A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to take 16 of our 4th and 5th grade students on an overnight trip to Grand Rapids. Normally we go to Chicago for the CIY Superstart! Conference. We didn’t get to go last year because of Covid and they cancelled the in person conference this year. Thankfully they did a virtual conference so we were able to still have it with some improvisations.
If anyone is wondering how this pandemic has changed kids, I can tell you that the number one positive thing in my opinion is their ability to realize that things do not always go our way. I think before the pandemic I noticed a lot of entitlement in kids, and in a way this has pushed the reset button on that. Beginning last year I have talked to parents about managing our kids expectations and preparing them for when things don’t go our way. And to learn the phrase “Lord Willing.”
Growing up in Haiti those 2 words followed EVERY phrase anyone ever made about plans. Tomorrow I’m going to the market, Lord willing. Tonight we will have dinner, Lord willing. The bible tells us to do just this. James 4:13-15 says, “Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”
I feel like this is an easy concept when you are used to things not being easy. In Haiti, you never know when you will have electricity, gas, etc. You have to live your life in a way that sometimes things don’t work out and thats ok. It wasn’t the Lords will for you that day. In America we have so many conveniences that we take them for granted. We’ve forgotten who is in charge and forgotten that it up to God.
I’ve really been driving this message with my church kids this year and for once I think they understand it. We weren’t sure we were going to be able to do this conference. I kept telling the kids “Lord willing” we will go to Grand Rapids. “Lord willing” we can swim at the hotel. “Lord willing” was my answer to everything!
We checked all of the kids’ temperatures before the trip. I was really praying that we would be able to go without anyone being sick. I told them all “Lord willing” we can go! God is good! We didn’t have anyone sick and we took off! On the bus, the kids were buzzing with excitement they couldn’t wait for the trip. The entire way I answered questions about what we were doing, where we were eating, & how much longer lol. Every answer was Lord willing.
When we got to the hotel the back of the bus would not open…All of the materials for the conference, all of the food I had packed was in there and all of the kids bags (including swimsuits) were locked in the back of the bus.
I got the kids off the bus and had them sit quietly in the lobby. I was at a loss. I felt overwhelmed, and responsible for the disappointment that the kids would face if I couldn’t get into the bus and then I prayed. Thankfully my son met us there with one of his college friends and those tall young men were able to pry the back open and get everything out!!! Praise God!
The kids were well behaved and had a blast swimming. We had dinner and made our way into the conference room for the first session. I had made my schedule up and we were back on track…and then we weren’t… the internet was super slow and lagging the video for the conference. My son, and his friend, and Ashley Oliver were frantically helping me with the tech stuff. I looked at the kids and said, “I’m sorry guys…and one of the boys raised his hand and said, “Miss Sara, maybe Jesus wants us to go swimming again right now! This stopped me dead in my tracks because I had signed the pool out for that hour when we had first gotten there but didn’t think we would need it…but God knew..I had to laugh because this whole time I had been telling the kids Lord willing, and THEY had been listening, and maybe I wasn’t!
I agreed that indeed maybe Jesus did want us to swim again! So we swam! And the next day instead of doing 2 sessions of the conference we did 3! And it was a phenomenal conference. It talked about how our value is in Christ. Not in our skills or talents. I needed to hear that after my tech skills weren’t up to par! I truly believe that hearing all three of the sessions in one day really helped the message stick for the kids…and I know that all of us left that trip truly believing in giving God control in our lives and living in a “Lord willing” way.