Tonight, I was at training for Young Lives Childcare workers. (Yes, I am a Young Lives child care worker. Supporting Young Lives is one of our missions, one of our organized “Outs”. Basically, we serve by taking care of babies while the teen moms enjoy a Young Life Young Lives Club.) At training tonight, the Young Lives Area Director, Rose Shabaya, emphasized how important child care is. She shared stories that helped us remember that we are part of a much bigger activity.
We were reminded that God is at work through Young Lives changing moms, babies, families, and communities. Our job is to provide a safe, loving atmosphere for little kids by holding babies and playing with toddlers for about an hour each week. That’s our part, but we are a part of something bigger – an international, life-changing ministry that operates in many countries called Young Life. We do a little, but God works through people all around the world doing far more.
Life transformation isn’t immediate. It takes time. And God is patient. And God is good. He allows us (sometimes) to see it.
I’ll share briefly the story of a little girl I’ll call “Talitha.” (Not her real name.) When I met her, Talitha would cry non-stop when her mom would drop her off at childcare. Those of us in child care would play the game, “Who can help Talitha settle down tonight?” I was pretty good with her. Bri, one of our teen volunteers was, too. Most nights, we’d work together to find some way to help her quiet down. Some nights were better than others. As I recall, she was especially fond of large bouncy balls. Big bouncy balls captured her attention. We’d bounce and role the balls. Eventually, she’d be content to sit in my lap and watch or get down and chase the ball.
But while we were doing that, Talitha’s mom would get a break from being mom to go to Club. There, she’d get to be a teenager again. She’d have fun, learn life-skills, spend time with a mentor and other people who loved her, and hear the gospel. Afterward, she’d pick up her child who’e been loved and cared for.
Over time Talitha cried less and less. Eventually, after months, going to Young Lives and child care became a really exciting thing for her. She’d run to the child care room. She liked the adults there. Other kids became her friends. It was a safe, fun place.
And her mom was changing, too. More at peace. More trusting of the people around her. Smiles came easier. The experience of steady love and grace does that. And here’s the thing: without childcare it wouldn’t have happened. Her mom probably wouldn’t have had the freedom to participate, and neither would Talitha.
God works though little, ordinary things done with love – like spending time with a little girl and helping her not to cry. What a privilege to be a part of something small that is something much bigger.
In Romans, Paul writes, “Don’t think too highly of yourselves. Think with sober judgment according to the faith that you’ve been given. Those who belong to Christ form a body with lots of different parts. The parts don’t have the same function. But we, who are many, become one body in Chirst, and each of us has a gift to use in service there.” (Romans 12:3-6, paraphrased)
What’s your part? May the love of Christ fill you up and overflow into that which you do!