Monday, February 23, 2009

Power of a Pledge

This is a copy of an email that I sent to the AWANA leader and I wanted to post it because it's an amazing story that gives glory to God! :)

Subject: The power of the a pledge

Hi [Awana Leader] ! I had to tell you this story because it's amazing! Usually I don't think too much about the two pledges we say during flag time. However, last night, I realized that children really do learn the words, and I believe God can teach them even through this little ceremony. After flag time, we always have someone pray. Sometimes it's a teacher, sometimes it's one of the Cubbies. Yesterday, one of our little guys prayed and he kind of paused after 'Thank You for tonight and my mommy and my teachers...' he looked up and then said, "...teach boys and girls the Gospel of Christ and train them to serve Him. Amen."

I knew he got that directly from the AWANA pledge. My graduate student side of my brain knew he was echoing something he had inadvertently memorized. Yet, I know that the Holy Spirit helps us pray (Romans 8). And I truly believe that God led
this little boy to pray for all the children, including himself to learn the Gospel more and learn the Lord's way more. It was so amazing! I could've cried in happiness! They hear us pledge and they themselves obedience to God's Word each week, and I see that it truly grows a seed of faith that they know His ways are important and His Gospel is important.

Praise God for the foundation He is laying in their lives, even at
such a young age!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Tears cry out from the paper

Yup. I am nearly done with the lit review. Meaning I'm in the last editing stages before I turn it in to my advisor for her final editings.

I haven't touched that thing since last month, so I keep forgetting how much research on divorce's effects on parents and children I have found. I remember doing a lot of this research over the summer and piecing this together. Sometimes when I was alone, I would cry. I thought of all the families I had seen and some of the families the researchers described. there was a lot of pain there. Of course, I know a lot of friends that adjusted well from divorce, but I know there are a lot of people that have not adjusted well.

So when I read the lit review, I am reminded of the pain many families are in. When I cry I remember pain from dealing with some children throughout the years that have issues from their parents' divorce. And I cry because we as researchers know divorce is generally not a good thing, yet a lot of researchers really are critical of the traditional family.

Yet I have a lot of hope. Every time I read this, I think about the single parent ministry at our church and know that Christ has not forgotten about these parents and children. He is there pulling them to Him to give them life and hope.

This is what I must always remember. My thesis should not just be merely a research project on my way to getting my master's. It should help me be compassionate, help, and pray for real families, real children crying tears - for them to come to know a real Father who will give them salvation through His Son.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Childhood Obesssion

So, of course I had to post a blog about the Octuplets. There is more of an analysis of her story here. Something that struck me was that she wanted to have a large family to show these children love and support that she never had. Her mother had said that she had an obsession with children and wanting to care for many children.

That struck me, because, in a way, I am the same. Instead of taking in 14 children as my own, I have cared for many in the nursery, Sunday school, and various other church programs. I also really enjoyed my time at the Early Childhood Center at CSU. Part of the reason I am involved in working with children is to give them the love and care that I didn't have for the 1st two years of my life in an orphanage. For example, when I feed a baby (even when he spits up all over me!) I am grateful he gets this attention, because I know myself, and many other children from institutions were fed from bottles propped up on blankets, instead of being held.

Yet, this mother and I differ on one very important way. I ran to God and washed myself in His Word for healing. I turned to Him as my Husband. And I know that the children in my care are truly His. It is for His kingdom that I work and tell these children about Him. I am not firstly there for my needs, though my background influenced me to work with children. I am there because all children - all people need God as a Savior. I come to these children "in my brokenness complete" (Starfield - Unashamed). These children do not complete my brokenness. This is our difference, and I pray that God can do the same for this woman and her children what He did for me.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Little Feet Dancing on The Rock

I think I've brought this up in my blog before, but if not here goes: on Thursday nights, I leave the ivery tower of masters / PhD level HDFS musings and go into the trenches where I deal with 10-12 three and four year old children for two hours in a church program called AWANA. AWANA stands for Approved Workman Not Ashamed. It's a Bible memory program for children 2-18. Our church has the program for 3-12 year old children. My room is called the Cubbie room. These kids memorize 1 verse a week, and the verse is simplified to 4-10 words.

Last Thursday during story / teaching time, the lesson was on prayer. Two Thursdays before this, one of our Cubbies wasn't there due to several broken vertebre (his spinal cord remained intact). We had prayed for this little guy while he was away. Last Thursday, he was still absent, but his mother told me he was doing better. I asked my kids if they prayed. Most did. I asked them, "How many of you think prayer works." Some did, some didn't. I explained that God does answer prayer because their classmate was improving. They really liked that. I went over the Lord's prayer and explained line by line what it all meant.

Later, we were doing crafts and one girl drew a cross with Jesus on it. I asked her, "Why is Jesus on the cross?" She said, "Because He takes away our sins." I had to try really hard not to cry tears of happiness. Several other children imitated her and also drew a cross. Their answers were similar when I asked them what they were drawing.

As I go through my Thursday nights with these precious little children whether I am playing with them, correcting them (firmly but gently), teaching them, helping them with snack, bandaging or examining any 'boo-boos', wiping teary faces or runny noses, or singing with them I realize this: God is building a foundation for their lives which is Himself. He is putting their little feet on the Rock of His Son so that they can stand firm through whatever happens in their life if they choose to accept Him as Savior. When they are happy or sad, they can run to Him. Many of them are also in families that want to serve and grow in God, and that is such an amazing protective factor because God is the source of Truth and Love and will guide these little children and their parents.

The years before 1st grade are so crucial to development that I am always humbled that God is using me to affect these children for His kingdom at this critical stage in their lives. God and I were talking about this, and He has truly put me in an early interventionist role. Teaching them the Gospel through my words and how I treat them is the most benificial thing for the rest of their development.

God, I pray You be with these little children for the rest of their lives and grow them into strong adults who live to follow You every day! Amen :)