Having my daughter last spring has definitely changed my walk with Christ. Busy days come with sleepless nights and quiet moments are often broken with cute coos and not-as-cute cries (though I do think her cries can be cute). It extends to my experiences at church. No longer is the Sunday sermon a time where I get to sit and soak up the nuances and meanings in God’s Word. Now it’s a time of wrangling, toy-picking-up, and diaper changes. I expected and longed for these days.
Do you ever pause and consider how vast God’s love is for us? How absolutely outrageous and wonderful and impossible it is in its scope?
I venture it’s not always often that you do if you’re anything like me.
Sally felt like she was drowning. She was in her tenth month of service as the chairperson of the Board for Congregational Service at St. James Church. It seemed that the responsibilities of her position were overwhelming her. She was asked to assume this leadership role because she had been an active volunteer at the church. The nominating board recognized her to be a true servant, so they assumed she’d do a fine job leading the Board for Congregational Service.
Sally had agreed to the nomination with some trepidation and was elected to the position. But she had no leadership experience before this election. And her gifts and skills were not oriented toward leadership. She thrived in doing hands-on service but floundered at the task of leading and managing other members of the board. Moreover, she was dropped into the chairperson position without any training. As a result, the six members of the Board for Congregational Service were frustrated, and Sally was flustered.
“I’d be LIVID if someone prayed with/to/at my kids.” My heart leapt into my throat and then sank as I read these words from a Facebook group on parenting. The original post had asked for advice on what to do as a parent if you found out your mother had prayed with your children when they couldn’t sleep, even though you are agnostic/atheist and raising your children the same way. This was just one of the many comments expressing this sentiment that flooded the post.
Discipleship is not meant to be done alone. Walking Together: Simple Steps for Discipleship by author Pastor Ted Doering is a Bible study intended for a group setting and written to inspire readers to live out discipleship in their communities. So, what does it really look like to incorporate this resource in your church’s Bible study calendar?
The words of Proverbs 3:1–4 tumble around in my head and heart often as I go through my day with my three small children:
I never wanted to marry into the ministry.
There. I said it. Whew.
The life that corresponds to marrying a church worker—whether pastor, chaplain, missionary, or so on—is messy and difficult. There’s no way around that. It would take a very noble specimen of humanity to seek out a life that features extra helpings of flaming devil-darts and inevitable family struggle—to say nothing of the fact that it’s a life very much on display to those served by one’s spouse’s work. But that’s exactly what it is. And people do sign up for it.
“Can you please help me, Mom?”
My six-year-old son asked me this when he was working on a new LEGO building bricks set and got stuck on a step in the directions.
Why is Advent a great season to consider God’s mission for the world?
My husband, our daughter, and I serve as missionaries in the Dominican Republic. When holidays come around, naturally we compare what we do here with what we do back in the States. That comparison game can often leave me feeling angry and discouraged.