Addressing Stress: a note to parents before the holidays

 I know the plans I have in mind for you, declares the Lord; they are plans for peace, not disaster, to give you a future filled with hope. When you call me and come and pray to me, I will listen to you. When you search for me, yes, search for me with all your heart, you will find me. – Jeremiah 29:11-13

Anyone else feeling a bit busy/overwhelmed/stressed? I nodded in agreement when someone shared yesterday that there is barely time to answer a quick text these days. It is not just the upcoming holidays – my color-coded calendar is jammed with no wiggle room for unexpected challenges (or traffic).

This week’s faith formation at home post is dedicated to fellow parents, and inspired by our youth discussion yesterday about being called by God. I know that when I am in survival mode, I am usually struggling to pay attention to my call. But, the big question is, how do we know what God is calling us to?

At our youth retreat I shared that call is another word for purpose. We know we are headed in the right direction when our gifts and skills, our interests and passions, and our compassion for those in need are in alignment. Calls are both big (like our choice of careers) and small (like taking a moment to talk to a friend in need). I have deep compassion for youth who are in a super busy season of study & extracurriculars. The thread that runs through all my work is my desire to help youth and children (and parents) live fully. God has gifted me with particular gifts and skills to do this work I am passionate about. This blog post is a small piece of that. 😊

As we head into Advent on December 3, I am very aware of stress levels. For this reason, Pastor Sherrie and I, along with the faith formation teams, are committed to helping people “make room” for what matters during Advent through the following:

  • Worship as family time. From now through January 6 all ages are worshiping together – there are no faith formation classes. Advent worship activities will be available on the shelves by the south doors.
  • Need some peace and quiet? Guided reflection times before worship on December 3, 10, 17 will be led by Pastor Sherrie (adults) and myself (children and youth).
  • Want to take a few things off your plate and avoid holiday burnout? The November 29 Making Room interactive discussion will help us make intentional choices this season.
  • Our 2017 Advent Devotional will help us stay focused on the birth of Jesus, God with us, this season. They reference candles which we will create together on December 3 after worship. Next week I will email out several other Advent Devotional options.
  • Honoring your “no.” This may sound strange, but I want to thank you for saying no to church things that don’t fit your schedule, interests, or skills. I want to help match you with ministries and activities that are meaningful and fulfilling to you.

Thank you for your presence and engagement throughout fall faith formation. I am especially pleased that we had seven visitors, a complete teaching schedule, and  consistent attendance throughout the fall. Special thanks to our teachers: Ann, Erin, Gosser, Jay, Heather, Steve S., Susan!

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