Dave: Today I would like to officially announce a new staff member here at Servants of Grace. Her name is Laura Lundgren. Laura is as you will see in this interview deeply committed to the Lord Jesus, to her family, the local church, and to serving people with the gospel of grace. I am excited to welcome her as the new women’s editor here at Servants of Grace and hope you’ll find this interview helpful to get to know her and about the women’s ministry here at Servants of Grace.
Dave: Laura, please tell us about yourself, your life, your marriage, and some of your hobbies.
Laura: Perhaps other “stay at home moms” will relate to my struggle to put my current role into words. I like the image of calling myself a homemaker, just not the cultural baggage that implies. In other words, I put my career as a high school English teacher on pause a few years ago when I was pregnant with our third child. My husband Paul and I have been married for 12 years and now have four kids ranging in age from two to eight. We’ve lived in Wisconsin most of our lives except for a brief stint living in Colorado while he attended Denver Seminary. My husband has been the pastor of a small church in Madison, Wisconsin for the past seven years, so a lot of our energy is directed towards our church and our family life. Paul and I met in college and grew closer over our shared sense of calling towards ordinary faithfulness. We both wanted to serve the kinds of small, tight-knit churches we’d grown up attending and find ways to build community wherever we ended up. We were fortunate that Paul got hired as the solo pastor of a church that has been a great fit and is in a city where we wanted to live. We’re here for the long haul!
Reading is my primary hobby, but I’m an extrovert, so my real hobby is talking about the books I’ve read. I have also been known to take board games too seriously on occasion or enjoy a movie or show with my husband. On even rarer occasions, I go for a run or weed my garden.
Dave: Can you tell us a bit about your new role here at Servants of Grace as the women’s editor?
Laura: I walked into this role partly because I love reading and reviewing books, which Servants of Grace has given me an opportunity to do for a wider audience than just my Goodreads followers. I just get really excited about elevating deserving books and making sure they find their readers. The other reason I’m excited to work with Servants of Grace is that I love writing, but I especially love helping writers. As a teacher, I always enjoyed celebrating what was best about someone’s writing and ensuring that no errors or distractions would prevent other readers from benefitting from their written ideas.
Dave: What are your hopes and goals for this ministry?
Laura: I think every village needs a poet. By that, I mean that I hope that in every church there is a woman who is excited about the Bible and wonders if she has what it takes to write her own reflections on the way the word of God intersects with her real` life. Perhaps she wants to try her hand at teaching or speaking but isn’t sure where to start. Perhaps she reads articles and books and wonders, “Could I do that, too?”
I’ve benefitted deeply from being able to share what I’m learning through writing, and I hope to extend that same opportunity to other women. I’d love to provide encouraging feedback that will help women to feel confident enough to become a poet for their village. You don’t need a lot of social media followers or a book contract in order to be a writer. You just need a desire to see the name of God glorified and an urge to try your hand at writing. You just need a few people who will read what you write and thank you for it.
Dave: Where did your love of reading begin and what types of books do you like to read now?
Laura: My dad read to me every night before bed, and I was pretty enchanted by the idea that all those lines and curves on the page allowed him to tell me such fantastic stories. I was desperate to learn how to read. As soon as I figured it out, I didn’t want to do anything else. I read an embarrassing amount of The Babysitter’s Club until I discovered Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time in middle school. I consider that my “gateway” book to more sophisticated literary taste.
My all-time favorite fiction books are Peace Like a River (Leif Enger), The Big Rock Candy Mountain (Wallace Stegner), and The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald). In terms of non-fiction, I really admire Hannah Anderson’s writing style. She makes true things fresh and appealing with her attentive writing. (My favorite is her book Humble Roots, but I’m already enjoying her upcoming book All That’s Good.) I also love Karen Swallow Prior’s Booked because of her generosity in sharing all the riches she’s acquired from a life of reading and teaching the greatest novels.
I love to have several books going at once—a poetry book I can dip in at will, a compelling literary fiction book to read before bed, and piles of other books that speak the truth of the gospel in compelling and refreshing ways. I’m always on the lookout for Biblical theology that treats Scripture like a story, and books about the humanities and our universal appetite for story and art. I have developed a pretty good sense of what kinds of books I will love (and whose recommendations I can trust!), so I rarely find myself reading books I don’t enjoy.
Dave: Let’s say one or more of our female readers here at Servants of Grace is interested in writing for us. What types of articles are you looking for and how should they submit them to you?
Laura: I look first and foremost for honesty—not just self-revealing confessions, but sincere courage to search out what motivates your choices. I never want to write anything until I’ve allowed the “living and active” word of the Lord to “Judge the thoughts and attitudes” of my own heart (Heb. 4:12), and sought the wisdom of the Lord who “knows my anxious thoughts” (Ps. 139:23). I would hope to work with writers who feel the same way and are willing to let the word of God dwell in them richly.
As much as I love honesty, I also love humility. I love generous writing that offers compassion and practical wisdom for readers who need encouragement. I love writing that draws lessons from nature and humanity, drawing my attention to metaphors that illuminate the world around us. I love writing that brings old truths to life in fresh ways. If you’re interested in applying Scripture to the challenges and opportunities you face in your real life, I’d love to see what you come up with! You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dave: Can you tell us briefly about the upcoming pastor’s wives series and what you hope the Lord will do through it?
Laura: Honestly, I sometimes feel a little isolated as the pastor’s wife in a small church. I’m always wondering, “How do other wives manage their family life and church responsibilities?” I’m excited to learn from other women and benefit from the solidarity of recognizing my own personal doubts and joys in their words. I am praying to be encouraged and not intimidated by the inspiring examples of other women (and praying our readers will feel the same way!)
I hope all readers will gain an understanding of the unique challenges that come from being married to the first person everyone calls in a crisis, and the last person responsibility falls to when people need help. In a lot of ways, as pastor’s wives we can feel like our time is not our own because at any moment we might need to change our plans to help our brothers and sisters in Christ. I don’t want to speak for other pastor’s wives (I would rather listen!), but I know I tend to have very high expectations for myself that I struggle to live up to in moments of stress or conflict.
Dave: Thank you for taking the time to let us get to know you, Laura!
Dave Jenkins is happily married to Sarah Jenkins. He is a writer, editor, and speaker living in beautiful Southern Oregon. Dave is a lover of Christ, His people, the Church, and sound theology. He serves as the Executive Director of Servants of Grace Ministries, the Executive Editor of Theology for Life Magazine, and is the Host for the Equipping You in Grace Podcast. He is the author of The Word Explored: The Problem of Biblical Illiteracy and What To Do About It (House to House, 2021). You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Parler, Youtube, or read his newsletter. Dave loves to spend time with his wife, going to movies, eating at a nice restaurant, or going out for a round of golf with a good friend. He is also a voracious reader, in particular of Reformed theology, and the Puritans. You will often find him when he’s not busy with ministry reading a pile of the latest books from a wide variety of Christian publishers. Dave received his M.A.R. and M.Div through Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary.