Parenting along the Road to Emmaus

October 8, 2014 | Artbeat | Number 20

Managed chaos. That’s how Rachel Gerber describes parenting three young sons.

Herald Press has published her first book, a devotional memoir, Ordinary Miracles: Awakening to the Holy Work of Parenting. She also keeps a blog, “Everything belongs” (, in which she explores the intersection of parenting, faith and work.

“I. Don’t. Know. Anything,” Gerber recalls thinking when she was handed her first son, Owen, in 2006. With a cursory introduction to where the diapers, “onesies” and wipes were found in the hospital’s nursery bassinet, a nurse left Gerber and her husband Shawn on their own.

Ordinary Miracles uses the story of Jesus’ walk to Emmaus after his resurrection to help readers see incidents in their own family’s daily life and challenges as normal and instructional. As readers follow the dark days and disillusionment of the disciples after the death of Jesus, to the moment in which their “eyes are opened” and they see Jesus in the ordinary breaking of bread, Gerber learns to discover the gifts and holy calling hidden in the events of harried family life.

“It has been a joy to learn from the often crazy and unpredictable and disorienting days that parenting young children can bring,” says Gerber in reflecting on her book. “In the most mundane and ordi-nary days of motherhood, and in moments of exhilaration, joy and beauty, God is present.”

Rachel Balducci, author of Raising Boys as a Full-Contact Sport, says of Ordinary Miracles, “As Rachel Gerber so beautifully reminds us here, God walks beside us. We are not alone in this journey. Even at our most lonely and discouraged, God has given us everything we need.”

Bonnie Miller-McLemore, author of In the Midst of Chaos: Care of Children as Spiritual Practice, notes, “With humour and spunk, Rachel Gerber takes us on a wondrous, demanding Emmaus journey all her own, where she recognizes God and returns to spread the word. Good news for other parents needing encouragement in their own parenting!”

Gerber, who lives in Bloomington, Ind., with her family, currently works half-time as the Mennonite Church U.S.A. denominational minister of youth and young adults. She partners with the Youth Ministry Council, Mennonite Camping Association, and MC U.S.A. convention planning staff in working on Christian formation and leadership development. She earlier worked in ministerial positions in Mennonite congregations in Colorado and Indiana. 

--Posted Oct. 8, 2014

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