Meet the Houston Pastor and His Teenage Daughter Whose New Devotional Book "Closer to You" is a read for Dads and Daughters

High school student Sarah Sloan says she came up with the idea to write a devotional book, “Closer to You,” with her father, Pastor Dr. Sloan, during the pandemic. She noticed then that there was a bit of distance in their lives with her starting high school and with the realization she only had a couple of short years left at home before heading to college. Sarah explains that “The whole devotional grew from the idea of wanting to be closer to one another before that time period was up,” which sparked the interest in them growing towards one another, including spiritually. The married father of three (his wife is First Lady Sonya M. Sloan, M.D., an Orthopedic surgeon) says the pandemic was a whole new paradigm. “Now we’re spending a lot of time together whereas before (as a family), we were juggling some pretty chaotic schedules.” The senior pastor of The Luke in Humble, TX, says that he and his daughter were looking for ways to nurture their relationship.” Their devotional book both say, “Impacts people in the same manner as it affected them,” writing it. Their faith, they say, always leads them… Read more of the inspiring father and daughter interview.

Meet the Houston Pastor and His Teenage Daughter Whose New Devotional Book "Closer to You" is a read for Dads and Daughters

What is the takeaway from the readers regarding the book’s concept of fathers and daughters?

Dr. Sloan: The biggest takeaway has been how important it is to move father and daughter relationships to the front burner. Slow down and spend some time together because, far too often, those relationships can take the back burner position because we’re all involved in so many different things. I’ve heard immediate feedback from fathers who say this book is what they needed to spur them on to make it a priority to spend “Some time with my daughter and to enjoy one another’s presence.” You don’t get those moments back because it happens so fast, and you look up, and it’s over, so enjoy the journey. “This devotional was Sarah and I intentionally spending time together and figuring out how to make sure we nurture our relationship for the long term. “

Sarah: I agree one hundred percent, and the takeaway for me is to come into the entire devotional with an optimistic mind but to also be vulnerable with one another. I think we often take for granted the relationship on a day-to-day passing, but to sit down and be vulnerable is what really sparks the growth, connection, and trust that we’ve been able to have with one another that we were able to input into the book ultimately. As long as we can openly go into this with a perspective that’s fresh, I think… was the biggest takeaway for the both of us.

 

With fathers that feel like they didn’t get it right early in their daughters’ lives, does this book offer hope to mend or create a new relationship?

Dr. Sloan: Absolutely! This book is about progress, not perfection. That has always been thematic for Sarah and me. No one is going to have the perfect prototype of a father. Even as we like to highlight more of the successful moments, there are also some reels that have some difficult spaces, so for every father, you don’t have to have everything right or a good resume as a father, to be able to pick up and participate in this. You can start right where you are. If you’ve got time, use it wisely. Steward it well. Attempt to be what God will have you to be. This book is really about you getting close to your daughter, but for that to happen, you have to get close to your heavenly father. The closer you get to your heavenly father, the better you will be able to replicate what she or he needs from you.

 

Sarah, you are a high school student in an age of social media, selfies, and many things that create a “me…me…me” culture. How do you inspire teens (your peer group) to have healthy relationships with their fathers and God? 

Sarah: I have surrounded myself with a lot of people who have a relationship with Christ. It is one of my priorities to remain in my faith and surround myself with peers who stand strong in their faith. I have friends outside of that denomination, but it’s just confidence in my faith and who I am. That’s the best way to spread the gospel. God puts people in your life for a reason and seasons, and I use those moments to do what He’s called me to do.

I think the devotional is my calling to strengthen relationships with girls and their fathers because I know a lot of girls who don’t have the best relationships with their fathers. The devotional is the stepping point, knowing that a book can only do so much. Prayer, a genuinely open mind and connection, and taking the initiative to have a relationship with your dad will be the biggest benefactor of it.

 

Meet the Houston Pastor and His Teenage Daughter Whose New Devotional Book "Closer to You" is a read for Dads and Daughters
“Closer to You” by Timothy and Sarah Sloan

 

What’s next for you Dr. Sloan and Sarah with the book?

Dr. Sloan: We’re enjoying the time we have right now to share this book (project) that’s been part of our lived experience. The whole point of sharing the book is it is a continual part of us (Sarah and I) nurturing our relationship as we continue to talk about it on a day-to-day basis with others. It’s continued to strengthen us and for me to find out so much more about Sarah. We’re just learning to listen to God; however, He would use the project to share from a local and global perspective. 

For me, ministry and writing are a part of my calling (long-term), so we’ll see what’s on the horizon.

At the time of this interview, Dr. Sloan says Sarah was preparing for college as the family anxiously awaited hearing where they were going next with her. Sarah expected to hear back from her top schools soon, which she said was exciting.

Sarah: School is in my vision right now. I am also soaking up these moments with family and enjoying the release of the book. Wherever God takes us next will evidently be best, I’m just living in the moment right now and hopefully seeing what’s next in my plan.

 

How do the both of you replenish your energy to maintain self-care?

Dr. Sloan: For me, it’s an ongoing process. I think we’re learning as a family we gain strength for one another and spend time with each other. I love golf, and that’s a big part of my replenishment for me, and sometimes the kids will come along with me. Then our faith is critical to us. As a family, we talk about prayer and reading our bible. It could sound cliche to other people because that’s what you’re supposed to say, but the truth is we have to learn that it is critical to our lifeline. I am grateful as a father to be able to say, “You know,” Sarah and the kids have learned the power of prayer and the study of God’s word as their main source of replenishment, especially in desperate moments.

Sarah: I’m not a big golfer (laugh). Family time is how I replenish. Also, there is my constant school cycle with studying, dance, college applications, and the entire senior process. I’m also taking the time to be still and meditate on my faith, and being with my family energizes me constantly.

 

“Closer to You” is available at Amazon, BarnesandNoble.com, and Walmart.com. 

 

Photo courtesy of Lemon Lime Light Media

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