Tell them they can make it

Love people. Tell them they can make it.

She leaned across the kitchen counter, fought back tears and said, “I only wish I could understand why somebody would treat a child that way.”

She is a friend.

The child she referred to is the little girl that she once was.

The somebody she has a hard time understanding is the woman who raised her after her parents died.

She was 3.

“So if God himself stood right here this morning and explained to you himself why it was that your parents died and that you went to live with a woman who mistreated you, who abused you — if God gave you the answers — would that be good enough? Then would you understand? Would that then make everything okay?”

No, she figured. It wouldn’t.

“I’m sorry, honey” I said. “I’m sorry your parents died. I’m sorry she treated you that way. She should never have treated a child like that.”

We both wiped away the tears.

“But it’s good that we don’t understand people like that, you know? Because if we could rationalize how it is that people mistreat children, we might mistreat them ourselves.”

Yeah, she said. You’re right. We might.

“I don’t want to understand people like that,” she added.

“No, no you don’t,” I said. “I don’t either.”

Love people. Tell them they can make it.

She struggles with wanting a mother who loves her, really loves her for who she is. A mother who celebrates her. A mother to help her navigate life.  She is always going to long for that.

“I’m not angry,” she said. “I know my parents didn’t want to die. They didn’t leave me on purpose.”

The journey is hard enough when you belong to somebody, to a lot of somebodies. But when you don’t know where you belong, when you don’t have a mother or a father to welcome you to a safe place when you need it, life is the long loneliness.

You need people in your life who love you. People who will say you can make it and believe that so much that you begin to believe it yourself.

I need that.

She needs that.

“The reason you are so good with kids is because of your own upbringing,” I said. “You love children because you know what it feels like to be neglected. You’re great with kids.”

Yeah, she said. I love kids.

The woman who raised her doesn’t realize what a precious treasure this girl is. How strong she is. How beautiful she is. How fun she is. How fearless.

That woman is living a tragedy, harboring bitterness for the death that took her kin and left her with a 3-year old to raise. A child she didn’t want in exchange for the man she did.

“She blamed me for my father’s death.”

The abuses this girl suffered at the hands of an angry woman are too ugly to type.

I want to slap people who mistreat children. I want to slap them right upside the head.

That woman stole her identity, used it to run up bad credit. The laptop she needs will have to wait.

I want to slap selfish people. I want to slap them right upside the head.

Love people. Tell them they can make it.

She wants to be a firefighter.

“You’re an adrenaline junkie,” I said.

Yeah, she said, laughing. I am.

“Probably because of all the drama of your upbringing.”

Maybe, she said.

“You are going to be an awesome firefighter,” I said. “You’re a strong woman.”

Yeah, she said. I am strong.

Love people. Tell them they can make it, Don Miller said.

We all need somebody to believe in us, to tell us that we can make it.

Who is believing in you?

Who are you believing for?

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  • Patti W

    Oh Karen,
    Good one!
    I needed that tonight. Her story is being changed because you can tell her she can make it.
    Someone did that and does that for me. So wanted to be at the #storyline conference
    Blessings, keep writing

    • Karen Spears Zacharias

      Patti: glad it spoke to you. Wish you could be at the conference. I’ll have photos and more stories to share soon.

  • Debbie W

    I have been feeling the full force of that loneliness the last few days Karen. Thanks for reminding me that I can make it. He has promised.

    • Karen Spears Zacharias

      Debbie: That long loneliness follows a lot of us. That’s why we need community.

  • Gloria

    I love you Karen and you will make it! Thank you for encouraging me last night and then again today with your post. Together we will all make it.

    • Karen Spears Zacharias

      It was good to see you, Gloria. Thanks for the visit.

  • Jan Chaney Rabe

    Karen, OK…..God is trying to tell me something….I have been volunteering at a childrens home for foster kids since our last little fellow left. I went this morning, there are 18 children under the age of 5….4 babies…just breaks my heart….I don’t know any of their stories, their background, all I know is they all want to be held, rocked, loved….it just drives me crazy because everyone doesn’t see the need for volunteers and GOOD Foster Parents to help these children. I have not read this blog in awile, it just hasn’t been showing up on my fb…for some reason it showed up today and I clicked to read it. Please tell this women how glad I am to know she has ambitions, goals, and I’m so glad you are her friend !!!!!

    • Karen Spears Zacharias

      Jan: I wish my friend had someone like you in their life when they were growing up. She would have loved having someone so nurturing. The work you are doing is such a gift to these children.

  • Do I need to tell you this was beautiful and powerful and all those other “..ful’s?” Probably not, but I’m going to anyway, on account of I needed this one today.

    • Karen Spears Zacharias

      Thank you, Eleanor. Hugs.