Our 2019 Advent Journal, All the Generations: From Genesis to You, is an offering written by our entire Blessed is She team! For the first time this year, we will be journeying together as a community not only through the Advent season, but through the Christmas season as well.
We want you to get to know the women who will spiritually walk by your side through these transformative seasons. In order to help you get to know the heart behind the Advent Journal, for the next several weeks, we’ll sit down with the writers for each week of Advent and Christmas.
Coffee Break with the Advent Journal Writers
Consider this a quick moment over coffee with the Advent Journals writers. We asked the writers of each week the same questions:
- Why she shared the particular story she shared in her Advent Journal writing.
- Her favorite Scripture passage from the day.
- Her hope for us all in healing we’re praying for in ourselves and our families.
Let’s hear from the writers of Week 4.
Liz Kelly // Writer for Blessed is She
1) One of the great healings of my life came through writing, understanding that writing was a gift God had given me and that I was to use it for others. As women, we need to share these stories about our competencies and successes.
2) “Blessed is she who believed” (Luke 1:45).
3) My hope for the reader is that she knows that a strong woman who knows her strengths and believes in the gifts God has given her strengthens and blesses her home, her community, and the Church.
Sarah Erickson // Writer for Blessed is She
1) I picked this story to share because it is actually one that I rarely tell. However, there is something about this year’s Advent theme that I feel is calling these stories out of us. When I read about this breaking of tradition in naming John, I reflected upon the ways that the names I have been given have set me apart from generations. I remembered my own questions of identity and wanted to share one of my most raw experiences of that, especially as it came to my own family wounds.
2) “And they all marveled” (Luke 1:63).
3) I hope that the reader sees that regardless of their upbringing or family situation, they are fathered by God. There is profound healing in exploring our familial roots as daughters, as His. We are not just known by the names we have been given by our earthly family, and I hope that this Advent can be a season of discovery of what the Father’s names for us are. I pray we can press further into His perspective, as He has immense healing in store, especially for those readers who come from a broken family. This is simply not the end of the story. The Father has more to say.
Debra Herbeck // Writer for Blessed is She
1) As I sat in the airport waiting to return home from a five day retreat on inner healing this summer, God began to show me the work He had just done in my heart to redeem my own shame.
2) “[H]er husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame . . . ” (Matthew 1:19).
3) I pray that during this Advent season of expectant hope, families can put their trust in the God of the impossible, who brought salvation to the world through the resounding yes of the Holy Family.
Laura Kelly Fanucci // Writer for Blessed is She
1) I chose a story of my grandmothers’ presence with me during birth because I was so struck by how Mary would not have been surrounded by the usual female relatives who would have supported her during birth. Her strength—even when far from home and family—is incredible!
2) “And she gave birth . . . ” (Luke 2:7).
3) I hope these stories of the diversity of our families unites us in remembering we are all beloved, even when we feel broken, and believing that God can bring healing to any relationship, no matter the situation.
Bonnie Engstrom // Writer for Blessed is She
1) When I reflected on Christmas there wasn’t a story that came to mind but extravagant images and a sense of anxiety and being smothered, which is the exact opposite of how I want to feel. I immediately identified that healing was needed in that dichotomy and searched for the Holy Family in it, in part as a way of saving my own children from a similar experience.
2) “But Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart” (Luke 2:19).
3) My hope is that the book brings comfort and hope to those who are pursuing family healing, and maybe opens their eyes to ways peace and healing can be achieved.
Dr. Samantha Aguinaldo-Wetterholm // Writer for Blessed is She
1) When reading the scripture, I immediately knew that the Holy Spirit was asking me to tell my story of trusting God in the face of the unknown too.
2) “This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet” (Matthew 1:22).
3) I hope this book helps the reader see that God has great plans for your family—known and unknown—and to trust that He will show you.
Jenny Uebbing // Writer for Blessed is She
1) Christmastime can be such a season of contradiction, especially as we age and lose family members, become aware in an adult sense of strained family relations, etc. It’s helped me to make the jump emotionally from curated perfection to “okay, Christmas is messy in real life, and Christmas was messy in Bethlehem that first year.” What’s left at the end is love.
2) “He came to his own home, and his own people received him not” (John 1:11).
3) I hope it invites readers to feel a sense of solidarity that nobody has a perfect family, that behind the public personas and pretty Christmas photos, most everyone is harboring some kind of pain or fractured relationship, either this holiday season or from holidays past.
Come Pray with Us?
We cannot wait to share our stories, hear your stories, and help you find the healing that God so desires in your family this Advent and Christmas season.
If you haven’t grabbed your Advent Journal yet, you can find it here!
Week 5 writers will be shared next week!