Yesterday I dropped my daughter off at her first summer camp. I was way more nervous than she was, which is easy to say because she wasn’t nervous at all. Packing the bags of my one and only child to go four hours away for 5 days was one of the hardest acts of trust and faith that I’ve ever had to tackle, believe it or not. Since my daughter was born eight years ago there have only been a few times that we have been separated. She is an only child and I am a single parent. Its been us against the world until we came to Christ. Entrusting her with the (more than capable) camp counselors was hard for me. But, it IS bible camp, after all. I was reassured by my church family of all the memories she will make and the life-changing experiences they had all encountered there.
As the children’s pastor for our church I was faced with the next challenge… My daughter is a PK – Pastor’s Kid. What does this mean? She goes to church with me, she goes to work with me when I do ministry, she even goes to work with me for my other job. When I asked her about her interests in camp, her first question was “will you be there?” Now, this wasn’t a nervous ‘please come with me’ question, on the contrary, it was more ‘mom, please say no’. I take no offense to that at all. Being a PK can be hard from what I’ve learned and seen. So, I decided she needed some independence. We both do. I decided to sit this one out.
Fortunately, I was blessed to have a friend who’s child, my daughters friend, was attending as well and we could make this hike together. That was a little bit of comfort along the way, praise God. And in dropping my daughter off it was nice to see a few other familiar faces including a pastor I know. He asked me ” you aren’t helping with kids camp?” As my daughter shot me a “please, no” look. So, I explained the PK situation which, as a dad, he totally related.
A few things that God is showing me through this experience is an appreciation for friends and fellowship, an appreciation for other parents that can let me know they experience than same things, to understand the struggles of my PK without offense, and a little reminder of just how hard it is to do this alone while showing me the blessings that it has also brought.
“Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Will it thrive? Will it not be uprooted and stripped of its fruit so that it withers? All its new growth will wither. It will not take a strong arm or many people to pull it up by the roots. It has been planted, but will it thrive? Will it not wither completely when the east wind strikes it—wither away in the plot where it grew?’ ” – Ezekiel 17:9-10 NIV
I have to give my daughter room to grow as her own person, into a woman of God. I have to help her along the way without smothering her. And I, also, have to be a little unformfortable in ordee to grow as well. We each need to grow our own strong roots.
Father, thank you for the blessing of my daughter. Thank you for our friends and family. Thank you for opportinities of growth and for your protection. I ask that you protect our children this week and help them to experience you. Work in their hearts and speak into their lives, Lord. We love you God. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.