I’ve never been one to volunteer to work with children. I like boys and girls, but since I’m not a parent, I sometimes feel uncomfortable around them. I seem to think I have to be “cool” or “hip” and find it difficult to just be myself.
I remember one instance where I was asked to help out during the Fine Arts Camp that my church was hosting. I thought about saying no, but I could tell the leaders were desperate for adult supervisors. So, uncharacteristically, I volunteered to assist one of the teachers with an art project.
After prepping the room for the little artists, eight kids, ages eight to ten, came running in eager to begin. After instructions on how to make a decoupage-type craft, I sat down next to one of the young girls in the class.
“I haven’t seen you in this church before,” she said.
“I’m new here. What’s your name?”
“Well, Sara, the fabric you picked out for your project is super cool! The colors remind me of the pinks and purples the girls wear in the movie, ‘High School Musical.’
After that statement, she looked at me like I was from some other planet. Realizing I had, once again, overdone it I wiped the nervous sweat from my forehead and stood up for a breather.
Sitting next to another “aspiring young artist,” I laughed and said, “Now that looks like a great start on something for your dad!”
“It’s for my mom, the young man spat back through his teeth. She loves football. Girls can love football, too, you know?”
“Yes, I’m sorry, I love football, myself! It’s a great fabric to pick out for your project!”
As he turned his attention back to his craft, I couldn’t miss the obvious eye roll of dismissal.
Thinking I can still recover from my lack of maternal prowess, I decided to attend to a young lady with her hand up for help.
“No, not you, I want help from the ‘real’ teacher,” she said, peering around my waist.
Feeling a bit put out, and realizing I had five more days of rejection to endure, I sat down at the abandoned materials table to sort out some fabric remnants.
When the bell rang for the next class to start, my group of kids scrambled out and headed for the auditorium where the camp leader was up on stage talking about the theme for the week.
“Does anybody know what God likes most about you?”
“Everything!” One little boy shouted.
“Yes, that’s correct, and He made each and every one of you differently. That’s why it’s important that you discover how God made you to be. Doing crafts, playing music and singing are good ways of finding out what makes you…You!”
I had to smile at this little speech. I felt as if God had written it just for me. Perhaps by stepping out of my comfort zone and working with these kids, He was teaching me something about the person He wants me to be.
At the end of the first day, I was exhausted but inspired. I was on my way out when I felt a small hand in mine. I looked down and saw Sara, the first little girl I spoke with in my class, staring up at me with a big smile on her face.
“I’m sure glad you came to our church, she beamed. I think you’re really cool!”
With that, she skipped away to play with friends and I went out the door with tears in my eyes and a prayer of thanksgiving on my lips.
“Dear Lord, You are the Potter and I am the clay. Thanks for molding and shaping me into who You want me to be, regardless of whether the changes feel comfortable to me or not."
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