“Guys! Guess what happened today!” I said to my housemates as we gathered in the kitchen for dinner. “I was in the photocopy room with one of the kindergarten teachers, and she found out I have a frog puppet so she invited me to come to her class to tell a story for the letter ‘F’ week.” Excitement and creativity stirred in the house as we all got brainstorming a fun story idea.  As I put my puppet on my hand, a familiar heartache feeling stirred as well.

I work in the admin office but up until almost a year ago, I had also been a children’s pastor for 15 years. That chapter closed sadly and, in my mind permanently, so instead of pursuing another ministry opportunity, I took on more responsibility at ACS. My last Sunday at the church, I gathered my puppet, Francois the frog, and put him in the back of my closet knowing he wouldn’t be helpful in admissions, payroll, or board meetings.

Still Have the Knack?

The next morning was a flurry of running around, getting ready, gathering Francois and one of his cats, carrying my laptop all over the house with me while taking notes in a Zoom meeting for the building project. I triple-checked to make sure I was muted and my camera was off before brushing my teeth and combing my hair.

My mind raced as I drove to the school; I wondered if I still had the knack for engaging with kids. Am I still fun? Will they laugh? Do I even remember how to do my puppet’s French accent? Like so many Sundays before, the Lord calmed my heart reminding me it’s not about how I perform but how He shows up.

Figuring Francois was a guest, I felt it was fair to park in the visitor parking just this once. Like a traveling circus, I grabbed my armloads of props and raced off to the classroom.

Enraptured and Ready

I sat down in front of the kindergarten students and, with Francois’s first peek out of his bag, the laughter began. My fears dissolved. The kids were enraptured and ready to catch each “F” sound as Francois told the story of how he came to live with five feline friends: Fiasco, Fable, Fidget, Fumble, and Fred who is the size of a fat fire truck.

Then Rex came and was sad his name didn’t start with “F.” The students reassured Francois that he could still be friends with Rex. Francois even introduced the kids to Fidget, who happily let each one pet her.

Laughing in a circle of beautiful kids was the highlight of my week.

It was one more example to me of God’s constant redemptive work. He is big enough to be trusted with our crushed circumstances, broken hearts, lost dreams and use them for His glory while still perfectly loving us. There is freedom in His faithfulness that lasts forever.

PS: For those who know me well and have been wondering whoever decided that I would be the one to write about it…asking me to the guest storyteller for “F” week turned out to be a great idea.