As I think of these precious lades now, I remember them fondly. They will always hold a special place in my heart.
I didn't realize it then, but they poured into my life in a meaningful way that would last a lifetime. As we crafted and baked, I experienced their love and friendship, as well as the love and friendship of the other little girls at the table. Girls who are still my friends, more than thirty years later.
It caused me to reflect on where I'm at today. Not yet grandmotherly, but certainly in a role of influence over young children.
I teach Sunday school and have about 15 girls who regularly sit at my table. Our Sunday morning schedule is packed, and only gives us about 20 minutes of small group time. And, even that time is structured with an activity and discussion about the lesson...not fellowship. So, I decided that a baking/craft party was in order. I coordinated with two other table leaders, and we hosted a party for our girls.
We had a blast.
One girl announced that she'd been so excited the night before that she dreamed it was sprinkling sprinkles. Candy sprinkles, of course.
In the kitchen we made chocolate dipped pretzel rods.
And in the Gallery we made note cards and magnets.
It was such a special time of fellowship, a short devotion on God's love, and a lot of hugs and laughter.
It was so special to see the girls easily mingling with one another. Forming friendships. Connecting.
When I suggested an ice breaker, a 5th grade girl jumped right in and suggested that we all go around the circle and give our name, favorite color and share one unique thing about us. I now know that green is the favorite color for most of the girls, every girl that came from my group plays soccer, and one girl loves meat on a stick while another is a vegetarian.
I cannot wait for more time to really get to know these girls.
I had to take my boys with me... They sat at a table across the room and quietly played games. When we got home, Zach said, "Based on how much fun it sounded like the girls were having, I think you are a really great teacher." Be. Still. My. Heart. Best compliment of the day.
Then it occurred to me... My kids were there. My kids saw the other leaders and me serving these girls. They'd helped me purchase the supplies necessary for our party. They heard the RSVP phone calls coming in. They saw the other leaders and me setting up tables and cleaning up the mess after. They saw us being the hands of feet of Jesus...to their peers. They saw the girls connecting with each other, and connecting with their leaders. They heard and saw just what it meant to these girls to be loved on in this way. And Zach knew it when he saw it.
I did not set out for my boys to be a part of this day at all. After all, it was a Girlfriends in God party. The boys party is to come soon... But my boys were there, and they witnessed love and service. And Zach's heart was impacted.
What a day.
We love because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19