It’s one of the most common questions that people ask me: “What is it like being a pastor’s kid?” My default answer is usually something along the lines of, “Sometimes it’s hard, but I’ve never wished I wasn’t one.” It’s true—I’ve never wished I wasn’t a pastor’s kid.
But sometimes I wonder how they would react if I told them that I’m as used to friends leaving as much as I’m used to making new ones. I wonder if it’s too honest to say that I’ve watched relationships fracture as often as I’ve watched them thrive. I wonder what their response would be if I told them that I’ve been to as many funerals as I’ve been to weddings. I wonder, when people watch me at church, if they see someone who should be a paragon of virtue, or if they see a young person, on the border of childhood and adulthood, struggling with the brokenness of the church, with the brokenness of her own soul.
It’s ironic that the church, the holy space where saints gather to worship a glorious Lord, has always simultaneously been the place where the dark symptoms of sin stand in the glaring spotlight to me. It would be so easy to be jaded by church, with all of its hairline cracks and hidden flaws.
But that’s the funny thing about faith—as much as I am tempted to lose hope because of sin, God’s grip on my soul will never let me go: “In the path of Your judgments, O LORD, we wait for You; Your name and remembrance are the desire of our soul” (Isaiah 26:8). I am inexplicably bound by my desire to want to know the person of God more, despite the difficulties and unanswered questions. This desire is to look past the gnarled limbs of sin and see the passionate need for a Savior. This desire is to be born again and know the infinite worthiness of Christ. This desire, manifested in the renown and glory of God’s name, is Jesus.
Jesus, the desire of my soul, makes me courageous when I am afraid, He makes me strong when I am weak, He makes me hope when I am hopeless, He makes me worthy when I am not. When Jesus looks at the church, He sees not a mess of unsalvageable, wrecked people, but brothers and sisters to love, serve, and save. He is indescribable in His wonder, unfathomable in His love for us.
Who am I that He would become flesh and blood for me? How could He peer into all the fissures that make up my soul and still pour out His life for me? How could He track all the patterns of my innermost thoughts and call me by name to the foot of the cross to be overwhelmed by His grace?
Jesus, the most worthy of all—the “radiance of the glory of God” (Hebrews 1:3), the Savior with “eyes like a flame on fire, with “feet like burnished bronze,” with a “face shining like the sun in full strength” (Revelation 1:14-16), the one “who upholds the universe by the word of his power” (Hebrews 1:3)—somehow chose to make me worthy enough to stand in front of a supreme and holy God. And in response to that, I am helpless to do anything but bow down and worship the sheer worthiness of Jesus.
This is Jesus, worthy Victor: “Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over Him.” (Romans 6:9)
This is Jesus, worthy King: “Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1b-2)
This is Jesus, worthy Shepherd: “And He shall stand and shepherd His flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord His God. And they shall dwell secure, for now He shall be great to the ends of the earth.” (Micah 5:4)
This is Jesus, the worthy desire of our souls: “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 4:10-11)
In the end, I think my answer to the pastor’s-kid question would still remain the same: It’s still difficult, and no, I never wished I wasn’t a pastor’s kid.
But what is it like being God’s daughter? To be God’s daughter is to look into the face of Jesus and persevere and hope. To be God’s daughter is to struggle valiantly, inside of church and outside of church. And yes, to be God’s daughter is to die with Christ, but at the same time, rise again with Christ, victorious and forever worthy.