“I have great plans for you,” says the Lord. ~ Jeremiah 29:11
Kelsey had big dreams ... big hopes for her last year in high school and poised for the future she’d prayed for. She couldn’t wait to graduate … and change the world.
Standing in the lunch line, Kelsey noticed her immediately – a younger girl who looked so lost; so out of place sitting by herself. Her eyes were fixed on her food. She never looked up. Behind the masked smile she attempted to wear on her face, there was sadness and isolation.
Sadly, in nearly every high school, there are ‘invisible’ kids sitting in classrooms and wandering the halls; invisible to most teenagers because their own sights are set on succeeding in school and in life. They had their own problems to worry about.
Invisibility becomes a potent defense mechanism weapon and often a sign of depression, anger, anxiety, substance abuse, and much more. Studies show that they’re more likely to become victims, bullies, homeless, addicts, and even criminals.
With love and faith Kelsey introduced herself and asked permission to join the girl for lunch. She wanted her to know that there were people who knew she existed and, more importantly, that there was a God who knew and loved her.
Phoung, she learned, recently emigrated from Cambodia with her family. She struggled with the little English she knew and was trying her best to blend in without attracting any attention.
Over the days and weeks that passed Kelsey greeted Phoung in the halls hoping to engage more conversation. The small, dark haired girl responded with smiles, but still kept her head down and responded very little. Kelsey knew that just spending time with Phoung was what God wanted regardless of her response.
One cloudless spring day, Phoung spotted Kelsey in the hall and did something amazing. She looked up, actually taking both eyes off the floor. From behind her back, she offered Kelsey an elegant lotus flower with two words: "Thank You."
For Kelsey, that was a life-changing moment but maybe not for the reason you might think.
She realized that instead of her changing the world, God was changing her - one flower at a time.
She may never become president, be famous, or have a million dollars to her name. But she knew that Christ wanted her to love Him with all her heart so that she could spread that love to everyone around her – especially those cloaked behind the shield of invisibility.
Though a pebble is incredibly small compared to a pond, it still creates ripples that affect the water around it. As Kelsey learned her senior year, so does every word that comes out of our mouths and every action we do for good - or for bad.
Lord, if we overlook these kids we become part of the problem. Bless them with the love of caring people who assist them step into the spotlight and connect to a brighter future and the resiliency to bounce back from adversity. Amen