Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Saying YES to Kids

Tomorrow will be a return to my first love...children. Everyday as pastor of children and family ministry at my church I work for children. But it isn't every day that I actually get to work with children. Before I entered into pastoral ministry about three years ago my home was abuzz with anywhere from 2-8 kids on a daily basis. As a stay-at-home mom, our house was the place where friends could call up at a moments notice and drop off their tots while they had anything from a haircut to a marriage counseling appointment. I was also the primary child care provider for two families on a regular basis for over 7 years.  I loved this life. At times it was overwhelming and exhausting. Other times I felt a bit trapped in my own home...but the truth is I did have a lot of freedom. Freedom to wear my jammy pants all day long (showers optional). More importantly I had the freedom to say "yes" to children. "Yes, I like the picture you drew." "Yes, I'll change your diaper...again" "Yes, we can snuggle and read this story before nap time." "Yes, I'll feed you, wash your clothes, dry your tears, wipe your mouth, brush your hair, and help you with your homework." Y E S.

My role as an advocate for children has taken many forms. As a mom who cared for my own young children and those of my friends, I know that my advocacy wasn't far reaching, but it ran deep. I was able to be a consistent and loving presence to the children entrusted to me. Now as a children's pastor, my advocacy looks different. It's more administrative than demonstrative. My voice might carry a little farther, but it rarely has the chance to sink in. Blink and I'm off on the next task, program, event, service, class, camp, etc. As a child advocate and sponsor for Compassion International I have the opportunity to build relationships, speak out for truth, help eliminate poverty, and share hope. This is work that I feel called to do by God, but it doesn't give me a lot of "face time" with kids.

But tomorrow will be different. It's retro Michelle day. It will be a day where the house will be filled with kids. I'll make time to snuggle, play with Legos, cut an apple, open the yogurt, read a book, change a diaper (or 4), laugh at non-sensical phrases and questions, act silly just to get a laugh, and say "yes" to kids as much as possible.

Brynn, Jolee, Abby, Finley, Hudson, Grace, and Jilian - Thank you!

Jolee, Brynn, and Tyler on a good day back in 2005. Feeling Crafty!

Tyler, Austin, and Brynn...Yeah, my childcare skills are amazing. The truth is they put themselves in the dog crate and I had to get a picture. This one is way back in 1999.

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