by Ken Nether
SOUTHFIELD, MI – I am sure we all know the routine by now. The school bell rings for the end of the year and summer as a family officially begins. For us, summer is our favorite time of the year as we get a chance to reconnect as a family, check off some items on our bucket list while skipping church a time or two as our feet are kicked up somewhere on the beach down south.
This goes without saying, but you know, vacation with the kids is actually not a vacation at all!
Whether we are ready for the school year or not, in just a few days we all will be rushing our kids out the door as we force them to take their annual “back to school” photo for their first day of school. Consequently, once the photo is snapped, we are thrusted back into the fast pace of family life. But do we have a choice not to participate in the hustle and bustle of family life?
Every year, Tolice and I start to look at our calendar for the fall. We have no idea how we can fit all the demands from school, kids' activities, and church responsibilities into a weekly calendar. Oh yeah, and by the way, if we want to continue having a healthy marriage, I guess we need to fit in a date night, right?
This goes without saying, but parenting is not easy. Can we take it a step further? Parenting while pastoring can be problematic if you don’t run at a pace that your family can sustain.
This summer we learned a valuable lesson. After our much needed “vacation” our family participated in our first annual “Nether Family” 1-mile race. As the runners approached the starting line, our family stood in the back as we knew our pace would be slower than all the other runners.
We are competitive by nature, but the goal of this race was different. This particular race was not about competing against other runners but was intended for us to finish the race together as a family.
In life, we have learned that looking at how other families are running their “race” is not a healthy way of determining how we should run ours. This is what we discovered; the goal of our family is to finish the race that God has placed before us.
Our “race” may be faster in some seasons and slower in others. Through prayer and heartfelt conversations, we can discover the grace that God has placed on a family during each season of life.
Hebrews 12:1-2, says “...Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us. Keeping our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.”
When we decided to embark on ministry, our goal was not to just start our ministry but to finish our ministry, and we knew that would take endurance. Tolice and I have learned that if you want to be successful in ministry as a family then you have to run the race at your own pace.
So, friends, when your family is getting tired, and ministry is not looking inspiring; slow down, take a deep breath and remember what you signed up for is not a sprint but a marathon. Don’t worry, God will give you the resources and mental fortitude to run the race He has specifically designed for your family if you continue to seek Him and allow Him to set the pace for your family.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ken and Tolice have been married 11 years and have two beautiful children Kennedy (10) and Lincoln (8). In 2016, they planted Crossover Church in Southfield, MI where their mission is to grow people into passionate followers of Jesus.