Bethlehem Lutheran Church, St. Charles, Ill.
Children’s book author

I started exploring church in college. I remember feeling incredibly awkward—not knowing the routine, having no sense of what was happening when and feeling completely lost. I came home and studied the Lord’s Prayer in the encyclopedia so I could memorize it! 

God’s call is something I’ve always felt pulling me, despite not growing up with a church home or in a faith-based household. 

As a child, books were my escape from a tumultuous, difficult home life. Books are where I get my sense of peace. I hope my books can offer readers positivity and love and joy and happy endings. 

Once, I promised God that if my plane landed safely, I’d find a church home and attend regularly. At the time, I was traveling through a horrible storm between St. Louis and Chicago. I kept that promise, by the way! 

We found our current church home on the recommendation of some of our suburban neighbors, shortly after our move from the city and away from our beloved church home there. The first Sunday we attended Bethlehem Lutheran Church, we felt so much energy and positivity. We just knew it was a fit for our family. 

Raising my children in faith is important because that piece was sadly missing in my own childhood. I want my boys to know God, to never doubt his presence and to feel connected to a church community. I’m grateful for the journey that has ultimately led us to Bethlehem. I love overhearing my sons refer to “our church” in conversations. 

I started writing children’s books when, after years of prayer asking God to lead me into a more fulfilling career, the idea for Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site (a New York Times bestseller published by Chronicle Books) came to me as I was falling asleep one night—right after I’d finally gotten my truck-obsessed second son to fall asleep.  

Raising my children in faith is important because that piece was sadly missing in my own childhood. I love overhearing my sons refer to “our church” in conversations.

My inspiration comes from my children, most of all.  

I see God at work in my writing and my work as an author. I feel his presence with me, leading me to ideas, helping me untangle the bits and pieces that ultimately become a story, and allowing me to connect with people around the world.  

My favorite hobbies are gardening, cooking and baking, collecting old oil paintings and filling our home with family and friends.  

I pray for the people I love, for God to lead me where he’d have me go, and for the strength and courage to follow his path. 

I share my faith by being open about my own faith journey in my life and my work. 

I’m a Lutheran because of our calling to service and our messages of love and grace.  

My first career taught me how deeply blessed I am now to have work that I love, work that I feel is my calling, my vocation. 

I believe that we’re not equipped to judge each other, and that church should be a welcoming place for everyone. I’m deeply grateful for the values of the ELCA and its acceptance of all people into all aspects of church life.

Erin Strybis
Erin Strybis is a content editor of Living Lutheran and member of Resurrection Lutheran Church in Chicago. Find more of her stories on Instagram (@erinstry) and at erinstry.com.

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