One of the recent #40ACTS got me thinking about my faith, how it developed, and who was responsible (other than God) for nurturing it.

First, of course, are my parents. Both my mom and my dad were active in St. Lukes Evangelical Lutheran Church in Park Ridge, IL, near where we lived. My dad served as church financial officer, and I remember being in the church office counting money after worship on most Sundays. My mom was active in the senior citizens’ program, as well as in a couple of circles. They strongly influenced me as role models.

Second, would be my Aunt Lill, my mom’s sister. Aunt Lill was a graduate of the Chicago Conservatory of Music and the organist at St. Lukes; she was a wonderfully generous individual. Her husband, Uncle Austin, a carpenter, was also active in the church, often ushering and building/repairing stuff. They were like second parents to me, and I would often spend the day with Aunt Lill; I remember one particular day when I sat in a pew at church while she practiced for Sunday; then she took me to lunch and to the Pickwick Theater to see a Disney movie. Aunt Lill and Uncle Austin were both positive influences on my faith.

Third would be my Aunt Nonnie, my dad’s sister. Aunt Nonnie was a faithful member of a Lutheran church on the near north side of Chicago. She didn’t drive, and would walk the three blocks to church on most Sunday mornings; when the weather was bad, her husband, Uncle Ray, an Illinois State Trooper, would drive her. I never knew why he never went to church, but he didn’t. I will always remember my Aunt Nonnie as a gentle, peaceful person. She knitted and crocheted hats, and scarves for her church to give away. For me, she was a role model of a faithful Christian. I am so thankful for having these people in my life as I was growing up; they certainly helped me become the person I am today. I don’t think there ever was a time when I thought belonging to a church family and serving God was even a choice. It was just something that God expected.

What does God expect of you?