It was the very first time that my 15-month-old granddaughter, who lives two hours away, was spending the weekend with me. And that meant it was the very first time that she would be in our nursery ministry. I was thrilled! As the children’s pastor, I am so proud of our nursery! We have an awesome room that I knew she would like. The room itself is such a fun place, complete with a bright, sunny mural on the wall. There are shelves of some of the best interactive toys to play with along with stacks and stacks of picture books to read. And our volunteers are simply the best; attentive and caring, there to coddle and coo until service has ended. Our nursery is a perfect place to find a great reflection of our Father’s love for His little ones and I was excited for Eden to experience it!
But, as I left her in that perfectly prepared environment, she began to cry.
And this grandmother’s heart sank.
It wasn’t the lack of bright colors, latest toys or catchy music that caused the tears.
It wasn’t that the volunteers serving that day weren’t happy she was there.
It wasn’t that the prayers that had been prayed for that service weren’t effective.
No. There was one very simple reason she cried.
There was no one in that room that she knew.
The reality of the fact that we tell our volunteers who serve consistently each week was demonstrated in a flood of tears and a chorus of cries. The fact is this: little ones need the comfort and security of a familiar face to allow them to enjoy the facility that has been so carefully prepared for them when they come to church.
And, yes, eventually she could be distracted enough to stop crying and look at the toy that was being presented to her, but she never really was at ease and she never got to experience all that was available to her in that room.
If you are a volunteer who serves in a nursery each week, you, my friend, are making a huge impact in the lives of those babies and toddlers that you serve. While they may not be old enough yet to even say your name, they recognize your face. And over the course of time, week in and week out, month in and month out, you are building a foundation of trust that allows those little ones to simply have fun in their Father’s house.
It makes a grandmother’s heart smile.
And I’m pretty sure it make our Heavenly Father smile, too.