I babysat a lot and even had a five-year-old buddy at one point. She was the daughter of a dear friend and we had so much fun together. I am certain that I was practicing being a mom for when I had my own children. She is also married and has kiddos of her own.
I believe it was about a year after I was saved (twenty-four years ago, now) that I was asked to teach Children's Church at the first church I attended. I reluctantly agreed to do so, not because I didn't want to do it, but because I didn't know if I knew enough yet to do it justice. It was exactly the right thing for me and the Lord knew it! The curriculum was from David C. Cook and it was sound and surprisingly deep and thorough. In fact, the very next box of curriculum they sent out was not nearly as good. I asked the sales rep about it and he said people just didn't want anything that deep. It was the beginning of a tragic trend in children's curricula for church. But the Lord used my teaching from that box to give me a solid beginning for my understanding of His word.
I was in that church for about 9ish years and during that time, not only did I continue to teach CC, but I also took part in probably 9 VBS's. The first year we did Through the Wicket Gate (I am pretty sure I was the director that year, if any of my buddies read this and know different, please say so) and it is still available at the link. It is based on Pilgrim's Progress and we got copies of Little Pilgrim's Progress to all of the families and they pre-read the book aloud. The cover of the book linked to on Amazon is exactly the cover it had back then. I had a two year old and an eleven year old at the time and we read it too! It was a fantastic VBS and our pastor said he had never seen so many people involved in a Vacation Bible School before. It was a blast and I had the bug.
The next year, my sister and I co-wrote an intense VBS curriculum based on the days of Creation. I did all of the artwork including designing T-shirts. Again, it was a blast. A friend was (maybe still is) a science teacher at a junior high in town and has a ton of specimens in formaldehyde that he brought over and it seems like we got some taxidermy critters brought in as well. Not only was it a blast — I had even imported bugs. :)
Over the years, I was sometimes the director and sometimes just the art director. I had some great partners to work with and it was a wonderful time. It is still amazing to watch the faces of the children as a VBS week unfolds.
At our next church, I taught Sunday school for the 10ish years we were there (if my numbers don't add up, just take the "ish" into account) and did just one VBS. Our church was small and we only had little kids occasionally, but those Sunday school years were very sweet.
Did I mention I home schooled my kids?
At our current church, I teach preschool Sunday school and am an Awana leader for T&T girls. I am also helping with VBS these days, but not as involved as I used to be. I was art director two years ago and just helped out the art director and director this year. I am suspecting our director, who has the energy and imagination I used to have, is really going to try to get me to direct again, but we will see. I am going to be quite involved though.
For the past two years I have done face painting at church camp and this weekend and last weekend I actually did that for pay. Last week I painted 16 faces, which was every kid that wanted their faces painted save two. Just when I was going to take them, the dad decided he needed pizza, so they left. Today I painted about 53 faces in 5 hours. It was a blast. I am very tired.
|This photo was taken by my dear friend, Jenn Marshall.|
She does delightful work and she and her husband are for hire.
You can see their work at Marshall Photography.
P.S. They have two adorable boys.
Anyway. I was thinking about the fact that I have been involved so much with teaching and caring for children over the years and decided to write this post. I haven't included caring for my extended family kiddos or friend's kiddos, etc., but I think this is a pretty good rundown. You would think I would be tired of it, but I am not. I can't do as much as I used to; I definitely am not the babysitter I used to be, but having these things to do keeps me young. I think their youth makes a little transfer when I am around them because I can do so much more than I would ever expect myself capable of doing.
For today's marathon I must give the glory to God. He had to be giving me the strength to get through those hours. There was no time for anything but painting. The lines were long, but the people were so gracious, and the kids were very happy with the results.
I think besides keeping me young, this is also keeping me in practice for those grandchildren I hope to have one day.
Children truly are a blessing from the Lord (Psalm 137:3-5) and I thank Him, not only for my own, but for a world full of them.