This is my story

Black electrical tape and ugly paper boats

I started Vacation Bible School week in a less than spiritual condition. There were a lot of excuses for my condition. I was exhausted from all the climbing on ladders and trying to create the perfect "atmosphere", spending most of "my" time helping prepare or watching children so others could prepare and from expending energy with "my" ideas that others didn't need or want to use. My "other" life wasn't going so hot either with demands coming at me from every corner, and to top it all off, by golly, I wasn't feeling physically up to snuff either. Then, the day before VBS started I got a new assignment, the NURSERY! I felt totally unprepared for it but believed God would help me get through it.
God was gracious to me (in hindsight) in allowing me to think I could do it, after all, it would only be two babies and we'd have fun! On the way to the first evening of VBS, God revealed some truth; I was going to be in a tiny room with not two, but four toddlers and probably no help for maybe three hours including the time before VBS started and the time afterwards that it takes parents to retrieve their children. Fear began to invade the tiny space of "peace" in my heart. All the "what if's" came charging through my mind, but, I was Mafee - and well - Mafee can handle it!!! I put on my brave mask and took on the challenge! Before the first half hour was up, God sent two adult helpers to help me enjoy my new assignment! I'm thinking, "Ok, thank you God!" and in my arrogance again began to think, "I"could do this! God has such a sense of humor, I can picture Him smirking at me and saying, "You have no idea child, what's in store"!
While the nursery group got settled for the opening session of VBS I was feeling like I, and my helpers, had this under control, I was notified that we would have another two year old added to the group that didn't know us, and we didn't know him! Again, PANIC,!!! So, on top of just surviving this; keeping not four, but now five toddlers safe, fed, and changed, and if at all possible, happy; I was going to have to attempt to teach a lesson, AND integrate a new child into the group that I knew nothing about except his name! I was NOT happy!! God had a lesson to teach me that I wasn't crazy about learning, so I reluctantly agreed. Besides, there wasn't a choice given except quit, and Mafee never quits, even when it's tough!!!
As the evening continued, God gave me ideas that worked as the situation presented itself and with His help and and the new adult helpers, we called the first day good! Our new two year old became fast buddies with Poppy and he was able to do the "new toddler" integration easily for me, as well as a lot of distrating when necessary; and the other adult fielded the snacks, electronics, and helped supervise the others while I changed five diapers the first evening. We left exhausted but happy and a lot less frustrated than when I first went into VBS that evening.
The second day of VBS held it's own challenges, but we managed to bumble though it and emerged with one bruise, lots of hugs, smiles, kisses, and tired but happy babies at 8:00.
Preparing for the third day of Vacation Bible School, God began to show me the lesson He's had for me. The story I was to teach that night was Jonah and the big fish. "Piece of cake" I told God. "I know this story by heart and I've taught it many times, no problem". I read through the guide, picked the things I thought might work and was having fun putting it all together. One idea God put in my head was to make boats out of foam plates, after all, they could float and would be much better than the ones I'd attempted before that sank the first ten seconds they hit water. So I made the first one and decided because we had babies, I should cover the staples with tape for safety.
I put the boats aside and went to dig though the toy closet for possible "Jonah's". Just as I was about to give up and just go shopping, God made my eyes see some left-over Easter eggs. Great, they would be safe, lightweight and would fit in my new foam plate boats! I dug out five of them and decided that they too would need some tape or those toddlers would destroy them in less than five seconds and my lesson would be shot! God gave me a strange direction, that again, I didn't want to do, use black electrical tape on the boats and recycled Easter egg Jonah's. " Yuck! Those are going to be really ugly!", I argued, "and besides it will take a lot of time and I'd rather go buy something that looks like a person!" Finally I submitted and began to work on the ugly boats and Easter egg Jonah's, fighting the urge to go shopping instead.
As I taped the edges of the boat down and covered the staples, God began to gently show me how I was being Jonah and had a Jonah attitude for most of the week. I quickly decided I didn't want Him to send a big fish to swallow me, so I confessed to Him and asked forgiveness for my ungrateful attitude and failing to see what a precious gift He'd given me. He had honored me and entrusted me to care for His most treasured children, the toddlers! No, my helprs and were not going to lead any in this group to salvation this week. We had what most members consider the worst job and what some referred to as being "stuck with", the nursery. It's just a plain hard, sometimes dirty, yucky, assignment (like Nineva), and I didn't want to do it (like Jonah); and on top of it all I was sitting at the table making ugly boats out of foam paper plates with black electrical tape and Easter egg Jonah's with black electrical tape having the most wonderful "God experience" I've had in many years. Sometimes God teaches the adults who are willing to work in VBS valuable lessons right along with the children. So, thank you for giving me this assignment, and when you see ugly boats and recycled Easter egg Jonah's, know that God's been working!!
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