“Church was my place of stability. It’s where I trusted Christ as my Savior and where I learned that Jesus is dependable, safe and kind.” – Diane Jones
“Children always know when there is a secret,” said Diane Jones. “Though I didn’t know the name of it back then, our secret was my mother’s mental illness. The townspeople in Hamilton, Texas helped take care of my brother and me because our mom was moved to a psychiatric hospital in Dallas.
“When my family moved to Dallas, we joined a local church. Our family was there whenever the doors were open. The Sunday School teachers were sweet to us, there were snacks and music. I still treasure the piggy bank I got when I memorized the books of the Bible in 3rd grade. Church was my place of stability. It’s where I trusted Christ as my Savior and where I learned that Jesus is dependable, safe and kind. My parents argued violently, and they were unpredictable, so friends rarely come over to play. We had good times fishing and camping; but I was always anxious about my parents getting a divorce or killing each other.
“Although we lived very modestly, I went to a private school in junior high and high school. The kids there were wealthy and drove cool cars and had nice clothes. I knew nothing about drugs, sex, and things like that, but I heard kids at school talking about it all around me. I knew that the people at church said none of that was a good idea, but half of me was very curious. I had nobody to talk to about my confusion. I was dying to have a boyfriend to complete me, and when I found one, I created my own rules that were contrary to God’s Word. Navigating boys, parties and church meant that I was not comfortable anywhere.
“I continued to live my life based on what culture said to do when I started dating Jay Jones. We were a young Christian couple dating by our own rules when, at 20 years old, we found out we were expecting. The world was not kind to unwed mothers in the early 80s, and most women turned to abortion. In fact, we knew there were abortion clinics. But Jesus met us in that moment of sheet terror and gave us the courage to choose life for our daughter. We got married and eight months later, we had a beautiful daughter, Clare.
“The church God led us to was such a help. The Lord connected us with older couples who helped us with struggles in our marriage and parenting. They helped me see that Jay could never be my savior. Only Jesus could help me. Even as my mother’s mental health worsened, Christ was there for us. He allowed me to serve my parents and express love and respect for them. The Lord seemed to always show up when I was least able to take care of myself or others. Jesus never ever forgot us.
“About fifteen years ago, we moved to Watermark, and Jay and I volunteered in the Children’s Ministry. We’ve served the same group of kids from kindergarten through 5th grade. Even though we have 5 children of our own, Jay and I don’t use the word teacher, because we are still learning alongside the children. Each week, the Lord prepares us through His Word and out of the love He has given us for these little ones and their families. As I know well, children’s lives can be complicated, but faith does not have to be. It’s a privilege to share stories from God’s Word and watch how the Lord is working in their lives.
“I also appreciate the chance to connect with the parents of the children we serve. What you see on Sunday morning, is not the same things parents are dealing with Monday through Saturday. God has provided many opportunities to partner and pray with the families we serve. It could be a dad struggling with a quickly maturing daughter, or a child who is hurting because parents are going through a divorce. I’m able to tell families that we understand and share about Jesus’ love for them.
“Watermark provides great training and a framework where volunteers can serve successfully in Children’s Ministry. Every year I learn more about God’s Word through serving children (you’re never to old to grow). Children are so teachable and as volunteers in Children’s Ministry, we are the hands and feet of the Lord, helping them experience God’s love and forgiveness. We’ve seen the children learn to show great mercy and forgiveness. That’s why we still love serving them.
“Through my experience serving children, I have learned first-hand that kids are often the product of whoever takes care of them. Their actions are based on the training they receive at home. Whether it’s godly training or not depends on the parents. I saw my parents go to church, but not necessarily keep their word. At Watermark I see the church partnering with families, hand-in-hand, so that parents and children learn to trust God. We’ve learned that there’s no secret ingredient to parenting other than trusting God so that your children learn to trust Him, too. I’m thankful to be part of helping families and children learn more about abiding with Him.”
If you are interested in serving in Children’s Ministry email firstname.lastname@example.org and write in the Subject line, “I Want To Serve!” and we will follow up with you. Details at__