“I’m a Lutheran” is a monthly profile featuring ELCA members around the world. The profiles showcase ELCA members in all their diversity, connecting one another through individual faith stories as Lutherans. Sentence prompts are provided to each person featured. If you’d like to nominate someone for “I’m a Lutheran,” email megan.brandsrud@elca.org.

St. Timothy Lutheran Church, Naperville, Ill.

President of U.S. Specialty Channels at the Kellogg Co.

The thing I love most about my job is the opportunity to encourage others to take risks, fail forward and stretch in ways they may not have felt possible, and to celebrate the outcomes as a team.

I pray my children will remember they are stronger than they think when times are difficult; to be thankful for their blessings when things go well; and to enjoy the journey as much as the destination.

Going to the 2015 ELCA Youth Gathering as a parent chaperone was so much more than I expected. I treasured the opportunity to work together with my son to give back, to grow closer to friends from our home church and to experience something larger than ourselves. I will never forget the deep appreciation from local residents who gathered along the sidewalk as we walked from place to place, nor the power of seeing what happens when 30,000 high school youth gather together to make an impact in the community.

To young professionals looking for a word of advice, I’d say enjoy the journey! Where you end up will likely be different from where you thought in the beginning. If you focus only on the result, you will miss both the growth and the blessings of the path to your purpose.

People are surprised that I trained for and finished the Chicago Marathon in 2016. While my time wasn’t as fast as I would have liked, it was within my target and without injury—and I was able to achieve my fundraising goal for the Mercy Home for Boys & Girls of Chicago.

My favorite piece of Scripture is Jeremiah 29:11. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (English Standard Version).

I struggle with balancing my desire as a parent to shield and protect my kids from harm while giving them independence and wings to fly.

Attending Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, helped shape me by providing the experience of collaborating with diverse points of view and in teaching me not what to think but how to explore complex issues from multiple perspectives and disciplines, enabling me to form my own opinions.

One of the most important things I hope my kids learn from me is that character is defined not by what happens to you but how you respond to it. And no matter where your journey leads, family will always be there for you—and we’ve got your back.

I think it’s important to be involved and give back to my community and networks, and I do that by giving my time, talent and resources to make a difference whenever I can. Whether it’s serving on an industry or nonprofit board, volunteering at a local organization or getting involved with our kids’ schools, I want to impact others for good and pay it forward for the many ways I’ve been blessed along the way.

My favorite church memory is the adult discussion group we participated in at Faith Lutheran Church in Cockeysville, Md., during our four years living in the Baltimore County area. This was a diverse group of individuals who explored present-day issues through the lens of faith. While we didn’t always agree, we learned to disagree without being disagreeable and to be willing to challenge our own opinions with different points of view.

I share my faith by focusing on my actions more than my words. My hope is that others in my personal and professional life experience my faith through their interactions with me. I strive to be authentic, fair, kind, purposeful and passionate, and I hope in that they see God at work.                   

To stay centered amid my busy schedule, I focus on taking care of my mind, body and spirit through faith study, running and carving out time with family.

I believe the world is a lot smaller than it seems and we share more in common than we differ. From my first experience studying abroad in college, hosting an exchange student from Japan in our home, and now leading a global business—the value of sitting around a table, exploring foods from other cultures and sharing stories brings the world together in ways more important than ever.

I’m a Lutheran largely by marriage. I grew up Roman Catholic, attended a Baptist Bible study in high school and a Lutheran college. Our children have grown up Lutheran and have attended Episcopal and now Catholic schools. We’ve often told them that faith is like a candy bar—it’s less about the wrapper on the outside and more about the content in the middle. Their relationship with God, their community and living true to their purpose are what matter the most.

 

Megan Brandsrud
Brandsrud is an associate editor of Living Lutheran.

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