All Children are Loved by God
Elizabeth Grace Cornell Chavez (MA/BC 01)
The Lord's call to serve children and their families has been on my heart for the past 20 years, and I am blessed with the privilege of a ministry which seeks to fulfill that call.
I am the founder/co-owner/director of The Shepherd's School, which is a Bible-based developmental preschool in Dallas, Texas. The Shepherd's School was started in 2005 with the purpose of providing childcare in a way that is different from traditional daycare centers. The school's program seeks to be more than just a drop off care or babysitting, it seeks to address the needs of the individual child while supporting the parents.
My years at Dallas Theological Seminary were life changing and belief shaping. The truths taught within the classroom lectures, in chapel sermons, and through outside class assignments created a foundation which included these core beliefs about God's view of children:
1. All children are fearfully and wonderfully made by God. (Ps. 139:14)
2. All children are deeply loved by God. (Jer. 31:3)
3. All children deserve to be safe, nurtured, and loved. All children deserve boundaries and guidance. (Prov. 22:6; Eph. 6:4)
4. All children belong to God and all who interact with them are accountable to Him. (Is. 43:7; Rom. 3:23)
5. There are no bad children, only children who make bad choices. A child is not his or her behavior, but a child should be taught to be accountable and responsible for his or her behavior. (Rom. 5–6)
DTS not only provided me with truths that altered the way I viewed children, it also inspired my perspective to change about the family. These inspirations spring out of some of my favorite memories of watching my beloved professors interact with their wives and with each other. Even now, I am moved as I recall the show of love and respect that professors would demonstrate for their wives and each other during chapels, special events, and graduations. I smile when I specifically think about the way Dr. Allen would light up when he talked about his wife in class. The love, respect, and sense of family that the professors would share and model have become part of my memories which shape these beliefs:
1. God designed the family with the center relationship being parent to parent. The parents' relationship sets the tone for the family.
2. God designed the fellowship of believers to be a family. We are often needed to be the support and encouragement to those around us because their family of origin has failed them.
When I graduated seminary in 2001, I thought God had a different plan for my life. I am overwhelmed by the way He ordered my steps to bring me to this place within my life; His ways were and are higher than mine. He has allowed me to use my education, my previous work experience, and my perspective as a mom to influence kids and support parents.
My days at The Shepherd's School are filled with hugs, kisses, silly giggles, occasional tears, sporadic tantrums, and the observation of God's amazing creativity in creation. It is not uncommon for me to be watching a class one moment, making lunch another moment, kissing a boo boo, redirecting a child who made a bad choice, holding a baby, and then meeting with a parent about more effective parenting strategies the next moment. It's a busy life, but God has blessed me with 73 kids (3 boys who are biologically mine and 70 others who are mine during the day). I am humbled by the part that I get to play in the lives of the children and their families at The Shepherd's School. It is an honor to serve the Lord in this capacity.