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February 2020 Everyday Faith Calendar

The last thing that anyone wants to read right after the beginning of the new year is any kind of post about setting a goal or resolution, picking a word, or setting an intention. Conversations and social media become saturated with this language. While some people thrive off of conquering or mastering a goal, other people can be easily overwhelmed by the thought of even starting to come up with anything “new” this year.

Growing Trust in Jesus

About a month ago, my husband and I were talking after our post-dinner devotions. I was telling him how I felt like I was lacking in my faith walk—like I was going through the motions, saying that things between God and myself were good when in reality, I was treating Him more like a friend who I’d lost touch with (but still loved very much).

5 Ways God Works Through Your Local Congregation

The congregation—the place where God is present through Word and Sacrament ministry—is where Christ comes to His people. But worship is not the only way in which God works through the local congregation.

In Times of Doubt, Keep Your Faith

The year is coming to an end. At the beginning of 2019, many of us set resolutions or goals for ourselves. You may have chosen to try and lose those extra pounds or to put more money away to save up for something big. Continuing to work toward a goal for 365 days is a big task. Lots of people (including myself) have trouble executing this. Throughout the year, things come up that you may not expect. Your life may alter a bit, and your attention can’t always be focused on that goal you set for yourself in January. By the time you get to December, you see your resolution fading. You may be asking, “Why didn’t I try harder?” or “Am I weak?”

January 2020 Everyday Faith Calendar

Over this past summer, I potty trained my firstborn. In preparation for this, I read books and consulted my mom and other friends who had gone before me in taking on this same task. The plan was to spend three days at home near the bathroom until we figured everything out. At the time, we were in the middle of moving and living temporarily in a mostly carpeted apartment rental. The only non-carpeted areas of the apartment were the kitchen, eating, and bathroom areas. Our three days were going to be spent camped out in our kitchen and eating areas exclusively. Those three days were so hard for everyone. The learning curve for my toddler, my husband, and myself was significant.

Walking through Loss during the Holidays

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year,” “Happy Thanksgiving,” “Merry Christmas,” and “Happy New Year” are all phrases we hear both from loved ones and strangers that encourage us to be happy during this season. But for someone who is carrying the burden of grief or loss, the holidays may seem less like a time to relax and enjoy than a struggle to just make it through. The holiday season can be a painful reminder of a loved one who is no longer here to share it. 

What is Vocation?

A kindergartner works on an assignment entitled “What I want to be when I grow up.”

A recent graduate steps out on her own for the first time, wondering what’s next.

A new parent re-evaluates his employment situation.

A retiree explores how to spend her days.

Have you ever found yourself in situations like these, wondering what you should be doing or how you should be living? These kinds of questions can follow us throughout the various seasons of life. We pray, “God, what am I supposed to do here? Just tell me what to do and how to live.”

Taking Time to Thank God in a World of More

November is a time to think about all the things you are thankful for. When I was in grade school, I remember tracing my hand on a colorful piece of construction paper and cutting it out very carefully. Slowly, the hand turned into a turkey. We would write down all of the things that we were thankful for on its construction-paper feathers: usually mom and dad, brother or sister, a favorite toy, best friends, or the like.

November Is National Adoption Month

Did you know that November is National Adoption Month? November 23 is National Adoption Day. 

According to the Adoption Network, there are 428,000 children currently in foster care in the US alone. More than 60 percent of these children spend two to five years in foster care before their adoption is finalized. And although a third of Americans have thought about adopting a child, only 2 percent have actually done it.

Brenda and Tim Jank are part of that 2 percent.

For the Jank family, National Adoption Month is near and dear to their hearts. They have a blended family of five children, some of whom have special needs. Three of their children—Josh, Sam, and Noah—became part of the family through the gift of adoption.

December 2019 Everyday Faith Calendar

Two years ago, on Christmas morning, my husband posted a picture on social media of us with his family in front of a Christmas tree. The picture was well received and “liked” by many friends. The tree we were standing in front of was in his parents’ church. The whole family—siblings, spouses, and children—was together for Christmas. What’s not to love when you see a picture like that?