Noelle Kirchner, M.Div., is a Presbyterian minister and mother of two boys. As they wrestle on the floor, she enjoys wrestling with her manuscripts. She writes for Huff Post Parents, the TODAY Show Parenting Team, and has been a repeat guest author at in(courage). You can find her on her blog, where she writes about faith and parenting, and on Twitter and Facebook.
This Monday marked the worst shooting in US history. Our hearts break as a country, church, and people of faith. As we learned about the event in disbelief, it’s hard to find our bearings. Sometimes it feels like tragedy just keeps unfolding on the wide-screen of our TV’s and in our very lives.
I remember hearing an encouragement to “look for the helpers” in the wake of the Boston Marathon tragedy. Mr. Rogers, the popular children's television icon, coined that phrase as a sign of active hope. He said, "When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.' To this day, especially in times of 'disaster,' I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers — so many caring people in this world."
As the country lit candles, sang songs, pledged dollars, and honored rescue workers this week, we have seen those helpers. Living in New York City during 9/11, I can testify that that show of solidarity indeed means something. But I believe as a people of faith, our job isn’t just to look for the helpers; our job is to be the helpers.
It is through the eyes of people who have suffered that we can see the suffering of others anew. We can work to bless others who are in pain. We can bind together what once was broken, and in our effort to mend fences, the holes in our hearts can heal too. The miraculous promises of our Savior are active in the world partially to the extent that we open ourselves up to be those "helpers" — in the broader communal sense and at home. Here are some ways we can do that:
· Pray. This isn’t a trite, quick-fix solution; the Bible promises that it unlocks the power of God to move redemptively.
· Give. We can send money, supplies, or handwritten letters to those who are hurting. Recently, my youngest son made teddy bears for children affected by Hurricane Irma at his school. He was so proud to help make a difference for another child.
· Model. I love the quote: “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Whether we’re modeling with our life or patiently teaching character-building to our children, we should never underestimate our power to plant positive seeds. These seeds can grow and become much more impactful than any tragedy, as they are not limited to a single event, but rather reflected over an entire lifetime.
This week and always, remember your God-given power to make a difference. Share your tears, open your palms, and shine your light.
It's good to be blogging again after a late summer/early fall break, though I wish it were not under these circumstances. My prayers continue for Las Vegas. If you'd like more encouragement, you can read my full Boston Marathon post here. Also, be sure you've signed up for my free devotional ebook and email updates here!
The "Chaos to Calm with Noelle Kirchner" parenting series is about transforming the chaos of family life into calm through faith. For every month of the school year, Noelle focuses on a different brand of chaos. The month of December is about the Christmas rush...She sits down with two pastors who are also parents to find out how they try to intentionally navigate the season amidst so many competing forces. Watch and hear personal, heart-warming stories. Get inspiration about how to engage your own children on the true meaning of Christmas...while having fun too!
Interested in watching future episodes? Subscribe by email to Noelle's blog from her homepage (note the box in the upper right hand corner) here: www.noellekirchner.com
The inaugral show of this parenting series focused on "The Chaos of Family Scheduling!" If your family's life is feeling too hectic year round, don't miss these insights and spiritual encouragement to slow down. Watch by clicking here!
Everyone is back to school this week in our area. Sending our children back to school can feel saddening, because not only do we miss them, but we are not there to come alongside them during their day. The good news is that God can span the distance between our arms and theirs when they are apart from us. We leave them in God's capable hands when we pray. This is a prayer I wrote when my oldest son started full day school - you can easily adopt it for your daughters too. I hope it encourages you today.
You are such a merciful Parent. Thank you for the way you gently guide us through our day. You are a font of infallible instruction and unending love.
Bless my baby as he is apart from me. Form a hedge of protection around him. If he is ever unsure or afraid, draw ever closer to him. Whisper your promises to his heart.
Help him to walk confidently in this new chapter of self-definition with you by his side. Guide him, gentle Shepherd, into your fold and place your call upon his heart. Assist him in its exciting discovery.
You are amazing and will always provide more than I can ever give, for you are a constant and perfect presence. As our family transitions in this new school year, continue to shape me and us so that we can best support him and together shine your light exactly where you've placed us.
We praise you for your faithfulness. We look forward to celebrating life's ensuing milestones with you. Continue to strengthen our family as we seek to be faithful and bask in your love.
In Your Son's name I pray,
The new school year signifies a new beginning. At the same time I'm entrusting my boys to God's care, I'm also asking for God's wisdom as I look to shape their life. I want to benefit from God's strength and direction by opening a prayer lifeline.
Thank you for the gift of a new school year with my child. Before schedules get too busy, help me to pause and appreciate the special opportunity this year of learning and friendship brings.
Thank you for my child. As I know you have chosen me to be his or her parent, I pray that you will equip my family with these blessings in particular this year:
Courage. I pray for courage for my child - not only to meet the demands of his or her chosen path, but also for strength of character.
Passion. Lord, fan my child's passions. Use me as an instrument to come alongside to dream, support, and encourage them.
Protection. I pray for protection for my child - not only from injury or harm, but from culture's pace and expectations.
Sanctuary. Lord, make our home a sanctuary. Help it not to be a place for franticness and meltdowns, but a place where we regroup, nurture, and redefine what it means to be a healthy, successful family.
Freedom. I confess there's a strong pressure to compare my family to others. I confess there's a strong pressure to people-please at the cost of added stress upon my family. Lord, direct my eyes only to You; help us to experience the freedom that brings.
Wisdom. It's humbling that you want to bless us with your wisdom, as the One who made it all. Thank you for never leaving us alone; draw me closer to you. May your wisdom be an open and available lifeline this year.
Love. Please help love to be at the core of all we are and all we do. May your love inspire my family to grow, heal, give thanks, and enjoy our blessings each day.
I place all that is precious to me in Your capable hands. Thank you in advance for being faithful.
In Your Son's name I pray,
If you appreciated this post, you might also enjoy The Power of a Praying Mom.
I've been working on the details of a new faith and parenting TV series that will air beginning next month! I have been finalizing the line up and set to make it the best, most helpful, and FUN show it can be. The official press release will be out later this month or early next - stay tuned here for the big announcement!