I did not want to volunteer at The Wellspring. My priority was health and staying well. I didn’t have room for children. They require too much. Attention. Snuggles. Care. Love. They require LOVE.
And I wasn’t sure I had any left to give without shattering into a million pieces.
A text message appeared on my phone last October. With the ask - would I be willing to help with kids at The Wellspring the next morning. And not just one ask, but three, before I said yes.
I showed up the following morning feeling like a fish out of water and wanting nothing more than to run and hide somewhere no one would find me. I didn’t want to make social talk with women I didn’t know and better yet didn’t relate to – I’m not a mom – my heart was angry for the yes I had given the day before and guilt and shame trampled all over me when I raised my phone and contemplated sending a text to say, “sorry, I can’t make it”. It took everything in me to keep my feet planted on the sidewalk and raise my hand to open the door – and not to send that text – and walk into the church. My skin was crawling and my stomach was doing back flips...
• Get in
• Get out
• Avoid all people – except babies
• Prepare a list of excuses to not return if asked again
Not an impossible mission... but more difficult than I had anticipated.
Jesus had other plans.
As moms began to hand their babies over, something inside me shifted. My heart was flooded with the rawest of emotions. My plans to go unseen and list of excuses to not be available the following Tuesday’s vanished. Holding a little baby, all traces of anger and anxiety dissipated. One little hand reached out to touch mine and, in that moment, I had realized how hardened and guarded my heart had become.
My heart became undone in that moment as I realized that Jesus was waiting for me to let Him enter in.
I had been excellent at building walls.
Survival walls – they aren’t about keeping people out, right? They’re about hunkering down and waiting until the storm has passed... And my season was stormy.
That’s the lie that I believed. Walls do keep people out – survival or not.
And those children...Jesus used each one of them in such incredible ways.
He knew it would take the innocence of a child for me to let my guard down and to let Him in, and do the work that only He could do. It took caring for a child to realize my own inner child needed to return home and allow the Father to heal.
Week after week I would sit and hold babies who were content to simply be held.
Me. Those children. The Holy Spirit.
And I would pray.
As I prayed, I could feel the Holy Spirit love me, through these children. I could feel as He took His sewing kit to my heart and sewed up the broken pieces. I don’t know what kind of ‘thread’ the Holy Spirit uses but I do know this – His stitches are intentional; His stitches are perfect. And when He has completed sewing there is no evidence of what once was. It isn’t some patch job.
There is complete transformation, wholeness and newness.
The heart that once was, will never be again. He has sewn a new heart.
It’s the newness of heart in me now that is not much different from the newness of heart that’s in those children. It’s through that newness the Holy Spirit was able to work. Because those little ones had hearts that were open to receive Him, I was healed. And because I now hold that newness of heart I am able to go and do the same for others, what those children did for me....LOVE.
The Wellspring came to a close in December, I knew that I wanted to return and give my time in the nursery so my prayer in the waiting became one of transformation. I believed there were more, like me, who were desperate to see their lives be transformed by the Living Power of the Holy Spirit. And so, I began to pray that Jesus would draw volunteers to The Wellspring, not only to serve and give of their time but that He would place volunteers who were longing to draw on Jesus to be their Wellspring of Life. I prayed that the nursery would be a place of complete healing, restoration, fulfilment and an overflowing of the joy of the Lord.
The Wellspring started up in March, and was asked if I would ‘oversee’ the nursery and the volunteers that came each week ... They have been some of the most incredible people. Each person on a journey to become more like Jesus. Each with their own stories. Each on their own healing pathway to freedom and transformation. Each being refined every day, moment by moment.
For two months I sat, as a witness, in that nursery as Jesus worked in the hearts of each volunteer and I watched as transformation took place. The same way Jesus used those children last Fall to work on my heart, is the same way He used those children to work on so many more hearts this Spring.
Jesus used a church program, children and a very angry yes to wildly transform my heart and gave me eyes to see that The Wellspring is less about program and more about a way of life.
Guest Writer: Han Kathleen. Han is a passionate faith-filled follower of Jesus. She’s a beautiful, joy-filled, happy person who loves to laugh and make others laugh; sees struggle as an opportunity to grow in faith and love others better; and always has an encouraging word to say, and a smile to share.
Photo Cred: Stephanie Unger
We are always looking for more volunteers to love on our kids during The Wellspring. If you are interested in serving as a volunteer on Thursday mornings, we would love to hear from you!