I remember driving to work one morning eighteen years ago. I was taking the off-ramp of I-70 to my school in northern Columbia. I was a Reading Recovery teacher at the time.
In the church we were attending then, our Sunday School class was talking about spiritual gifts and passions. I remember, as clear as it was yesterday, praying that morning, “God, I know you have given me this passion for teaching and reading. It is like a fire inside me. Nothing else burns so brightly. I want to use my passion to bring people to You. Help me teach children how to read, so one day, they will be able to read Your Word and know who You are.”
I have been praying that prayer ever since. When I am not sure of what I am doing, I pray that prayer. When I am about to enter a school, I pray that prayer. When I am working one-on-one with a child who is struggling, I pray that prayer.
It wasn’t until today, that I saw God answer it.
A few weeks ago, I was given another opportunity to work with kids in my church’s children’s ministry program. I am leading the K-2 area. I am LOVING being back in there again. I feel like I have come home.
This morning, I was having a conversation with Hadleigh. She had brought her Bible with her to church. (This wouldn’t seem remarkable to most, but people don’t bring their Bibles to my church because we are “seeker friendly”.) We were talking about the stories she had read this past week. She opened her Bible to the story of Jesus calming the storm.
Later, we went into the auditorium for the lesson. The teacher introduced today’s lesson: The Prodigal Son. Hadleigh opened her Bible on her lap and turned to the table of contents. Her finger slowly moved down the page, searching.
I crossed the room to her and whispered, “Let me help you.” I took her Bible and flipped the pages until I found the story and then handed it back to her.
I returned back to where I was before when I heard the small voice whisper, “Look, Erin. Do you see her? Do you see what she is doing? This is why you do what you do. This is your passion in action. This is why I gave you your passions. Do you see how she is discovering Me by reading My Word? Look.”
I looked at Hadleigh again. She was lying on her back with her Bible open, reading, while the movie version of the story blasted from the screen in front of her. No, I hadn’t taught Hadleigh to read, but Hadleigh was the picture of other children who I have taught to read. She was a beautiful vision of my answered prayer.