The boys attended Vacation Bible Adventure last week. (Also known as Vacation Bible School to most of us, but you have to admit, Adventure sounds more entincing than School. It's true.) They attended everyday with their little circle of friends, and they gave a full report when they got home.
On the first day, Tyler explained, "Peter was in jail, and he just falled asleep. And an angel came and woked him up, and now he's not in jail. And I made a Cheerio necklace, and every time I eat a Cheerio, I'll pray that someone gets out of jail. And God is far from us. He's in China."
Almost true on almost a few levels.
They made crafts, they listened to stories, they played with their friends, and they sang songs. By golly, they sang songs. They came home with their CD of tunes, and we have played them nonstop in the car, at home, on the go, as they fall asleep - you name it. We're rockin' it out to the VBA songs.
The children were invited to lead worship on the Sunday morning after VBA. We were invited to come a little early so they could join their friends on the stage, and they would lead us all in the songs they had been practicing day in and day out. I coached them on appropriate 'stage behavior': sing nicely, stand quietly, keep your eyes on the music director, and of course, wave to your parents.
When Sunday morning arrived, they were primed and ready. Until it was Time.
At the last minute, from the front row of the stage, Tucker panicked. His eyes filled with tears, his face went white, and I watched the panic rise. I didn't run to rescue him, since I was only ten feet away from him, seated in the front row. Still, he didn't need rescue; he fled the scene. He came down and sat with me, choosing instead to lead, encourage, and direct from the front row. He did all the motions, and he reminded the other children to do theirs: all from the front row.
"Want to go up there?" "No. No, I do not."
Tyler, on the other hand, was ready to shine. He walked up on stage, claimed his moment in the spotlight, and took it on. He sang, showed all the motions, smiled at the crowd.
He also wrestled with the little boy beside him.
He engaged in a Tug of War over a microphone cord.
He worked to keep his pants on, since he has no hips and I forgot to put a belt on him.
He ran off the stage to see if Tucker wanted to sing.
He ran off the stage to tell me his pants were falling down.
He ran off the stage to tell me, thank you, his pants were now staying on much better.
He talked during the prayer.
He sang, sang, sang.
And at the very end, he bowed. Deeply, with drama, and all by himself.
When we finished, there was much discussion about the little redheaded boy on stage. Comments like,
"Oh, what a boy you have."
"That's what boys do."
"Wasn't he just adorable?"
"I loved watching him. I just love your boys!"
And one woman actually said, "Oh, how I love watching him, and oh, how thankful I am that he isn't mine."
Thankful he isn't yours.
Here's the deal. Sure, my son was very busy on that stage. Yes, he didn't stand quite as still or focused as the older children who have done this before. Sure, I envisioned it happening differently. Sure, I whispered loudly from the front row and gave him The Mom Look to try to rein him in.
But the truth is: My son led us in worship. He sang about the deep, deep love of Jesus. He sang about sharing the love of God with others. He sang about how the Word of God is alive, active, and real. He sang.
And he smiled and laughed. And he was very much the joyful three-year-old God created him to be. And that is very much an act of worship.
So, you know what? I'm too am glad he doesn't belong to her.
Because he's mine.
You made me proud, Tyler. Keep singing your heart out, my joyful little boy.