Fall is my favorite season in Minnesota. The sights, sounds, and the feel of the cooler temperatures, with the greens-, yellows-, reds-, and orange-colored trees, the harvest tones across the fields of corn and soybeans, contrasted by the grayish blue clouds mixed with the golden sun shining through…Wow! God is amazing! I sometimes imagine Him with a paint brush gliding over the canvas (our beautiful earth) adding little touches of color here and there. It brings a feeling of joy to my heart.
Hello! If we haven’t met before, my name is Heidi Johnston. I am the new Children’s Ministry Director at Westbrook.
Nature has so much to show and teach all of us about the beauty and greatness of our God. Exploring nature with children is one of my greatest joys. There is a sense of wonder at the things that we consider ordinary, like a leaf, a stick, a mushroom, a dandelion or a milkweed. Plus, the tiny creatures that we often ignore, like ladybugs, caterpillars, spiders, slugs, and worms can bring them to shout “discovery, discovery” with joy and excitement. God doesn’t just “wow” with the big things, but also in the littlest things. Children offer us the opportunity to see God’s creation with fresh eyes and open hearts.
As I look out my window, I am amazed at the beauty and strength of our oak tree, realizing that giant tree started as a tiny acorn…a seed that sprouted, and grew little by little each year, nourished by the sun, rain, and rich soil. Only God could make that tiny acorn into something so wonderful. God calls us to share this “awe” and “wonder” of creation and His amazing love and grace shown through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Children are often quick to see the wonder in our world, however, they need us to help them see and know Jesus.
God’s Word tells us in Psalm 78:4 not to hide His Words from our children, we are to “…tell the next generation about the LORD’s power and great deeds and the miraculous things he has done.” Our greatest aspiration should be that our kids grow up to know and love the Creator of our universe! Planting the seeds of faith in children’s hearts is something we can all do together with Jesus. The seeds of God’s Word, nourished by loving and caring relationships, and Jesus doing the “heavy work” of growing children that love and follow Him as their Lord and Savior.
A couple winters ago, I dropped a pumpkin into my garden. Come spring it appeared that most of the seeds were gone, eaten by God’s creatures. I planted my garden as usual and several weeks later a vining plant emerged (a pumpkin plant) that eventually took over my garden. A simple seed planted unknowingly, with the help of water, sun, and the hand of God, ended up producing over 20 pumpkins!
Sharing Jesus with the children can be as simple as planting seeds. By showing love, building nurturing relationships with them and their families, praying and sharing God’s story of creation, our sin, and God’s great rescue plan, Jesus! Jesus will be there to do the “heavy lifting” of growing the seeds that are planted, we just need to joyfully “feed and water” them. Let’s walk alongside them…singing, dancing, laughing, embracing, and praising the greatness of our glorious Savior. Let’s show them Jesus!