Blog | Lindsey Smallwood

When Learning Looks Like Failing

Lindsey SmallwoodComment

Over at Middle Places, we're thinking about learning this month. Turns out, my own learning hasn't been pretty lately...

Learning looks a lot like failing right now.

Like when I tried to teach a new song to kids at our church's VBS program last month. I hadn't practiced the motions before I started and ended up tripping myself and tumbling dramatically to the carpet. Much to the delight of the assembled four-year-olds watching my slow motion dance-tastrophe. 

Or the long strange silence reverberating through the sanctuary on a Sunday in June. The room should have been filled with the sound of the congregation reciting the Apostle's Creed. Except I assisted in worship and forgot what came next. Just totally forgot, even though I held the program in my hand. The silence might have gone on forever had the choir leader not stood up from his seat in the loft and prompted me that now would be a good time to affirm our faith together. In my flustered state, I called for the offering instead.

Nothing like standing up in front of 500 people and getting it all wrong...

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The Beautiful Gift of the Multi-Generational Church

Lindsey SmallwoodComment

I'm back at iBelieve this month with thoughts on being an multi-generational church...

One of the unique gifts of a local church is the chance to develop relationships with people who are older and younger than us. This is especially true in a world where so many live miles from extended family and our jobs and hobbies often tend to sort us into groups of people of similar ages and life stages. It is good for us to worship together, to offer leadership to the younger among us, to learn to listen to our elders, to take the lessons of their lives and allow our own to be shaped.

I made a new friend at my church last year – who, at more than 80 years old, has lived twice as long as I have. We’ve gotten to know each other over Bible study sessions and lunches together and I’ve been so challenged in my faith listening to her stories about her life. In the 1960s, she and her husband developed a ministry to homeless people and transients, offering things like showers, haircuts and access to typewriters to make resumes back before the town where we live offered any services of this kind. Listening to her stories is inspiring and has caused me to think deeply about my own choices to care for those around me. Not only that, she’s loved me so well as a friend. When I unexpectedly miscarried a baby in the fall, not only did she pray for me, she sent a special Bible verse in the mail, reminding me of God’s care in that hard season.

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Peculiar People Resist

Lindsey SmallwoodComment

Our church, First Presbyterian Church of Boulder, spent this summer going through the book of 1 Peter, a dense letter written to a church facing times of trials and change. I had the joy on concluding the series on being "Peculiar People" called together with a look at chapter 5, on learning from different generations, resisting evil and standing firm in the faith.

The full sermon is available below for streaming or download.

Finding a Place in the Sisterhood

Lindsey SmallwoodComment

One of my regrets from my time as a college student was never joining a sorority.

I know sometimes sororities get a bad rap for being too focused on looks or emphasizing conformity. But something about the systematic approach to relationship building, the clearly defined roles, and even the matching t-shirts totally appeals to my people (and order) loving heart.  

At the southern university I attended, the process of initiation into the Greek system takes place in the summer before school begins. When I moved into the dorms the week before classes started my freshman year, sororities had already welcomed their new pledges. At that point in my young life, I didn’t even know what a sorority was and I certainly had never considered moving away to college early to join one. I missed my opportunity before I even knew it existed.

There was a second chance, a week a year later when sophomores could pursue the initiation process. But by the time sophomore year rolled around my calendar was full with other commitments. Plus, I worried that I’d be the odd-ball, joining a class of girls younger than I was.

Still in the nearly 15 years since graduation, I’ve often wondered how my college experience would have been different if I’d had the chance to join one of those storied sisterhoods. It’s a small sadness that surfaces whenever the word “sorority” pops up in conversation.

Until recently...

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When Caregiving & Leadership Collide

Lindsey SmallwoodComment

One of my favorite writer-ly places on the interest is The Redbud Writer's Guild. It's an incredible group of women speakers, bloggers, authors, writers and editors who meet in person and online for support, encouragement and practical advice. I've benefitted so much as a younger member there and this month, I'm proud to have an article featured in their monthly magazine, The Redbud Post. The issue is on Women and Leadership - be sure to check out the other great pieces there this month. My post is on a topic that's very real in my own life these days - When Caregiving and Leadership Collide. 

I love to lead and teach. It’s a part of my natural gifting, the way I’m wired. These traits have been evident from an early age. My mom recalls with fondness the authority with which I lined up my stuffed animals in my bedroom after school, demanding their attention and presenting the new material I’d learned that day. Teaching and leading are also skills I’ve cultivated through 15 plus years of work in the fields of education and Christian ministry, including years of formal training and a graduate degree. I’ve spoken at conferences, mentored groups of new teachers, led my own classroom, and delivered sermons.

Yet my primary vocation in this season is caregiving. I’m a mother to young children and for a myriad of reasons, my husband and I have decided that the best plan for our family is for me to stay home with our sons.

And I’m not alone. Whether it’s caring for an aging parent, raising young children, or supporting a family member with a disability, the number of people acting as caregivers in the U.S. continues to rise. According to the National Alliance for Caregiving, nearly 1 in 3 people serve as primary caregivers for a chronically ill, disabled, or aged person in their lives. A majority of them are women. And for the first time since the 1960s, the percentage of women working as stay-at-home moms is on the rise as well.

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