Ben and I have been going to The Pool for almost a year now. It's wonderful for many reasons, but one of the most wonderful reasons is that my kids are learning to worship there.
The space is set up to allow people to connect with God in the way they need to. There are places to kneel, to pray, to be creative, to dance. There are candles to light and paper to write on, Bibles to read.
But more than just having those things available, it's encouraged that they're used, and it's natural to see it happen. People are encouraged to move around the space, to interact, to participate.
Along with this, children are encouraged to participate. There are crayons and papers available for them, as well as some books for them to look through. I don't feel the need to keep my kids quiet or entertained. So long as they are not being disruptive, they get all the same freedoms. It's wonderful to not have to try and restrain them while trying to worship myself - that never works.
So last Sunday an amazing thing happened. Hana sat with my friend Laura (because Laura was wonderful and willing to share her baby carrots). She sat there for a couple of songs singing. As Laura closed her eyes in worship, Hana watched her. At first she was concerned something was wrong, but after a little reassurance from me she closed her eyes too.
During another song someone got up and went to the art table. My curious daughter, not wanting to miss anything exciting, went to see what was happening. As Erin was drawing she passed some pastels over to Hana so she could participate too - connecting to God through art.
Once Hana was done there she noticed one of the older kids dancing. She joined in, turning and moving with the music and having a wonderful time.
I know that my 3 year old doesn't fully understand the meaning of what everyone was doing, but it just filled my heart to bursting that she was able to participate. For her it will be natural to connect to God through quiet reflection, through creative expression, through movement. It won't be awkward or uncomfortable like it is for most of us, there won't be that moment of "should I or shouldn't I" that goes through my head when I feel the need to do something other than just sitting there. I'm excited to see how that impacts her as she grows and experiences God for herself- excited to see what kind of worshiper she will be.