Gay Gulick: 300 Children and Counting

For as long as I can remember, I loved the idea of being a mother.

I was a great mother to all my baby dolls. I held them. I kissed them. I told them stories. I sang to them.

As I became a teenager, I was the sought after babysitter in my little hometown. I loved caring for those children and I am still in contact with many of them nearly 30 years later. Oh…my…that makes me feel OLD!

I was a nanny. I have taught preschool. I am a godmother.

I believe that God gave me the ministry of mothering. God has not blessed my husband, Gil, and me with children and only in the last 6 months have I come to be okay if He never does.

As a children’s minister, I have been greatly blessed to “mother” over 300 children and God continues to add to that number regularly.

I feel great joy sitting in a room with 4 & 5 year olds singing praises to God and listening to them declare that their God is even bigger and stronger than Superman or Wonder Woman. My heart leaps when I am holding a 2 year and she looks out the window, points and says, “God made the birds!” I get a lump in my throat when a 3rd grader comes to me and says, “Miss Gay, I want to talk to you about asking Jesus into my heart.”

I praise God and thank Him for this fruitful ministry of mothering. “My babies” are listening and learning to follow Jesus. What more could I ask for?

I have been a children’s minister for ten years now and have learned that truly loving a child can be very hard especially doing it in the way that 1 Corinthians 13 calls us to love . . .

Love is patient. I once had to teach a 5th grader of a fellow minister, who did NOT want to be at Vacation Bible School. He did everything to disrupt the class and be completely disrespectful. He thought for sure that he would get sent home, but I chose to be patient and found a way to engage him in our activities.

He tried my patience those first couple of days, but when I encouraged one of his strengths, he ended up having a good week after all. He is now a college graduate and contemplating going into ministry. Thanks be to God for the ministry of mothering.

Love is kind. Trying to minister to children who do not speak English and have just come to the U.S. with only the clothes on their backs can be overwhelming. Fortunately, the universal language of love is a smile, a hug and a cookie or two. Kindness was the way to bond with the children before they even knew what our words meant. Thanks be to God for the ministry of mothering.

Love Hopes All Things. Children are labeled wherever they go. They are ADHD. They are Caucasian. They are a bully. They are nerds. They are wimpy. They are a ginger. They are short. And on and on…

One of my rules is that we do not put any labels on children other than they are each a child of God. We must love them as Jesus has loved us. Great hope comes from unconditional love. Jesus loves us as we are and we need to love children in the same way. Thanks be to God for the ministry of mothering.

Love Endures All Things I was sexually abused as a child. I kept it hidden and a secret for a very long time. I was ashamed. As an adult, I began sharing and working through all the feelings I had buried since childhood. I wish that I never had to endure that kind of abuse. I would never wish it on anyone.

In my sharing and healing, I became a better person and minister. I have more empathy. I understand the feelings of children who have or are being abused.

God put wonderful people in my path to love me unconditionally when my own parents could not. My parents did their best, but God knew I needed more love and guidance. God provided a church family that took in that ashamed little four year old and they just loved me.

Why? They loved me because Jesus loved them and they wanted me to experience that same love. True love does endure all things.

God has called me to the ministry of mothering. Love is what it is all about. God is love.

My call is to love and love without any conditions. It is hard. I have often failed. I have succeeded. But I wake up each day and try to love harder because God has never stopped loving me.

Thanks be to God for the ministry of mothering.

Gay Gulick

Rev. Gay Gulick is the Minister to Children at First Baptist Church of Wilson, NC. She is married to the Rev. Gil Gulick, the pastor of First Baptist Church of Stantonsburg, NC. Gay is an avid reader and loves to crochet. Currently, Gil and Gay are in the process of becoming licensed foster parents with the hopes of adoption. They currently are the parents of 3 unruly miniature schnauzers, Deacon, Tupper and Phoebe.

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