Monday, April 11, 2016

God is Faithful


"God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful"
- 1 Corinthians 1:8

Five months ago, I had a job. It was a wonderful job, perhaps even a perfect one. I had many close friends among my coworkers, I loved each part of my job, and I felt like I was making an impact. I was moving up in leadership and was being given more supervision over my coworkers. Everything was going quite smoothly.

But then, everything changed overnight. The corporate management of the organization made a policy change that directly conflicted with my beliefs. I tried to think of any possible way that I could stay at my job, but the more I thought about it, the more I knew I couldn't stay.

In my last week at work, I did my best to say goodbye to all the things and people I loved best. The problem with this policy is that it affected all people who entered the organization and not only the employees. So when I left this organization, I was leaving for good, knowing I couldn't go back in the foreseeable future. My family had frequented this place since I was a child, so I tried to soak in every last bit of it. In all this, God was faithful, giving me opportunities to relive some of my childhood memories that week before I left.

The night before I left my job, I read through my Bible, finding verse after verse about courage, truth and standing strong in the Lord. I knew God was calling me to leave my job, but I was terrified. I was afraid of what people would say of me, and of what my supervisors would think. I was scared about the future — how would I pay for school? Where would I get a new job? More than anything, I was broken-hearted about the prospect of leaving all the relationships I had at that job. But, God was faithful, and he gave me more than enough Scripture to give me confidence in my decision.


After leaving, I struggled with direction. I am the girl who always has a plan, so not knowing where my next paycheck would come from was disheartening for me. I put out many applications, but didn't get called for interviews. A month passed, and then another month, and I began to get frustrated with all the waiting. I knew God would provide for me, but when, how? 

In the middle of February I contacted a friend who owned a coffee shop, and she got me an interview. 
I walked into the interview convinced that this must be God's plan for me. It wasn't exactly the job I was looking for, but I convinced myself that it would work. 

Sometimes God says no to a good thing in order to give something far better. 

At this same time I was taking a class for my program where I had to complete 40 hours of volunteer work, half in the Deaf community and half in the hearing community. I didn't really want to take this class, and I looked at it as something I needed to "get through." I had contacted multiple organizations in the Deaf community, but just like my job hunt, doors were closing one after the other. Finally, though, I found a Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) program at a local elementary school and got signed up to volunteer there. Two days after my interview with the coffee shop, I started volunteering at the elementary school, helping with the 4th and 5th grade students and in the DHH preschool class. 

I loved the volunteer work, and I fell in love with the kids. I started to look forward to the days when I would get to volunteer at the school, and I started to get to know the teachers as well. One week after I started volunteering in the class, the coordinator called me over and said, "Our boss is here and she wants to talk to you."

I started to stress out about all the things I could have done wrong, but to my surprise I did not get a lecture. The director of special ed for the district told me that they were creating a paraeducator position in the preschool classroom and asked if I would do an interview. 

So long story short, I have been hired to work as a para in a Deaf and Hard of Hearing preschool class. I get to grow my ASL skills, work with Deaf kids, and play with preschoolers all day long. Best of all I get to work with a teacher who shares my faith and my values. It is literally a dream come true and I am overwhelmed by God's goodness!

Some of the kids in my class :)

In looking back over this whole process, I can see the hand of God so clearly. He closed the doors for all those other jobs because he had this one waiting for me, and this job did not exist when I started my job hunt. God closed the doors of all those other volunteer opportunities because he wanted me in this school so I could get the interview for this job. If they had not known me and I had simply applied for the job, I probably would not have been considered. So many other elements had to fall into place, but have not the space nor the time to tell them all. 

And to think of how I doubted God's provision and goodness in those waiting months. I thought maybe he wasn't paying attention, maybe he missed seeing my needs this time around. But through it all he was planning, working things out for my good and his glory. Thinking about it all brings me such joy and confidence in our Lord. I want to gather everyone I know and say, "Come! See what God has done!"

This is why I share these stories with you. I don't think very many read this, but my hope is that for someone, sometime, this story may be an encouragement. Hindsight is 20/20, and at the end of this journey it is easy to see what God was doing, but it is so much harder in the thick of it. 

If you are waiting on God today, let me encourage you with this: God is good and he is faithful. He sees you, and He is working in your situation today. The verse at the top of this post has been such an encouragement to me in its simplicity. 

"God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful."




Wednesday, September 16, 2015

It's All About Love

Have you ever experienced something incredible, but struggle to put it into words?

Lately, that is how I feel when trying to talk about my relationship with God. When asked to share my testimony, I can talk for hours but still feel like I left out a boatload of critical information. Thinking about it, it does make sense in a way. God is indescribably wonderful in so many ways, and so it fits that I have a hard time detailing all his work in my life. 

I have come to believe that reflection is good— powerful, even. So in light of this fact, I am seeking to look back over the last couple years and see what God has done through one overarching theme: 

Love.

It sounds so simple, and yet so complex. For years I struggled with the concept of loving God, because I really didn't. Love God, that is. If you had asked me during that time if I loved God, I would have retorted defensively, "Yeah! Of course I do! Would I be involved in ministries A, B, and C, and doing all these (insert "Christian" activities") if I didn't?"

That was the heart of my love problem. I defined my relationship with God based on what I did, and not on an actual thriving love-based relationship. The reason I would answer so gruffly was because deep down in my soul, I knew that I didn't love God as I should. My outside actions were an attempt to fill what was missing in my heart. For some reason I lived under the misconception that doing things for God would somehow bring me close to him. 

Praise be to God, for he didn't leave me in that place. He saw me in my self-made bondage of pride and self-righteousness, and he loved me anyway. In the depth of my confusion, he met me through a Bible study and a book, Crazy Love

Sitting on the swing in my backyard, I came to the realization that I didn't love God, and probably would never be able to love him as he deserves. In the moment of recognizing my utter inadequacy, I cried out to God, asking him to give me love for him.

This is the part that is so crazy to me. God loves us wretched, broken sinners, while knowing that we don't even have the capacity to love him as he is worthy to be loved. Yet, he is faithful. He heard my cry of helplessness and he answered. 

Over the next few days, I started to sense something I never had before—a desire to spend time with God in his word. One day I just sat there, crying because I longed to be face to face with my God. As I grew closer to God, studying his word and praying to him, everything else started to fade a little bit. The things that used to annoy me weren't quite as important any more. My self-esteem and self-righteousness seemed petty in the presence of a holy God. 

Day by day, week by week, month by month, year by year, he is changing me. No longer do I have to muscle my way through the fight against sin. In loving God, I have learned to repent and be healed. Most of the time I don't even see the changes in my heart until they are already done. Like the time when a friend said I was "encouraging." I was totally taken aback, because I know myself to be a harsh, sarcastic person who cuts people down with her words. All I could say was, "It must be you, God." 

Because of God's work in my life, I now love to spend time with him every day. He has given me a joy in his word that I have never experienced before, and I go to sleep at night excited to be with him the next morning. God's work is truly miraculous, and I can say with absolute certainty that "his love is better than life."

There is so much more I could say on this topic, but I think God is telling me to leave it here.
I must ask you, though: Do you know the love of God? Don't answer right away. All those verses you have memorized, the sermon notes in a stack by your bed, and the many hours you spent in children's ministry may say nothing about how in love you are with God. 
Dear brother or sister, don't feel defeated if you know you don't love God as he deserves. Just come to him, ask him, and he will show himself faithful. We serve a gracious and loving God. 


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Seven Tips for Teaching Kids

Over the last five years, I have spent a lot of time working with children, whose ages ranged from six months to 16 years. Through hundreds of incidents of trial and error, I have learned a few tips and tricks to help kids do the right thing. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but rather some things I have learned along the way.



1. Be Consistent
This is by far the most important tip. If you don't follow through with what you tell the kids, they are smart and they will not listen to you. Sometimes this means you have to be consistent over and over until they finally get it. To give a couple examples from my life, sometimes kids have trouble holding on to the wall in swim class. This is a safety issue, and it is really important that they hold on to the wall. I give them a warning or two, and then tell them that if they take their hands off again, they will go in time out. For most kids, it only takes one time in time out for them to remember to keep their hands on the wall, but if I didn't follow through with the consequence, they never listened to me. Giving warnings is fine, but it only works if you are consistent with the consequence you set up in the first place. Although giving consequences may seem harsh, it really is the most loving thing you can do for a child. I had a four year old that I worked with at church who spent the first four months screaming at me and kicking me whenever I didn't do what she wanted. But over time, after many trips to time out and my being calm and consistent, she realized that I wasn't going to bend to her will. Then she began to settle in and accept that she wouldn't get her way all the time, and for the rest of the year, she was really sweet and kind. Kids need consistency, and they thrive in an environment when they know what to expect.



2. Offer an Alternative
To kids, adults can sometimes come off as "fun-killers," constantly saying "don't do this" or "you can't do that." When you offer an alternative, it can take the child's mind off of the forbidden activity, and direct them to something better. While lifeguarding last week, I had to constantly tell kids to stop trying to twirl around when they jump in (they are at much more risk of hitting their heads when they do this, in case you were wondering :). At one point, after telling them they couldn't twirl around, God gave me the idea to add, "but maybe you could see who could make the biggest splash when they jump in." Suddenly, the kids' faces turned from disappointed to excited, trying to figure out how to make the biggest splash. Offering an alternative can help kids to make a good choice for themselves, so that you don't have to constantly tell them no.





3. Recognize the differences between rebellion, fear, and immaturity
It may seem tricky to gauge the difference at first, but there are some defining characteristics that can help you figure out if a kids is scared, angry, or just really hyper. I know that, for me, there is a distinct difference between the kid who glares at me and tries to take his hands off the wall every time my back is turned, and the kid who is really excited and his hand keeps slipping off the wall while he tries to practice kicking. Both kids are doing the same wrong behavior, but with a very different heart attitude, and this can impact how you deal with the situation. I would be more likely for me to give an extra warning to really-excited-swim-kid or missing-mama-toddler than to the kid who clearly is mad at me and knows exactly what he is doing. But this is a situation where you have to ask God for his guidance in what to do, because that screaming kid may not have slept well last night, or may be having a rough time at home.



4. Don't be Scared by Screaming
This one is very counter-intuitive. When I have a screaming child, the thing I want to do is get them to stop screaming. No one wants to be "that" teacher, who has the screaming child that distracts all the other children. But in most cases, kids scream and throw a fit to get a response. So when you are unfazed by their screaming, most of them will stop after a little while. If you have a system in place (like screaming = time out), be consistent with it, but don't stress it if the kid won't stop. Sometimes, though, just getting down on their level and talking to them is enough to help them work through it. On multiple occasions, I have had kids in swim classes who were clearly not having a good day. It wasn't that they were scared of the water; they were just plain mad. So I took them through the water, screaming and all, and praised the good things I could find: "Good kicks, Xavier! I can see you are paddling with your arms, keep going!" This tends to stop them in their tracks. I had one kid who screamed the first half of class, but then started to calm down and participated fully at the end. You can set the tone of the class— if you stay positive, chances are that the kid will calm down eventually. It is hard to stay mad at someone who only says nice things to you.



5. Point out someone who is doing the right thing
"Oh, look at how Tyler is sitting criss-cross applesauce. He is doing such a good job! Can you all sit like Tyler?" This way, rather than giving attention to the child doing the negative behavior, you are giving attention to the one doing the right thing. Everyone likes to be praised, and most times the other kids will try to do the right thing too, in hopes that they will be the one to be recognized next time. 




6. Help them practice doing the right thing
Learning new things is hard for all of us. I read once that if you want to memorize something, you have to be able to repeat it from memory perfectly seven times. If I were to want to perfect a piano piece, I would have to play it a few hundred times to get it in my muscle memory. The same is true for helping little kids learn to do the right thing. I once worked with a three year old who just couldn't remember to keep her hands on the wall. She was put in time out over and over, but she couldn't get it. So we started to practice. I put my hands over hers on the wall and we counted to ten together. Then we celebrated and I praised her for keeping her hands on the wall. This not only helped her remember, but it showed her that she could do it.




7. Tell them the Moral Reason Why
This is an important factor if you want to teach a child to do something long term. If you were to tell a child "no" without saying anything else, they might obey that time. But on another day, or if you're not around, chances are that they would do the same naughty thing again. Telling them the moral reason why helps them understand why they shouldn't do something. "Why don't we run into the street? Because the car and very big and fast and we don't want you to get hit." Or to share an experience from my life at the pool, kids are not supposed to shove their kick boards underwater because the kick boards pop up and hit people in the head. Pretty simple, right? But in one preschool class, the teacher just told his kids "no" but didn't say why. About the fourth time he told them to not push them under water "because the lifeguards will get mad." I nearly laughed out loud when I heard that. It's like telling kids to be good or Santa won't give them any presents. So as I was lifeguarding, the next time I saw the kids shove their kick boards under the water, I asked them: "Do you know why we don't push our kick boards under the water?" They looked up at me, puzzled, and shook their heads innocently. "If you push them under the water, they can pop up and hit someone in the head," I explained, "and that would really hurt. So we are not going to push our kick boards under the water, okay?" They nodded, and set their kick boards up on the deck. Not only did they stop putting their kick boards under the water, but they decided I was their friend and waved at me every time I came by. This goes along with offering an alternative, but telling the kids the reason why lets them see that you are a person too, and not just someone there to tell them "no" over and over.



And there you go— seven tips for teaching kids! I realize this was a bit more of a practical post, and perhaps not as reflective or funny as some of the others I have written, but I hope these help you out in your endeavors with kids. Remember, kids are just little people, and treat them the way you would want to be treated. Be consistent, help them out, and explain why you want them to do something. May God bless you as you work to point these little hearts to him!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Perfect Timing

The Lord is writing a beautiful story encompassing his plan for the world and his individual plans for each one of us. Sometimes, I get a little glimpse of one part of His story, and this one was just so good that I have to share it with you.


If you have been reading my blog for any length of time, you will know that during high school I was involved in a program called Bible Quizzing and that now I am helping to lead my church's branch of the ministry. I absolutely love this program and grew closer to God in so many ways through the Scripture I learned, the teaching I heard, and the friendships I developed.

Last spring, as I was graduating high school, God put it on my heart to coordinate some sort of service project for our quizzing district. It was at a point in my life when I realized that a true relationship with God makes real impact in the lives of those around the believer. Bible Quizzing focuses on raising disciples for Christ, so it seemed like the perfect fit for those disciples to find a way to serve.



Right around this time, our church did a meal packing through Children of the Nations. We raised money for and packaged 40,000 meals to send to third world countries. The packing itself was a lot of fun and it was a tangible way to serve people around the world. God placed a desire in my heart for our quizzing district to raise money and pack meals for the needy in the next year.




Getting it all set up wasn't easy. I consider myself to be selectively detail-oriented, meaning that I can do detailed school projects and assignments well, but I am not great at communicating with multiple people and tying up loose ends to make an event happen. It was a growing and stretching process for me to have to think through and work out all the details.



God made it all come together, and throughout the school year we collected coins to raise money for the meal packing. We tentatively set a goal of $1,000, but were waiting on God to see what he would do. We ended up raising more than our goal: $1,125 which enabled us to send 4,500 meals to those in need. It is so encouraging to see God's people coming together for a common goal, and this was even more evident on the day we actually did the packing.



We all met at the church, and everyone had their own job to do, whether it was filling the bags, weighing them, packing them, or sealing up the boxes. Laughter and chatter filled the room as we set about the task.





While we were packing the meals, I got to talk with the director of the branch of Children of the Nations in our area. He told me that our group was the last meal packing taking place in our state, and possibly in the whole country. The ministry is shifting their focus, working on enabling their partners in country to grow crops, raise animals, and fish for food. They are excited about this change and look forward to see what God will do with the ministry.




I was struck most by one thing he said: "When we spoke about this meal packing, I had no idea it would be the last one."

But God knew. He knew how much both ministries meant to me, and He gave me the passion and desire to make it happen just in time. None of us could have known that the opportunity to serve in this way would not come around again, but God planned everything perfectly so that it could take place. He is good, and I am continually amazed at how carefully he works out everything.




We truly serve an amazing God.

Father God,
I thank you for your plan that is worked out among us every single day. I thank you for caring about the ministries of Bible Quizzing and Children of the Nations and making it possible for this partnerships to take place. Thank you for working through me to bring our district together in this common goal and for imparting a heart of service to all the kids involved. I pray that the meals we packed would be a true blessing to those who receive them and that they would know how much You love them. You love them so much that you gave an American teenager a crazy idea to organize a service project just in time so that they could get a meal to eat. May your love become real to all involved in this process, from those who raised the funds, to those who packed the meals, to the organization and finally to those who will receive them.
You are amazing, God! We praise you!

Love, Abby

"Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Jesus Christ throughout all generations forever and ever! Amen." 
- Ephesians 3:20-21

Sunday, May 17, 2015

The Words I Used to Hate

"I don't know"

That simple sentence can be utterly terrifying. Any student finishing high school is familiar with the barrage of questions they may face every day:
Where are you going to college? What is your major? Do you have a job? Where are you going to be working?
As life goes on, the questions may get even harder:
 When are you going to get married? Where are you going to live? How are you going to pay for that? What do you believe about ______?

We all know that we are expected to have answers. Seriously, we are smart, capable, responsible human beings, so we must have the next 10 years of our lives planned out, right?

I fit right into this mold. I am a planner. I love to have a checklist, a five year plan, a career strategy, a list of "do's" and "don't's." Without a plan, I feel lost. So if you would have asked me, say a year or two ago, any of these questions, I would have had solid answers.

My "perfect" graduation picture

I knew what college I was to attend, how I would pay for college, what degree I would get, what my major would be, how I would start my career, how just at the right time I would find the perfect guy, settle down and have some kids, and find a way to work every once in a while. I had it all planned out. It was going to be perfect.

Somehow, along the way, I forgot to really consult God. Oh sure, I prayed long and hard about which school to attend, but I was so set it my plan that I didn't ever question my program or my major. I prayed about my future husband but never even considered the thought that God would allow me to live part of even *gasp* all of my life single. I always believed that "God loves us and wants to give us the desires of our hearts" so therefore: I want these things to happen—God will make it so.

Then little verses started popping up.

"Now listen you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, and trade a make a profit. Yet you do not even know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills we will live and do this or that." As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil."
- James 4:13-16

I memorized this passage. I understood it in theory, but I didn't apply it. I was getting so many mixed messages. The world says to plan, to design your own destiny, to write a checklist for accomplish great things. God just says, "Trust me."

In the rush of senior year and the excitement of graduation, God's voice got drowned out a little bit. I recited my college plans a hundred times, and was duly congratulated. It seemed so good, so perfect, so easy.

God doesn't work in the easy things.

Over the summer, as things calmed down, I learned how to fall in love with Jesus, and he drew me to the unthinkable—traveling across the world to a place I didn't know to share his good news.

I was scared. For the first time in my life, there were so many questions that I did not have answers for. How would I pay for the trip? Would it be safe? Could I survive a fourteen hour flight? How would I communicate? Would I even be able to do any good?

It was in the lack of answers that I saw God move. He provided the funding. It a miracle, but I did not pay a penny toward going on that mission trip. The Lord provided it all. He showed me his great love, so wonderful that worries of safety dissolved entirely. I am always safe in His arms. Every piece of the puzzle slowly fell together through his grace.

An imperfect, blurry picture of me taken by a 7 year old Indian boy


Strangely enough, I loved everything about that mission trip. Something I resisted for years brought me more blessing than anything I worked towards on my own strength.

I no longer believe that God wants to give us the desires of our heart. Rather, he wishes to make our heart's desires more like his own. Then they will always be granted.

VBS in India


God's work in my heart is continuous. He is taking me on a new faith adventure right now in the area of my career/college. Guess who is going back to community college to take pre-reqs for a nursing program while finishing my BA? Yep, this girl. Is this plan crazy? Quite possibly. Will it be time-consuming and expensive? Totally. But this is where God is leading me. And quite honestly, I don't know where this path will take me. So if you ask me today:

Will you be an ASL interpreter?

Will you go through the nursing program?

Will you work as a nurse?

Will you be in America or in a foreign country?

Will you ever get married?

Will you go back to India?

My answer to all of these questions right now is, "I don't know." And I am okay with that answer. The beauty is that I can see a hundred different outcomes for my life; a hundred different ways to serve Jesus. I don't know which one He will lead me on, but I know it will be good.

All God has given me right now is the next step, and I will take it.

Kiddos in India :)

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Common and Uneducated

I was the girl who fought tooth and nail for that 4.0 GPA. I was the girl who worked meticulously to make sure that every stitch in my formal gown was perfect for competition. I was the girl who  stressed out when it looked like I might lose my first place position in Bible Quizzing. I was the girl who did all the right things in order to try and be "good enough" for God.  I was the girl who broke down when anyone offered me any kind of criticism. That was me.

You would think that when I got that first place trophy that I would be satisfied. That I would feel completed when my transcript held all A's. That the applause would fulfill me. After all, I worked for all these things. But they didn't satisfy. Each achievement made me only want more, each good deed caused me to feel that I needed to do more to satisfy God.

I memorized the Scriptures about freedom in Christ and about his amazing grace, but I didn't live like I believed it.

Then Jesus changed me. He brought me to my knees and showed me that I can never, ever do enough to please God or to make up for my sin. He revealed that all my perfect test scores, my medals and trophies, my moments of recognition, could never truly satisfy me.

The truth is that despite all my sin, despite my pride in thinking I could do it on my own, God rescued me. He forgave all my sin and gave me new life, life filled with freedom.

Here's the best part: I don't have to be good enough. In fact, I can rejoice in being weak because it shows just how much God is working in me.

One example of this is in piano. I always hated piano recitals because I made mistakes and thought they were terribly obvious. (I cried after one recital because I practiced for hours but completely botched the second movement)
Recently, God has given me the opportunity to lead worship playing the piano. Did I make mistakes? You bet I did. But the strange thing is, God taught me to rejoice in my mistakes, because they made it so much easier to give glory to him. When I perform perfectly, it is natural to take the credit for it myself. But when I know that my performance was last-minute and somewhat haphazard, I can only praise God when it came out beautifully.

All this ties into one verse that impacted me this year. It is from Acts chapter 4 verse 13:

"Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus."

Here we have Peter and John. They were not 4.0 students; they probably didn't even make it into the 3.0 range. After high school, they did the Judean equivalent of flipping burgers at McDonalds. They would probably fall into the large percentage of the public that fears public speaking almost as much as death. They were as average as they come. So when they stood up in front of the council giving a lengthy sermon about a miraculous sign God performed through them, everyone was amazed. They knew that these guys could not come up with this stuff on their own, so they thought to themselves, "What could it be that changed these men and gave them courage? It must have been that Jesus they talk about so much."

Now picture a different scenario. Peter and John were 4.0 students, scored 2400 on the SAT, attended Harvard and have several PhDs. They are involved often in public service and humanitarian aid, and the news interviews them regularly. Now if this Peter and this John presented the same speech to the council, what would the response have been like? "Wow, these guys are so smart and I have never heard anyone give a speech like that! I wonder if I can get their autograph..."

I realize that this is an exaggeration, but the point is still true. Do your actions point people to God, or just to you? I am not trying to say that you should not try your best at what you do—God says that whatever you do you should "work at it with all your heart." I am encouraging you to embrace your weaknesses and take joy in them.

One more verse just popped into my head. I memorized it years ago, but I don't think I fully understood it until this moment:

"But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of this world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before Him. It is because of Him that you are in Christ Jesus." (1 Corinthians 1:27-30)

I am so thankful that Jesus saw foolish, weak, lowly little ol' me and chose me out of the world. I would much rather be weak for Christ than strong for myself.

Monday, March 23, 2015

You know you're acting like a mom when....



Last spring (and by extension last fall) I crossed the magical, invisible line to adulthood. To be honest, I was completely freaked out. But now, almost a year into this new stage of life, I can say that I like it pretty fine. Of course, not too much has changed practically. I still live at home and work at the same place. Nevertheless, as I have become an adult and started working with children in more and more situations, I have begun to pick up what I call "mom instincts." What are mom instincts, you may ask. To me, they are skills or mannerisms that I have picked up from working with children almost constantly for the last year. It just means that in a lot of ways, I have started acting like a mom. So without further ado, here is my list.

You know you're acting like a mom when....

... having kids spit gum into your hand is a totally normal, weekly occurrence

... you search a church campus for half an hour looking for two twelve year old girls who "got lost while looking for a mood ring in the dark"

... you can spot a kid lying a mile away. "No, I know I already gave you snack, you have a sticker on your forehead so I am not giving you another one and you already went to the bathroom three times tonight so there is no way you have to go" (Restroom parties are quite common for preschoolers apparently. We once had to send three adults in to get some little boys who were dancing on the counter in their underwear.)

... you stop mid-sentence in a conversation to yell at the tweens down the hall, "don't hurt yourselves" when you hear them crash into the wall with the spinny chair. 

... you know and can distinguish between high fives, super high fives, knuckles, fist bumps, Baymax fist bumps, sanitary high fives, high tens, and pinky promises. 

... you are asked to set a curfew for 10 tween girls you are chaperoning (oh, yeah, I am the adult here)

... you could add "skilled in explaining the moral reason why" to your resume. (Why don't we shove kick boards under the water? Because they can pop up and hit our friends in the head. And that would not be very nice, would it?)

... you have had many children's songs such as One Elephant Went Out to Play or Bringing Home my Baby Bumble Bee stuck in your head all. day. long. 

So there you have it—my list of how I feel like a mom sometimes :) 
What things in your life make you feel like a mom? Do you work with kids a lot?