I would like to take a moment to share my heart and part of my story with you.
Imagine that we are sitting down over a cup of coffee and chatting like old friends do.
I absolutely love children’s ministry, but it really wasn’t part of my plan.
It all began for me when a pastor made an announcement one Sunday that the children’s ministry needed volunteers. It just so happened that early that same morning in my time with God I had asked for Him to lead me to where I could serve Him and our church best. I have to admit that children’s ministry hadn’t occured to me. In our previous church I had served in the bookstore. I am an avid reader so that made sense. Our new church didn’t have a bookstore, so I needed some direction on where I should be. Hence the prayer that morning. God was leading me into a new adventure that I couldn’t have imagined at the time for myself.
I jumped right in volunteering starting out as a small group leader, then moved on to teaching, then became the director of the elementary age group. More importantly than all those positions was that during this time I fell in love with ministering to children and their parents. This is when God revealed to me what I was meant to do. He called me. In doing that, God completely broke my heart for children. In the brokenness a passion was ignited in me. I became completely on fire for serving these families.
From those teaching times when even just one of the kids had an “aha moment” to those intimate moments in small group when a child shared a prayer that would bring tears to my eyes. From the moment a child entered our room for his first ever time at church to those children who asked Jesus to be their forever friend. I loved everything about what God was doing in our children’s ministry and was so thankful he allowed me to be apart of His plan.
Then the unexpected happened. Due to circumstances, we made the decision to leave this church. To say this was one of the hardest times for me is an understatement. We returned to our previous church and made the decision that I would take a break from serving in children’s ministry. My heart was breaking. For several months I would drop off our boys and would feel this indescribible pull towards the children’s ministry, but I knew that I needed some time to heal.
What made this time even harder was that I began to doubt my calling to children’s ministry. Was all of this a sign that it was time to step out of ministry? Was that time in our last church all that there would be for me? This kind of thinking just increased my heartache. I really couldn’t imagine not being a part of what God was doing in the lives of children. Just couldn’t.
Through this time I began to really deepen my relationship with God. I didn’t just hit my knees…I hit my face before Him. My prayers became actual conversations at times and at other times I would be completely silent ready to hear all He had to say. I must confess that I was bold and asked for a sign. I asked that if I was meant to be in children’s ministry, that someone in our church would approach me about it. My thinking was that I had made sure not to mention my previous experience serving in children’s ministry, so if someone actually approached me it would totally be a “God thing.” I know it sounds a little crazy, but through everything that had been happening I never doubted His power or His plan, just my part in the plan. So I prayed and waited.
Well I really didn’t just wait. I still read everything I could get my hands on about children’s ministry. I was still having incredible conversations with my children’s ministry friends. I was still looking at curriculum and even attended a conference. All of this not knowing that God was using this time of waiting to prepare me, but feeling like I wanted to learn more just in case.
Along with seeking God and learning as much as I could, I also had a children’s ministry friend walking through this with me. She listened to me, challenged me with the tough questions, and prayed for me. She spoke into my life during one of the darkest times in my ministry life and I will forever be grateful for her wisdom, understanding, and friendship.
After a few months the elementary director at our church approached me after service one Sunday. She wondered if I might be interested in serving in children’s ministry. I fought the urge to burst into tears and hug her tightly so not to make her regret asking that question. (ha!) We made plans to get together and chat more about it. Donnie and I talked about it the whole way home from church and we even had a family meeting to discuss the possibilites. We began to pray as a family. I called my children’s ministry friend and asked for her opinion as well as her prayers. I had a conversation with the elementary director about serving as a small group leader and we agreed to pray about it as well.
One by one the people in my life started saying that it was time. Time for me to be doing what God called me to do. It wasn’t just the sign I had asked for that made me realize that my calling hadn’t changed. It was the whole journey. God was using all of it to prepare me for the next part of this wonderful adventure in children’s ministry.
So I am now serving again in children’s ministry. I am a small group leader for the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade girls. I am seeing God do incredible things in the lives of children again and I get to be a part of it.
I absolutely love children’s ministry, but it wasn’t part of my plan.
But it was part of His plan.