I’ve wanted to teach Sunday School ever since I was a little girl. When I was still young enough to play with dolls, I would line them up on the floor in my bedroom and teach them whatever Bible lesson I had just learned the previous Sunday. The dolls behaved well in class, but they sure didn’t say much! Fast forward a few years to high school. That’s when, in the “dreams and goals” section of my senior memories book, I predicted that in 10 years I’d drive a green Ford Explorer, own a gift shop, be a published writer, and teach Sunday School.
Of course life doesn’t usually go as we predict. I never got the Explorer and I haven’t opened the gift shop. But nearly 15 years later, I am a wife, a mother and a published writer who is finally teaching a Sunday School class of real live 5th and 6th graders!
Well, co-teaching is more accurate. My friend Darla and I alternate teaching the lessons every other month. Darla is my hero, and we have a great class – seven boys and seven girls all together.
Sometimes the girls remind me of those dolls in my original class; they quietly stare back at me with a frozen smile when I ask them a hard question. As we teach them about the more than 700 names for God, I am certain we are learning more than they are.
But when these kids come to life, they are fascinating people! Some of them look up Bible verses with lightning speed. Others impress me with their diligence to keep searching until they find that elusive verse. Some of them brought us presents at Christmas, and one of them bubbled over with joy when I showed up at her piano recital. Each student is truly a blessing to get to know, and you quickly grow to love them.
Teaching this 5th and 6th grade class isn’t easy, but few things worth doing are easy. I spent hours and hours preparing the first time it was my turn to teach, and then my two-year-old got so upset about being left in the nursery she got sick! I was so disappointed when I had to ask Darla to cover for me. Looking back, I think that was a test to see how dedicated I was to the role.
It’s a joy and a blessing to volunteer in “The Oaks,” our nickname for the children’s ministry at church. It’s also a regular reminder to align my desires with God’s desires. I want Jeremiah 17:7-8 for these kids, and my own daughters, and my friends’ children. I want The Oaks to become hardy trees, rooted and established in the love of Christ so they don’t get blown over by a storm or wither in a drought. I want these kids to bear acorns of spiritual fruit for the glory of God. And when they reach the autumn of life, I want their branches to be ablaze with vibrantly colorful hues for the display of God’s splendor.
By the way, the curriculum we are using is from Children Desiring God (www.childrendesiringGod.org), and I think it’s excellent! We study God’s character, and there’s no sugar-coating it or watering it down. Over and over we’ve seen that God loves His name and will not allow it or His reputation to be dishonored. As my friend Carla says, “God is not a big fuzzy teddy bear; the last thing our kids need is another teddy bear!” Indeed! God is so much more: Strong Creator, Unchanging One, Almighty, Master, Provider, Healer, the God Who Sees, the Lord of Hosts, the Lord My Banner, the Lord Our Peace, the Lord My Shepherd, the Lord is There, the Lord God of Truth, the Lord My Defense, the Light, the Most High, Abba Father, the Word, Lamb of God, Savior, Messiah, High Priest, Cornerstone, Overcomer, Coming King, Judge, Counselor, and Alpha and Omega, Beginning and End.