The Great Adventure
For the past 17 years every summer, always in June, I go on an adventure that starts in January. It involves a good friend, my kids and a substantial number of other people’s kids. My dear, dear friend The Teacher asked me to join her on this adventure when I was six months pregnant with The Organized Child. It started in a small classroom filled with very active and energetic three year olds. And, while I was absolutely exhausted at the end of the day, each year I come back again and again. This adventure is one of great stress, but HUGE rewards! It is one of my greatest passions, despite swearing year after year, that this is the end, no more! Each year somehow, no matter how stressed and completely spent I am, I am filled up with enough energy to take on this adventure. I can’t claim that it is grace, because I must admit there are many times I don’t handle what is thrown my way with any grace at all. Never the less I embark on this adventure and pray that God will take my meager efforts and work His grace like only He can.
What is this adventure? It changes every year and yet stays the same. It is transformative and exciting and definitely full of adventure. It is a quest to sow seeds, seeds that with hope and prayer and love will emerge and transform the world. Seeds that are sown all for the Glory of God. Seeds that will hopefully blossom and bear great fruit, fruit that will be taken forth and shared with all. This adventure is one like no other and today I started it again, in a capacity like no other before.
This morning I arose earlier than normal even though I had very little sleep. I showered and dressed and headed out the door with all five kids in tow. We loaded up and headed to church where we prepared with lots of other adults and teens to greet and share the word of God with 95 (you read correctly, 95) little people, ages 3 – 10. We entered our parish center temporarily transformed for one week. No longer a place to have donuts or omelet breakfasts on Sunday morning after mass, but a medieval castle! Kingdom Rock Vacation Bible School where kids “Stand Strong for God”!
In 17 years I have done every job there is to do when it comes to VBS. For the last 10 years or so I have been a co-director, making sure all the pieces of this massive puzzle fit together. I have a tremendous friend and partner that I take this on with each year. She is amazing when it comes to all of the administrative stuff and her people/children skills are amazing. She handles things much more diplomatically than I do, that’s for sure. I tend to tackle things like the daily materials, decorations, and discipline. Together we make a great team along with one other mom who anchors us and helps us manage it all, in any capacity we need her (even though her kiddos are in high school and college).
This year I feel we are in over our heads! 95 LITTLE PEOPLE! I should have tackled 95 little people in my 20’s when I had a lot more energy and a lot less anxiety! So many times I looked around our parish center today and panicked! What in the heck were we thinking taking all these kids?! We are responsible for their safety, their fun and hopefully their learning about God’s word and His infinite love! When it comes to their safety I’m a nervous wreck! We have two children with diabetes, numerous kiddos with food allergies from gluten, to red dye, to eggs and milk and two children with Down syndrome. We have children who like to wander, kiddos that miss their parents and want to go home and those older kids who think they are just too old and cool for VBS. We have to make sure each one is safe from wandering, food stuff and normal every day boo boos. We have to reassure little ones missing mom and dad, help redirect and keep on track others that are distracted and try and break through the tough exterior of older ones who feel they have outgrown this. In addition we have to make sure all the helpers have what they need and are on top of what needs to be done. All while making sure everyone is having fun! It’s a tall order and one that has filled me with extreme panic over the course of the day!
When I got home late this afternoon, I began to tackle VBS things that needed to be done for tomorrow, most of them e-mail related. As I deleted, answered and quickly read through the dozens upon dozens of e-mails I came across one that comes into my inbox every day. It comes from a blog that I love but don’t always have the time to read A Holy Experience . Today in my scatteredness I felt the need to read Ann’s words. She writes in a very different manner, one that always speaks to my soul and fills me with peace. In today’s post I found the following words:
“Worry is belief gone wrong.
Because you don’t believe that God will get it right.
But peace –
Peace is belief that exhales.
Because you believe that God’s provision is everywhere—like air.
Exhale. Let go. Peace is the belief that God’s provision is everywhere.”
Words I so needed to read, to breathe in deeply to the depths of my soul, words to heal a momma’s worried mind and soul. Worried for 95 little people’s safety, their enjoyment, that they are being reached, that seeds are being planted. So much worry and anxiety, so heavy, so heavy that my shoulders ache, weighted down, more than I can almost bear. So much so that I began to dread thinking about tomorrow. Please God let us just make it through the end of the week safely, my constant exasperated prayer all day.
Then the words, Ann’s words, Holy Spirit inspired words? A still, small voice stirs in my soul, you have brought 95 little people together, 38 teens, numerous parents and adults, all to teach them about My word, My love, do you not trust that I will take your efforts and bless them? Do you not trust that I will protect all of these children, My children? Did I not command “Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”* “Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?” Then he got up, rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was great calm.*
I wish I could say I had a great calm right now. I still feel an immense responsibility and safety for the 95 little people, and helpers. However, I do have a calmness, some calmness that I didn’t have before. I’m working very hard on letting go and trusting! Trusting that God is in control and without a doubt He will get it right! That no matter what happens good or bad, He is always in control. I’m exhaling, breathing in and out, exhaling, with each exhale I’m working on letting go a little more. Praying that God will help me to open my fists, let go of all this anxiety, and teach me to breathe in and out, exhale completely and rest knowing the He will always get it right now matter what!
Matthew 19:14 and Matthew 8:26