Friday, November 15, 2013

Lessons from Second Grade Girls

At my church this school year, I'm teaching the second grade girls in the mid-week program. I saw the appeal for teachers on Facebook on a Monday night and I felt drawn to it, but I'm not a religion teacher.

Surely there was someone more qualified. I argued this point with God.

Besides, I had other plans on the first night of class, so it had to be that someone else was destined to teach second grade this year. Tell you what; I bargained with the big man upstairs, if the ad is still in the Sunday bulletin, I will talk to Amy about it. But, I'm not the person, so you need to have someone else step up.

Do you know that bargaining rarely works with God?

Yeah, but I had my hopes. And here I am with 6 adorable, innocent little girls looking up to me one night each week.

And the truth is I feel inadequate. Surely, there is a soccer mom or a home schooling mom or a pastor wife mom who would be so much better at this than I would. The key word in that sentence is mom, and that is something I am not. Momma Girl to a fur baby doesn't count.

But I show up each week, and I ask God to give me the words and to fill in the gaps I might create. I pray that He will give me what I need.

It came to me as I lay here tonight, that maybe my being not a mom is the reason God has called me. My singleness isn't a topic of conversation with the second graders, but it's no secret. Maybe one of these sweet children will one day need to know that it's okay to be single and going on 50. Possibly 40 years down the road, it will be one of them struggling with being single in a married church. Being childless in a mom population. Needing to know there is life and love and happiness without a husband or children.

I'll be honest. Singleness is something I have never wanted to claim. I was the girl who wanted to get married young, have six kids, and be Grammy by the time I was hitting 50.

When my two younger sisters got engaged before me, I railed at God about the unfairness of it all. My baby sister was only 18 when her husband popped the question. I told her, it's not right, a younger sister getting married before the older.

Her response was a simple; I want to have kids before I'm too old.

Wow, she couldn't have known at that age how true her words would be because I'm still not married, and she has approached the age at which it soon would be too late for her to have kids. Good thing she's strong willed and has always known what she's wanted.

Both of my sisters became incredible moms, and I never once held it against either of them that they got married before I did. (My brother went off and got married young and had kids also, but it wasn't quite the same when the older brother got married before me!) I love all of their kids and relish my role of auntie.

Somewhere in my early 40s I came to realize that my having kids was not part of God's plan for me. He had another road for me to travel. It was hard and beautiful and heartbreaking, but truth is I wouldn't have walked away from this road because God had an incredibly important role for me, and he was there holding my hand the whole way. Along that road, he showed me how he had been working in my life. He filled me with the amazing knowledge that this was part of the plan.

And part of that plan was to teach second grade girls.

There are still nights that I wonder if I am really teaching them anything, but I try to remember that showing up, loving on them, listening to them - that's important. I trust that God is using my participation to minister to them in some way. Then a couple of weeks ago, one of the moms told me that her daughter loves coming because she really admires me. That made my heart sing!

No, most of life is not what I would have chosen, but God has his plans. And one thing I've learned is that God's plan is always better than mine.