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3 Things I Learned After Serving at VBS



Two weeks ago, I had the privilege to get to serve at my church's Vacation Bible School (VBS). VBS is a long, tiring week, but it's also full of so many blessings. This year I was in the nursery with the babies (we only had four kids, all under 2), and it was an absolute blast. It's probably been my favorite year yet, and I am so thankful for it. All of the kiddos were so sweet, and we had a lot of fun together - but they also reminded me of three really important lessons, and I want to share that with you today.


Lately I've felt drawn to go back to John 3:16, the Bible verse all the church kids learn super early. I often resist, because it feels too simple, too basic, but actually, I think I'm beginning to understand that simple and basic is the point. Sometimes we get so caught up in growth and moving forward and maturing that we miss the whole foundational message of our faith: that Jesus loves us, that He came to die for us out of that love, and because of His sacrifice, we have eternal life. And that is a gift!


Just like this message from John 3:16, the lessons my VBS kids taught me are pretty basic and simple, but also so important. We lose sight of these lessons too quickly and too often, and I truly believe that if we slowed down every once in a while to remember them, we would end up so much more joyful and walk in so much more freedom.


1. Little ones find the most joy in the smallest things...shouldn't we?

One of my favorite things to observe this week was to see what made the kids in my room the happiest, what brought a smile to their adorable little faces, and it never took much. For some, it was the sighting of a parent or a yummy snack. For others, it was a wagon ride or a cardboard tractor or a balloon. Some of the kids especially enjoyed playing in soapy water, while others were perfectly content to enjoy a bottle of milk and listen to music. But no matter what it was - it wasn't complicated. It was the little things that made them the happiest, and man, that reminds me of how much I should be appreciating the simple things in life.


I've talked about this on the blog before, but it really is so true - we end up going through life so fast that we speed by some of the most beautiful and precious moments simply because they aren't the big, momentous ones. Maybe for us it's a sunrise, laughter around a dinner table, or a real conversation with someone we love. Maybe for us it's appreciating a really good meal, an ice cold glass of lemonade, or even just being able to sit down after a long day. There's a million small things we miss and forget to enjoy, and these little ones really reminded me of that this week.


2. Little ones simply admired what they saw in the mirror....what if we did the same?

Oh my lanta, the kiddos in my room were fascinated by their reflection in the mirror! It was honestly so adorable, the way they tried to wrap their mind around the person they saw in the mirror and as they began to understand that that person is actually them. Their reflection made them smile and laugh, and my goodness, that is pretty much the opposite of my reaction when I see myself in the mirror.


While they admired what they saw, I tend to criticise and critique what I see. They found joy in their reflection, joy in the miracle that is themselves, but I complain and zoom in on all the flaws I see in myself. Y'all, I want to see myself more like those babies see themselves.


When we talk about the little ones, it's easy to remember that each of them are gifts from God, miracles, blessings, and bundles of joy. But when we talk about ourselves, that's a lot harder to remember, but it doesn't make it any less true. We are all handcrafted by God, living, breathing miracles, and designed to be a blessing on this earth. I'm serious, friends, and although I often struggle to see myself in this way, I genuinely want to learn from these little kids the importance of remembering to see ourselves the way God sees us.


3. Every baby grows at different rates and hits different milestones at different times, but there's always such celebration and love no matter what.

All of the kids in my room were around a year old, some a bit younger, some a bit older, but around a year. But despite the similarity in ages, they all were so different in abilities. Some were walking, while others couldn't quite crawl yet. Some were talking, while others were still babbling. Some could eat solid snacks, others couldn't. But despite the differences in progress developmentally, all of them were a blessing. I truly enjoyed each and every one of them, and that was not determined by if they could walk or not. Each of those kiddos are absolutely precious, and I adored them.


Not only that, but we celebrate whatever that little one can do. If they're just learning to roll over, yay! If they're making noises and blowing bubbles at us, yay, that's so cute! If they're walking, yay! If they're learning to speak and communicate, yay! No matter what milestone they hit, it is all equally as incredible and celebratory. We love these babies, no matter if they can walk or talk or eat real foods yet, and no matter how long it takes for them to be able to do those things.


What if it was the same for us?


What if we celebrated wherever we're at right now and the growth we've made so far, even if it doesn't seem as impressive or as fast as someone else's growth? What if we simply loved the journey and the learning instead of rushing to hit another goal or milestone?


There's a whole lot of relief in that, at least for me. I tend to strive and work to catch up, to reach where everyone else seems to so easily be reaching, but these little ones reminded me that I don't have to do that. My Father loves me, right where I'm at and alongside me, wherever I'm going. He celebrates every little victory of mine, and every little victory of yours, too. If only we learned to recognize those victories as He does.

 

I had such a fun week at VBS, and I am so grateful that I got to hang out with some of the best kids ever. I'm even more grateful for the lessons they reminded me of, and I pray that these truths really sink in for all of us. I pray that we would stay rooted in the foundational truths about who God is, who we are because of Him, and the simplicity and joy that comes with walking in that.

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