“As a first-grade teacher, I always find something special in each of my students, but I never expected a 6-year-old to shine a light into my darkest places. One morning before class, the mother of a sweet student named Lizzie asked if she could speak with me. ‘For the past few weeks, Lizzie has been making up stories about her father, and I’m worried,’ the woman said sadly. ‘The truth is…he left us two years ago.’ My heart sank as I assured her I’d keep an eye on Lizzie and let her know if she seemed upset in class. I knew all too well the pain of abandonment—my own father had left when I was Lizzie’s age…and 35 years later, the hurt had never really healed.
“As the week went on, I listened with concern as Lizzie told the class how much her father loved her, did everything with her and made her so happy. When she showed me her latest drawing of her with a man, I asked ‘Is this you and your father?’ When she nodded with a big smile, I gently asked her if she missed him. ‘No,’ she said happily. ‘In Sunday school, I learned my Father is always with me!’
“I sucked in a breath. Lizzie wasn’t talking about her earthly father, she was talking about our heavenly Father. I smiled as a childlike joy filled my heart. This little girl did more than just prove a beautiful faith can sprout at an early age, she helped me realize that I too had a Father who’d never left…and who will always love me. Sometimes students are the greatest teachers!”
—Tracy Freeman, 40, Wheeling, WV