Sometimes it’s hard to know what it takes to make an impact with the kids in our sphere, or if we’re even making an impact at all. We do our best to model what it means to be a Jesus-follower. We share our hearts and plan activities and pray.
But kids being kids, you likely won’t hear “Wow, you really made an impact on me today!” Part of the reason is that they may not realize it until they are adults themselves.
My friend Joanne was the one to make an impact in my life in a big way.
Joanne was my mom’s best friend. She and her husband, Bert, were fixtures in our lives. She laughed loudly and often. She was not beyond being silly.
I can still hear her contagious laughter echoing across the lake, the night she realized we used a body bag to cover a hole in our tent.
Joanne invited me to join her one summer weekend, for a quick trip to pick blueberries in the mountains of northern BC. We were tired by the time we returned to our campsite by the lake that first night. To top it off, it was already dark and starting to rain.
As Joanne pitched the tent, I was tasked with retrieving the plastic cover from the car trunk. This would be spread over top of the tent to keep us dry. I obliged, and we were soon ready for the night.
My friend Joanne made an impact on my life in a big way.
Until that is, Joanne flashed her light around one more time to check the tent was secure. That was when she discovered the body bag draped ingloriously across the apex of our dwelling. Joanne’s husband, you see, was our town coroner. He kept a spare body bag in the trunk, because, well…he never knew when he might need it!
I’ll never forget that crazy weekend we shared!
Living Out the Gospel
Joanne faithfully wrote me handwritten notes and letters for every birthday. She sent me cards with pictures of seashells because she knew how much I loved them. Her letters were brim-full of interesting news and tidbits and encouraging words. She stayed in touch when I went off to college, and once I got married and had kids, her letters extended to them as well.
Joanne loved Jesus fiercely. She and my mom often gathered around her kitchen table with a group of ladies for weekly Bible study. She was a prayer warrior. She loved to belt out a good old fashioned country Gospel chorus. Every time I hear “What a Friend We Have in Jesus,” I can still hear Joanne singing along.
Joanne showed a young girl what it was like to faithfully live out the Gospel, every day, even when things were hard. She showed me how to be a leader, and how to laugh even when things seemed dark. She took an interest in the lives of those around her, and prayed mightily that those in her sphere would come to know Jesus in a personal way. That impact will be felt for eternity.
I want to be like Joanne when I grow up. I want to faithfully speak into the lives of the young people around me, so one day when they look back they will see evidence of Jesus.
Who is Your Impact-Maker?
My friend has been home in heaven for a few years already. I never told her in so many words how much she meant to me, or the impact she made on my life.
So here’s the challenge, friends. Think of that person who was the one to make an impact on your life. Then write that email, send that text, make that call, pen that letter. Thank them for being Jesus to you. Let them know that they are loved and appreciated.
And keep pouring into those kids in your own sphere of influence. One day, some of them will look back and say, “Wow, you really made an impact on me!”
Kelly Rempel is the Director of Creative Communications for One Hope Canada.