The power of our words
Last year we had a group of boys in our Kidz Church that were constantly calling out, being rude and disrespectful, not wanting to join in and everything in-between. It was really challenging for us and for all the children. We tried all the usual things; yellow/red card warnings, talks with parents, one on one talks with the children, changing the programme to include an occasional football week, more games… it occasionally worked but not really. This is my story of testimony.
I remember it well. After another hard Sunday morning, I lay down in the Kidz rooms with some worship music playing in the background and I felt utterly hopeless. I felt like a failure. I just didn’t know what to do any more and considered whether I was even the right person for my job. I called out, “God what do I do? Why do these boys hate me?” In my anguish God spoke, like He always does. He said “these boys do not know their worth and how much I love them”.
I shared this with my team and after some prayer, we had the idea to take a whole term and pray for the children one by one, ask God for some loving, encouraging words for them and ask God for some pictures of how much He loves them and how He made them. We recorded all these words and pictures, wrote it down and created a framed picture/letter from God to them. Over the term, during and after the service we took every child aside for a twenty minute one on one time. In this time, we gave them the framed letter, a goody bag filled with gifts, blessed them, chatted with them about anything going on in their lives and then prayed for them. Practically, it was a sacrifice, but it was incredible.
The response we had was outstanding.
1. For us as team
We saw these children through God’s eyes and how much God loves them. We saw a slice of his heart for them and consequently our hearts became more compassionate towards them. The hardness we/I had, melted into hearts of love.
2. The children
We saw their faces light up. As we declared words of blessing and life over them, children began to cry with overwhelming joy at how much they were loved by God and by us. They were surprised by the pictures they had and all of them have since then put the frame up on their wall. To receive words of blessing and hope, instead of being “told off”, changed something in their hearts. They learnt that we and consequently God was for them and not against them.
3. The families
Parents came and spoke with us about how touched their child felt. Parents then started to use these framed letters as a tool. When their child came in from school after a bad day, a parent would look back at the words God said and reiterate and declare that God loved them and was for them. Families changed. God moved and did some incredible stuff.
A year on, I look back at that time. It was a time of hardship for me, but it was incredible and things have drastically changed since then. As a team we keep declaring truth over the children and planting names of love. All the children (including the boys) are so much calmer, focused and happier. They know God loves them and they know we do too.
Yes, we still get a challenging week now and again, but it’s different and it doesn’t come from a place of hopelessness or despair. We approach the children differently and God is so present.
I look back and thank God that He used a hard situation, and turned it around for His glory to change lives. God wants to meet and have a relationship with his children individually. I am so privileged that God uses us in a child’s journey to be Jesus in skin.
This was written by Melody Ramos, the Children and Families Pastor at ChristChurch Fulham.