Wednesday August 19, 2015

Our Calling to Child-Like Love

My name is Karin Forsthoefel, and I will be entering my sophomore year as a Teacher Education major at the University of Dayton. I am looking forward to entering the Intervention Specialist program this year, as I am very passionate about showing patience and care for those who are too often overlooked. I love working with young children especially, and for that reason, I ordered a book recently that I thought I might read to my class someday. A thought popped into my mind today while I was reading the book, You Are Special, by Max Lucado … that ministry to young children is so important—not only for children to hear, but for us to be reminded of as well. I often forget about it, after all, I am highly involved in youth ministry catered towards adolescents to young adults. Youth ministry at these ages involves deep discussion, providing and pointing to answers to theological questions, and affirmations of another for what truly makes them shine. You can’t throw those things at seven-year-olds. However, you can make one simple message clear to them: They are loved by the One who made them, and it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. This is the central message of You Are Special.

The author of the book, Max Lucado, is a preacher and writer in San Antonio, Texas. He has written many national bestseller books focused on spreading the same message found in the children’s book, You Are Special: that God loves you. Although Lucado writes at all levels for all ages, I find his childrens’ books so profound because the simplicity of his message is exactly where children need to start. They are so vulnerable as children—so empty of knowledge and ready to be filled. God calls us to become like children in the face of God—so that we may be pure of His love.

As I pursue my vocation to be an educator, I am often asked, “What age group do you plan on teaching?” I used to say, “I don’t know…maybe elementary…although I like older kids too…” I have had many conversations this summer with family, friends, and God, which seem to be pointing me to work with infants to kindergarten-aged children. In my career as an Intervention Specialist, I now hope to work with infants and toddlers as they begin their long journey of cognitive development. And now, on the same path, God is flashing in front of me a calling to be a catechist, evangelizer, and educator of His love to the young. I want to dive head-first into the ministry where children are being told of the great love of God, so that His love is all they know. I know that there is a very special opportunity for me to combine these vocations into one career in my future. I am so excited to keep my heart and mind open to God’s call and remember along the way that no matter what other people say I should do or where I should go, God’s path is where I belong, and where I will find my rest.

Matthew 18:2-5 says, “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me.” Let us pray that we may remember God’s simple message of love to us, and that God may let our lives become simple, as a child’s, so that we can more fully receive His love. Let us also pray for all mothers, fathers, educators, and teachers of all kinds, that they may receive their children with this same love.

Written by: Karin Forsthoefel

Edited by: Susan Ferguson, Barbara Miller, Regina Lloyd, and Victoria Schoen

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