I'm Shawna and I'm trying to walk in the way of Jesus each day by grace.  I'm a wife, mom, pastor, writer, speaker and coffee addict.  I blog about faith, church, theology, parenthood and the beautiful mess of life enlivened by the Spirit.  I love watching God breathe new life into the holy words of Christian Scripture.  That's why I teach in a Bible study series called Breathe.  My B.A. in Philosophy and Theology is from Point Loma Nazarene University and my Master of Divinity from Nazarene Theological Seminary.

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  • Yes and No

    Yes and No

    Making Space for Grace November 25, 2016 Shawna Songer Gaines
    Filed Under:
    Church, Faith, Parenthood, Liturgy, Worship
    As Christians we want to say yes to God's grace. But with every yes there is a no. If we don't choose carefully what that no is, our careless yes will choose it for us.
  • May2Mon

    Surviving Sunday

    May 2, 2016
    Filed Under:
    Church, Faith, Parenthood

    There are so many couples out there partnering in ministry in one way or another – co-pastoring, Sunday School teaching, ministry leading, worship banding, church planting and so on – who are struggling to live in the blessedness of resurrection day when it feels like the demands of church and family life are crucifying you!

    If that’s you, let me just say, you are not alone! And yes, it’s HARD!

  • Feb10Wed


    February 10, 2016
    Filed Under:
    Church, Politics, Faith, Parenthood, Social Justice
    In less than a year, my son, my first born, my baby, will be given over to the public school system. He already has a number. It’s a 10-digit code by which he is distinguished from all the other children in the Nashville public school system. This number reveals his age, place of birth, color of skin, home address, which schools he is and is not zoned for, what options are opened to him and what are closed. As the years go on it will probably reveal what scores he has received in which classes, how much time he spent in detention, which months he earned honor roll and so on.

    In order to get this number I sat in a long hallway with dirty pale blue tile lit by flickering fluorescent bulbs and waited for the woman behind the desk to take my papers. Two other mothers waited with me. The first was black and the second was white.
  • Dec3Thu

    Advent in the Real World

    December 3, 2015
    Filed Under:
    Faith, Parenthood, Social Justice, Mission

    As children who have been raised in relative safety, we hear the story of this young couple with no place but a feeding trough to lay their new-born baby, and we know, even at the smallest of ages, that there is something wrong with the world where God would dare to come as a baby.

    One night Dorothee told Elias about the real drama going on in our world. She told him that there were so many little boys and girls with nowhere to sleep at night. Elias quickly offered, “They can bring their beds into my room!” His mom gently explained that these children have no beds, they left everything they had when they left home. This took little Elias a minute to process. Finally he said, “I guess they could have my bed too.”

    Even the littlest of children know that there is something wrong in this world where God would dare to come as a baby.

  • To the next pastor of the Bakersfield First Church of the Nazarene: I have a confession I need to make to you. But seeing how confession is as difficult as it is necessary, allow me to explain why I feel the need to write to you today.

  • Moms are servants. Some days we feel like slaves. But we serve with a love that supersedes all the boogers and diapers and whining and sleep deprivation. We serve the minute our eyes open in the morning until they shut for a precious few hours at night. We have to serve. (Literally, we could be arrested for child endangerment.) But that's not why we serve. No one has to mandate or legislate or regulate our care for our children because we do care for them, and so very deeply.

    Serving our children is hard work but we love it.

    Shouldn't this be a reflection of our service to Christ? To serve with joy and love even when it is hard? To be thinking of others the minute our eyes open until they close at the end of the day? To see the ugliest and poorest with the doting eyes a mother has for her child?

  • My pastor friends ask, "How can you work with another co-pastor?" My married friends ask, "How can work with your spouse?" To be honest, there was a time when my answer would have been, "I don't know and I don't wanna."

    But over the last three years I feel like we have learned so much and grown so much. So if you are asking either of these two questions, here are 5 things that have helped us survive and even thrive as co-pastors and as a couple.
  • Dec22Mon

    All I Want For Christmas is a Pastor's Wife

    December 22, 2014
    Filed Under:
    Church, Parenthood, Worship
    Advent is a season of expectancy. But the expectations of holiday fever often overshadow the expectancy of the savior.
  • Oct9Thu

    Perfectly Imperfect

    October 9, 2014
    Filed Under:
    Faith, Parenthood, Theology
    I hold on to this absurd dream, that there could be a day in which the many important factors of my life fall into a perfect alignment, come at me right across the plate and I knock it out of the park... But there will never be a perfect day. So I am learning to embrace the perfectly imperfect.
  • Sep13Sat

    Cartoon Philosophers

    September 13, 2014
    Filed Under:
    Faith, Parenthood, Theology, Philosophy
    Can we really change our story? My son's favorite cartoon characters would answer with a resounding, "Hip hip Hooray!" But as Christians, whose story are we really living in?