by Kristen Krueger, PhD – LEAD Consultant
I was eight years old when my family moved from Denver to Houston. I vividly remember crying in the arms of Miss Lila, my Sunday school teacher at All Saints Lutheran Church on my last Sunday there. Miss Lila reassured me that I would find friends and life would be good in Texas but I didn’t really believe her. For the next six months I wrote her regular letters telling her about my new school and eventually about the new Sunday school class at New Hope Lutheran in Missouri City, TX. When we returned to Denver at Christmas to visit family, Miss Lila was there waiting. She gathered all the children from my Sunday School class for a special holiday party planned around my family’s schedule so I could be included. It’s my first memory of a faith community caring for me.
Miss Lila understood the value of community.
I was eighteen years old when my mom left me at Texas Lutheran University as a freshman with anxious, hopeful tears stinging my eyes. Surrounded by peers, I felt alone. Until I received an anonymous greeting card with a simple prayer in my mailbox the following week. And every week after that until the Christmas break. When I went to worship at Faith Lutheran Church in Bellaire for Christmas Eve, Miss Betty Jean gave me a big hug and whispered “I hope you got all my notes” as she walked away.
Miss Betty Jean understood the value of prayer.
I was twenty-eight when I discovered I was expecting my first child. When she was born three months too soon, I received an email asking me to leave a cooler on our front porch for as long as she was in the hospital. Twice a week we would arrive home from long days of sitting next to my two-pound baby’s bed watching for every rise and fall of her chest to find a warm dinner waiting inside that cooler. Each meal came with a note of encouragement and the overwhelming feeling that we were not alone in our journey. The people of Faith Lutheran provided meals for my family for 73 long days until we brought our daughter home.
Faith Lutheran understood the value of service.
Faith givers have shaped every season of my life in ways I could never have predicted. I doubt Miss Lila, Miss Betty Jean, or some of the people who provided our family’s dinner will ever know how their actions planted seeds of faith. Their gifts went far beyond a party, a letter, or a meal by showing me what faith looks like as community, prayer, and acts of service. Who has shaped your life with these gifts of faith? How can you honor their stories this Advent season?
We invite you to consider making a gift to LEAD in their names. We will send them a personal email thanking them for sharing their faith with you.