Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, Atlanta
Early childhood professional—preschool director and teacher

I believe God is love abounding in depth and width far beyond the capacity of our human minds. I believe God holds space and place for all creation.

I pray for harmony and understanding in the world and the church. I pray for those suffering. I pray for direction and purpose. I pray with gratitude and to find peace amid life’s uncertainties.

Helping start Midtown Lutheran Preschool, a ministry of Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, has challenged me to live the value of lifelong learning. I continue to learn about my profession, my leadership style and areas where I need to build my team. I have learned new skills, such as marketing and finance, while also learning to seek experts to help me. I’m learning about stress management and problem-solving challenges. I’m figuring out a life balance of family and friends with employment outside the home.

I believe early childhood development is a fascinating journey of nature and nurture. When working with children (and becoming a parent), you see how humans are born “wired” in many ways, while environmental ecosystems play a deep role in how we develop and who we become. Nurture is where the family unit, the church and our schools are critical in allowing children to unfold into their God-made selves.

One way to start faith formation with young children is to model and talk. Never underestimate the power of modeling the behavior you want your child to exhibit in life—saying thank you, genuinely treating people with respect, being kind, showing generosity. Our actions speak volumes to our children about our values, and talking honestly and explicitly opens communication.

People are surprised to learn of the Evangelical Lutheran Education Association (ELEA). The ELEA is a nonprofit that supports our ELCA schools with networking, resources and professional development. I’m excited to have a small new volunteer role as a synod connector. Our schools are a way of being church in our local communities, and it’s wonderful to have an organization encouraging us.

Never underestimate the power of modeling the behavior you want your child to exhibit in life.

One thing I’ve learned from the students at the preschool is the responsibility in early childhood education that comes with being invited into life with the family unit. It’s an honor to walk together with families in the early years of a child’s life.

Including children in the life of the church is critical to our church future and continuing God’s work in the world. We must show children from birth that they matter and find ways to make sure families feel supported in bringing children into the church community.

It’s important to me to be involved in my congregation because it’s a place for grounding, finding community and learning. It’s where I’m reminded I belong to God and am here to serve and love. It’s a place where I find connection to those who came before and purpose in God’s infinite story.

Educating children to be compassionate global citizens is opening a child’s world to understanding others. It’s the realization that we are all astoundingly different yet so similar in our want for love and connection. It’s about embracing differences and diversity so we see the kingdom of God here on Earth.

Something I’ve learned about family since becoming a mom is that life takes a village. It’s hard to ask for help, and I’m still working on that! But I know the importance of community, and it’s been a huge blessing in my life. I hope in my life I significantly contribute to my village as much as it continues to give to me.

I’m a Lutheran because I find wonder in the both/and paradox. I relish the mysteries of faith and am comfortable in unanswered questions and ponderings and find an acceptance of this in our church.

I’m passionate about creating a welcoming space and faith environment for families who otherwise would not be in our building or may not be sure they’re welcome; developing programming around play-based learning that is appropriate for a child’s development; and supporting and guiding families who are identifying learning differences of their child to get the help and support they need from us and outside resources.

I share my faith by being open, nondefensive and eager to engage in conversation as a way to break down walls for discussion about why faith in Jesus drives my heart in what I do, how I live and my values. Keeping church central to our family means that the lessons of Jesus become core to life and that talking church and faith life comes more naturally.

To me, grace means the deep embrace God has for all his creation that is given without conditions. It’s knowing God has intention in each part of who we are, and how we’re individually made and given the gifts of the spirit to live our best lives.

Megan Brandsrud
Brandsrud is a content editor of Living Lutheran.

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