Maybe you missed this the first time around. Maybe you’d like to see it again. Welcome to the Best of 2010
Original run date: February 1, 2010
For nearly three years, I was the Preschool and Nursery Director at my church. I accepted the position when Rebekah was 2-years-old and Elijah was just a glimmer in our pile of adoption paperwork. During that time, I overhauled the department, quite literally. We moved into a new building that required an extensive build-out: transforming a doctor’s office complex to a nursery and preschool wing.
For months I pored over classroom supply catalogues and wall-paper samples. I made decisions about where to knock down walls and where to add sinks and cabinets. I spent hours and hours in nearly every craft and home improvement store in the greater Jacksonville, Florida area hunting for just the right accents to transform those cold, plain rooms into the warm and welcoming children’s department I envisioned.
Lest you think I have some background in interior design or construction, let me clarify things for you. I was clueless. I mean completely. Clueless. With a capital C. When I accepted the position to oversee the department, I knew how to transform the teacher training methods. I was all over the curriculum choices. I was ready to sanitize toys, and recruit workers and cast vision for hiding the Word in the hearts of the children. But oversee a build-out? You’re kidding, right? Don’t we have people for that?
Apparently we did. And it was ME.
I kicked and screamed and cried and complained. I did NOT want this responsibility. By this time, I had two babies at home and zero experience. That’s a recipe for one ugly children’s wing. But it was no use. I was it. I reluctantly moved forward with my assignment, knowing I was in way over my head.
One late night, I was in the church alone. I was tired. I was crabby. I was painting grass on the wall. On my hands and knees armed with three shades of green, I cried and complained with every angry brush-stroke.
“I can’t do this, God. I don’t paint. I don’t design things. I’m not creative. I have no idea what walls need to stay or go. What if I tell them to knock down the wrong wall and the whole building collapses? Why would you ask me to do something I clearly am not gifted or equipped to do? I don’t know what the heck I’m doing.”
And then through my tears and exhaustion, I sat back on my heals and looked at everything I had just painted. And I said something really profound,
“Hey! That looks like grass.”
And in a micro-second, God clarified my purpose there. Getting me in over my head was all part of His plan. Leading me to a place where I felt ill-equipped and inexperienced forced me to lean on the only One who could help. Who better than the Creator of real grass to help me paint fake grass on a wall?
“My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness. Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.” (II Corinthians 12:9-10 The Message)
Looking back, those three years serving as Nursery and Preschool Director were probably the most spiritually rewarding years of my life, thus far. God stretched me, pulled me and pushed me far beyond my natural abilities. He drew me in closely and showed me some wonderful things He could create through me, once I stopped complaining long enough to trust Him. He purged some nasty attitudes and preconceived ideas I harbored deep within my heart—attitudes about myself and those around me.
He placed me under a pastor and his wife who saw something in me I did not see in myself. They entrusted me with huge responsibility not because I was an expert in building demolition, but because they knew I’d run to God for help.
While at the time my mantra was, “I don’t know what the heck I’m doing,” I look back over that season now and I think, “Wow! Look what God did through me!”
All of that pushing, pulling, stretching, purging and trusting paved the way for crystal clarity. It was during those three years I learned beyond a shadow of a doubt God speaks today, He speaks directly to me and I can hear Him when I listen.