pure joy.

The other night in 125, kids started coming in about 10 minutes early…not uncommon.  Upon entering, the first girl started yelling, “I love chapel! Chapel is my favorite thing here! It’s the only thing I love!”  This was followed by a long pause, and then, quieter: “Oh, I also love my mom.”

Good thing she has her priorities straight…

We gave the kids goldfish (the crackers. we’re crazy, but not that crazy) and they proceeded to put them in little piles on their carpet squares. Probably not the most sanitary place to put them, but who am I to judge, right…?  We currently have a 2-year-old staying with us, and he was not a fan of his own goldfish.  He looked disdainfully at his pile, and then walked around to everyone else and took a fish from all of them.  When any of them tried to stop him, he gave them this sideways glance, like “who are you to tell me that I can’t have this?”  That shut them down pretty quick.

These kids are hilarious. Some days I just want to write down everything that they do so that I can look back at it later when I’m feeling frustrated by their parents.

We teach mostly out of the Jesus Storybook Bible, because it is, in a word, fantastic. I really can’t say enough good things about it.  If you have kids, go buy it and read it to them.  If you don’t have kids, go buy it and read it to yourself.  Or someone else.

The reason that I chose this particular page for you to look at is, admittedly, because it was one that I could find online.  But it also encompasses a lot of what I want my kids (I’ve come to refer to every child who comes through the doors of 125 as mine) to know. I want them to know that they are lovely because God loves them, that they are God’s children, and that they are invited into a relationship with Him that is way better than anything they could ever have here on earth.

Sometimes we get to hang out with these kids for weeks, and sometimes we have them for only a day or two, but in that time I want it drilled into their little heads that they are LOVED.  Sometimes that means covering a table with shaving cream and letting them smear it everywhere (and I do mean everywhere. this was another didn’t-really-think-it-through moment).  Other times, it’s consoling a sobbing 17-month-old with some serious separation anxiety while helping a 5-year-old out of her coat and telling two other kids how much I love the pictures they’re drawing.

It is usually at those moments that it hits me:  this is what Jesus does for us.  He delights in seeing us laugh and love and play and just enjoy life.  And he does a way better job of it than I ever could.  He doesn’t grow weary of cleaning up messes and telling us again (and again!) that the things we have created are beautiful.  He will gladly pick us up when we are just so tired and wanting to go home.  He genuinely enjoys our company all of the time, and he is never too busy to listen.  Oh, that I could be a little more like that.

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