Sunday, February 27, 2011

God hears little voices

You know what? God likes kids. Maybe that's one of the reasons why I never want to grow up. That, and being able to lick ice cream out of the bottom of my bowl with my tongue. I was rostered on for Sunday School this morning and sadly my partner Z and I were just slightly lacking in preparation and practice. Kids pick up on that pretty quickly. I managed to blunder through the Welcome, the roll and the singing while Z hyped the kids up with some games. I also made it a priority to review the RULES with the kids about how to behave and not behave during their time with us. Actually, some of the kids have made up their own rules: No idioticity, No Retardedness (I find that one slightly non-PC), No Violence...they've come a long way from the "I answer hands not voices" rule.  Come to think of it, I'd much prefer to think of the rules as "Behaviour Guidelines". It sounds so much more child-friendly, don't you think?

One of the most terrifying "guidelines" is that after one official WARNING, if a child continues to misbehave, he or she "might be" unceremoniously marched up to the church and sat with their parents in front of the entire congregation so that the rest of the kids can enjoy the morning. Oh the embarrassment! If this were to happen twice in a term (and thankfully it never has) then the child might find that they need to bring a parent or caregiver with them to the lesson. This could get awkward for one or two of the kids, since their dad is the Pastor. That could be interesting. If the Pastor had to escort his child to Sunday School, then the entire congregation would need to escort the Pastor so that they can listen to the sermon. I'm not sure how we'd go with finding enough room on the mat for them all and I doubt very much that my 84 year old Mum would be able to get back up off the mat. Come to think of it, we DO need a few more adults in our Sunday School programme...

Today wasn't going too badly considering Z and I were just stumbling our way through the lesson. We had one little terror in there this morning and I'm afraid I was pushed to the point of issuing an actual WARNING. It didn't seem to me that today's lesson was having much of an impact on our kids and in the back of my mind I was blaming the lack of preparation. The irony is that the lesson was about being prepared to do God's work. But wait...all was not lost. I HAD prepared! Before the lesson I'd asked Z to pray with me and we gave the morning over to our Majestical Bestie. When the kids arrived and started bouncing on the mat, I got them to fold their arms and close their eyes, and ask Jesus to come and visit with us. So maybe something special was about to happen after all.

It did.

We wrapped the lesson up far too early and, trying to fill in the gap, I decided to sit the kids down in a circle and talk with them about the devastating earthquake in Christchurch. Suddenly it seemed that gates were opening as kids talked about their family and friends and how thankful they were that they weren't hurt, how scared they were for them, how sad they were for the people who have died. They wanted...needed to talk. I suggested we talk to God about it, which we did. Then of all people, my little friend who had given me so much trouble earlier in the morning, asked if we could please have a two-minute silence for the people who had been affected by this major tragedy. I was gob-smacked. Our entire country is doing just this on Tuesday - one week after the event - but he was adamant that he wanted to do it there and then. All the kids agreed. Part of me was skeptical about expecting 7 - 11 year olds to sit in complete silence for so long but we did it. They did it. During that time they prayed quietly. They thought about their families. They thought about people who had lost homes, jobs and even their lives. They did it, not because their Sunday School teacher asked them to, but because they wanted to quietly tell God what they were feeling.

It was a special moment and a privilege to be part of it. God can teach us a lot through his little ones - even the slightly naughty ones :-)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Warning: This is a slightly soppy post

I've been thinking a bit about God and stuff lately. Maybe even more so than usual - which probably isn't a bad thing. Without sounding too cryptic as I talk about this (I know I'm an open book much of the time but some things are still a little private) I prayed earnestly for "something" to happen quite a few years ago. "Something special" that I wanted...needed.  But over the years, that "special thing" eluded me and I began to think that God might have forgotten. During those years life's ups and downs took hold and I just plodded along.  Then, more recently some stuff got in the way of my living. There was a bit of heartbreak and quite honestly I came extremely close to giving up.
 But God stepped in...and something else was happening. That "special thing" that I was right there. That "special thing" had arrived. God hadn't forgotten about me.  And someone else had been praying for that "special thing" for a long time too. And I think when the time was just right, God just might have said, "Yes! NOW is the time to put all this together. I'm sorry you had to wait so long my Darling Child, but THIS is the time for it to happen."

So, a very personal and heart-felt prayer has been answered. The funny thing is, that I'm surprised and amazed. In fact I was so surprised that I even began to doubt this wonderful "something". I couldn't define it, I couldn't put it in a box, I couldn't even believe that it was right for me to have it. Yes, God is amazing, but why should that surprise me? What gets the lump in my throat (in a nice way) is that I'm special enough for Him to remember me. I'm so precious to Him that He's given me something that I desperately craved for so long.  And quite honestly, what He's given me is something unusual - a very rare gift. Why IS it so hard to accept that I really am this special to Him? The fact is: God treasures me! I'm only just beginning to experience this first hand. Guess what! God treasures YOU too. Even if, like me, you never really thought you were quite good enough for Him, God treasures you!
Someone recently compared me to a diamond. Is this really what God thinks of me? Mind-blowing stuff, eh?
I think the point of this post is that for the first time in my life, I'm actually experiencing in a very real, tangible way that I am precious to my Heavenly Father. Me!  Out of the billions of people on this planet He's taken the time to remember how I tearfully implored Him to hear me all those years ago. With this wonderful answer to prayer, He's becoming more "real" to me. He's teaching me a whole new way of expressing my love for Him.

And I think He's just a little bit excited for me.