Monday, April 7, 2008


I want to go to Seminary. No, wait. I want to go to the U of M and study human development and spirituality. Scratch that. I want to create, write and edit an ecumenical magazine for grade-school kids. Actually, I want to start an ecumenical online community called "FaithBook" that will focus on acceptance, justice and mission and stay away from the hate- and fear-mongering of so many so-called "faith-based" media resources. Whoa--too much? I know: I want to start a kids drama group at church that acts out Gospel lessons during worship. Or an intergenerational worship-experience program. Or a kids' mission partnership with an inner city church Sunday School. Or...

I left the April 4th and 5th Children's Summit at Luther Seminary absolutely overwhelmed with joy, hope, ideas, excitement, purpose and motivation. I actually had to leave Saturday's keynote address ten minutes early lest my heart and head explode: I simply could not take in any more.

Now it's Monday. My kids are back in school after an eventful Spring Break. The house is quiet. I have time to think.

I am still overwhelmed.

During the "Public Summit on the state of children and how Christian communities can respond," I jotted this in my journal: There is so much hope in this room it is overwhelming. I am filled and moved almost to tears. How do I maintain that hope when faced with the day-to-day realities we are all confronted with?

Before I could even end my last sentence with a dangling preposition, one of the Summit speakers, Dr. Lisa Kimball, of the University of Minnesota, opened her mouth and spoke my heart, rhetorically asking the entire assembly this same question, albeit with more eloquence. Even though I know God works that way, it still brought me up short to have my unspoken question voiced by another.

I thought I was a novelist.

Yet all I can hear are the words to a piece I once sang in choir:
Listen, God is calling;
Through the Word inviting;
Offering forgiveness, comfort and joy!
All I can see are images of the children at Kinyago Dandora school in Kenya whose needs were supported by our Vacation Bible School mission project a couple years ago.

All I can feel is this crushing urgency in my gut at direct odds with a sense of directionless paralysis.

I am a mom. A writer. A Lutheran. A singer and actor, a public speaker, a teacher, a church member, a volunteer, a dreamer of dreams and a seer of visions, a planner and organizer... What is it that God wants me to do? Because in the end, a much as I'd like to, I cannot possibly do it all. I can't single-handedly change the state of children in the world. All I can do is serve where I can.

And where, O God, might that be?

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