation built on God that can’t be shaken, even in the most desperate times.  I hope for our sake that we will stand on what we’ve said we believe.  This semester was a time of talk and next semester is a time of action.  If I’ve learned anything from playing soccer this year, it’s that soccer is nowhere close to my everything.  That would be God, but He has given me a talent, desire, and drive.  And I will use this talent to look each teammate in the eye and see the person behind the skills.  I want to see their hopes and dreams and the reason why God has placed them in my life, if even for a short time.  With college athletics, teams are always changing and we often schedule our lives around whatever season we are in.  But it is my prayer that no matter what the season, God is always at the center.

 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. –Jeremiah 29:11-13