When you toss a pebble into a lake, the ripples reach much more lake than the initial stone.
An overused metaphor, yet I can’t find a better one.
I talked with my friend, Lisa, yesterday who I met in the 3rd grade. She is my laughter partner. I have never laughed as hard or as much with anyone else. My husband used to say, “I knew it was Lisa on the phone by how much you were laughing.”
She is a teacher in Texas now. She is spunky. Funny. Wise. Loving. She is one of those people that it doesn’t matter if it has been a month or a year, we always catch up where we left off with ease. Familiarity. Family like. We were family growing up. We still are.
As we were catching up, she told me about the war she is fighting at her daughter’s school. Her girls play high school volleyball and have a coach (with administrative backing) that is unprofessional and possibly more dangerous than that.
She told me, “Because of your story, I cannot let this go unchecked. I am documenting dates, inappropriate conversations, and concerns of other parents.”
I was sexually abused by a coach. And Lisa let that story open her eyes and change her. She has become an advocate for her girls and others because she saw me toss my pebble and felt the water move over her.
It made me cry. Sometimes I am not sure my pebble had any effect. Lisa reminded me it mattered.
On that same day, my daughter and I were at a weekly gathering where we talk a little about Jesus and life with four teenage girls.
She told the group, “I help lead a group of middle school girls at youth group. They thought God made them sinners. And that he is mad at them. I stood up to a girl who is older than me who was telling them incorrect things. I told the girls that God intended us to live in Eden. He made us good. It was the fall the screwed things up. I told the girls that God likes them, thinks they are beautiful and made a way for them to come back to their Eden-like selves. That way is Jesus.” (I did my best at recreating the conversation).
Shock and awe.
My girl, who I know has a deep heart, is out there demolishing the works of religion by telling students who God really is.
I talk about these things. I try to expose my kids to people who believe truth. But I don’t know if it sinks in. I know God finds my kids and whispers in their ears through people, literature, songs, and movies. I felt so glad to know God’s pursuit, as well as my input, is affecting my daughter who affects others.
Later on in the month, I talked with a young mom who I have mentored from afar. We have had seasons of talking often, seasons of talking once every six months, and a season where I hurt her and we did not talk. As I spoke with her, I heard growth.
Her fierce, I-am-unapologetically-me voice is strong. Much stronger than in years past. This girl is brave and funny. Kind. She loves Jesus. She is a loving mama. It is by her own choices that she has grown. And yet, I recognize my touch in it. There is a bit of her tender fierceness that reminds me of me. It shocks me. I am not surprised she has grown. She is that kind of woman. But I am stunned that I had a little part in it.
Sometimes the good we give out fades and seems impotent in our own eyes.
I spoke with another friend who was brave enough to send her daughter to counseling. I am so impressed that she would risk that. I told her so. I often watch individuals be too afraid to risk opening themselves up to counseling. I am grateful to anyone who has the courage to look at their life. Let alone invite their child to that self-reflection. After I leave, she sends a text: “You do know that you are probably one of the biggest influences in my life in the area of self-care and caring for our family, don’t you?”
No. I didn’t. All I do is talk about the real-life things I live through. Yet, somehow that was enough.
I feel embarrassed right now. Like I am being my own cheerleader and asking you to pick up a pom-pom too. And I feel grateful to be given a glimpse of the ripple of my life. Our choices have an effect on our world whether or not we see them. I want my choices to bring life and no-bullshit-goodness to those around me.
Keep tossing the stones, darling.