I became a Lutheran when I was in high school. Some friends invited me to youth group and I just kept coming. I didn’t really claim my Lutheranism until my early 20s and began to learn Lutheran theology.
Growing up I lived with both my parents and my 2 sisters (one older and one younger) in Tulsa, Oklahoma. We all played soccer but none of us were very into sports. We played in our backyard a lot and with our neighborhood friends. I was very close to my cousins and free time in the summers was spent at my grandparents’ pool. When I was 12, we moved to Australia for 3 years.
I pray in nontraditional ways. I’m not big on structured prayer, but find myself praying most when driving and listening to music or gardening.
In 10 years, I see the church being mighty. I don’t mean that in a show of great power, but rather mighty in a show of great effort to better love God and love our neighbor. I hope in 10 years the church can give up its power in culture for the sake of being better servants to God.
Things I love about Faith Lutheran are the people. There have been countless times that I just don’t feel like coming to church (I’m tired, the boys are difficult, or I’m not feeling 100%) and then I show up and am welcomed by the folks here and the life that abounds in this place and I leave feeling like I can’t wait to come again. I am so filled by the ways that people care about God and one another. I also love when people share something that God has put on their hearts, whether a new ministry for the church or to them. It is wonderful to be a part of this beautiful community.
My favorite part of Scripture are the parts that talk about the Body of Christ (2 Corinthians 12, Romans 12, and Ephesians 4). It humbles and encourages me to remember that I am only part of the body and that the body has such unique gifts to share and in the function of the whole body of Christ.
I get joy from being in creation – whether that is on a walk or gardening. Spending time or at least phone calls and texts with loved ones. I also enjoy DIY home projects and going to Target.
I connect with God by being in community. Especially during worship when I get little glimpses of the community sharing in God's grace. Sometimes it's someone helping with my kids, my 3-year-old saying the Lord's Prayer, or it might be a song from the choir. I feel the most connected to God when the people that make up the body of Christ show Christ to me.
I like to spend my time doing something fun with Josh and the boys, work on our house projects, garden, or take quick trips to Tulsa to spend time with my family.
I have experienced God’s grace in big and little ways. The big ways are always most obvious during a crisis. During my stillborn son’s funeral, I could feel God’s presence in the most powerful way during the reading of the gospel. When the pastor read the promise of Jesus’ words “let the little children come to me, for theirs is the kingdom of God”. I find the little ways that I experience God are powerful too, they usually happen in an interaction with a kind stranger, in an unexpected conversation, or a moment of stillness.
As the church changes, I hope it keeps the spirit of caring for one another. I think the church of the last 50 years has been good at being there for its members and community during a crisis or loss - whether that's in a meal or showing up - I hope it continues.
I struggle with how to be a public leader in the midst of so much pain and division in our world.
Things that have shaped me include my parents and sisters, going to high school in Australia at a very diverse school, being accepted at church as a youth, being a wife and mother, loss and grief, people who saw gifts in me that I didn’t.
I am a Lutheran because I am a sinner and a saint who is in need of God’s grace. I am humbled and grateful to be a part of a church that welcomes all to share in God’s love and grace.
Deacon Shannon has been called to serve at Faith Lutheran Church for a little over 2 years. Her area of ministry is accompanying others as they discover their gifts and call, and helping them to find ways to use them in the church and world.