I’ve been absent. Yes, quite absent. I’ve been up to my eyeballs in all sorts of things for these last couple of months. In gratitude for the words of my beloved, I’m posting something she wrote as part of her process of inquiry. I’ve been thinking lately about the power of claiming oneself as a child of God, and how radical a claim that can be in the face of a world or church that may deny it. This statement does so beautifully. Thanks to my love for her words – for loving herself and knowing that she is a child of God, and for reminding me of the same.
I’m a cradle Presbyterian who was baptized, raised, and confirmed at First Presbyterian Church in Texas. Church was part of my everyday life growing up and an extension of my family. My faith was nurtured and I was challenged to stretch and grow in relationship with God, myself, and others. From an early age I served alongside my parents in the church kitchen and in soup kitchens, made visits to the homebound and elderly, and found myself grateful for teachers and pastors who challenged me and made a space where I was able to explore what it meant to belong to God and follow Jesus. As a student in college, I continued to feel God’s grace shared with me through the love of the church I joined while in college. In this space I was welcomed with warm hospitality and given responsibilities in educational ministries for preschool and elementary aged children. Together we studied Belonging to God: A Child’s First Catechism. Like the children I worked with, the opening questions of the catechism were rooted deeply inside of me.
Who am I? I am a child of God.
What does it mean to be a child of God? I belong to God who loves me.
What makes me a child of God? Grace… Grace was the word I’d not learned as a child, yet had experienced again and again growing up in the church.
In gratitude for God’s abundant grace I seek to serve God faithfully. My call to ministry has been a lighted path, where only one or two steps in front of me are illuminated at a time. I continue stepping into the light because I trust God is leading me. Now as I look back, and can see the lit path behind me, I recognize the way different experiences in my life have been like the pieces of a puzzle. At first they seemed like a jumbled pile, with no clear picture or design. Over time, as the pieces have begun to snap together, a picture of ordained ministry has emerged. This inward call has been affirmed externally, by the churches I’ve served, by the seminary, and by my family and friends.
I have experienced this affirmation of my call through internships at two different churches, through my work writing curriculum for the PCUSA, in connecting children’s literature with weekly lectionary passages with, in helping develop Supper church, a weekly service of worship around the table, and in the work I do serving children and families at the church where I’m currently employed. My gifts for preaching and liturgy development have been nurtured and encouraged in each community I’ve been a part of. I appreciate the similarities and differences of these communities, and my experience of these communities has encouraged me to explore a variety of ways the church is called to be the body of Christ. I am thankful for the churches that have nurtured me in my journey and help me to say, here I am, Lord. Send me. I’m excited to see the next steps God is illuminating for me.