Simple Trust in the Lord
If you had asked me what I was looking forward to the most about my time in the United Kingdom, it wouldn’t have had anything to do with children or sports or being super dressed up. After a game of rooftop soccer in heels, my favorite story to tell from my time in the UK so far serves as a wholesome reminder to me of what it means to have a childlike faith.
It was our second Sunday in the UK and I was looking forward to seeing what a normal service looked like, as the service the week prior had been a seven-hour convention to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the Wesleyan Church in the British Isles. We had just sat down after worship when one of the other interns, Havyn, whispered down our aisle saying the church needed volunteers for the children’s Sunday school.
I voiced an audible “yes” before my brain really had time to agree, but it was too late to back out. My hesitations stemmed from a place of personal preference; my days of being a big sister to littles are long over, as now most of my guidance relates directly to what courses they should enroll in or what color goes best with their chosen outfit. I don’t feel the most qualified when interacting with little kids, though I recognize this is partially due to a spirit of comparison from seeing some of my friends connect with children more naturally than I do. However, I was feeling convicted to get up and try children’s church anyway, so I did.
I started walking to the back of the church with Havyn, collecting children from the pews if they seemed willing to join us. We found three kids who grabbed our hands to walk back to the room with us, easing some of my fears – children’s ministry can’t be too horrible if there’s a 1:1 ratio of child to adult.
We made it to the room we would be in and read them the Bible verse of the day, and I can’t remember it now, but it was an Old Testament verse about how acting in step with the Lord brings great riches. We explained it in the simplest terms possible, but honestly it was a verse that would take time for me to fully comprehend.
Using as much of their attention spans that four and six-year-olds can spare, they listened to us and sheepishly repeated the verse after us. Their silly grins and antsy legs begged to go outside, and we weren’t going to be the ones to deny them of that experience.
We led them outside to the church’s fenced-in rooftop and gave them some soccer balls and a parachute for them to play with.
I was instantly brought back to my childhood days of playing parachute in my elementary gym, students unable to control their excitement once they saw the colorful fabric. I was grinning the entire time and didn’t even notice until my cheeks hurt from smiling.
We reached a point where they were bored of the parachute, so we switched to soccer. I was not well dressed for the occasion, as I was wearing a skirt and red sandals that had about an inch of height on them.
However, I didn’t even notice my outfit was unsuited for the activity. I played with them the best I could and I honestly had the time of my life, even though my micro soccer days were long over. For me, few things in life will top their grins after a really good kick, and their grins only increased when they saw me try to chase after the ball in those red shoes.
I’m learning that God uses the ministries we think we are the least equipped for and turns it back around to show us it was all about Him in the first place. If we are helping people, who cares if we don’t know what questions to ask a four-year-old or if we accidentally kick the soccer ball a little too far to the left?
I’m reminded of the passage in the Bible where the Lord praises those who have childlike faith. This doesn’t mean one’s faith is immature or lacking, instead, it relies on a simple trust in God. Life becomes a lot more joyful when we incorporate a simplistic trust in the Lord into things we enjoy, like rooftop soccer.
Since then, I’ve moved those shoes to my donate-before-leaving-the-UK pile, considering they hurt so bad afterward, that I walked the mile home barefoot. However, I’ll forever treasure the memory of the three smiling little kids as they hugged me before leaving church that morning.