We’ve started the new Sunday School year in our congregation. Even before Mama fell in May, I had planned to take the month of June off from teaching The Littles because of family vacation and a Yutzy reunion. With the passing of my Sweet Mama, it was easy to just let other people take care of things and to soak up time with my peers in an adult class of women. I needed them. I needed the time. And it was healing and good.
But I missed my littles.
We had many good times in the crowded room beside the kitchen at Grace Fellowship Church’s gathering place, where our church body has been meeting since the fire damaged out building on the corner of Carpenter Bridge and Canterbury Roads. This picture was take the night we got together to pack a goodie box for another child. It was only taken seven months ago (Actually seven months ago today!) but I cannot believe how much they have grown and matured in these short months. Katie is a self assured kindergartener, Judah is talking and paying much better attention and Charis is more aware of the needs of her classmates and is less jealous of her Grammy’s attention. All three are more participant.
The summer had passed so quickly, and I thought often and prayed that God would show me whether I should offer to teach the class for the year coming up. We have some talented young blood coming up in our church, and teaching is a blessing that is often overlooked in the maturation process. I know that not everyone is cut out to teach, but I also know that choosing to teach has been one of the ways that God has used in my life to encourage growth, personal study and reliance on HIM for wisdom and courage and strength and even results. The blessings that I have reaped have been beyond what I have deserved. And quite honestly, though I really wanted to teach this particular class again, I also didn’t want to step in and volunteer when God had laid it on someone else’s heart to teach the class. He may have had blessings abundant in store for someone else, I reasoned, and it would be wrong for me to grasp someone else’s opportunity. And so, even though I thought the end of summer was coming quickly, I decided to hold my peace and wait and see.
Then one of our superintendents, Davey Burkholder, approached me last Sunday and asked if I would be willing to teach that class of Littles. I was suddenly unsure of what I should do. I asked for some time to think about it. He said that was fine, and in the reorganization part of our Sunday Morning service, it was announced that they were looking for a teacher for the class and they asked for volunteers.
“Whew!” I thought. “That will be a defining event. If someone volunteers, I will know that it isn’t for me this year.”
But I kept mulling it over and over in my head. I asked Certain Man what he thought I should do. He didn’t know. And he didn’t feel strongly one way of the other from what he said. I asked Middle Daughter whether she had any advice for me.
“Well, Mom,” she said carefully, “I think that wanting to teach the class is a pretty good indicator of what you should do. It’s something you enjoy, and if you want to, then I think you should! I’m taking the year off from the young women’s class, and if you need me, I can help you out.” And that pretty much did it for me.
So I waited a few days, then called and got the curriculum and found myself back in one of my favorite spots yesterday morning. The lesson that we used on Sunday was one from the last quarter that hadn’t been used, and it was called “A song for walking outdoors.” One of the activities that I decided to do was to take the three on a walk outdoors looking for different things that they could pick up in nature to put in their ziploc plastic bags to take home with them. A flower, a leaf, a seed pod, bark from a peeling tree, a stone, berries. Grace Fellowship Church is located in an industrial park, and is surrounded mostly by concrete and asphalt, but there were stones, a few trees, lots of weeds, and a couple of patches of grass. Around a corner and past a chain link fence divider there were some landscaping bushes around another building that I hoped would provide some berries for variety.
I checked the time and then said, “Let’s go over there and see what we can find. There might be something different over there!” The three of them were delighted and we headed out across the asphalt patch that separated the us from the other building.
“We have rules,” said Katie confidentially. “We aren’t allowed to go anywhere on this pavement over here without a grown up.”
“That’s a good rule,” I told her. “You should never go anywhere without a grown up unless your Daddy and Mommy say it is okay. And this isn’t a good place for you to go unless there is a grown up with you.”
“Yup,” she said happily. “But you are a grown up!”
I laughed. “Yes,” I said, “I guess I am!”
“You are a very old grown up.” She said. (Emphasis Katie’s.)
And I laughed again.
Oh, my Katie-girl! If you only knew how it is. Just yesterday, my own girlies were five years old and learning family rules. The day before that, it was me. I only turned around twice before I got “very old.” But you and your brother and my granddaughter, all growing so fast, remind of once was and I feel the eternity of the spirit in these old bones. You cannot imagine how it is to feel five years old in your heart, but almost 62 in a body that will not run and jump and dance to the music of our incredible world. But I promise you this. There is coming a day when this body will dance to the music of Heaven. And my spirit, eternal and free, will be as young as yours.
And what is inconceivable to me now will be an actuality.
My heart sings grateful praise.