From the Staff . . .

It seems like it was just last week that we were preparing for the mystery of Christmas and now we are preparing for the mystery of Easter. I just don’t understand how time suddenly speeds up when you get older!
For many years, I gave up things for Lent that were, to be honest, not things to prepare me for Easter, but that would make me healthier, thinner, or make my house cleaner or more organized. There isn’t anything wrong with that. Giving up those things was definitely a sacrifice, at least for me. Where I failed was in not replacing those things with what would bring me closer to God and to truly prepare me for the mystery of Easter.
You have heard me say way too many times how wonderful Godly Play is for children, but what I have neglected to mention is how it has changed me.
Pretty much every way that I work with the children now is based on Godly Play. At our January retreat, we looked at how important it is to be still and to know God. We talked about how prayer should not be a recitation of “asks,” but should be a time of praise, thankfulness, self-evaluation, and repentance as well as asking for the things that we desire. At the conclusion of every prayer should be yielding to God’s will and acknowledging that God always knows what we really need. Our Parkway children responded beyond all my expectations. They are truly an amazing group of children!
Each year for Lent, I try to prepare some type of tangible activity to prepare them for Easter. This year, I tried to expand on our Godly Play lessons and our retreat by preparing a box, not of things to “do,” but on objects to reflect on what they have to be thankful for, what their journey of faith looks like,  and how they can minister to others.
In preparing those boxes, I realized that those are the very things that I need to prepare myself for the great mystery of Easter.
While I cannot share all of the realizations that this journey to Easter will bring to me, I can share one that has already been revealed to me: thankfulness. I have so very much to be thankful for! I will not try to name them all, but I want to tell you how thankful I am for you. Thank you for being a true family to me. You fed my family when I couldn’t, you prayed for me when I couldn’t, and you have given me the incredible gift of allowing me to be a part of your children’s lives.
 God continually teaches me so many things through the Parkway children, the Parkway staff, and the Parkway family. The most recent of those lessons is that sometimes I have to put aside my wishes and expectations and allow God to do what only God can do. We have an amazing church. We have a wonderful pastor. We have the most caring deacons, teachers, and leaders. We have a true family of faith. We have a God who loves us so much that He made the ultimate sacrifice for us.
This year, prepare for the great mystery of Easter in whatever way you are led. Just don’t miss the opportunity to use that preparation to draw near to God and to allow God to draw near to you.
-Jane Redman