I still remember that day when I walked into one of my favorite Chinese restaurants. I was anticipating a great conversation with an old ministry friend and someone who had been a mentor to me early on in my faith journey. I walked into that restaurant and instead of seeing a lively, energetic and charismatic man who I once knew, I saw a man who seemed broken down and beat up.
This friend was in the midst of a divorce. His wife had decided to turn her back on God but it wasn’t all her either. My friend had a long and terrible battle with pornography. He never told anyone but his wife eventually found out and it drove a wedge between them. He was addicted and it was ruining his marriage. He stepped away from his ministry hoping that he would be able to save his marriage and overcome his addiction. By the time he resigned though his wife had decided she was done. His wife before leaving told him “I wish you had loved me as much as you loved your ministry”. WOW! My friend was in the worst season of his life.
Those few hours were spent with a lot of tears shed and a lot of heartfelt conversing about what God wanted to do in his life and through his family.
I wish I could say this conversation with this one friend was a rare experience but the reality is it isn’t. I have seen over the past several years many people leave the ministry because of a broken marriage or tangled web of sin. When I have these encounters or conversations I am faced each time with my introspective moment of asking “could this be Holly and I”. These experiences have led me to realize that my marriage and my family will always be my first priority and the greatest legacy I leave behind.
I have sensed over the last few months that we all need to be reminded that our families are of the utmost importance and they are worth fighting for. What makes a young person in need more important than our wives? Why do we view ministry reports or sermon prep as such a higher priority than spending quality time with our children?
I will be honest — I have put a ministry relationships, ministry reports, speaking opportunities before my family. It isn’t right. It isn’t healthy but I have done it. IT MUST STOP!
I love stories where the hero is fighting for a just cause and must fight against unstoppable forces to win. I also love to see how the story unfolds and how the hero fights in every battle to be victorious.
These last few months I have once again been reminded that my family is the greatest gift God has given to me (outside of my salvation) but it is also my greatest battleground and we have an enemy that is prowling around waiting to devour it. The words I keep hearing at night when I am in bed contemplating this is “my family is worth fighting for… it must be my greatest legacy”.
Let’s fight together for the family!