At the same time, as anyone who has gone through this life stage knows well, there are lots of concerns that naturally arise from the news that one is going to be a parent. So I wanted to just write these out and get them on the table, and maybe seek some encouragement from the more experienced parents out there.
Here Are My Concerns
1. I Don't Want to Be An Absent Father. As a pastor who loves to write, teach, disciple, counsel, and network with other believers, I am cram-packed with things to do that further the Kingdom. But I have to remember that my family is my #1 ministry. If I fail them, it matters little how successful I may be in the eyes of a particular church at fulfilling pastoral duties.
2. I Don't Want to Miss Opportunities to Use My Gifts Well. On the other hand (from the first concern listed), I don't want to miss my opportunities to reach the lost, plant churches, and use my gifts well because I'm consumed with thinking that "it'll get easier" as my child gets older. For the next 18 years, my child will be my responsibility, but that doesn't mean my other gifts get set on the shelf until it's more convenient to use them. How do I balance these two well?
3. I Don't Want to Neglect My Wife. It can be so easy to get caught up in raising a child and prioritizing a child that one's spouse is forgotten. I desperately don't want to neglect caring for and loving my wife. My priorities are meant to be God > Wife > Child. One of the most important things to demonstrate to a child is that Mom and Dad love each other more than anyone else in this world, including the child. Instilling this mentality early in the child's life is crucial to understand the marriage relationship and build a strong understanding of covenant promise and commitment.
4. I Don't Want to Have An Unsaved Child. Frankly, this terrifies me. What if my child grows to be an atheist Christian-hater? I know it's not ultimately on my shoulders to redeem the soul of my child, but this is a scary thing to consider. It happens to pastors all the time, and it freaks me out.
5. I Don't Want to Prioritize the Wrong Types of Provision. I am naturally bent toward desiring to financially provide for my family, beyond other types of provision. I don't want to be the dad who doesn't show up at soccer games, recitals, competitions, dinner, or those other important moments in the child's life. More importantly, I don't want to provide moral and spiritual support but not be there when he/she needs to cry about his/her failures because I'm off tackling another mountain somewhere else to make money for the family.
Does anyone else share these fears? Does anyone else have advice? I'm usually a well-spoken person with lots of advice to give, but I'm venturing into the unknown and in need of support. Any feedback, criticism, support, advice, etc. is appreciated! Leave your comments below and I will personally respond to you and appreciate anything you can give me!