Spirituality is grave stuff. Incredibly smart people with many letters after their names study spirituality and the nature of God. They have read millions of books and use words that have six syllables. Spirituality is to be taken very seriously. God is very, very…read more at Charis
Summertime is the bane of parenting, with endless hours for children to become bored. Instead of learning, doing homework, and going to sports practice, they turn to the longtime childhood favorite pastime: sibling torture. In this time-honored tradition, one child might declare that the sky is red just to watch the anger settle over their sibling who insists that the sky is, in fact, blue…read the rest at Charis
November is an opportunity for us to remember to be grateful. Use this episode’s practice to exercise the discipline of gratitude through the process of Examen.
Have you ever entered an elevator and, instead of facing the door, faced everyone inside? Have you ever chosen to purposefully eat with the wrong utensil in a crowd? Have you ever walked up to a complete stranger in public and ask a deeply personal question, perhaps about religion, politics, or money?
These harmless social experiments cause a person to notice what behavior is expected in public. Read more at Hope Network...
“And Mary treasured these things in her heart.” Luke 2:19
“I am so afraid to tell my elders. What if they fire me?” Her face is screwed up in genuine anguish as she shares what should be happy news. After years of hoping and trying and disappointment, she and her husband are expecting their first child.
“Sugar and spice and everything nice, that’s what little girls are made of.”
Calligraphied on a pink plaque surrounded by hearts and flowers, this statement hung on my bedroom wall from infancy. As I entered high school, it was soon surrounded by other plaques that represented successes in debate tournaments. I didn’t know to appreciate the irony then.
The socialization of little girls in America, and particularly southern America, to be nice is well documented. A simple google search of the topic brought up more than 200,000,000 hits. The rest of this post is on Hope Network’s blog…
Pioneers get a lot of glory in the history books. We applaud their vision. We celebrate their bravery. We congratulate their strength. The covered wagons that made their way across America into the west are the stuff of legends. Manifest destiny!
But in reality, pioneering is grueling work. Trudging across uncharted territory in order to create a new way is gritty, raw, exhausting work. Romanticized visions of covered wagons gloss over disease, pain, and self-doubt.
Our tradition in the churches of Christ is experiencing a change in landscaping. We are witnessing pioneers. Courageous women, who have sensed the call of God on their lives, have bravely stepped into ministerial positions.
Another recipient of care from eleven:28 ministries shares their experience…
When I found eleven:28 ministries, I was just beginning ministry in an official capacity after an 18 year meandering journey. I felt the need to make up for lost time and found myself working in overdrive. After all, I loved what I was doing and I had waited so long to do it! After a year of spiritual direction and mentoring group, I am so grateful to have taken a proactive approach to caring for my own spiritual health. Ministry is wonderful and beautiful, but draining and exhausting. It is very easy to miss out on regular doses of spiritual nourishment while trying to nourish others. The proactive pre-scheduled monthly dates for mentoring and spiritual direction were like a Flintstone vitamin to my soul!
I am learning that the church will continue to let me give, even if it becomes detrimental to me. They don’t do this maliciously; they just don’t know my breaking point. I am also learning that even wonderful things can be exhausting and stressful.
I found out so much out about myself during the spiritual direction process. I began to see who I am in God, not who I wish I were. Many of my character traits are frustrating to me. In fact, I find myself embarrassed by my self-concerned nature. I am an achiever, a people-pleaser.
This can really begin to distort my ministry approach. I can begin to make everything about me. Did I achieve my goal? Were people happy with me? That model is draining and destructive. When I look at ministry through the lens of making space for the Holy Spirit to direct the path, He is the one who makes the path—not me. Then I can be who I am in God and use those gifts for His glory instead of my own.
I am also grateful to be reminded each month that I am doing good work. I am my own worst critic and many times, if the results aren’t what I had hoped for, I feel as though I failed. When I look at myself and ministry through the lens of who I am in God, I am reminded that “God is in all things and all choices, seeking to draw the more life-giving outcome from all we do.” Seeking out this perspective of who I am in God then allows me to find familiarity there and I find myself more often making the choice to live there, vulnerably, before others. The authentic me has the chance to be known, loved, and appreciated for who I truly am, not who I think others want me to be.
As I began to comprehend this for myself, I began to look at ways I could integrate this into ministry to families and children. We decided to select a new curriculum, one that made space for children to acknowledge the Holy Spirit at work within them. It also has a Blessing component that allows for the small group leader to speak a blessing over each child every week. This has become such a special time for the teachers and children.
I am so thankful for the life giving opportunity to experience spiritual formation from eleven:28 and compelled to pass it along to those I serve. –Summer Morris serves as the Minister to Children and Families at North Davis Church of Christ in Arlington, Texas. She is also a new board member for eleven:28 ministries.