Overcoming Busy Schedules and Aging Knees

Last week – for the first time since becoming a part of The Crossing community – I volunteered to help at Kids Club. Prior to last week, I always thought that I had good reasons as to why I couldn’t get involved in the amazing, chaotic world of Kids Club.

For instance, for the last eight years, I’ve done child care out of my home and, to be honest, volunteering to help with hundreds of excited, screaming kids in the evening (after spending 10 hours of my day caring for little ones already) just didn’t sound like something I was physically or mentally capable of doing.

This year, however, I learned that the Kids Club organizers were still in need of a few people to lead discussion during Bible Story Time – a.k.a. “Hero Training 101” – and so I decided to step up, though not without some trepidation. After all, I’m no spring chicken, and the idea of four days of non-stop activity was daunting to me.

On the very first night, I watched as the first graders came into Hero Training 101 and thought, “How hard can this be? I’ve been well prepared with great materials here, and I probably know my Bible better than most of these kids.” While the discussion for the night was supposed to be on how Jesus is our HERO and how he is, in particular, Holy and without sin, one first grader managed to ask me what would happen if someone killed themselves and they didn’t believe in God – “Would that person be in heaven?”

Uh oh. I suddenly questioned the wisdom of the person who assigned me to be part of the Bible Story discussion team!

On the second night, our discussion centered on how Jesus is our Exalted HERO, so far above us that seeing Him as He really is changes the way we see Him and in turn changes us. This discussion seemed to go much better, in my opinion, except that at the end of the evening, I couldn’t get up off the ground. It turned out that sitting on the floor for two hours with eight squirmy elementary kids had taken a toll I hadn’t realized until I tried to get up and move around.

No worries; nothing a little Advil wouldn’t solve!

By the third night, the kids recognized me and were running to our little corner of the world, ready to hear more about how Jesus was our Rescuer, the ultimate HERO who didn’t just risk His life for us, but actually sacrificed it for us so that we could be saved. The kids were warming up to me, which meant that they were ready to get to know me better. One Kindergartener asked what I can only assume was a burning question in his mind. “Do you live here?” he asked me, looking around the room. I smiled and told him no, I had a home like he did away from church. “But you’re in here every night,” he said, looking at me skeptically. I don’t think he believed me, but is instead convinced that I do indeed live in Trailer 304 at The Crossing.

On our last night together, we talked about Jesus as Omnipotent – so powerful that He even has power over death, proving it by coming back to life after having given His life for us to rescue us. All week we had talked about several attributes of Jesus, qualities that all of us clearly lack, and I clearly lacked power by the end of the week. Quite the opposite of powerful, I was exhausted.

But it was such a good exhausted.

At various points in my volunteering, I questioned my ability to effectively teach the kiddos who were a part of my group. I wondered if anything I was saying was getting through their energetic, wiggly little bodies and into their hearts. And then an encouraging word from a fellow volunteer reminded me that I was doing what I often tend to do – I was thinking it depended on me. God’s Word, however, tells me differently. Isaiah quotes the LORD Himself, saying, “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:10-11)

I needed only to show up and allow God to use this weak vessel to shine light on the truth of who His beloved Son is, and trust the Holy Spirit to open up the hearts and minds of the kids in my group who struggled to “sit on their pockets” and listen, but who were so excited to be at Kids Club that they spilled over with energy. Who am I to know what those kiddos heard or what God will do to recall those truths as they grow and learn to know Jesus more and more?

At times, I was tempted to feel as if I’d failed to be a good Bible Story discussion leader. After the much-needed reminder from Isaiah, it occurred to me that if there was a point of failure in my life, it was in the previous years, when I failed to even show up to volunteer (Romans 10:14).

Maybe you are like me, prior to this year of Kids Club, and you’ve never volunteered for a variety of what seem like perfectly plausible reasons. Job pressures, time pressures, aging knees and a whole host of other reasons make it hard to willingly spend time among the chaos that is Kids Club. I totally get that.

If so, though, I would encourage you to join me next year and to just “Show up.” Be a willing, humble vessel that God can use to send living water into the hearts of the young kids who show up for Kids Club…and you will find Him blessing you beyond measure. He certainly did me…even though my knees needed a good dose of Advil to get through it.

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