Anything But “Ordinary”

Chris Steingart is from Kitchener, Ontario. A MennoMedia board member for the past 2 years, Chris is the lead designer and founder of QT Web Designs a full service online marketing company. He is the father of 2 children – Rowan (2 yrs) and Maya (1 month) and husband to 1 wife – Jillian, all show below.

Chris Jillian Rowan and Maya

About a year ago, I picked up a copy of Ordinary Miracles: Awakening to the Holy Work of Parenting.

As a parent of a rambunctious toddler (Rowan), I was excited that Herald Press was offering titles that explored something directly relevant to me, and was thrilled to read a book by a friend, Rachel Gerber!

Last spring on my way home from a board meeting I cracked open Ordinary Miracles and couldn’t put it down. Gerber’s thoughtful and relevant insights mixed with her down-to-earth wit combined for an enjoyable read that had me in stitches and tears and sometimes both at the same time. It seemed like with each turn of the page there was always something that had me saying to myself (and occasionally out loud) “that is so true!” Throughout the book we hear accounts of Gerber’s own parenting experiences and observations, cleverly woven into the “Emmaus Road” story (Luke 24:13-35). The overarching theme is that when parenting seems bleak, God is present.

Fast forward in my own life to this past month when we welcomed Maya, a little sister for Rowan. When the going has gotten tough (as it inevitably does with a 2 year old and a 1 month old), I’ve found myself coming back to Ordinary Miracles for a comforting word, a relevant chuckle, and also to ground myself a little bit in the Holy work that’s going on in our household.

In particular I found Gerber’s depiction of two different kinds of time that govern our lives to be very relevant to my experience:

Chronos is the time that we live in. It is the time that is told by the clock. It’s the five minutes left in time-out. It’s being stopped by another red light as you race to preschool to try not to be late again. It’s holding your breath as you wait to check out at the grocery store while your squirrely boys try to rip down candy displays and whine at the top of their lungs about why they need M&Ms now.

Kairos, however, is God’s time. It is time above time. It is a time with no end, when you are able to momentarily stand still in the midst of the hub-bub of life and see how things really are. It is stepping back, even in the craziness of life, to take notice of the blessings in life. To realize how God moves, how God provides and how God simply is.”

As a business owner who works from home, way too much of my life is Chronos-led time. I start work at 8:30, I work till noon – I eat, I play with Maya, put Rowan to bed – hoping that Maya’s not screaming in the background distracting his focus on his nap, only to ruin his chance at giving me an extra couple hours to work… We feed Rowan dinner, then I hold Maya for a while in the evening and if I’m lucky and not totally beat, I put in another couple hours of work in the evening – YEESH! If Chronos was the guiding force in our lives, I would be consumed by schedules to the point of insanity. Gerber helps us to remember, to take time and look for the opportunities for God’s time: Kairos. It’s only when we (occasionally) throw out the clock and the phone calendar alerts, that we can truly enjoy bath time – when more water is splashed outside the tub than remains in it, or snack time – where we discover the best place to eat apple sauce is off of a bib, not out of the bowl. Or bed time, when reading a couple more books and singing two or three more songs is a joy and a privilege, not a burden.

I wouldn’t say that I’m the model parent who makes all the good decisions, but with Ordinary Miracles as my companion, I can really come to terms with the Holy work of raising two amazing little human beings that is taking place in our home.

Whether you’re a parent-to-be, a new parent, or are someone who delights in reading about the trials and tribulations of parenting young children, this is the book for you! Ordinary Miracles also makes for a perfect faith-based gift for an upcoming baby shower!

More than that, it is a reminder for anyone of these two concepts of time—and how Kairos time is needed by all.

Ordinary Miracles is a book that is anything but ordinary. It balances funny accounts of Rachel and her boys (Owen, Connor and Zachary ) and her continuous battle to drink a hot… (no), warm… (no), reheated coffee, wipe runny noses, fit in time to work, and cope head on with the endless calamity, distractions and tearful moments that parenting in a God-centered home can bring.

–Chris Steingart

Chris was recently named to MEDA’s 20 Under 35 list of “Young Professionals Changing the World.” 

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OrdinaryMiracles

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