Now, when you are teaching a classroom full of kids who have grown up in church, the struggle can be to find new and interesting ways to tell them the same stories that they have heard a hundred times before. With girls who haven't grown up hearing those stories, the challenge is to explain Jesus to them in a way that they will truly understand who HE is.
You see, if I were to tell my girls that Jesus is like a father, it most likely won't be a comforting thought for most of them. For a lot of them, their fathers were in jail, not around, abusive, dead beat, mean.... And that is not what Jesus is to us at all.
So not only could I not come at it from that angle right away, but I had to break it down and be clear and simple. Because large words and spiritual verbage were not going to mean a lot to them. All in all, it was a wonderful lesson for me. It helped me get a fresh perspective on Christ, when it would be so easy to become complacent and prideful in my own spirituality.
One Saturday, my friend Kendall, who was the teacher, asked if I wanted to teach the following week. I was nervous, but I still wanted to do it. You see, I love to teach, and these girls were like little sponges. Even if they were pretending not to listen. We found that out when 90% of them could recite ALL ten commandments after we studied them.
All week I prayed about what I should share with them... I thought about what could be most applicable to their situation, and to what they could best relate. Then I started thinking about Bible stories with young girls. I remembered the young girl who became a maidservant to Naaman's wife. She had been taken from her home, forced to be with people who hated her. Hatred not from who she was, but WHO she represented. This might work. Some of my girls were in foster homes, split homes, homes where their mom always had a new boyfriend.... Just like the girl in the story, their situations weren't ideal, or what they had dreamed of.
But I didn't want to just tell them the story... I wanted it to come alive for them... So the Lord gave me an idea... What if I took some literary liberty, and rewrote the story from the girl's point of view? I would keep to the Biblical account, but I could add possible scenarious to help them really see the story.
So I started writing, and put together about 3 pages for my lesson. To say I was nervous would be an understatement, but I also know God's Word doesn't return void, and that He would be the one guiding this lesson, not me.
So here is part 1 of the story, and maybe in the next few days I'll post part 2 and let you know how the girl's and my friends responded.... Enjoy....
Not Too Small
Rachel huddled down farther between the mat and the wall. Maybe, just maybe she could shrink down far enough to block out the screaming and crying of the women and children. For two days, the Syrian army had been plundering and pillaging their village. Just last night, Rachel’s own parents had been taken captive. Rachel closed her eyes, and began to remember the details of the previous evening.
“Rachel, please go out into the storehouse and grab me some more barley. I don’t have enough for the meal.”
“Yes Mother,” answered Rachel.
She hurried out the back door to carry out the task for her mother. Just as she reached the storehouse, she heard a scream. Dropping her basket, Rachel rushed back to the house. As she approached the backdoor, Rachel saw her father and mother being forced out the front door by a Syrian soldier. Rachel opened her mouth to scream, but no sound came out. She didn’t know how long she stood outside, but soon the chilling winds and the grumblings from her stomach brought her back to reality. Rachel slowly made her way into her now empty house and curled up on her parent’s mat and fell into a fitful sleep.
Wiping tears from her eyes, Rachel began to think about what she would do when the army finally left her village. Just as she was beginning to formulate a plan, angry voices were heard outside her kitchen window.
“I don’t understand why we have to check all the houses again. We know that we got all the Jewish scum anyway”
“Because Captain Naaman told us to that’s why. Now you take that house and I’ll take this one.”
Not wanting to get taken with the rest of her village, Rachel hurriedly stood and prepared to make a break for the back door. Just as she was about to leave her door shattered into a million splinters as the Syrian soldiers broke into her home.
“Well… what have we here?” growled the soldiers as he glared at Rachel with hate filled eyes.
Rachel held her breath, afraid to move, not knowing what would be ahead of her this night. Just as the soldier approached Rachel, a loud horn sounded in the streets. Upon hearing the horn, the soldier jerked Rachel up by her arm and dragged her outside.
“Jewish scum. They are nothing but problems for us to deal with every day of our lives. It's just another problem of this stupid war.”
Tears began to fill Rachel’s eyes. They were not tears of pain or even tears of hurt over the Syrian’s cruel words, rather they were tears of fear. Rachel didn’t think that she would ever see her homeland or her family again.
After a grueling day of journey, the army and all of the captives stopped to rest for the evening. Rachel didn’t think that she could go another step without a bite to eat. Just as she sat down on a rock to catch her breath, she heard someone yelling and screaming at her.
“What do you think that you are doing?” yelled the soldier. “You’re not here for a vacation, I need my uniform cleaned.”
As the soldier continued to rant and rave, Rachel saw a tall, commanding man approach the screaming soldier.
“Marcais,” said the man. “What do you think you are doing?”
“Um…well… you see sir... I was just… um… I was just making sure that our prisoner was earning her keep.”
“I don’t believe I asked you to make sure that this young woman was earning her keep by seeing to your personal needs and responsibilities.” Answered the man with a firm and determined look in his eyes.
Rachel stood there dumbly, not knowing what to do. The giant of a man stepped closer to Rachel and knelt down in front of her.
“Well little one, you must be hungry. Let’s go get you some nourishment.”
After her belly was full, the man, whom Rachel learned was Naaman, the captain of the Syrian army, spoke to Rachel about her future.
“My wife is in need of a maid to see to her daily needs. I believe you are capable of the job. You will be well taken care of and all of your needs will be met.”
Rachel knew that she should be grateful, but she really did not want to be thankful when these men had taken her from her home and now expected her to care for their selfish spoiled wives. Just as Rachel was about to respond in anger to Naaman, a still small voice spoke to her.
“Do not fear my little one. I am with you always and I have great things planned for you.”