I first met Traci a few years ago in a Christian women’s writing group. From the beginning of our acquaintance I found her to be curious, compassionate, and respectful of people’s personal faith journeys and the local churches they called home. She’s the type of person that you want to sit a while with a cup of coffee, because you know you’re in for a wonderful time of story telling and truth telling.
I’m raising a church girl. She’s had her own big-girl Bible for years. I help her find age-appropriate devotionals to develop a habit of time with God each day. We pray a blessing over her every night. We read books on church history and various holidays. She’s been in Sunday school since she was a baby and is enjoying her first year of youth group. I am thrilled with all the opportunities we’ve had to serve in ministry together already. After some crazy years with all manner of antics, she can sit through a Sunday sermon and tell you the main points. At home, the faith conversations are coming harder and faster as we enter the teenage years.
There’s another thing we’re doing intentionally. I take my girl to visit other churches. She’s learning about a variety of spiritual practices. I grew up in a church bubble. Maybe you did too. It felt safe and life’s answers were spoon-fed to me. It was only as I started exploring through books and social media interactions that I realized, Christians don’t have to look exactly like me. Easy answers are often rooted in fear. I discovered the Holy Spirit was active and at work among church traditions I knew very little about.
I wanted to know the Spirit of God in all his fullness. I wanted more of Jesus and I began to want that for my daughter as well. So we’ve gone on some faith adventures together.
She covered her head with a scarf during a two-hour divine liturgy with the Russian Orthodox.
She sat silently for sixty minutes in a Quaker unprogrammed service.
She took communion from two trays that were passed up and down the rows of her grandma’s church; first the bread, then the grape juice.
We (accidentally) attended a veneration of the cross service at a Catholic church.
She’s attended a variety of stations of the cross services.
She has received ashes from a priest on Ash Wednesday (with a promise from her mom that she could wipe the ashes off before she left the sanctuary).
She’s attended a church service in a small village church where we sang old hymns that took me back to the church of my childhood.
Every time she leaves these unique experiences, she says to me,
“Mom, I like my own church. I like Mr. Larry and Pastor Jason and my Sunday school class.”
What mama heart doesn’t long to hear those words? My little girl loves her church. However, she already knows the way we do church isn’t the only way to do church. Her God is big. May he grow ever bigger in her mind and in her heart.
She’s observing a mama who longs for more and more and more of Jesus. I hope some of that rubs off on her. Together, we explore Christianity and offer our hearts in worship.
Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:21
I’m excited to join Traci on the launch team for her debut book, Not All Who Wander (Spiritually) Are Lost. Publisher’s Weekly gave this book an early review, in which they said, “She emphasizes that by listening and approaching others with an open heart, one can find new opportunities for experiencing Christ. Christians looking for community will relish this memoir of embracing differences.”
Order Traci’s new book here. Visit her website at tracesoffaith.com. Find her on Twitter at @tracesoffaith.
Sandra Samoska is a writer with a love for Jesus and a love for family. When she's not chasing around her four kids and doing all the things, you can find her writing about the ways God shows up in our every day lives.