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 able 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 mention, 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!