Strength For Today

A journey of keeping my heart, mind, and body in TODAY

INSPIRED by a 12-year old!

on May 14, 2014

Grace, beautiful Grace.  There are so many levels to Grace.  God’s beautiful Grace, which sets captives FREE!  God’s Amazing Grace, which loves us through our brokenness, straight to beauty!  God’s Wonderful, Beautiful, Unfathomable, Immeasurable, Incomprehensible GRACE!!

Today, I want to talk about Grace.

Not the wonderful, beautiful, free GIFT of God’s Grace….but rather today, I want to talk about a wonderful, beautiful 12-year-old girl named Grace.

I’ve known Grace for 3 years.  I’ve seen Grace in some of the most painful times of her young life.   Together, we’ve navigated some difficult areas.  I’ve been a teacher to her, a mentor to her, a leader to her, a disciplinarian to her, a confidant to her.  I’ve been someone she’s loved, and let’s face it… probably someone she’s pretty seriously disliked at times too.  I’ve spoken to her with loving tolerance, and I’ve spoken to her with firm authority.  Yep…pretty much covers it.  I’ve known Grace for 3 years.

When I met Grace, she was a 5th grade student – a new kid to our school.  She was having a very difficult time academically, emotionally, and socially.  I totally understood.  Being a new kid is tough enough, but when you are also having issues with your grades and your emotions – it can be nearly impossible.

I remember one of the first conversations I ever had with Grace.  She was extremely upset because there was a certain girl who was giving her a rough time at recess.  Through crocodile tears, she explained the situation.  I followed through on the story, talked with others about the situation, and came to the conclusion that my friend, Grace, was not entirely innocent.  It was there that a relationship was born.  I began taking her under my wing, attempting to mentor her through the throes of pre-adolescence.  It was not easy.  My sweet friend Grace, was trying very hard to be accepted by her peers.  She was trying everything she could think of.  The problem was, she was a natural born leader….with no one to lead yet.

Grace, from the time I met her, had the best of intentions.  She was always trying to get others involved in her ideas and plans. She figured out what she wanted, and she went for it.  The problem was, the other kids didn’t always respond the way she was hoping.  We have spent a good portion of time together over the past 3 years, just talking about friendships and social situations, how to act in a way that would attract others to her, not push them from her.

I should also mention that she is a natural actress.  A  presence in any room she enters. She does dramatic with the best of them.  And people notice her.  This has not always worked to her advantage, but I hold strong to the Truth that one day – it WILL.  People are drawn to Grace, whether they understand it or not – they are.

Well, here we are – 7th grade.  3 years after the first time I met Grace.  She has grown into a beautiful young lady, and has changed much since 5th grade.  A few things have never changed about her though. Her compassionate heart.  Her passion for leading others.  Her desire to love and to be loved.

Today, Grace walked into my room without hair.  She stood before me, with one of the sweetest smiles, eyes brimming with tears, and excitement written all over her face.  And, did I mention – withOUT hair??!!

How many 7th grade girls do you know who would CHOOSE to shave their head?  (For reasons OTHER than to “prove a point”… that is.)  I don’t know too many, especially girls who are already having a difficult time with social situations.  Well, this morning – Grace stood before me with one of the cutest buzz cuts I’ve ever seen.  And not because she was trying to get attention, prove a point, or anything like that.  Grace did it because she is a deeply LOVING, genuine CARING, empathetic, compassionate, and intensely sweet individual.

She did it for her cousin.  Her cousin who has Cancer.  In true Grace-fashion, she wanted to do something.  She wanted to help.  She wanted to make a difference.  So she asked her mom if she could shave her head at an upcoming fundraiser event for Cancer research, in honor of her cousin’s battle.  Her mom responded with hesitation (as I am sure any mother with a 12-year-old daughter prone to dramatics would do), but told her that if she could independently raise $100  for the fundraiser, and she still wanted to do it – she could.  So, Grace set out and created a flier.  She passed it out at school, asking for donations.  She talked to people.  She worked hard at getting the money, and – as I am sure you figured out – she got it!  And then, she did it.  In front of many people, she willingly had her beautiful brown hair shaved off, for the sake of those who have no choice but to lose their hair as a result of chemo treatments.

As I looked at Grace standing there in that moment, with eyes brimming with tears of pure joy, as I listened to her excitedly share her experience with me, as I watched her light up the very presence in which she stood, something hit me.  Grace didn’t just shave her head because she wanted to be kind.  She didn’t do it just because she wanted to be different.  She did it because her heart has been stolen – by the ONE who steals hearts, transforms them, and creates BEAUTY inside them!  Grace is in love with Jesus, and Jesus has changed her heart.  And her heart is beautiful. And I, for one, am proud to know her.

For today, this beautiful  12-year-old girl, has inspired me to go out there and make a difference.  To live a life of boldness, of courage, of willingness to go to any lengths to show others how much I care.  She has inspired me to keep speaking and writing about the glorious riches of our Lord, Jesus Christ!  She has inspired me to persevere through the tough times and to stay true to who I am.  I am supposed to be the teacher in the relationship, but today – I’m pretty sure I was the learner.

Thanks to a girl named Grace (And rightfully so, I might add).




7 responses to “INSPIRED by a 12-year old!

  1. Thank you Jesus for beautifully gifted teachers who are open-minded and enormous-hearted; to not only teach about reading and writing…but to teach about life and it’s lessons; at the same time, remain teachable by a 12 yr old. I am amazed how God talks to us through people no matter what age, as long as we are loving Him it is quite easy to see.

  2. She really is a sweet girl – with great parents too! God bless them!

  3. Reblogged this on I Give God All The Glory and commented:
    Can the heart of a 12 year-old make a difference? I think it can, and dramatically so. Please take the time to read this beautifully written post by Dawn at ‘Strength For Today’ as she introduces 12 year-old Grace, the compassionate daughter of my childhood neighbor. Let me tell you now, God has big plans for this young girl. For those of you who read the post ‘A Letter To My Old Self’ you know at 12 I was in a deep pit of dark days. But Grace – glory to God – isn’t just thriving, she’s inspiring others with her passion and leadership, and that dear friends is a story worth sharing! Oh yes, God has great things in store for her future. I pray this blesses you and warms your heart.

    God bless you all.

    Jennifer – I Give God All The Glory

  4. lilkaraphael says:

    So wonderful to hear about our youth “stirred up” on the inside, eager and available to be used by our Lord! Thanks so much for sharing your Grace with the rest of us.

  5. I think the most precious thing is that Grace has affects on people regardless of age or status. If she inspired you to keep writing and speaking there must have been some hesitation of purpose in your own heart that needed to be stirred and inspired. Awesome testimony.

    • Yes, there are moments when I wonder if I am on God’s path or if I am following my own heart’s desire… but then again, when I give my heart to the Lord time and time again, and He still has me writing… there must be purpose on the other end- God’s purpose, God’s timing, God’s way. I felt Him ask me on several occasions whether or not I would be satisfied if my life was the only life affected by my writing. To that question, I can honestly answer yes! So, each additional heart that is impacted by the words God gives me to write is a bonus!

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