A big, hearty YAHOO to all of you who confirmed that Summer does indeed smell lovely through a metal screen. It does me a world of good to know I am not alone. Shoot, it does my entire family good to know I am not alone.
Yesterday was volunteer appreciation Sunday for all the nursery and Sunday School and youth workers at our church. People, three things make me cry without pause:
- children’s choirs singing ANYTHING
- men and women marching in uniform
- Grandma Betty at church
I was able to barely put some long overdue thanks into words the other night. It is impossible to thank them enough… for the ministry they provide to our children AND to us in return, but it is a start.
To Louie, and all the pastors at BHBC…
that you may know of the incredible work your staff and your volunteers are doing.
We came to Blythfield shortly after our daughter Rylie was born and we’d moved to a farm outside of Belding. A year and a half later, we learned that Rylie would have some major difficulties with walking, potty training, and especially talking. She has apraxia… the same thing adults recover from after a stroke. She must learn to talk and control her muscles in ways typical folks don’t even give pause to. As she entered a new Sunday School, I was concerned she would be lost amongst the ‘typical’ kids. That, for all her special-ness and all her needs, that it would be too much to ask a volunteer to help her, to teach her.
I needn’t have worried. I received emails asking how you could be of MORE help. I received letters encouraging Rylie. I received hugs from her teachers saying she was doing so well. This past Christmas, we attended Ry’s first children’s Christmas program. I sat on an aisle, prepared to rescue my wandering child from the spotlight of being different. Imagine my surprise to find she was an angel. No, really: she was an angel, with wings and curls and songs. She sat with a ‘helper’ and waved to us incessantly, but it was clear she was comfortable and having a ball.
You see, for one hour every week, Rylie is simply another child. No one knows her IEP, no one checks on her therapy goals for that week, no one corrects the way she holds a pencil. She’s just Rylie… and she is so very well loved by the Kids’ Kingdom volunteers. They know her name. They know her heart.
Last year, we had Gideon who immediately began making up for the speech deficit we have in Rylie. He is loud. And for the first 5 months, he was a sad little man. His legs were casted and braced, he spit up constantly, and he rarely made it through a service without needing his mother. Loudly. I thought we were destined for reform school and church in the lobby for the rest of our days.
I needn’t have worried. Every week, Grandma Betty took my child and pushed me up the stairs until it was time for him to eat. Every week, she claimed him- sweet talked him- for that hour… or 20 minutes… and let me rest. In no small thanks to all the nursery volunteeers, that boy is now the happiest, sweetest, handsomest little man you’ve ever seen. He’s still loud. But, I think it’s because he’s looking for Betty. I do.
I’m trying to take a huge, beautiful story and cram it into a letter’s worth of space. I imagine, as a pastor, you feel the same way on a weekly basis trying to tell the Good News on a budget of time.
If I must be brief, let me say this:
God is Love, and I have seen Him here.
I would imagine that’s your message, too.
Thank you, everyone, for loving our 2 very special kids and, in turn, their parents. I thank my God every time I remember you.
with love and –much– appreciation, the Mulders
If YOU’RE a volunteer… thank you! Thank you, thank you.
Thursday we’re talkin’ about baby chicks. Y’all come back now, ya hear?