Two years ago I was the Children’s Ministries Coordinator at New Church Westville, and in April of 2016 we began to run a Godly Play program as our Sunday School. The programs continued on after I left, and now seeds of Godly Play seem to be sprouting in Bryn Athyn. I initially wrote the bulk of this piece two years ago before the launch at New Church Westville, and going over it again has renewed me with a sense of awe and wonder for this beautiful process for nurturing children’s spiritual development. I’m currently a student in the Masters of Arts in Religious Studies program at Bryn Athyn College and my focus is on children’s spirituality. I’d love to share with you a bit about Godly Play and why I’m so passionate about it.
Godly Play is two things: a philosophy of children’s spiritual development and a program designed to nurture that growth and development. It was developed by pastor, author and teacher Rev. Dr. Jerome W. Berryman over decades of training, research and practice. It is Montessori-based and invites children to learn to “do for themselves” with regards to their spiritual life, providing children with the space, language and tools to develop their relationships with God and theological learning in a way that is internally driven rather than externally directed.
Continue reading Godly Play: An Invitation to Wonder
Over the past year I’ve been reflecting on my search for peace and how I have found it in the tension between two truths. In the spring I wrote about the tension of how every moment matters and yet it is all about the big picture. In the summer I wrote about the tension between God’s sovereignty and human free will. As the leaves change and fall and the autumn weather turns colder, I’m writing my final piece this year on the tension between God’s will for good and His permission of evil, and how I can get in the way of God’s good.
Six days after I was diagnosed with metastatic cancer, my husband Coleman preached a sermon on the story of Joseph. He titled it “God Meant It for Good”.
In the immediate aftermath of the diagnosis, of learning we’d need to leave our home and community in South Africa, in all the chaos of tests and doctors appointments, and the fear as we realized just how sick I was, I had peace. Incredible peace. I truly believe it was a gift of God that I knew soul-deep peace in those days. In the following months as we moved, met new doctors, made a plan, as I underwent surgery, and faced complication after complication, I still knew peace. I knew God’s good didn’t want my suffering and believed He would bring good out of it.
But somewhere in the months that followed, as we moved from the sprint of the crisis to the marathon of recovery, I lost my peace. Days of pain turned into weeks of pain. Weeks of antibiotics turned into months of antibiotics. Months of recovery turned into a year with some measurable improvement but also significant ongoing challenges. As the hard stretched on, my focus turned to earthly things and I found myself struggling with discontentment, dissatisfaction, restlessness, and a notable absence of peace. I found myself getting in the way of God’s good.
Continue reading Peace in Tension: Getting in the way of God’s good
This year, I’ve been meditating on how peace is often found in the tension between two extremes. In March I wrote about finding peace in the tension of perspective, between the truths that every moment matters and it’s all about the big picture. This tension is one I felt particularly keenly in my role as a parent.
This month, I’m writing about another two simultaneously true extremes, and my search to find peace in the tension between the two: God’s sovereignty vs our free will.
For me, the tension of these two extremes is felt most keenly in the reality of suffering.
Continue reading Peace in Tension: Suffering
I’ve been reflecting quite a bit recently on how often peace is found and lived out in the tensions between two extremes. Truth and Good. Faith and Charity. Love and Wisdom. The natural world and the spiritual world. This life and the next. God’s sovereignty and humanity’s free-will.
These meditations have application in every area of my life, but a recently highlighted one for me has been in my role as a parent.
Some days I’m a terrible parent.
Other days I’m a great one!
Really, it’s more like moments than days. Minutes. Seconds. Parenting is made up of a thousand, no a million, tiny moments, small decisions, reactions, these tiny, minute, seemingly insignificant seconds that add up, that can be so big, that can be the pin head on which lives change and destinies turn and worlds stop… Continue reading Peace in Tension: Parenting