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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.

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?

Adjusting to Change in Your College Years

Autumn is my favorite time of year. Looking outside, you can see the trees changing colors and the leaves falling. It is almost therapeutic. You see the landscape around you change year after year. Change is imminent. Change can also bring a new chapter of your life. This chapter may be exciting but also completely terrifying. Not knowing what will happen can make life that much more stressful.

Connecting to College Students during Transitions

Arnav is a student at a state university. He was involved in youth group in high school, and he attended church regularly—at least twice a month. As he entered college, however, he found himself unsure and out of his element. Friendships he had known since middle school were now spread out across the country, and, according to what he saw on Instagram, all of them seemed to be happily settling in. Arnav, though, was not happily settling in. Since starting college, he has felt sad and upset. If he were honest, he would he would have to admit that he is lonely. He feels an awful lot like he did at the beginning of middle school, except he can’t go home and the stakes seem so much higher now.  

This post is the third in a three-part series about ministering to those who are walking with Jesus in their post-high school and pre-family-of-their-own years.

November 2019 Everyday Faith Calendar

Near my house, there is a hiking trail that is relatively flat and very easy to hike with my two young children. It is less than one mile in length and makes a nice circle that is simple to follow. Hiking is probably a generous term for this area, but we rarely complete this loop. There are large rocks to climb at the entrance to the trail and the path itself is comprised of very tiny rocks that my children love to constantly stop and touch.

What to Say to Someone Who Has Lost a Baby

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. The entire month is dedicated to those who have experienced the loss of a baby, and it is a time set aside to grieve and remember families and their babies. One in four pregnancies result in miscarriage; one in eight women experience recurrent miscarriages; and stillbirth affects one in one hundred pregnancies. When someone is walking through a season of grief such as this, they are in a delicate state. Oftentimes, people try to offer comfort with the best intentions, but it can be interpreted as insensitive. Words carry an even heavier weight when one is grieving with an already heavy heart. Grieving can cause someone to hang on to every word and twist it in their mind. It may begin to feel, to that person, like no one understands.

Connecting to College Students through Care Packages

Many churches are seeking ways to continue their relational influence in the lives of students who attend colleges away from home. Ministry to college students can cover many areas. In this post, we will be looking specifically at a few ways churches can help students continue to walk in faith with their church community as they experience God in a new city.

This post is the second in a three-part piece about ministry to those who are walking with Jesus in their post-high school and pre-family-of-their-own years.

Connecting to College Students through Conversations

I serve my church as the head of a team that partners with parents to develop and encourage faith in eighteen-year-olds. I love it! Faith development has been my passion for twenty-four years. Over the last decade, I and others who serve in our church have expressed the desire to reach beyond the eighteen-year-old boundary and intentionally walk with students into their after-high-school years.

This post is the first in a three-part series about ministry to those who are walking with Jesus in their post-high-school and pre-family-of-their-own years.