I’ll be a Mermaid for Jesus

The cashier was bagging the final groceries before she asked me the question: “So, how come you have glitter all over you? Are you a preschool teacher? Did a craft go wrong?”

MermaidBron

Darling it’s better down where it’s wetter, take it from me…

Nope.

Not a preschool teacher (oh the horror!) Not doing crafts. The real reason for my high state of sparkle this week is that, together with two friends, I am spending this week dressed as a mermaid.

With a tail.

And long, impossibly-bright-colored hair.

And a whole lotta glitter.

My two mermaid friends (who are GORGEOUS, but cropped from the picture because they’re very private sea-people) and I have the task of teaching the Bible story at our church’s annual Vacation Bible Camp, and since the theme is “Deepsea Discovery” and the whole plaice is decked out with underwater decor, we decided to suit up for the task. Fintastic.

[Apologies for the puns, friends, but lame jokes are my coping mechanism and I. am. tired.]

We have 252 kids (and 80 junior and adult kelpers) swimming around campus this week (they’re in school…) learning that God is with them wherever they go. The theme of the days are that God knows us (like he knew Noah!), he hears us (like he heard Jonah in the belly of a big fish), he strengthens us (like he helped Peter walk on water), and he loves and sends us (as he did his disciples). Five days. Five lessons. Five days of brightly colored-themed-and-still-nutritious snacks.

It’s a high energy week, and even though I’m an extrovert, this week still leaves me flounder-ing. Working with kids is not my strong suit, but as I’ve written before, I keep signing up because I know what a difference it made in my own life to have adult volunteers tell me about Jesus at VBS and in Sunday School. It changed my life.

And so here I am: standing on campus in a highly-glittered state, wearing a thick wig in triple-digit heat, with a lycra suit outlining EVERY contour of the lower half of my body…. and in this moment I am so grateful for the words the Apostle Paul penned in 1 Corinthians 4:10: We are fools for Christ. We are madmen. (or mermen, as the case may be). And just a few paragraphs later in 1 Corinthians 9:22: To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.

Or, as the case may be: to the little fish, I become a fish, in order to win the fishies for Christ.

For one week, I’m one of a sea of volunteers who are laying aside our preferences: singing louder than we’re comfortable with, doing dance moves that make the Macarena look choreographed by comparison, playing water games and wearing outfits. Why? Because there are 252 little people here who are DEEPLY loved by Jesus and need to know that. And if I keep my eye on them—rather than the itch of the wig or the sweat of the suit—it makes all the difference. For if they find and keep the treasure this week—the truth that they are known, heard, helped and wildly loved by God—they are rich beyond all counting of it.

Pray with us that they’ll find it 🙂

 

My Little Helper

We are currently doing a series entitled “Right Here, Right Now” at church, about what it means to walk day by day as a disciple of Jesus. Last week, Joe (the Joe who taught us these important things about where teens belong) talked about what it meant to be God’s helper. It reminded me of this story, which was first published over at the gorgeous (in)courage website.

"He's my little helper. And I am His."

“I don’t need your help!” I snapped, as I swatted his grubby little fist away from the dough.

The boy wilted at my rebuke. “But Mommy, I love to help you.”

“I know, but your hands are dirty and I can do it myself,” I muttered.

I had five kids under 6 in my care and was trying to whip up scones for lunch before the high-pitched hunger wails set in. My three-year old, seeing the bowl, had scraped a giant chair all the way across the floor and posted himself at my side, ready to be my sous chef. Now he stood there: swatted at, snapped at, and snubbed. He was crestfallen.

I don’t need you either,” I heard the still, small voice say. “Your hands are often dirty. You mess up and make mistakes. And I could do it myself. But I don’t.”

Words from Corinthians welled up from within: For we are co-workers in God’s service. Co-workers. Co-workers of the Great One who could create the stars just by speaking. Of the One whom angels worship. Of the One who holds every molecule in the universe together. Of the inventor of harmonies, peaches, mathematics, asteroids, and neural pathways. And yet He chooses to accomplish His purposes on earth through us.

He could have willed people to follow him. And yet He chose to have salvation come by hearing a message spoken by foolish and fallible lips. We corrupt the message, betray the message, miscommunicate the message. And yet, He has chosen to use us as messengers.

He could heal with a concoction of spit-filled mud, and yet He chooses to have us apply band-aids and give hugs, learn physical therapy, walk the long-road of chemotherapy.

Me? His helper? How could He possibly use bumbling, fumbling, grumbling me to accomplish anything? But again Corinthians whispered: Not that we are competent in ourselves, but our competence comes from God.

I am my Daddy’s little helper. I am His kid, pulling up her chair as He cooks up His divine, fantastic plan, and He invites me to stick my grubby paws in His dough. To learn alongside Him. To share in the creation of what He’s baking in history.

Gentled by my Father’s guiding hand, I turned to the little one at my side. I let my son knead the dough – he over worked it. I let him roll it out – it was uneven. I showed him how to paint the egg on the top – he painted more baking sheet than scone. But they were delicious, and we did it together.

He’s my little helper, and I am His.

{Photo by Corrie Haffly. This post first appeared at (in)courage}