Serving By Choosing Books

A Year of Being Kind blog – Wednesday, April 23, 2014

kidsbookopener

Serving By Choosing Books

For those of you who don’t know, I have four children. My youngest child just turned seventeen years old today. So, I can still remember those days of diapers and bottles, teething and banged-up knees. It’s just those days are getting further and further away. But I still remember, and as I revisit those days, I find I still enjoy being with small children. Happy for me, since there is a preschool onsite at my new job.

Yes, I am a mom. This was the way I used to describe myself. Up until a dozen years ago, that was the primary activity or purpose I used to associate with me. In fact, on occasion, when I’d go to parties or get-togethers at my older sister’s fancy house, her friends and acquaintances would sometimes ask me, “And what do you do?” Truthfully enough, I would be somewhat embarrassed. My answer would usually be, “My sister—and my older siblings? They have advanced degrees. I have children.” I’d say this in a humorous tone, and the people who asked me would often laugh.

But not any more. A dozen years ago, I started a master’s degree program, and three years later I received a master’s in divinity degree. Since then, I have had exciting and interesting experiences in the church, in hospitals and care centers, and at inpatient detox units and rehab centers.

However—I am still a mom. I still love my children very much, even though God has led me through a variety of challenging experiences. Now, in my current position as interim co-pastor, I find I have the opportunity to interact with preschoolers and kindergarten children each week. I read to two of the rooms of children yesterday. I was surprised to see that there were not too many books for the children to read. Of course, I tried to choose the very best of what was there. And I enjoyed being with the children, a great deal! That was the most important thing, of course.

This evening, I took the opportunity to go to a local library in the next town. They have a lovely used book area, where the Friends of the Library sell gently used books for only a small amount of money. This way, the library gets some badly needed money, people get really nice books, and the cost is really quite economical.

I went to the children’s section of the book area. I haven’t looked extensively at children’s picture books for some years. Such colorful, interesting books! I chose eleven (only fifty cents apiece!), and I’ll be more than happy to present them to the preschool director tomorrow, when I go to the church to work. I suspect the children—and the teachers—will be very pleased to have a fresh supply of books.

Yay, God! Thanks for the good idea, to go to such a place and get books. I’m so excited! I can hardly wait to see the faces of the boys and girls. It’s so wonderful to be able to bring a happy surprise with me.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Looking Ahead, Serving with Enthusiasm!

A Year of Being Kind blog –Sunday, March 16, 2014

THANK thank you God

Looking Ahead, Serving with Enthusiasm!

What a difference a day makes! Or, a few days, in this case. Today, I started serving in an interim position at a church in the Chicago suburb of Morton Grove. My arrival there was providential, to say the least. (I am sure I will say more about it, in the days ahead.) I am looking forward to a wonderful time of service.

One of my new responsibilities at the church is serving as interim music director. (They have a lovely digital piano!) I enjoyed playing the piano for the congregation this morning. I have been doing that on a periodic basis for two retirement centers in Chicago, about once a month. I’m sad to leave that part-time ministry, but happy and excited to move into a new, more varied one. Yes, I did active service today, by leading music, playing the piano, and praying in the church. I tried to be a blessing to the congregation.

Later today, I reconsidered the verse I’ve chosen for March, for this blog. It comes from Ephesians 6:7. “Render service with enthusiasm, as to the Lord and not to men and women.”  When I consider my new position, I am energized! Excited! May I say—enthusiastic? I think, yes.

I talked with one of my wonderful relatives this afternoon, who rejoiced with me over my new position. She has worked in corporate business for several decades. (She is wise in the ways of business and savvy in interpersonal communication, from a fast-paced, cut-to-the-chase orientation. So useful, and so appreciated!)  She often gives excellent advice. Today was no different. Her thoughtful, to-the-point words struck home with me. She said, “Whenever I go into a new management situation, I always tell myself that I will try to actively like all the members of my management team. Working together is always easier and smoother when we like each other.”

Wow, God. Such an excellent piece of advice! I can see how important this is. If I like, respect and, in a Christian context, pray for people I work with, work will always go more easily and smoothly. I knew this piece of advice said in a little different kind of way. I remember one of my seminary professors telling us to pray for the congregation, and invite the congregation to pray for us, as church leaders. Regular prayer helps me like them, and even love them. Which is what God commands, by the way. (And it’s really difficult to actively dislike someone I’m regularly praying for, besides.)

This is going to be a busy week. I have a conference to attend for several days (for my certificate for Alcohol and Drug Counseling, or CADC). And since it’s Lent, I need to prepare a brief service for Wednesday night, on top of everything else. Busy, busy! But God, I know You will be right there next to me. Thanks for this new adventure! And thanks for the assurance that “whate’er I do, where’er I be, Still ‘tis God’s hand that leadeth me.”

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.