She cornered me in the hallway outside the sanctuary to extend an invitation. “Listen, we need someone to teach the Cubbies on Wednesdays this Fall, and I thought of you.”
Sweetly, she smiled and promised she’d handle all the crafts. I would just need to teach a short 15-minute lesson. It seemed simple enough. After all, I had a college degree in education hanging in my office.
“Sure, sign me up.” I agreed to the ten-month assignment, which started in two weeks. I didn’t get terrified until about a week later when a former student stopped me in the church hallway.
“Hey, I hear you are going to teach the Cubbies. I’m super excited you’ll have my daughter.” My brain suddenly started doing the math. The young man in front of me was about twenty-five, and I’d seen him with a bouncing little blonde girl in pig tails.
As soon as he stepped away, I made a beeline for the Pastor’s wife in charge of Wednesdays. “Hey, exactly how old are the Cubbies? You know, I teach 12th graders.”
“Cubbies are three to five years old. You’ll do fine.” The optimism she expressed in my ability to “speak toddler” did little to calm my fears. I didn’t know the first thing about preschoolers. I was single and childless with no siblings. My only experience with little people had been 30 years earlier when I was in pigtails myself.
That Saturday, I ended up purchasing a flannelgraph kit. I showed up with a flannel Jesus figure on Wednesday night to share the gospel. The room full of squirmy kids seemed underwhelmed by my animated presentation.
I spent 40 weeks teaching the Cubbies, and by some supernatural act of the Holy Spirit, I survived. Overwhelmed by this assignment, my prayer vocabulary became elementary with a simple 3-word phrase constantly rising from my heart: “Help me, Jesus.”
God often invites us to partner with Him even though we feel totally unqualified. He stretches us to our limits for love. He invites us to take His love and pour it out expecting nothing in return. And as we say “I surrender all,” He fills us up with a joy this world cannot take away.
“Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:38, NIV)
I gave away that flannelgraph kit over a decade ago, but I recently revisited the toddler universe. After receiving an unexpected invitation, my husband purchased a car seat and tried to figure out how to secure the foreign contraption into our minivan in the middle of a downpour. We were all wet and completely unprepared. I closed my eyes and whispered, “Help us, Jesus.” That night, we tucked an almost potty-trained three-year-old boy into bed.
God’s love grows in our hearts when we say yes to overwhelming assignments. We may be stretched to our limits, but He supernaturally increases our capacity to give.
About the Author:
Lyli Dunbar’s burning passion as a writer, speaker, and Biblical life coach is to fuel a wildfire faith in the weary hearted. She starts every weekday by digging into the Word verse by verse with thousands of women as a writer for Proverbs 31 Ministries’ First 5 App and Love God Greatly. A fireball at heart, Lyli is energized by singing karaoke in the car with her husband, reading 12 books at a time, and cooking Cuban food for a full house. Stop by lylidunbar.com to grab faith fuel for your day or connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.
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