Bigger Picture Moment Feature: Finding the Bigger Picture in Vacation Bible School

As a way of strengthing community and promoting buidling relationships, we’re highlighting one Bigger Picture Moment from every weekly link up. Each post is randomly chosen by random.org. Enjoy this week’s feature if you haven’t already read it.

From Four Now

It is the busiest week of our summer. We have something from nine in the morning until 8:30 at night. I have already stopped for gas twice due to all the driving I am doing from one end of town to the other and back again. There is soccer apparel to wash, lacrosse gear to gather, work to accomplish, Vacation Bible School lessons to study. All these happenings are good, but one stacked on top of the other is almost too much. And the one I end up resenting is VBS. It is so much work, almost like doing daycare, because our church attracts a lot of children from the neighborhood and the elementary school that is across the street. These children come from difficult family situations, and the contrast between their lives and the lives of the children who are growing up in our church is sad and startling. The parents (or grandparents or guardian or older stepbrother’s girlfriend) drop these children off for almost two and a half hours of freedom for themselves, two and a half hours for us to plant some seeds of faith in these spiritually-starved children. It is a challenging task, especially when you consider that our children have grown up with Bible stories, prayer, church every Sunday. They know that Nehemiah is a book of the Bible, they know who Joseph, Moses, and Abraham were, they know what it means to have Jesus in your heart. 
And yet, on the first night of VBS, I gathered up my group of seven children to lead through the evening’s activities, determined to get through the night and go home and relax. One of my children spoke English with such a thick hispanic accent, plus a lisp, that I could barely understand him. I simply smiled at him and patted his thick curly dark hair. Another one could not identify where Michigan was on the map I held up to show where we live and where we are visiting during VBS week (Egypt), but she smiled at me so sweetly and listened so well, she instantly became one of my favorites. Another child, a chubby-cheeked, blond-haired girl, was a tough little thing, thanks in part to some older brothers, and she looked up at me with big blue eyes and asked me if I liked her flip-flops. I told her yes, how pretty and colorful they were, determined to encourage her. My brother stole them for me, she responded matter of factly. The oldest child in our group, an engaging 11 year old boy, was talkative, bright, and capable. Yet when we discussed our Bible point for the day, that God gives us hope, he hung his head and said there was no hope at his house.

I wondered what we could possibly accomplish with these children in five evenings of VBS, when they need so much more than learning some Bible verses and wrapping each other up in toilet paper to be mummies and stamping their name in Egyptian symbols on a paper necklace. They need love and stability, parents who are there for them, food, clothing and shelter every day, safety and proper role models. How can they understand the Father’s love for them when dad is in jail and they live with grandma because mom is gone with her boyfriend?

As I picked up after these children when we finished playing games, feeling overwhelmed by the hopelessness in their young lives, I heard that oldest child in the group ask my son about his mom. “That’s my mom”, my son said, pointing to me. I kept picking up shredded toilet paper, cast off from our mummy game, pretending not to hear them talk about me. “That’s your mom?” the boy asked incredulously. He stood still and looked at me. “Wow. You have a nice mom.”

Okay, God. I know I can’t fix these children’s lives in one week. But I will do my part to show them Your love. And even if all they get out of it is that moms can be fun and nice and love the children in their “family”, I will keep working for these little children that You said to let come to You.

Written in participation of Bigger Picture Moments, “A moment where you recognized the role your faith plays in your every day life. A moment where you take note of motherhood and the importance of what you are doing. A moment that made you stop and breathe in the bigness of it all. The hugeness that is life and the small moments adding up to one Bigger Picture.” Play along if you like.

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3 responses to “Bigger Picture Moment Feature: Finding the Bigger Picture in Vacation Bible School

  1. I just blogged about this.
    Being faithful in the small things. telling little girls you like her flipflops because you might be the only person all week to encourage this little creation. and trusting that God is going to take your (my) stinky fish + measley loaves of bread and turn it into something… eternal. something so much bigger than our small selves. faithful in the small things is what I’m struggling with thisweek + this post is a blessing + a reminder that I’m not alone! Thanks for this.

  2. What an inspiring story! I am a clinical therapist and the majority of my clients are children who are in foster care, some of them for the second or third time. I often feel rather hopeless that I can make a difference. I only have these kids for one hour a week, and wonder what I can possibly do in one hour to help rectify what’s going on all the other hours of the week. I try to remind myself that all the kids who see me at least have one hour a week that they are the center of attention. They don’t have to be scared, they don’t have to be lonely, they don’t have to be worried, and they have my 100% attention for one full hour. They’re not ridiculed, or demeaned, or ignored, or abused for a full hour, every week. They have an hour of being built up instead of torn down. While that one hour is not anywhere even close to being enough, at least they do get that hour, and if it makes a difference in the life of one child, it’s worth it.
    Thank you for your wonderful story!!

  3. Thank you for this! And, thank you for being there for those kids.

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