I currently play piano for a little church in a nearby town. I’ve always had a soft spot for small churches, because I’ve found that they often have huge hearts. This one is no exception. There is a lot of love and warmth coming from such a small congregation. The other thing about small churches, however, is that you have to be flexible when there’s a need.
For example… I’m the pianist. My ‘job’ is to show up ready to plunk away on the keyboard as the pastor’s wife leads the song service. And because it’s a small church, I also put together the song service and help lead practices. But yesterday, after my usual half hour behind the keyboard, I found myself in a little room filled with six small children and middle-schoolers. Due to unforseen events, there was no Sunday School teacher and no helper for nursery. So I, and our guitarist, found ourselves wearing a completely new hat, so to speak.
And to be honest, I was WAY out of my comfort zone. I’m not around little kids very often, and –although I can handle one or two — trying to entertain six of them was a tad bit frightening. To make matters worse, I was already ‘out of it’ that morning’. During the song service, I had a few too many slip-ups if you ask me. Our guitarist said she didn’t even notice the wrong notes I played. But I did. And I’m sure that anyone watching my face during the service knew too, because I still can’t help grimacing when I hit a wrong note. 🙂
So I wasn’t feeling on top of my game. And as I sat on the nursery floor to try stopping two little boys from fighting over a singing caterpillar, I kind of said a prayer for survival. For my survival. Or, even better, that I might be instantly transformed into Super Nanny, complete with glasses and THE look.
As the morning wore on, I found myself wondering if they shouldn’t have just cancelled the regularly scheduled activities for the children. Mainly because I didn’t feel very well-equipped. I couldn’t even handle the matching game a five-year-old wanted to play with me. (Seriously, this kid was way too good at that matching game). And the middle-schoolers were hard to keep occupied, as they kept reminding me that they desperately wanted to be in ‘real’ Sunday School.
I tried my best to stay positive and bubbly and — soon enough — we did manage to find a sweet spot of order and activity. The girls wrote out Bible questions on a dry-erase board and then shouted them out to me so that I could answer them. Meanwhile, I was sitting on the floor playing an imaginary video game with two little boys. Somehow, I was always eaten by a dinosaur. And the one baby in the room happily bounced in her chair.
I’m not saying that everything was perfect. I still didn’t feel like I was in my A-game. And when the last parent had picked up their child, I breathed a sigh of relief… then accidentally flipped over the Connect 4 game in my hands and consequently scattered an array of yellow and red chips all across the floor. Ugh! But as I bent over to pick it all up, one of the curly-haired little boys ran back to me and threw his arms around my neck to give me a big hug.
“You’re fun,” he said, a huge smile on his face.
And I realized that God had used me in spite of myself and everything I thought I couldn’t do. Sure, I’m no Super Nanny. But I made one little boy’s morning. And he sure made mine.