We were almost to our new home in Farmington, Minnesota. It had been a long trek from Abilene, Texas. Our daughters, Kirsten and Erin, commented, “It’s so green here.” It was July 1. By mid-summer in Abilene, our grass was more brown than green. Once we arrived, our four girls took off their shoes and ran through the very soft, green grass in our backyard. This was a new experience! People don’t walk in Abilene grass without shoes; otherwise, painful burrs would stick to their feet.
Church Is Our Second Home for Community and Connection
The first thing on our agenda was finding a church to become our second home. This was our ritual each time we moved, which was every three years because Ted had been in the military. Recently he had retired after serving our country for 20 years and was beginning a second career as a Delta pilot.
With each move, we didn’t church shop for long. We needed community and connection. We became members of one church for just six months. Regardless of the shortness of our stay, we dove into being members of that local body of believers. And this time would be no different.
Being Involved Is Contagious
The second Sunday we visited Berean Baptist Church, we heard of the need to help with vacation Bible school (VBS). We dove in. I was a second-grade helper, and Erin was in the 5th-grade group. Kirsten went to Summer Jam, Laura assisted with the elementary kids, and Alyssa was a Summer Jam leader.
In October 2013, Berean became our sixth church family. Over the years we had instilled in our girls the importance of getting involved. We were not going to just sit back and be served, but serve. We stressed the importance of our girls attending Sunday school, which meant we either were going to help teach Sunday school or attend ourselves. We could not ask them to do something we would not do ourselves. On more than one occasion, my girls signed up to help with VBS before I did. I didn't feel like serving. However, since they were doing it, I ended up teaching, and it was a blessing.
In my Beth Moore study of 2 Timothy, she said to just serve. “He’ll show you as you go. Your calling is whatever — whatever he put in front of you right now.”
In the fall of 2013, Erin joined Adventure Girls. I decided to be a helper for Erin’s group. This was our opportunity to begin making friends. Erin got to know the girls in the group, and me, the mothers who were also helping. These moms are my good friends today, and their daughters have been wonderful friends of Erin’s.
Model Involvement and Serve Together
We want to catch our kids being good, yet it is so valuable for them to catch us doing good and serving. It will instill in them the importance of serving over self. We all need to look outside ourselves and not within. There are so many opportunities to serve at Berean. My daughters have helped in the nursery and with Sunday school, VBS, summer outreach, and Bible studies. Therefore, I have done the same.
Just be ready to dive in to support your children when they get the “serving” bug. Our girls hosted various fundraisers for different ministries. They made homeless packs to distribute.
They also reached out to the elderly and young children. The girls planned and prepared the projects and I was blessed to be the taxi driver and help them where needed. I believe when children get involved in serving, they will continue it when they are older. Now that our girls are young adults, they continue to serve in their churches and community.
To me, the acronym for JOY, says it best. Look to Jesus first, then to Others, in how you can serve them, then to Yourself. You will experience much joy in serving others, so dive in.