Sunday night, the church nursery was a mad house! I don’t know if most of the children didn’t have naps in between services (I know MY child didn’t!) or if they had all had a bag full of sugar for lunch, but it seemed they were ALL on hyper-drive!
Some were silly and were crawling around licking random objects (including my tights) as they pretended to be puppies. Some were climbing on top of every surface imaginable, including the top of the play kitchen (pretending to climb Everest?). Some were crying and putting themselves in time out for no reason (my child), and some, apparently, thought they were part of the toddler mafia as they were hunting down other children in search of what was “owed” to them (crackers, toys, shoes).
I tried everything I could to settle them down: we watched Baby Einstein/brainwashing for babies (if you’ve ever seen it, you know what I mean) which initiated the puppy play. I tried snack time (where the Mafia re-organized), then I tried just sitting back and letting them burn up some energy (Mt. Everest journey resumed) and, finally, singing. Queue the crying child who wanted to sing “ABCD’s” again instead of “Deep and Wide” (Mine again).
FINALLY, the bright idea came to get them to all hold hands and play “Ring around the Rosie” I know, I know, it’s about the Bubonic Plague, but they don’t know that, and I was desperate…let’s just think of it as a “history lesson.”
It was at this point that I saw a very important life lesson being learned by a very young group of girls.
As we began holding hands, I noticed a few of the girls scrambling to get next to their “best friend” to ensure that they would be holding each other’s hands. Then came the shouting: “I wanna stand next to Mrs. Holly!!!” “NO! That MY MOMMY” (<–my child again), “I wanna hold Addison’s hand!” “No! That’s MY ADDI!” (<–not my child). With shouting came pushing, clawing, shoving, screaming, stomping, and crying, as a gaggle of very unhappy little girls were not getting what they wanted. My first inclination was to RUN!
TIME OUT was called (not that it made a big difference) and we began to break off into smaller groups. Addison, Tinsley and Natalie were suddenly off to one side, Bryce, Luther and Mattison were now a posse, Elyse was still content being a puppy under the slide, and Charlotte was running from group to group trying to break into their circles to play. Sadly, despite seeing the emotion of rejection welling up in her eyes, no one let her in. One kid even said “No way! You not our friend, go away!” My heart broke for Charlotte. After a couple more attempts and another intense scuffle, she gave up.
It hurts to be rejected, doesn’t it? Even as adults, rejection hurts just as badly as it did when we were little ones. Rejected by a boy as a teenager (Ouch—several names and memories of sobbing on my pillow just crossed my mind). Rejected by the college that was applied for. Rejected by that awesome job you interviewed for. Rejected by ________ (you fill in the blank). It just hurts us to the deepest part of our being.
Since it is Easter weekend, I find it only fitting to mention the most horrible rejection story of them all.
Our God became flesh to dwell among us for the sole purpose of providing a way for us to know HIM and his glory. He made himself of no reputation, thought not of himself, and lived a perfect life amid temptations on every side. He proved himself GOD and gave of himself to the point of death only to be rejected by the ones He created, loves, and longs for.
Isaiah 53:3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
It’s easy for us as believers to “miss the big picture” when it comes to Easter. Of course, we remember why we celebrate, and we do things in honor of God’s goodness in giving us His Son. But do we REALLY take the time to focus on what the price was for Him to give that to us? Such pain, deep rejection, hurt and sorrow. Now that we have received Him, what can we do to make sure others accept Him?
Later Sunday night, we all stopped playing, and I took time to talk to each one of those little 2-3 year olds. I told them that God loves us and that we want to love God. Being nice to each other is a way to show Him we love Him. It hurts others when we don’t let them in, and it hurts God to see us acting that way.
It’s a simple concept, really- a bunch of toddlers got it! Let’s not allow the opportunity pass for us to show someone else that they are accepted and loved by God this weekend. I know its cliché’, but try to remember that the reason for this “season” (Easter) isn’t all about US (believers), it’s about ALL (mankind). Maybe instead of making sure your Easter dress is the most beautiful or that the baskets are full of chocolate, we could really set our minds to telling others without hope about our amazing God who bore our stripes so that we might be healed: the greatest story of Rejection and Acceptance.
Isaiah 53:5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.