Parenthood: The Spiritual Track

baby bookBy Stephanie Gretchen Burgevin. Stephanie is a writer and retreat leader. She is an associate faculty member of Shalem and a graduate of their Leading Contemplative Prayer Groups and Retreats Program and leads spiritual and secular programs. Stephanie manages Shalem’s blog. You can see more of her writing at


I remember being pregnant with my now-22-year-old daughter and realizing the miracle of what was going on. I was no less awed when I was pregnant with my son five years later. And it wasn’t just babyhood that wowed me. It was so clear from the beginning that these little beings were here to teach me a lot about love, letting go of control, making decisions and realizing it’s not just this bowl of cereal but any other snack ever again, acting mature, being my best self, and so much more.

Trying to be the best parent I could be was a spiritual discipline for me, and just like with other disciplines, I did better at some times than others. And, just like with other disciplines, I read, studied, took classes, and practiced, keeping my leading with me as a companion. I didn’t have to create a ritual with this spiritual practice, I lived it in awareness (mostly).

I think the biggest lesson was to turn it over to God. When there was something hard going on, I still lamented, but I knew I was not alone. The children taught me to let go of control not just because it doesn’t work, but also because I realized the Holy Presence was my co-parent.

Last weekend was Mother’s Day and the weekend of my daughter’s graduation from college (what a Mother’s Day gift!). “Parenting” a young adult is so vastly different from the early days. I find there to be much more pure listening and reflection. I guess I’ve grown up a little bit too. Thank God and the children!

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