Tell me about a time someone was there for you in a powerful way. So much so that you were able to separate yourself from the pain, even for just a few moments, because you were so blessed by his or her words, deeds, or sacrifice.
Did a specific instance or season of life come to mind? For me, it was the time my mom dropped everything and spent the day with me when I desperately needed her attention. Multiple people have blessed my life and they all deserve a giant hug and thank you; but, for some reason, this story stands out to me – probably because I know how organized and determined my mom is to give her work 100%.
I Am a Proud TK!
A little background: I grew up as a TK. Preachers’ kids got the cool title of PK and missionary kids got to be MKs, so I decided to call myself a TK. After all, as much time as she spent not only teaching but working on lesson plans, having teacher conferences, and organizing her classroom, I felt it only right to give myself a title that indicated how central her teaching career was to our family dynamic.
There were some mornings we would get to school before the sun was us up, and I can certainly remember staying until after dark many nights. Her car was always parked right up front. We were the first ones to get there and last to leave. (It baffles me a little that I have such a problem with punctuality. It was not for a lack of training!)
Anyway, I am thankful for my Mom’s teaching career (though I did not always love it as a child). For through it, I met Miss Betty, my mentor! She was a first-grade teacher at Brinson Elementary School and I met her when I was four-years-old. Spiritual mothers and mentors do not grow on trees, so I thank God for orchestrating that meeting. Had we never met Miss Betty, we probably would not have moved into the house across the street from hers. A house I love! (Not to mention the amazing neighbors.)
Aside from meeting Miss Betty and having a great time playing with other TKs, I am appreciative of the opportunity I had to witness life from a teacher’s point of view. When I think of teachers, I see extremely hard-working, stressed-out individuals who devote the best part of their energy to educating young minds. When people make negative assumptions about teachers, presume they play all day, or make any such manner of ignorant statements, I feel my blood pressure rise. Teachers need the summers off to regain their strength and sanity.
All this to say, my mom was (and continues to be) an extremely hard worker.
Strangers in the Night…
When I was twelve, I fell head over heels for a young man; and, of course, people did not take me seriously. ~smile~ After all, I should have been home playing with Barbie’s (at least, in their minds). Perhaps it was my being an only. Maybe I was tired of being told I was “too young” for everything by my older male cousins. Whatever the reason, I thought I was ready to experience the dating magic teen shows glorified… and then along came this special fella. It sounds silly, especially twenty years later, but I remember the pain. It was real. No other relationship has ever broken my heart like this one.
Since I was still far too young to actually date, he was more like a special friend – to others, that is. To me, he was my boyfriend and future husband. We mostly sat together in church, talked on the phone, and spent time with my parents.
After about six months of “friendship,” the relationship ended and I was completely devastated. It was my first heartache and I remember the evening well. After the phone call which ended it all, I became a basket case. (Side note: We were made to break up; he did not want to end it any more than I did.) At one point that evening, I was draped over the washing machine crying. Later, I was in my room crying when my mom asked me in a soft voice, “You do realize it is over, right?” (We had come close to breaking up a few times due to some earlier family drama.) Later, his parents stopped by looking for him. It was a night filled with crazy emotions and, for the first time, I ever wondered if life was worth living.
Had I never been through anything like this at such a young age, I would probably laugh off a story like this and call it a crush. But ‘crush’ is accurate… I was completely crushed.
She Took the Day Off (That was a Big Deal!)
So, back to my mom and her incredible work ethic. Following my horrific breakup night, Mom called in to work. My mom almost never called in to work. She retired a year early because of all the sick leave she had accumulated. Unless she could barely crawl, she went to work.
She took the day off, we drove to the beach, and just talked. She made the entire day about me. She could have said, “You are thirteen years old, child. You will have several boyfriends. Shake this off!” But, she did not. She connected with the pain I was feeling and went out of her way to comfort me when I desperately needed her.
Even as a child, I knew her taking the day off for me meant something significant. I knew I was special to her. I mattered; and, even though I already knew I was important to her, it was a great feeling to have her support during my first major relationship rough patch.
When I become a mother, I hope this story remains fresh in my mind, especially when I am tempted to cast my child’s emotions off as insignificant. Now that I have adult problems to consume my mind, I see how easy it is to roll my eyes at child “problems;” but, because of how kindly my mom treated me in my brokenness, I realize that taking a child’s pain seriously can stay with them for a lifetime.
(You do not have to wait until your teenage daughter has her first broken heart to take a day off and drive to the beach. Do you have a friend who is struggling? Someone who is hurting and could use a fun day that is all about him or her? Did you realize giving one day of your life could change the course of someone else’s life?)
I will forever appreciate my mom’s kindness to me on that day. I felt important. I felt heard. I felt noticed. Without knowing I was loved, that childhood breakup could have started me down a dark path; but, by God’s grace and Mom’s (and Dad’s, and Grandma’s, and Miss Betty’s, etc.) love and prayers, I was able to move past it – about six months later.
I can still remember the night I was set free. A young lady in our church approached me and told me that the young man whom I had been so stuck on all those months had said she was pretty. I stood there a moment and realized… I did not care! My heart was free! I felt like dancing. (In fact, I did some dancing.) It was as if God reached into my heart, mended it, and set me free from the pain. I was not just some little kid to God either – He cared… and He faithfully healed me.
Someone can use a hug and a listening ear today and certainly a reminder that God cares.
In what ways can you sacrifice to bring healing and comfort to a broken friend or loved one? [Comment below!]