Do any of you have an annual event that blocks off more of your time and energy creating and preparing for it than the event itself takes? For me, this would be our church’s VBS week. As the director, I find myself praying over it, planning it, and supporting it year around. The heaviest part of the work falls in June and July when I’m advertising it, training and encouraging volunteers, and working with teams to build props and sets for this one week that we immerse ourselves in the beginning of August each year.
Oh, but it is worth it. I ride so high with the Spirit through that week. I almost become a kid again, and as the week comes to a close I find myself shedding a tear or two along with the kids who don’t want to go home. I actually have a process, or steps that I take, for decompressing in the weeks after the VBS week to help me “grieve.” I do! I have to for the good of those around me.
Step 1: I sleep! It is the first good sleep I have usually had in weeks, probably months.
Step 2: I pray. I pull out the registration lists and my volunteer lists, and I pray over all of the kids, youth, and adults I spent the week with and all of their families. We’ve just had an intense week together with GOD; it is time to thank the LORD for this experience and ask for His protection over all of us. It is prime attack time and we surely do need His mighty presence and shelter.
Step 3: I write. Kids love getting mail, don’t they? Well, I love them, and I want to let them know it. I have pictures taken of each child during the VBS week, and I send a copy of my favorite one to each of the kids along with a special note that I mail to them.
Step 4: I clean up. Sometimes I have to take down our sets and decorations immediately following the final night of VBS, but in my heart, my VBS sets and decorations are up until I have emotionally sent them home with each of the kids who joined us during our VBS week.
Step 5: I begin over. I take a deep breath and try to gently return to some semblance of life outside of VBS, but I end up studying programs and praying over the program we will use for the next year. Once I have made a decision and order it, then I can relax and dream up new fun for next year.
Listen, I wasn’t raised in the church when I was a child. The few years of my life that my parents sent me on the “Sunday School” bus were not the best for a lost little girl to experience, but I do have fond memories of the two times I attended VBS. It is such a blessing for me to be used in this ministry now as a Christ knowing and loving adult.
Each year I have been given a chance to create an exciting whole new world for the kids of our church and our community to walk into and feel at ease and safe in while they encounter God. For some of these kids it’s their first encounter. It is so important to me that it is a positive experience for them. God is love, and I want to show these kids His love through everything I have to give them. Actually, through more than I have to give them. I’m so thankful I have the power and love of Jesus in me because there are so many times when I fail or things get overwhelming. He takes control when I stop getting in His way, and then things go right.
He provides above and beyond what I can and what our little church is able to. He is always there. He is in all of the details of the sets, props, and decorations. He is there at the front door greeting each child with a high five or a hug. He is there walking the shy ones through the registration process. He is there comforting nervous parents and children going through separation anxiety. He is there celebrating in music and prayer on the stage. He is in the words of the lessons and activities. He is in every giggle and smile. He is there, and I am getting excited over joining Him all over again this year.
It’s January, and the new VBS curriculum will arrive any day now. I am looking forward to it, if you hadn’t already guessed this. I ask you to think of me and lift our little program up in prayer when you feel the nudge; I covet those prayers. I pray you are blessed in your calling and know the fire of the Holy Spirit in all your vision and preparation for this year’s event in your life. Be blessed dear sisters, be vigilant, and remember when things begin to go awry, fall to your knees in prayer so you will be out of the LORD’s way while He works.
LORD, Psalm 40 verse 5 speaks for me: “Many, Lord my God, are the wonders You have done, the things You planned for us. None can compare with You; were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare.” And Psalm 16: “You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” Father God, I come before your throne in awe and wonder and filled with the anticipation of a child awaiting a special encounter with her Father. I pray my sisters here will know the awesome power of your hand in all they do. Bless them Father. Bless this year with revival and set our hearts on fire for You. Amen.