“The Lord needs a favor.” My pastor’s favorite expression hooked me again. I walked into that room with twenty pairs of eyes focused on me. Why did I ever volunteer? What did I know about teaching a room full of eight year old girls?
When I offered to be an Awana volunteer – a person who teaches children about God – my offer meant I would pass out papers or march our charges to game time. Patti taught the lessons… I chased down stragglers.
“Patti is out of town this week. We couldn’t find anyone else to teach your class. Would you mind doing it just this once?” My reply stuck in my throat. I had changed majors in college from education to psychology when I figured out I could never stand in front of a classroom. I froze in front of groups. Twenty little girls was a group. They knew me as their room mom – not their teacher.
“Of course, I’ll do it.” I hung up the phone. My husband raised his eyebrows.
I had three days to read the lesson, come up with some fun examples and do it all while still breathing. I think God skipped Monday and Tuesday that week and catapulted me right into Wednesday. When I arrived at my room fifteen minutes early, another woman waited as my helper. I would have my debut as a teacher in front of her as well. I willed my hands to stop shaking. Podiums were a luxury so I would have to hold my book as I read and spoke. I made a dash for the bathroom.
Crouching into the stall, I prayed - no – I begged God to help me through this. I wanted these girls to walk away with a new understanding of God’s love for them. Was this how Moses felt? Why on earth did God ask me of all people to teach? It wasn’t my gift. It wasn’t even close to being my gift.
The lesson stumbled out of my mouth. Sometimes a little shaky – sometimes too softly. Everything I planned to say – along my corny example – I said. Twenty minutes later I looked down into their faces expecting to see them focusing on anything in the room besides me. I was wrong.
I had hoped to share some words that night that might bless this group. As girl after girl raised her hand, my heart swelled with joy. I answered questions, shared more detail and offered to talk with several clubbers during counsel time.
My helper herded the girls to game time while I caught my breath. A knock at the door startled me. It was Katie – one of the girls who rode on the bus ministry.
“Miss Ellen, can I talk with you about school today?” I slipped my arm around her as we settled into the corner. These were the moments I loved. I thanked God for the opportunity.
“The Lord needs a favor.” My husband handed me the receiver .
“You know my answer already, Pastor.” I laughed into the phone. “So cut to the chase.” I couldn’t wait for my next blessing.
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