Photo by Billy Pasco on Unsplash.

Faith is not a checklist

that can be completed

It is not an accumulation of gold stars

that we can affix to a chart

It is not intensive study

so that we can pass a test

It is a relationship in which we

share out of our abundance

love with abandon

see others with the eyes of God

honor God’s image in ourselves

and trust that God is around and at work

even when the evidence is hard to spot

It is shedding our expectations

even as we lay claim to hope

It is done in us and through us

but not by our own power

It is never finished

just as we are never finished

It is beauty and challenge

falling short and trying again

all rolled up together

It is complicated

and life-sustaining,

a gift from above

Help us to accept it

with grateful hearts


Laura Stephens-Reed is a clergy and congregational coach working with ministers and churches across the ecumenical spectrum. Having served in a variety of pastoral roles and denominations, she is primarily affiliated with the Alliance of Baptists and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and has ministerial standing in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Based in northwest Alabama (United States), Laura is married to a United Methodist pastor, and they have a eight-year-old son. She blogs weekly at

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