I'd wanted to teach teenagers. I really did. Back during the summer when the church was looking for Vacation Bible School teachers, I signed up for sixth graders. "That's the youngest I'll go," I said. Of course, I ended up with both third and fourth grades. I wasn't, to be honest, very pleased.
They were squirmy. Never stopped moving. And loud. Gosh, were they loud! Never stopped talking. I quickly realized that - since college - I've wrapped myself in a world completely insulated from children. I'd have to get used to the squirmy. And the talking. At least for the week.
Of course, VBS led to an invitation to teach third and fourth grade girls' Sunday School. "Um... really, I prefer the kids you have to get to talk... not the ones you have to get to shut up," I said. Something like that. It didn't work. "I'll do it, Lord," I said, "but don't expect me to like it."
I wonder if God ever rolls His eyes? Or if He ever thinks, Man, the talking. They never stop talking...?
So I dove in. Started the first week with seven girls. The next week, we had eight. We're having a Pool and Pajama Party, I told the girls last week, come Friday in your swimsuits. Fifteen girls came. They swam and splashed and smiled. After swimming and making our own pizzas and playing Sondra's Bible Bingo, we headed upstairs for midnight makeovers, complete with new hair styles and glitter fingernail polish. Egad, the glitter. I looked like one wild-haired sparkle by the time they finished with me.
We were getting ready for bed when the secrets started pouring out. These angels were happy and bubbly one minute and despondent or morose the next. One told me she hadn't seen her Mom in two weeks. She's busy working, the sweet girl stated, flatly. Another told me her parents might be getting divorced. Her chin quivered. I hugged them tightly and stayed close. "This is not my thing, Lord," I prayed, "but please use me to show these girls how much they're loved."
And these children - the children near you... the children near me - how desperately they need our love. Our time. Our attention. And how - even more urgently - they need to be told of the love only a Heavenly Father gives.
Let the little children come unto Me, Jesus said. And no wonder. They are, after all, going to go somewhere. Someone's going to reach them. Someone or something will try to make them feel special. I pray it's the Gospel. I pray it's the message that a holy and loving God knitted us together in our mother's womb. That He breathed us to life - all fearfully and wonderfully made. That He first loved us.
Lord, please use us - no matter how unwilling we think we are - to tell another generation of Your love.
Monday Moment is a little devotional to help kick-start your week. See you again next Monday!