Southern California, early 1960s:
Most of my teachers didn’t know what to do with me. According to one report card, I lacked attention and self-control. Teachers tried to ignore me, but I made it difficult because I could never sit still. My second-grade teacher noted that I would rather make up stories and sing songs than do my other school subjects.
Thankfully, I had another teacher. Her name was Mom. If I hadn’t listened to my mother during my school days, I don’t know where I would be today. With tenacity, love and lots of prayer, Mom encouraged me to use my songs, gifts and talents. She made me aware of the wonderful truth that there is nobody else in the world like me. She encouraged me to be myself and to use whatever God put in my hands for His glory.
Thirty Years Later:
My mom developed a brain tumor and, at first, they thought it was inoperable. As she started sorting through the family heirlooms, my mom handed me a treasure chest of memorabilia from my childhood. In it were all my report cards that I had never seen, all the struggles of my childhood that were so difficult. When I asked her about it, she said, “Mary, I knew you were gifted and God would use your gifts to His glory.”
So it wasn’t until I was married and had my own children that I realized the extent of the challenges I had faced growing up. Funny how the report cards showed my problems, but my mother showed me my possibilities. And God showed me how to use both to become a committed musician and family-oriented minister.
Now: After several strokes and a removal of the tumor, I praise God that Mom is with us today. My mom was even featured with her homemade quilt on one of the weekly TV episodes of Mary Rice Hopkins and Puppets with a Heart. Because of Mom’s love, a friend and I now have our own weekly program that teaches good character through music and puppetry. I’m so glad she never gave up on this little child.
Will you be that one person who picks a young girl and helps her to believe she is very special and that God has a great plan for her life?
Will you be willing to find that broken, wounded little boy who simply needs one person to show him God’s love and give him hope?
Will you be there for the inner child of the mother who needs someone to remind her that she has the most important job in the world — raising children to be all God wants them to be?
Pick a child, any child.