Focal verse

“Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power” (Ephesians 6:10).


Just before my 9-year-old daughter read in church for the first time, she turned to me and said, “I’m nervous.” Once a month our congregation invites children to read the lessons and psalm. As my daughter continues to gain fluency and confidence in her reading, I asked her if she’d like to read in church. She said yes but with a lot of nerves. We practiced at home and in the sanctuary with the microphone, and each time the words flowed more easily.

When it was time to walk to the front of the church, she did so with determination and courage. I stood by her side to support and encourage her as she read the first lesson. When she finished, she told me, “I did it.” Her pride showed in her smile and again as members of the congregation told her how nice a job she did.

One gift of being in community is feeling safe enough to try new things. To be brave and confident. To know that we are surrounded by love and grace. This is the only church my daughter knows, and the members have loved her since before she was born. They’ve watched her grow and learn in faith. And they were there to encourage her when she stepped out of her comfort zone.

I pray that you have this sense of welcome in your community. Or, if not, that you can find a place where you belong. Is there something you’re nervous about but would like to try? Maybe there’s a desire in your heart to start a small group for parents or to lead a book study. Perhaps you feel inspired to share your music with the congregation. Or maybe you see something in your children and want to encourage them to volunteer and share their gifts.

The Easter season is full of surprises—the empty tomb being the greatest of them all. In the spirit of this resurrection hope, what brave thing can you try? As you do something new, remember that God is with you.


  • Make a list of things you’ve dreamed of doing, either on your own or as a family. Where do you feel the Spirit nudging you to try something new? Pray for inspiration and courage.
  • The season of Easter is 50 days! Take time to share small gifts of hope and resurrection with your community. Chalk encouraging notes on the sidewalk. Bake cookies or bread and deliver it to a neighbor. Together, craft and decorate your home with paper butterflies.

Prayer practice

Breath prayers are simple yet powerful ways to connect to both our bodies and God. When you feel overwhelmed, or if you’re starting something new and feel nervous or afraid, take a few moments to take a deep breath, repeating a phrase or words of Scripture.

Inhale: God, you are with me.
Exhale: Help me feel your love.

Kimberly Knowle-Zeller
Kimberly Knowle-Zeller is an ordained ELCA pastor, mother of two, spouse of an ELCA pastor and co-author of The Beauty of Motherhood: Grace-Filled Devotions for the Early Years. She lives with her family in Cole Camp, Mo. Her website is

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