My babies (choir children) did SO WELL today! I've never been so proud of them. Everyone loved the concert and most stayed to enjoy banana splits or ice cream sundaes with us afterward.
And the school-age children were thrilled with their end-of-year gifts: hymnals of their own, imprinted with their names. Harder to tell with the pre-schoolers, who received beautiful enamel choir pins (blue with red singing birds), nearly an inch in diameter, which they can wear each time their choir sings in the coming year. The children also presented me with a small white bear, proudly "bearing" the United Methodist cross and flame, with a collection of small business-card sized photos of each child and adult worker, double-sided (reverse sides were various photos of things like our Christmas program, Sunday morning singing, our sanctuary windows, etc.) A keepsake of our year together--something I'll treasure the rest of my life.
Fun, fun, fun!
I SOOOO love my job!
I'm going to miss these young ones this summer. Oh, I'll see them in church and they'll give me leg hugs (the youngest ones) when we meet. And some of the older ones will tell me where they're going on their vacations or their latest swimming achievements or Six Flags visits and so forth. But working with them each week, and especially praying with them (my favorite part of each rehearsal--ever heard a three-year-old praying for a sick sister or a pet who died? No guile, just trust...) yes, that's what I'll miss the most. I need the break, but my heart's already looking forward to the fall.
I don't know how I avoided crying as the older children sang "Feed My Lambs" (Sleeth) this afternoon. (It was one of their choices of favorite pieces from this year.) Somehow it took until today for it to sink in that God was reminding me of my own calling through this text:
"Feed my lambs, tend my sheep,
Over all a vigil keep;
In my name, lead them forth
Gently as a shepherd."
Thank you, Good Shepherd, for the gift of these your children in our church family. Keep me faithful to you as I help to shepherd them in your way. Let my love for them show them, in some small way, the boundless love you have for them.