“Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.'” Matthew 19:14
I was in tears. The morning had been awful. Just awful. It was the Lord’s Day, but it felt like it had been hijacked by satan. The frustration started before we even left the house. The attacks firing preemptively. I breathed a sigh of relief when we entered the worship center. My family went in ahead of me as I took a quick trip to the restroom. When I returned I realized that I would have to squeeze my way down the middle of a row of people. Not ideal for an introvert. Nothing like drawing attention and grimaces from people as you shimmy past them. But I trudged forward. Only to realize after arriving at the center of the row that I WAS IN THE WRONG ROW!!!
Ugh. Shimmy back out. Face turns bright red. Shimmy down correct row. Sit down. And thank the Lord we are praying so I can recover from that loveliness.
After service we went up to our second grade classroom. Where the all out assault began. We always have a big class, but this week it seemed much larger. We always have several loud and exuberant children, but this week they were all bouncing off the walls. This would be our last week with this class and I wanted to sit around and love on them, sing sweet worship songs, and pour godly wisdom into their bright shining faces. (I know…but a girl can dream right?)
Instead, I was met with chaos and unruly behavior. Kids who normally never act out were showing a different side. I was shaken. My dreams going up in smoke. None of them were the least bit interested in my “Kumbaya” kind of morning.
Enter the voice. You know that voice. The one that taunts and tears down. The one that whispers, “You are no good at this. What kind of teacher are you? You aren’t able to teach God’s Word to them; you can’t even control them for five minutes. You should quit.” The thoughts were taking over my mind. In hindsight it wasn’t that big of a deal, but satan sure made it feel like a big deal that day. The taunts were relentless.
We played a loud game and then went next door for music time. My husband sensing my imminent breakdown, played more songs than usual. I took the opportunity to head to the restroom and cry. I was composing my resignation letter. (do you even need one of those to quit Sunday School teaching???) I was broken. I felt like a failure. “You write all this curriculum, but you can’t put it into practice.”
From the depths of my soul I cried out, “God, these thoughts are NOT from You. I ask that You be my shield and stop them from continuing to penetrate my heart and mind.”
I left my safe-haven and went back into the room with the
hooligans children and prepared to teach the lesson, convinced it would fall on deaf ears. I glanced at the clock and realized we only had 10 minutes left. “Well, so much for teaching!”
Testimony. “Where did that word come from?” I heard the word in my heart. I glanced at the story I was supposed to give and noticed it was basically Paul giving his testimony. I felt a different kind of whisper this time. Not taunting. It was breathing life.
I shared my testimony with the kids. I invited others to as well. Four of them did! I said that if anyone was there today and did not have a testimony, a story of when Jesus freed them from sin and became their King, that I would love to help them have a story before they leave.
That’s when I noticed her. A little wisp of a girl on the front row. Her body leaning forward, her eyes fixed on mine, her head shaking yes. She seemed ready to run into my arms. “Lord, are You calling her to You right now?”
We prayed, I dismissed the class, I gave hugs, but the entire time I watched her. She stood in front of me – silent, but pleading with her eyes. “Sweetie, do you have a testimony?” A shake of her head and a tear was all I could see as my own eyes filled with tears. “Mrs. Jen, I want to have a story. I want Jesus.”
I could write thousands of blog posts and never fully capture what my heart felt at that moment. This little girl wanted Jesus!
I had the honor of leading her into the family of God that day, and it was all because of my failure. Had the morning gone the way I had planned, we would not have talked about testimonies. Had I not been broken by the evil attacks on my thoughts, I would not have been sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s call to talk about testimonies that day.
Are failures fun? Not at all! But can God use your failures for His glory? Absolutely!
I was blown away this past Sunday by the grace of our Lord. He had called that precious girl’s name and nothing was going to stop Him from receiving her into His Kingdom….not even an awesome “Kumbaya” last Sunday school class! 😉