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.
“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.
As a new mother, I’ve been struggling to figure out a spiritual routine for my daughter and our family. We say prayers at bedtime and read some books that are Christ-focused, but sometimes I feel lost when I think about teaching her about Jesus as she continues to grow.
I’ve seen firsthand the number of people it takes to prepare a pastor for ministry. As the wife of a current seminarian, I’ve been on the receiving end of the many people who have supported me and my husband as he prepares to be a pastor. We are so thankful and humbled by the ways in which we’ve been supported while Joel attends seminary. I know that many in the church want to support those who choose to go into church work, and I want to encourage you to do so and to thank you in the ways you already do.
I will be what one Christian author and speaker would call a pioneer parent. Pioneer parents are mothers and fathers who did not have the examples of Christian parents to follow in their own childhood. I, simply put, without the help of the Holy Spirit, have no clue how to raise my future children in the faith. I didn’t grow up going to Sunday School, saying bedtime prayers, or attending church. How will I parent in a way that reflects and teaches the Gospel of Jesus Christ to my children?
Let’s get the basics out of the way. I am the wife of a man who is studying to become a pastor. My husband, Joel, is entering the final stretch of his second year in the master of divinity program at Concordia Seminary. We’re currently waiting for the next step in this seminary process, which is the placement service for vicar and deaconess internships. Anyone who has been through this knows the agony of the wait. It feels so different from any move I’ve made before. I’d like to invite you into an understanding of how we are feeling and ask you to pray for the students and their families during their formation for pastoral ministry.
Generosity comes up a lot this time of year. It’s part of the fabric of the traditions of this season. You give gifts as you learn about the baby in the manger who grew up to willingly give His life for our salvation. And from the love you’ve been shown, you think of others before yourself. We know that many churches struggle financially and that many pastors wish they had the funds to purchase helpful items. Congregation members are likely thinking about what they plan to give at the end of this year as well as in the upcoming year.
I wouldn’t be writing this were it not for people who told me about Jesus: My grandparents, who taught me to give thanks before meals and helped me recite the Lord’s Prayer. My friends who sent me Scripture and told me about their church life and faith walk. My co-workers who live out their faith. A church family that welcomed me and plugged me into their midst. I wouldn’t be where I am today in my walk with Christ without each of them. I thank God for using these imperfect people to speak His perfect Word to me. If you haven’t been asked this in a while, consider these questions: Who have you spoken God’s Word to recently? Where could you speak God’s Word to someone today?
It’s the National Day of Prayer. Today, people all over the country are going to be bowing their heads in prayer for the nation. We should always pray, but this year, our need for a Savior is highlighted, and the desire to pray for our world may be amplified. With everything going on, we see how broken our world is. We see that our answer for significance or safety is found in Christ. Today, on the National Day of Prayer, I invite you to participate—and invite others to participate as well—with these activities.
Right now, something I’ve been hearing for ages is turning out to be more shallow than I had previously believed. We’ve all probably heard at some point that we live in a time where we are more connected than ever. But now that it’s recommended that we socially distance ourselves from one another to prevent the spread of COVID-19, we can feel how devastating and lonely it is when we are not physically interacting with others in community.