I'm thankful for this testimony from one of our Kids servants at Sojourn East, Shannon Overton:
Working with the 2-year olds in Sojourn Kids can sometimes feel wonderful and sometimes feel defeating. On the wonderful days, the kids are calm, we can engage them in a chorus of "Jesus Loves Me," and I have time to look into their eyes and say, "Jesus loves everything about you," and see their precious smiles in response. But on the defeating days, it feels like I'm just doing damage control. One kid is crying, one is banging a block on another's head, one is playing Houdini trying to escape from the room, and one is trying to avoid getting a dirty diaper changed. It's days like these when I walk out of the room weary and wondering if I did anything that day to help spread the love of Jesus to these children.
And then I remember Mariam. Rewind six years to 2007. I was a new mom in a new town with no established friendships and the nearest relative was a 6-hour car ride away. The birth of our son was one of the best days of my life. But, about 3 months after his arrival - after all the family and friends had made their visits and gone home - I quickly began to feel very isolated. The loneliness of being in the house all day with a baby and the monotony of my daily duties as a mom became more than I could handle. My relationship with Christ was not strong at the time, so I felt like I had no one to lean on but myself, and myself was falling apart.My husband and I were new members at a church, and as a typical first-time mom I was reluctant to put my son in the nursery. One day after church, exhausted with baby in tow, a nice lady approached me, introduced herself as Mariam the nursery worker, and said very kindly but honestly, "Honey, you need to bring your baby to the nursery." I made the typical excuses - not wanting him to get sick, he might cry the whole time, etc., to which she said, "You need a break and I can give that to you." The next Sunday I gave in and nervously took my son to the nursery. I hung around for a while until Mariam finally shooed me out of the room assuring me my son would be fine. And after several nervous Sundays, I realized that in Mariam's loving care, he was fine!
God sent Mariam to me during a time of great need. Sunday mornings became my time to recharge for the week ahead, not only through worship, but also through the break it gave me from my duties as a mother. It was commonly the only time of the week I could carry on a face-to-face adult conversation without interruption. For a glorious 1-1/2 hours, the only item on my to-do list was to worship God. It might not sound like much, but in those days it felt like a mini vacation!
Through this trial, God gave me a heart for mothers with young children. So, on those days with the 2-year olds when it seems like all I did was keep them from hurting themselves or each other, I stop and remember, "This job with which God has entrusted me goes far beyond what happens in this room for 1-1/2 hours with these kids. Maybe a mom of one of these kids had a rough week. Maybe this morning is the only break she's had from her kids all week. Maybe she's exhausted and broken. Maybe this time will recharge her for the week ahead. Maybe today I was someone's Mariam."