No Room for the Squawker

My fourteen month-old Grandson spent the night with us this past weekend and Sunday morning was his first time in church. It didn’t go so well. The sign-in process went well but by the time I released him to the nursery attendant, he was crying. I overcame the twinge of guilt that popped up in my heart by reminding myself that he was in loving, capable, and well-trained hands. As I walked back to the sanctuary, I found myself looking forward to what was sure to be an inspiring sermon from our pastor.

During the third song of worship, I felt the spirit moving – a warm vibration emanating from deep within. But something was wrong. Was it an earthquake? Or perhaps a heart attack? I suddenly realized the violent vibration from my right side was the nursery pager. Now I knew why the young mothers jumped up so quickly when summoned to the nursery. “How do you turn this thing off?” I thought as I hurried back to the nursery wondering what could possibly be wrong.

From the far end of the long hallway, I heard his loud and tearful screaming. As I opened the door, a young nursery worker with a smile that thinly veiled her concern and frustration handed my grandson to me. With an apologetic tone she informed me that he had been crying nonstop from the moment I left. She kindly offered me the option of taking him to the squawkers room. The squawker’s room is the one year-old equivalent of toddler detention where you go when you get kicked out of the nursery – without the pink slip.

As I comforted my sobbing grandson and made my way to the squawker’s room, he quieted down and gave me a big smile – the one that always melts my heart. I reached to open the door and wondered if we would have the detention center to ourselves or if someone else might be there. Imagine my surprise when I found myself in a very large squawker’s room that was packed to capacity with noisy children and their mothers. Pink slip or not, there was no room for us.

I returned to the sanctuary and told my husband that our little angel had been kicked out of the nursery and sent to detention – but since there was no room at the inn, we were going to roam the halls for a while and then head to the car until church was over.

After a quick stroll around the children's area, I took our little charmer outside. As we walked to the car, he darted after a butterfly as fast as he little legs could carry him. With purse and diaper bag in hand, I worked hard to keep up with him.

I got him settled in his car seat and gave him a cookie and some juice and I wondered how I had done this with my own kids. (the answer is that I was younger – a lot younger). Soon he was finished and ready to get up out of the car seat and play. So we walked some more. He was fascinated by the flowers growing near the fence and excited about the bug by the rock we sat on. He loved splashing the water in the little fish pond. We walked and I told him about all the fun and beautiful things he was experiencing and how God made them for us to enjoy.

Something began to change in my heart. Suddenly I wasn’t missing church. I was no longer frustrated or resentful that I wasn’t able to listen to our pastor speak. God had a different worship experience planned for me that day. I felt his presence as I walked and talked with my little grandson. I marveled at the simple wonder of God’s creation. I saw the world through the eyes of a child and stood in awe as I felt the joy evoked by a flower, a bug, a rock, and a splash of water. I was overcome with a sense of gratitude. God is good.

Never Forgotten

I am blessed to spend four days a week with my two grandsons. The oldest, a six-year old Kindergartner, catches the bus in front of the house each morning. This morning I watched from the front porch as he waited at the end of the driveway. We both saw the bus coming but today was different. Instead of stopping, the bus just kept on going – driving right on by without even slowing down.

An unforgettable expression crossed my grandson’s face as he turned back to look at me – a perplexed look of complete bewilderment. At the same moment, I heard the kids on the bus yelling and screaming, “Stop! Wait! Go back!” to let the bus driver know she had missed a stop. As the bus came to a screeching halt just a few houses down the street, I wondered what was going through his young mind as I watched him climb onto his bus.

When he got home from school I asked him about the bus incident and how he felt about being forgotten. He told me it had happened once before and seemed to know that it wasn’t anything personal. He said that sometimes the bus driver just gets to talking and forgets to stop because she didn’t have her mind on him at the moment.

This gave me a great opportunity to remind my grandson how God loves us so much that he never stops thinking about us. We are valuable and precious to him and he always has his mind on us. I prayed with him and thanked God for never passing us by – for never forgetting about us.

When we finished, he aimed one of his precious smiles at me. As he ran to the door to play outside, he paused, turned around, and asked, “Does God think about me even when I’m sleeping?”

“Of course he does,” I answered. “God is always thinking about you because He never sleeps. He created you just the way you are and is very interested in each and every minute of your day. He wants you to grow up to become all that He created you to be.”

Thank God for teachable moments.

Psalm 139:13-18 (NLT)
You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!