Thursday, May 31, 2007

Back in the Saddle Again

Four months and 20 days ago, I said goodbye to "My Isaac" -- my Wednesday night children's ministry. It was excruciatingly difficult to let go -- and not a Wednesday night has passed that I have not thought about my precious, precious kids and my dear friends working in the basement at Calvary. Wednesday night was my first full-time children's ministry after I graduated from college. I was so blessed to serve with "Miss DiAnne", my former pastor's wife, who passed away nearly 5 years ago from cancer. Miss DiAnne was a legend. Her devotion to the word of God, and passionate love for Jesus was not something I've seen every day. She ran a one-man show, teaching, disciplining, and utterly captivating the kids with her thoughts on the scripture passages they were memorizing. She'd dance around on her skinny little legs, arms gesturing wildly saying "And then, face to face!" (referencing I Corinthians 13:12) "I will see my Jesus face to face! My Jesus . . . My JESUS!"

It lit a fire in me. I couldn't imagine anything more wonderful than being a
ble to do what she did with children. She was my mentor (thankfully, she let Misty and I assist her and learn from her), and I began to dig in and invest in the souls of the children I worked with.

After 7 years, I said goodbye. I did not know when or if I would be able to become a part of a children's ministry after we moved to Kentucky. However . . .

I am so blessed! I was asked to help with the Wednesday night ministry at Clifton! We are doing a super fun summer program using a curriculum made by Connie Dever at Capitol Hill Baptist Church on the Chronicles of Narnia. I just love how imaginative and out-of-the-box it is. I went upstairs last night with the kids (my 1st time!), and I found a group of fantastic kiddos. It is going to be so fun to work with them!

All this came on the heels of another superb blessing that I hardly know how to menti
on, for fear of stumbling over my own gratitude and landing in a pile of pride. My sweet friend Mandy (of Camp OUTT fame) gave me a video titled "We Miss You Miss Gretchen" from the Wednesday night kids at Calvary. It was footage of the kids working on their verses, giving me messages and recalling memories, and then a short play of "Little Miss Gretchen" (written by Rachel Wells, age 11, and performed by a handful of kids. Rachel's sister Hannah played "me"). I tell you, I sobbed and snarfed and sniggled and bawled my heart out! There is a sort of crying that comes from an intensely strong mixture of pleasure, sorrow and heart-wrenching humility. (can you tell I was crying in this picture?) I was astounded by the video. The Miss Gretchen character wore her hair up and big African bracelets (kids notice everything), and the play showed Miss Gretchen at Camp OUTT (making pies and solving a fight in the sand), and at Wednesday night church (leading the Bible Creed, and meeting with my small group). I was also blown away by what the kids thanked me for on the video -- learning about the Passover, picking blueberries, making pies for Thanksgiving -- I certainly hadn't thought about those things recently, so I cannot believe they remembered them! Megan, one of the moms, added background music to the movie, which was really great. (Ha ha, I found you out, Megan!)

I have been on cloud 9 all week!


James and Christen said...


I am so excited that you are able to get involved at Clifton. God is so good! Let me know more about this curriculum they use.

The video sounds so neat. It is amazing how much you impact people and aren't even aware of it. It is so special to have a tangible way to see a small part of your impact on their lives.

Joshua said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
sara said...

Thank you for sharing that. I get so inspired when I read your blog. That was just the kind of thing I needed to hear before I go and teach jr. church on Sunday. It is tempting to sometimes just go and "do the job" instead of INVESTING in the children. Thank you for the reminder.

GloryandGrace said...

There's an underlying hunger when a specific ministry has been put on hold. Although you know that you're in a holding pattern of sorts from a ministry the Lord has clearly given you a passion for, there's always that anticipation of when you will have the opportunity again. I'm so excited for you! You'll have to tell me more of the details of the Narnia curriculum - it sounds great!

megan said...

how exciting that you get to be back in the children's ministry at your new church. I know that all the kids will be blessed by having you involved. i can say i'm a little jealous that those kids get to have ms. gretchen and my boys don't anymore. i'm glad the video was o.k. it was hard to hear some of the kids, even before i put the music with the video.

mitchells2000 said...

Wow - that is really cool... both the opportunity to minister, plus the video. It reminds me of 2 things... #1 - you never know exactly when something you do will impact someone else, and #2 - when you love someone and pour your heart into them, sooner or later, you get to see the fruit of your labor. You never labor in vain when you labor for the Lord!

Murray Crew said...

Grettle, you totally made me miss Diane. What a godly example that God used in so many of our lives. She was a true lady.
Glad to hear about your video and your opportunity at Clifton. Miss you!
Jen Murray

Gretchen said...

Christen -- thanks, friend. I know you know how much I missed this.

Sar -- I totally know what you mean. I can do that, too. Children's ministry can become babysitting really quickly if we just see it as "doing our job". I know you use so much enthusiasm and passion to teach your own little ones, so I am sure you are an amazing teacher at church as well! Really look at the kids and see the fertile soil!

Grace -- I'll totally show you the Narnia curriculum if you'd like. It is super cool.

Meg -- OKAY? Um, the video was GREAT! I totally loved the music, too. You kill me! Is that a product of your fancy little Mac?

Heather -- thanks for the encouragement. That is so true.

JEN! I am so glad someone who remembers DiAnne commented me. I often think of her as well. The last day I was at Calvary, my kids recited the Baptist catechism in the Sunday morning service and Brenda Bogess told me I was just like Dianne -- I about went into hysterics. Miss you too, friend!

megan said...

gret - yes i did use my mac computer. i couldn't have done it without it. It is so easy to use, thank goodness. (plus i had a lot of help from my brother-in-law, who is a professional !)

Anonymous said...

ok botton line: I have to see that video...Hannah was you! HAHAHAHAHA! That is killer...oh I love those kiddies, I squeeze their guts out for you every time I see them...;)