Volume 5 Number 3
Encountering God has a way of turning our plans for our lives upside down so that we end up doing things that were never on our agendas. I never planned to go to Princeton Theological Seminary, I never planned to become an ordained minister, and I never really planned to be a single parent. But all of them have come as calls from God.
When I was first asked two years ago to serve on the Alumni/ae Association Executive Council (AAEC), I was hesitant—not about my desire to serve Princeton Seminary, nor about my ability to contribute something of value, nor about what I would gain in the experience. My only hesitancy was how I would manage care for my twelve-year-old son, Kel, during my trips to Princeton for council meetings three times each year.
There are an amazing number of us Princeton alums who are single parents in ministry, including others on the AAEC. Some are single parents due to death or divorce, and some, like me, are single parents through adoption. When I brought my six-month-old son home from Honduras twelve years ago, I had been in pastoral ministry long enough to know that answering a call to pastor and to parent as a single person would necessitate some creative scheduling. Balancing evening meetings and pastoral emergencies with a child and no other parent at home takes ingenuity. It has been challenging at times, but I have not regretted it. My son has been a great gift from God in my life.
Being a single parent has not only blessed my life personally, but also professionally. Parenting has given me a window on pastoring I never would have had otherwise. I have a greater understanding of some of the issues my parishioners face because of what goes on in my own household, and I find they trust me more with what is going on in their lives. Being a single parent has also taught me that I need to receive from others as well as to give in ministry. I said “yes” to the call to serve on the alumni/ae council because a friend in my church also heard a call from God—to care for my son each time I travel to Princeton.
I am so grateful for each of God’s unexpected calls in my life—to Princeton, to ordained ministry, and especially to this incredible call to parent a son.
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