There are some constant truths.

The doctor’s kid is always sick.
The cobbler’s shoes are always worn.
The mechanic’s car is always broken.
The pastor’s kid will go to the Emergency Room at 3am on Sunday morning.

I know this isn’t a constant only in my life. I know of many pastors whose children were born on Sunday. I know of more who spent many a weekend in the pediatric unit of a children’s hospital. I myself can’t count the number of times my kids woke with croup at 3am on Sunday morning. Each of those times, I dragged myself to church and led everyone in worship while my husband sat in the ER administering breathing treatments or at home with Tylenol.

One Sunday was more difficult than the others. It was late November. I was solely responsible for the Hanging of the Green worship service. That Saturday night, a church member who was helping in the service became drastically ill. She messaged me from the ER, “Can you come?” I kissed my family goodbye and spent a few hours with her. When they admitted her to the hospital, I went home to check my sermon notes and go to bed. Then, at 1am I got a frantic message, “they are doing emergency surgery!” So, I drove back to the hospital, prayed with her and her wife and waited all night talking and getting to know her wife.

That morning at church, while my husband led the contemporary early service, I met with my speakers and other workers. All of a sudden, I heard my three-year-old screaming and crying. When I walked into the hallway, I saw my husband carrying my son with a bloody cheek.

“He fell off the pew and split his face open,” my husband said.

A church member, who happens to be a doctor, lovingly cradled him and looked at his injured face. We agreed, it needed stitches and was swelling quickly. And there I was at another fork in the road. “Should I be Mom? Or Pastor?,” I thought. My husband walked across the street to the ER and was Dad while I was Pastor. A part of me died in that hour.

Miraculously, they returned before the Hanging of the Green service began and I kissed my son’s now imperfect cheek. The service was beautiful and the world kept spinning. I canceled the rest of my ministry activities for the day and cuddled my children. I mourned my motherhood and ministry that day.

As I reflect back on that twenty-four hour period, I find it truly ironic that I spent eight hours at the hospital that day and none of those were while my son was in the hospital. I find it ironic that the doctor cared for my family at church. I find it ironic that we spent the service dressing the church in all its splendor while a boy’s face was disfigured. I also find it ironic, that the child’s birth we were preparing for leads us to a world turned upside down.

In our world, there are some constant truths.

The pastor will serve at the hospital.
The doctor will heal at the church.
The king will build a kingdom through peace.

Christina Perkins is interim pastor at Fort Wayne Baptist Church, Fort Wayne, Indiana.