This week our church is wrapping up our AWANA program for the year.
I have served as the Sparks Director (grades K-2) for about eight years.
I must admit, in the wintertime, when the sun goes down at 4:30pm I have to drag myself out of my snuggly warm house to get in my car, drive the thirty miles on icy roads, and duke it out with the bitter wind to walk from my car to the church building--can you hear me grousing?
As I step in the door and look about, everything changes as the dance of little feet and music of young voices begins.
I blink away the snowflakes, blow my runny nose, and see the children hopping, squealing, tagging, chatting, and giggling in the foyer. A few run up to me…."Miss Mary…" and the first story of many for the night is told.
The little ones flitter about as I hang up my coat and fish out my ID badge from the bucket. Once a boy or girl has shared their important news, they skip away, calling to a friend.
Because of the strength of the kangaroo energy in this group, the leaders and I keep a strict schedule, shifting the children from one activity to another. Story time is the last segment of the night.
Recently, I told the story of Moses and was so very amazed how God captured the attention of the thirty-five children. Only moments before starting the telling, it seemed a kaleidoscope of butterflies swarmed into the story room, unable to settle on the designated pieces of tape. Then--in an instant--little eyes focused on my illustrations of the little baby and his momma. Their voices hushed as the retelling continued.
When the story closed, and awards were given for the night, the still morphed into a din!
Like mosquitos, the little ones moved about their assigned areas chatting to their friends and dropping their belongings. Several broke away and flew to me, anxious to tell me how many sections they passed that night or some other pressing news.
Choosing when to tighten the reign for safety and when to let the little ones flitter, the leaders and I keep the children corralled until their parents pick them up.
Quite amazingly enough, the chatterboxes stop mid-sentence when they see their guardian, run to him or her, and start their story all over.
How can I help but laugh!
I am convinced, God gives us these opportunities to help us understand how He sees us.
A very fitting verse comes to mind that tells how God responds to us:
The Lord your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.
Your Turn: Tell of a time when someone's words made a smile burst on your face. It can be a spouse, a friend, a grandchild, a teacher…anyone.
This post has been brought to you by the one word: Listen.