Monday, January 7, 2013

Starting #KidsMin Calling

It feels like I've been working with kids all of my life.  I remember when my sweet Nathan (who is no longer a baby but a Pre-Teen. Gasp!)  was born when I was 12.  I loved holding him, even though I was convinced that as a newborn he didn't like me because he cried... A Lot.  I spent my teenage years serving with my mom in the nursery and I looked forward to my turn to make the toddler's laugh and soothe the crying infants.  

I graduated from high school and it was off to college I went.  I still loved kids but spent my ministry time in college working with teenagers.  I served in a youth ministry in a nearby church helping to lead worship and small groups.  It was such a good experience.  As a singer and aspiring musician it was amazing and I loved the opportunity to help lead others to Jesus every week.  

It was my final semester of college and I was off on the adventure of a lifetime.  I spent the three final months of my senior year traveling the continents of Africa and Asia on an internship where I studied global missions.  What a life changing experience.  Those three months (without a doubt) shaped me into the person that I am today.  It also gave me my calling to #KidsMin (Children's Ministry).  People have always told me that I have a natural knack for connecting with children.  That was never more apparent to me than while on this trip.  I distinctly remember attending services and other members of our team would reach out to the adults who were in attendance while I could always be found off to the side somewhere down on one knee trying to get a smile out of a little one who couldn't even understand English but who knew a friendly face when they saw one.  

I was drawn to them.  My arms were never empty for long.  I spent services holding babies, fellowship times bouncing toddlers on my knees, and always had my arms out open for hugs.  Those little one's touched my heart in a way that it had never been touched before.  I knew after those three months exactly what I was called to do.  

I was called to reach out to those who are so often over-looked.  I was called to have a fun costumes for every special occasion.  I was called to be the one to look down when a little one tugs on my shirt.  I was called to pass out goldfish.  I was called to have a lap that was perfect for preschoolers to sit in.  I was called to run through sprinklers with a little hand in my own.  I was called to plan summer outreaches, Christmas parties and create fun themed nights.  I was called to wipe running noses, to clean up messes, and to soothe hurt feelings.  I was called to pick up the ones who fall down and get back up with scraped knees.  I was called to be able to create a fun game on a moment's notice and to always have a lesson in my back pocket.  

I was called to have arms of safety that were just perfect for picking up a little one.  

I was called to get down on their level. 
In the dirt, if necessary, to reach them.  

I was called to hold those who had no one else to hold them. 
At an orphanage in Africa. 
(It ripped my heart out to leave this day.) 

I was called to dye my hair green (temporarily) for Crazy Hair night.  

I was called to focus on the little one's.  

"Jesus said, 'Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."  -Matthew 19:14

#KidsMin Calling