top of page

What it means to be real

The day I started subbing in the Title Reading Room at our local elementary, a trio of fifth graders read The Velveteen Rabbit. The faded yellow cover with the beloved rabbit invited conversation on our own well-loved stuffies and toys. One girl shared of her cow that came passed down from her father and now sleeps beside her every night. A boy regaled us with a larger than life stuffed dog that claims a spot in his bedroom. The common thread woven through their stories and the one before us in the book — love

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, Not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become real.”

The 50 days of Easter are upon us. If there’s any season that invites us to consider what it means to be real, it’s this one. We’re living in the Easter season yet the sting of death, and the sadness of Good Friday, isn’t as far as we’d like it to be. To be real, alive and loved, we experience the fullness of pain, sorrow, and joy. To be real means to grow and change. To be real means to wrestle with this life and our place in the world. 

Maybe you’re in a season of doubt. 

Or you have unanswered health questions.

The doctor visits are long and the time waiting on the phone full of nerves and frustrations

You may be waiting for a chance to begin a new job or waiting to hear from that college.

Your community may be wrestling with issues of race and poverty and how to welcome those who are different. 

Perhaps your congregation is in the midst of transition or asking hard questions about its future. Maybe, you’re just tired of asking questions and want things to be how they’ve always been. Maybe you’ve been loving someone who has not reciprocated the same care. 

Easter, the season of resurrection, invites us to see with Gospel eyes the hope of what could be. 

Right now I find myself in the classroom. It wasn’t something I planned, but the Spirit had other plans. I had a willingness to see a need and step into a role that I felt the Spirit nudging me to consider. I’ve been volunteering at the school a few days a week and enjoying my time with students. When I’m here, I feel alive, and hopeful. I sense God inviting me to listen to the stirrings of my heart — the love I have for books and kids

In these next few weeks, I invite you to listen to how God is stirring your heart – for yourself, your family, and your community. Where do you sense the Spirit urging you forward to something new? Where in your communities and congregations could God be calling you forward?  Easter meets us with the promise of an empty tomb. Easter says: come and see how I am about to make all things new. And perhaps that newness will be found in you. 

In the hope of the resurrection, 


Questions to ponder

  1. What is something you love that makes you feel alive and real? 

  2. When did you feel God nudging you to try something or take a leap of faith? 

  3. Where in your congregation do you see signs of hope?

Kimberly Knowle-Zeller is an ordained ELCA pastor, mother of two, spouse of an ELCA pastor and co-author of The Beauty of Motherhood: Grace-Filled Devotions for the Early Years. She lives with her family in Cole Camp, Mo. Her website is

44 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page