Confession #2: Some Days I Want to Quit

Our boys recently learned to ride their bikes without training wheels. Our oldest, Uno, who is 7, took off after only a few spills very successfully. Our second, Dos, who is 6 years old has excelled in many areas over his brilliant big brother recently. We were expecting Dos to leave Uno in the dust and take off with gusto. Boy, were we wrong!

Dos struggled with maintaining his balance, his wobbly arms had him going in circles and toppling into the pavement repeatedly. He cried and looked at his palms, I encouraged him to get back up and going. His face reflected fear and uncertainty but he would pick up the fallen bicycle and try again. He was obviously discouraged and I pictured God encouraging me in the same way.

The Ministry Papa helping our son, Dos, learn to ride his bike without training wheels.

The Ministry Papa helping our son, Dos, learn to ride his bike without training wheels.

I went and helped him for 10 minutes as he fell and would look up at me with his sad eyes. I would pick up the bike for him and wait for him to straddle the seat and try again. I eventually went about my other business as he continued to try. Then, Dos was done, he was ready to quit and I let him. Enough was enough for that day. I knew he was not going to master his skills in a day so he wheeled his bike into the garage. I felt for him and knew the enjoyment he had while riding his bicycle with training wheels was in the past. He was growing up a bit that day. Two weeks later he is still struggling to be steady and fast and he still crashes often. I believe it is only a matter of time before he is sailing happily down the sidewalks of our neighborhood.

Sometimes I feel like my son, so weary from trying things and failing. Tired of falling and having to regroup and straddle the life God has called me to again… God knows my heart and knows I want to quit but He encourages me to get back up. Sometimes I really wish He would just let me lay there and get run over by a car, surely it wouldn’t hurt as bad as the failure and the hurts of this life.

The days I want to quit ministry are usually the times where our ministry is so busy that we have no time to sit down, spend quality time with our children, or even rest. It’s the times when people are down your throat about factors in ministry that are beyond your control or critical of the things I have invested time and heart in; the times I have neglected my family to finish the task. Some days, my weariness in well-doing and conflict make me want to pack a few bags, drive off in our mini-van, wave sayonara, and move to a life that does not involve so much heartache and frustration. I just don’t have the guts to really do it… Quitting is not really an option, it’s only a temptation.

The times I have quit in the past have really come back to bite me in the you know where… and God has quickly given me His chastisement. I hate to hurt, so back to God’s path I go, like the little plow donkey with its blinders on. Asking for forgiveness and choosing to repent. No more looking around into the world for what I need to fulfill the longings in my heart, I must choose to put my blinders on and look at His path for the life of our family.

So, I stay where God has called our family. I stay in the Lord’s work. And I stay for the sake of His testimony through my life.

We are thankful for the vacation weeks that we have, but honestly, sometimes with our busy church schedule, it just does not seem like enough. I get tired of pedaling and moving forward, and my bike crashes. Our church has a pretty busy schedule, busier than some, not as busy as others I realize… then again, I don’t know if it is the combination of having 4 young children, homeschooling, ministry responsibilities, and just life or my inability to be able to manage them all properly.

I admit, the emotional female creature that I am, my bike crashes a lot. But God always stands beside me and encourages me. He reminds me of Proverbs 24:16, “for a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.” I get up and get going because deep down I do not want to be a quitter. In my strength though, that is exactly what I am…

I think of how wonderful God’s grace is to give me enough love to help me, patience enough to stand the bike up for me, the strength to walk and run beside me in all that He has called us to do. The long-suffering to know that I will probably just fall down in a few moments, the love to dust me off and kiss my hurts. The kindness in His eyes when I look at Him crying and the gentle comfort He provides as He speaks to me through His Word.

The only thing that really keeps me from quitting is God.

Without the Holy Spirit speaking to me before I pack my bags and wave sayonara, I would have ditched this gig a long time ago. He is my reason for living, His beautiful and perfect Son gave me eternal life, I must not quit, I must go on, for His sake. He lives, so that I may have life more abundantly. He called me, I must remain faithful.

So, there you go… you now know that naturally I am a quitter, but God is my greatest cheerleader in this bicycle ride of life so that I can live and do His will. Although some days I want to quit, He is my reason for living and for staying.

Thank you Lord for never giving up on me!

3 Basic Blessings of Being a Faithful Nursery Worker

3 Basic Blessings - Nursery 2

I like to write devotions for nursery workers to encourage them in their character to be faithful, responsible, and on time but this month I really wanted to focus on the blessings of serving in the nursery long-term. Here is the basic devotion that I wrote, with a few details adapted to share with you online… this assumes that you already work in the nursery, so please forgive me if you are not one that is involved for whatever reason. We all have our purposes within the body of Christ and even physical limitations, so please do not misunderstand when it may seem I am lumping everyone into one group.

Two women come to my mind when I think of faithful nursery workers. One of the things my family always said about my great-grandmother’s service in her church is that she worked in the nursery for years as her primary ministry, so I equate her with faithful nursery work. Then, a lady named Irene.  She is a sweet lady that is a friend to some in our church, although she attends another church, she worked faithfully in her nursery for over 25 years. 25 years!? That seems like a long time to work with babies, doesn’t it? Well, perhaps… but there are some basic blessings that go along with faithful nursery work, that I’m sure that my great-grandmother and Mrs. Irene would testify to if we could interview them.

1. The Blessing of Servitude. The basic service of the nursery is to provide a place for parents to leave their children in the care of responsible nursery workers so that they can go and listen to the preaching and teaching of God’s Word. Each time that an unsaved parent hears the gospel without the distraction of their child(ren) then that is because of a nursery worker! Your service to those parents, saved or unsaved, can help build homes for the glory of God and for the good of eternity.

2. The Blessing of Influence. Babies are new little impressionable creatures that are taking in massive amounts of information on a daily basis and growing physically and mentally. At church, when we create the loving environment that makes them feel safe and we meet their needs and talk to them about how much God loves them, then we begin to influence their future. Faithful nursery workers get to see children on a regular basis grow from newborns to infants to walking, talking, and eventually toddlers that graduate out of the nursery. Then those children go to the next class and learn more about Jesus, then they go to the next class and learn more about the Bible, and perhaps they keep growing in the Lord and eventually get saved.

Never underestimate the power of good influence you bring to a child’s life when it surrounds church and the Bible and a good nursery environment.

3. The Blessing of Friendship. Faithful nursery workers see the fruit of faithfulness by the relationships they build with other nursery workers and with the parents of the children they minister to. Friendship has often been the result of two women being scheduled to work in the nursery together when they did not know each other very well beforehand. While, talking is not the main focus of nursery work, it does open many doors for women to talk to each other about their families and interests. It also creates a new understanding for the families in the church. When you get to interact with someone’s child(ren) then you understand more about their family and can talk to them about their child(ren) and know how to help or pray for them. Friendships built around faithful nursery work may become long-lasting friendships.

At times God creates a ministry in the heart of some women to serve in the church nursery as the Sunday School teacher, a consistent full-time position. But for most of us, we have a monthly schedule of working a few times a month. I hope as you serve you see the blessings of faithfulness and the long-term benefits of being involved not only in the ministry of the nursery but being a long-term member of your church. The work of a nursery worker is not a little thing, it is a beneficial work for the Lord that brings with it these three wonderful blessings. I pray that you would be a faithful nursery worker as long as you can so that you can make an eternal difference in the lives of children and parents alike.

Note: Feel free to use this outline if you have a nursery award banquet or luncheon, or even put it on the back of your nursery schedule. Just please give me credit and do not publish or copy in any other format online or elsewhere without permission.