blessings

blessings parenting

Blessing for Weary Parents

As we close out year two and look toward a third year of the COVID-19 pandemic, parents are worn down and struggling. For those of us of us with children under 5 (who cannot yet be vaccinated), the challenges of quarantines and childcare issues have not abated; the crisis is ongoing. I could go on and on about the unsustainability of this situation. Instead, I will offer this blessing that came to me when I needed it most.

For parents everywhere…
exhausted,
overwhelmed,
barely hanging on,
and desperately in need of
a BREAK
from this pandemic
that has upended our lives,
led to anxiety with every cough or sniffle,
obliterated the concept of reliable childcare,
and contributed immeasurable stress to everyday life.

This blessing will not tell you
to “cherish this time”
or give you any tips for thriving,
but it will acknowledge your weariness
and assure you that you are not alone.

You are seen.

When you keep on giving, helping, caring –
trying your best to be patient and understanding –
creatively adapting to every circumstance,
even when you haven’t gone to the bathroom alone all day.

You are heard.

When you say this is extraordinarily difficult,
that it requires every ounce of energy that you have,
more stamina than you can fathom,
and you do not know when reprieve will come.

You are valued.

Even when your children scream and whine,
the assistance you offer is rejected,
the criticism is deafening,
and you never hear “thank you” from anyone.

You are good.

Because you are showing up
for the ones you love
and doing what is yours to do
and you are not super-human.

You are enough.

Even when you are worn down,
juggling too many responsibilities,
feeling constantly behind in all things,
and you want to run away (at least for a day).

You are loved.

By your family, your friends, your children
(even when they don’t say or show it)
and most especially,
by the One who
sees you,
hears you,
values you,
created you to be good,
reminds you that you are enough
and calls you “beloved.”
Amen.

*Special thanks to Rev. Teresa Welborn for this benediction she offers frequently: “You are good. You are beloved. And you are enough.” These words echo in my heart and mind and served as inspiration for this blessing.

blessings worship

A Blessing for Those Who Lead Worship

After an entire year away from pastoral ministry, I began a new position this summer. Perhaps the most jarring (and simultaneously, joy-filled) aspect of returning to church work was going to church every Sunday morning to lead worship, after worshiping from home on a screen for over a year due to the pandemic. As I plunged back into regular worship leadership, I found myself reflecting on my experience of leading worship and this blessing was born.

For my friends, colleagues, and worship leaders everywhere: the work that you do is important, and it is a blessing to others. May you receive this blessing today…

A Blessing for Those Who Lead Worship

You rise early
week after week,
feeling the weight
of the task before you.

Ready or not,
Sunday has arrived –
with persistence –
and, as always,
grace
is tagging along.

Yours is hard
and holy work.
A calling,
a labor of love.

Though others
may think it effortless,
only you
know what it requires.

Some will complain.
Others will be immeasurably blessed.
Breathe and remember:
neither is about you.

Your work is to
create space…
for encountering God
through the work of the Spirit
imparting the gift of grace.

May you always remember
that you are a Child of God,
a disciple of Christ.
That is your identity.
“Leader” is your role.
Do not confuse the two.

May you be humble
as you lead your community in
remembering,
rejoicing,
thanking,
praying,
seeking,
hoping.

May you be faithful
as you point to
God’s extraordinary work
in this ordinary world.

While you anticipate every detail,
and ponder the expressions in the pew,
may you also encounter God,
welcome the work of the Spirit,
and be transformed by grace.

And on the day when
glitches abound and plans go awry,
find peace,
knowing that
God always works amid imperfection.

That’s why God
has called you
(imperfect, as you are)
to be a leader
in the shared work
of worshiping
and glorifying
God
together.

Amen.