“I can hear it! Do it again, Ms. Brooke!”
And that’s exactly what I did. I did it again.
It was the 4-5 year old room at the back of a Children’s hall. That’s where I discovered how much I loved kids. It was a chaotic Sunday and I- the interim children’s pastor- was filling in for my missing teacher. We were making “telephones” out of styrofoam cups and yarn. I bent over to teach a little girl how to use them. Simply said her name in one cup and her eyes lit up as she heard it on the other side. That’s all I needed. Those big eyes filling with wonder. Her smile that filled the space underneath her nose.
It was like someone had thrown the rubber mallet at my High Striker heart and that puck didn’t stop until it slammed into the bell at the top. We had a winner.
I decided then and there that children were going to be my world. I was going to be a teacher. I quickly changed my major and slide right back into classes in the fall in my new life path. I left my interim children’s pastor days behind me.
But I didn’t find more “bell-ringing” experiences. I found state standards and models and lesson plans. This was not what I had expected it to be.
Then death came knocking at my door and I turned my attention to my bruised High Striker heart. Teaching wasn’t what I wanted. So I assumed that I was done with loving kids.
I moved on and entered a summer working with people my age. I connected with them and I decided that this is where I clearly fit. There were no bell-ringing moments but it felt like a good sense of accomplishment so I thought that’s where I needed to be. Higher Education. It was slowly becoming my new world that I focused on. Loving college students. Helping them find their way. It was good. I was happy.
Then Easter Sunday happened. I was home visiting my mom and dad’s church. The same church as the start of this story. Another absentee teacher. I was pulled. And placed in the 5-6 year old room. Now that first incident was 2 years ago. Yep. That’s right. The very same group of kids.
A little boy was coloring and told me he couldn’t do it. He was stupid. He colored badly. I used some high fives as motivation and before he left he was saying positive things. I’m awesome. I am a good colorer. He could do it.
DING. The puck struck the bell again. My heart was full.
I went back to school that night and I told my friend about it. She mentioned to me that this was the first time she had seen me light up about something. This was a big deal because we’d spent hours talking about my career plans with Higher Education.
I wanted to work with kids. I’d forgotten.
A few weeks prior I had been sitting in my Sunday worship service. And I suddenly started remembering those kids and what I had done when I served in ministry. I felt the Lord calling me back to that. It was time.
With the Easter experience and the calling back to ministry I decided I’d apply for an internship at a Mega church. I was devastated when I didn’t get it, but I decided that meant I was needed in my own church. The church that just so happened to have an interim children’s pastor. The church that I had been hiding in for the last school year. It was time I got involved.
And all summer long I’ve heard the bell ring as the puck repeatedly flew up and down with every Sunday and Wednesday night.
I’ve been working with kids at a day camp as well, and I can clearly see that when it comes to giftings and the ministries we are good in- ministering to children is mine.
I don’t know exactly where the Lord is going to continue to lead me for a full-time career. That’s for the future to know and me to find out.
For now, my calling is placed in children’s ministry. As of August 2nd, I am a part-time Children’s Director for my church.
“The man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence indeed is the Lord, is blessed.” Where I lack the ability or the confidence then I know he will provide.
“He will be like a tree planted by water: it sends its roots out toward a stream, it doesn’t fear when heat comes, and its foliage remains green. It will not worry in a year of drought or cease producing fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:7-8)
I have little limbs to be planted. 30ish souls to provide water for as they dig a little deeper each week. And along the way we will not live in fear or worry over the seasons we walk through together.
I found myself responding to the Lord striking the bell of my heart each week. And I respond. “I can hear it! Do it again, Lord.”
And that’s exactly what He does. He hits it again.