Unexpected Blessing

Tears are rolling down my cheeks.

“This is crazy,” I think, and I turn my head away from the crowd, so no one will see.

I’m standing with about 140 elementary school kids and 30 or so adults, who are all participating in the 2015 Vacation Bible School (VBS) at North Shore Community Baptist Church.

We’re in the Family Room, the church’s large gymnasium, and we’re facing the room’s stage, where a projection screen has words and music for us to follow.

It’s Friday, the last day of our week together. Behind us are five days of Bible lessons, snacks, games and crafts. Five mornings spent shepherding our small groups of children from one activity to the next. Five days of foibles and fun with fellow VBS staff.

The music, sweet and upbeat, swells around me with a message of God’s faithfulness, Jesus’ sacrificial love, and the hope we have in a future led by the Lord.

The crowd is clapping and singing along with the cheerful music. The older kids are smiling, and some of the little ones’ enthusiasm is spilling over into jigging dance steps.

My emotions are spilling over, too, but into tears – rolling, unstoppable tears of joy. I feel silly and try to hold them back, but tears of joy are persistent, gushing and flowing from an overfull heart.

VBS week is designed for the children, designed to show them God’s love and His plan for their lives. We teach lessons guided by a curriculum and move through a theme that shows the great and unfailing love of God.

But every year (and 2016 will be my fifth year) – every year – I am filled up with God’s love, too. Every year, my cup overflows, my walls are broken down, my heart is filled up – and spills over.

The week is designed for the children, but our faithful God remembers the staff, too, and blesses us – blesses us with joy unspeakable and full of glory.

I quickly wipe the tears of joy from my cheeks and turn to face the children standing with me. One little boy looks up at me and grins widely. I smile back at him – another year at VBS has blessed us both.

2016-07-14 VBS pic

Noelle Graves has helped with VBS at NSCBC for five years and her 8-year-old son has attended VBS. Find out more about 2016 VBS here.