Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. ~ Proverbs 16:3
I have been attending Valley Church since 1999 and have been serving since I arrived. Back then, after you attended three weeks you got a name tag and were put on the nursery rotation. With my husband and I both being teachers and planning to have children in the near future, we were excited to serve. It’s great looking back over my experiences. I can see how God used each one to mold me into the person He desired me to be. He prepares us all for our next journey.
I went from serving monthly to serving weekly as the 3’s nursery room leader. I was so thankful God put me in that position. I was able to connect and get to know the families along with so many great volunteers that served with me. Amy Natzke, my supervisor, was pouring into me, and I felt God leading me to do more. I was able to use my education background by helping with the curriculum for the nursery classrooms. God was preparing me for my next journey.
I soon transitioned from part-time work to full-time work in Children’s Ministry. I was the nursery and AWANA Cubbies coordinator. I loved the team I worked with. I loved the children. I loved the volunteers I got to build relationships with. I wasn’t looking for anything else!
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. ~ Jeremiah 29:11
However, God had other plans. In January 2014 I felt a burning in my heart that I was to be doing something different. Do I go back to teaching? Do I look for another job? I thought, “This is crazy! I love where I’m at!” I attended the Children’s Pastor Conference in California with my ministry team. The Hand in Hand, special needs ministry, had moved under our Children’s Ministry Pastor’s directorship, and so I decided to attend a few break-out sessions on special needs to bring information to our team.
I was not prepared for the emotional pull this would bring me. I was really wrestling with what I was feeling. Amy suggested I take some time to reflect. After sharing all my feelings and opinions (quite emotionally, I might add) the children's Ministry Pastor, Josh Denhart, advised I shouldn’t make an emotional decision and should discuss it later.
I returned from the conference and was back in the groove of my wonderful job and taking care of my amazing family, but the burning sensation and wrestling in my heart continued. That spring and summer my husband and I prayed faithfully for God’s direction.
Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done wonderful things, things planned long ago. ~ Isaiah 25:1
Nothing more was said about me and the Hand in Hand position until one fall night Amy asked this short question that would put me on my next journey, “Do you want the position?”
Are you kidding me? That wrestling was now a buzz of excitement! I knew God was answering our prayers and calling me to serve Him in a new way. The next day I went to talk with Josh, he completely forgot about our conversation in California. What? How could he not remember that?!
It was all in God’s timing. In Genesis 41 – Joseph was in prison two more years before he was released. Once Pharaoh had a dream and wanted it interpreted, the cup-bearer remembered that Joseph could interpret the dream. God worked out the details for Joseph and God worked out all the details for me. He was bringing someone to take over my position as the nursery coordinator and someone else as the Cubbies coordinator.
Since taking over the Hand in Hand ministry last fall, I have loved the journey God has taken me on. He has prepared me for this journey and to build this ministry. I am able to love on these families. I am able to build relationships with these beautiful children, strong and amazing parents, and the giving volunteers that love on these individuals. I am excited to serve these families by offering them a monthly respite. It’s a fun-loving environment for the kids and a worry-free break for the parents.
Valley Church is a loving and welcoming church. However, I desire to transform the culture to be even more loving and accepting. I want everyone to say hello to Jacob as he’s being strolled around the church halls by his buddy. I want people to know Katie by her joy to meet people and talk about their jewelry. I want the youth to pull their classmates into the conversations and activities without being prompted.
“But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” ~ Luke 14:13-14
One of my visions when taking over the ministry was to have a mother-son and father-daughter dance for our ministry families. In February I was so excited to hear about the Tim Tebow Foundation, Night to Shine event. I contacted the foundation immediately to see how I could get Valley Church to host one of these events. Again, God is preparing us for the next journey.
I was overwhelmed by the love and excitement that exploded from the Valley Church family this past weekend. Quintin’s message connected perfectly with the opportunity that Valley had recently been given. We will be opening our doors and showing our love to hundreds of God’s children by putting on a Prom Night Experience centered on God’s love for people with special needs.
To learn more about this upcoming event you can check out the 2015 highlight video and then sign up to help by completing this 7 question volunteer survey on ways to serve for the Night to Shine event on February 12, 2016.
God is always preparing you for your next journey. I suggest you take time to reflect on how God moved you from one journey to the next in your past. Then be ready for the ride He plans to take you on in the future. I know I’m ready.
After serving as the church nursery coordinator and AWANA Cubbies Director for five years, God led Beth to be the Hand in Hand Coordinator. She earned a B.A. in Elementary Education from ISU, taught in the public schools for five years, and ran an in-home daycare for 11 years. She has always had a passion for children and loves serving them in this way. Beth and her husband Brian have four children and a grandson. Beth loves her kids' activities & Iowa State games. Email Beth