It was a Wednesday night, and I was helping out in one of our children’s ministry classrooms. I hadn’t been there long when Katie* burst through the door with a big smile on her face. Bursting through the door wasn’t unusual for Katie, but the smile was.
Katie is 11 years old, the oldest of five children, and struggles with mental and emotional health. We met her mom a few years ago when she was our server at one of our favorite lunch spots. She ended up sharing her story with us, which included raising the kids as a single mom while her husband finishes a prison sentence. Needless to say, their world is not perfect. Katie and I became friends because she becomes fast friends with everyone she meets. While often struggling with extreme emotional highs and lows, she almost always has a bear hug for everyone, ready or not.
This night, Katie was peaceful and happy and said she had something she wanted to tell me. She shared how she was being bullied by a girl on her school bus every afternoon on the ride home. She had tried ignoring her, moving seats, telling the driver, and lashing back, all with no lasting success. Katie said the girl made her so angry because she constantly talked about Katie’s dad, calling him names and being extremely rude. On this particular day, the girl and Katie were back together, sharing their assigned seat, and the name-calling began, again. Katie shared that as she was about to “lose it,” she had a new thought. The thought entered her mind: “Wait, you don’t even know my dad.”
This girl was calling him names without knowing his actual name or anything about him. As Katie had the presence of mind and tenderness
of heart to process that truth, she said everything changed. She said, “So, do you know what I did?”
Teasing, but also thinking of her previous track record, I said, “Did you hit her?”
“Call her names?”
“Then, I don’t know; what did you do?”
She looked me in the eye and completely matter-of-factly said, “I shared my crackers.”
“You shared your crackers?” Katie said that she figured out that since this girl didn’t know her dad, there was no truth to her statements. So instead of getting upset, like all the times before, she decided to share her crackers. In that moment, everything changed. She said they shared the crackers and began a conversation and a friendship.
Once the shock left my face, we celebrated her wise, brave choice and the fact that she had heard God, her heavenly Father, speak to her. She recognized the truth of His voice and acted on it. This day left a mark on me. God is a good and kind Father who speaks to us, no matter our ages. He reminds us that we belong to Him. And when we are able to remember whose we are, we can share our crackers, too.
*name has been changed