Thankful to Belong to this Community

Stewardship Reflection, Sunday, October 27, 2019

By: Brantley Holmes

I’m not sure when Byron and I started putting a check in the collection plate every Sunday. We talk about what we pledge, but have never formally discussed how we pay it; weekly, monthly, quarterly. But no matter, that weekly practice has become a ritual that if not done I feel like I’ve forgotten something. And it’s not just me who is used to that ritual, our children. Every Sunday one will ask, “Can I put the check in today?”

I remember my parents pledging and putting their contribution in the collection plate on Sundays. I remember them encouraging me to give, talking with me about the importance of giving back, and taking responsibility for my part.

I’m not sure how God and faith all works. I know that my perspective on life is better and I can handle the stress I experience better because I invest in my relationship with God. I didn’t always know that. I didn’t always go to church or value the blessing of it. I didn’t attend youth group or like Sunday school. Despite taking many wrong turns, I am exactly where I wanted to be since I was a little girl, and I believe there are many reasons why. I have wonderful parents who ensured that I grew up in a church community where I was loved, cared for, and prayed for many times by many people.

When I went back to school to get a Postmaster’s Certificate in Nursing, I had to do a research project. I chose to research what helps prevent risk taking behavior in teenagers. I read fifteen studies and the common theme was communication and community. Children who had a place to belong, where they felt safe and loved, were less likely to engage in risk taking behaviors.

I am so thankful – for my husband and children, my parents, my family, my friends, my work, and my church. I am thankful to belong to a place where I feel renewed each week, to share in that with Byron and our children, and have a place where our children can build friendships and their faith. I am thankful for my relationship with God. My dad will say “People do what is important to them.” I agree. St. Mary’s is important to me. I want to say thank you; to show my gratitude. My pledge helps me do that.

I realize from experience that our children may not truly appreciate the value of all this right now, but they see that Byron and I do, and for that I am thankful as well.