Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: TEACH (11/29/18)
- TITLE: Mandi in Motion
By Bonnie Kronberger
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She was a sad little girl, fighting to find her way. Her mom occasionally showed up, promising her the world. Grandma picked up the pieces of her broken heart, when Mom left again.
Mandi became my student in third grade, but because of our small school I’d had previous encounters with her. She caused upheaval in my classroom and changed moods like a chameleon changes colors. Yet my heart was captured by this “terrible” child. I believed love and attention could make a difference for her.
“Hey Mandi, do you want to come home with me and spend the night?”
“Yes!” She shouted. “Did Grandma say I could?”
Thus began occasional sleepovers at my house. We’d talk about school, what games we’d play, Bible stories, and whatever else came up on our hour long drive home. My kids were teenagers, but they gave her attention with teasing and conversation. The experience of family and siblings was new for her, yet she held her own.
As Mandi grew into adolescence the sleepovers eventually stopped. We continued to see each other around school and kept up on life. She was an aide in my classroom so our friendship continued . Mandi worked hard and needed money and occasionally asked if I had any jobs she could do.
One Sunday at church our pastor preached on the parable of the talents, then gave every adult $100 from an anonymous donor. He challenged us to pray for how God wanted us to use our money, according to the parable. I did pray and God gave me a surprising idea. My husband agreed to add his talent money to make this a joint venture. I offered Mandi a job.
It was her senior year and I knew my window of opportunity to love her for Jesus was closing. My job offer was this: meet me every morning, an hour before school for four weeks to work at studying the Bible. The pay was $10 an hour. She accepted.
She showed up every morning right on time. I held on to the promise of Isaiah 55:11, that God’s word would not come back void, but would accomplish its intended purposes. We read Bible passages, prayed together, and talked about what the Lord desires for us. What an incredible time of sharing the love of Jesus!
I occasionally become discouraged, wondering if this time was fruitful, but I remembered these were God’s lessons, not mine. Mandi had gone to church frequently throughout the years, thanks to her grandma, so the gospel was not new to her. She had accepted Jesus as her Savior as a child, but her lifestyle was not following after Jesus.
We ended the study each day reading from the children’s edition of Hind’s Feet on High Places. I wanted her to recognize the voices of self-centeredness, pride, and bitterness, yet remember that Jesus was just a prayer away; that He could chase them away and be her joy and her strength.
She was full of questions and was open and honest in our conversations. “Mrs. K, does God really forgive all my sins? Can He love me when I do bad things?”
“Oh yes, Mandi. He promises when you repent of your sins He never remembers them again. And He tells us nothing can separate us from His love.”
“Wow! Why does He do that?”
“Because He is your Heavenly Father and wants a father-daughter relationship with you. Remember, when you are sorry for your sins God wants you to turn away from them and follow His teaching.”
“Yeah. I get that. I know I need to make some changes.”
We joined hands and prayed together, believing in faith His purposes would be accomplished in Mandi’s life.
Graduation day came and Mandi was ready to try her wings. I gifted her with a Bible and a cross necklace. We said our goodbyes, Mandi promising she would not forget what she had learned, while I promised to pray for her. My little bird was ready to leave the nest.
“Keep her in your care, Lord. Lead her in Your path of righteousness. In Jesus name, Amen.”
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