When a Second Grader is Your Role Model

My creaky body is finally finished yelling at me for going to kids camp. I swear, even my hair hurt when I got home! But oh, what a time it was!

The kids were flat-out phenomenal. I couldn’t get over how the older kids looked out for the younger ones. It’s obvious Woodridge kids are getting some solid Bible teaching and some excellent parenting.

I can still hear their laughter as they played. I can still see their red, sweaty faces after they played ga-ga ball in the muggy Louisiana heat. Oh, and I can still smell ’em, too! Ha!

I was blessed to spend time with a wide array of age groups. I had the 4th-6th grade girls in my cabin, a mixture of all the grades in my Trash Band break-out track, and the 1st-2nd graders in my small Bible group.

There wasn’t a kid I didn’t like, but there was this one girl—she inspired me without even trying.

She’s a freckle-faced second-grader with enough spunk and sweetness for a whole Brownie troop. I loved watching her in action. She got along with everyone. The quiet ones and the loud ones. The young ones and the old ones. The boys and the girls. She seemed so comfortable in her own skin.

In small group, she listened and led by example. Oh, and she asked me to explain how God and Jesus are the same person. Can I just say that wasn’t in the curriculum? She seemed satisfied with my answer, though. I hope God was!

One afternoon, she walked up to me and took my hands in hers. With a concerned face, she asked, “How come you have all these bo-boes on your arms?”

Over the last few years, I developed a stress-related skin problem on my arms. When anxiety hit, I caught myself digging at those wounds. Long story short, my arms are scarred and still healing some, but, like my heart, they’re getting better every day.

My sweet girl’s compassion touched me deep. I hugged her and said, “Oh, I was a little sick for a while, but I’m getting better! No worries.”

I was telling her the truth. Every day, I feel stronger body, mind and spirit. I’m hungry again—for God and for life.

I want to be like my little second grader role model. Curious and compassionate. Friendly and focused. Unhindered and unafraid.

A few months ago, a FB friend posted this meme on her page.

I found myself commenting, “I don’t think I have one of those.”

I was so low. So heavy in spirit. I honestly didn’t see a way out. I couldn’t sense God’s presence, and I was too tired to care. I couldn’t remember ever feeling confident, free and unafraid.

Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in the miry depths, where there is no foothold. I have come into the deep waters; the floods engulf me. I am worn out calling for help; my throat is parched. My eyes fail, looking for my God (Psalm 69:1-3 NIV).

These last couple months have been miraculous. God is healing me in every sense of the word. My foot is healing from surgery slower than I’d like, but my heart and mind are pulsing with hope and purpose.

I waited patiently for the Lordhe turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him (Psalm 40:1-3 NIV).

I think I do have one of those girls inside me. A girl like my freckled-faced camper. A girl like the one in that meme. A girl brimming with confidence and laughter and limitless potential. It’s gonna be fun finding her!


Thank you for bringing me back to life! I don’t want to waste a minute of this joyful existence. May the new song you’ve placed in my mouth draw others to Your heart. 

I know there are countless folks out there just like I was. Stuck in the muck and losing hope. Please rescue them just like you did for me. Use me in any way you wish. Give me divine appointments with broken hearts. Use my story to extend hope to people barely hanging on.

I am Yours, AMEN

Has God brought you through to the other side? Who can you use your story to help today? Are you in the middle of the muck and plumb out of hope? I’d love to pray for you. Leave a comment or message me through the contact tab. We’re on this journey together!


2 thoughts on “When a Second Grader is Your Role Model

  1. Lesley July 27, 2017 at 1:23 pm

    I’m glad you had a good time at camp. I was at a camp last week too, for 11-16 year olds, and it was great too but incredibly tiring. I love how much we can learn from children, and spending time with them always reminds me of Jesus’ words that to enter the Kingdom of Heaven we need to become like little children.
    I relate to your feelings about the meme. I think there is a little girl like that inside somewhere, but deeply hidden. I’m starting a study in September of a book on that topic- She’s Still There by Chrystal Evans Hurst- so I’m sure it will be fun to seek her out!

    • leebirdmerrill July 27, 2017 at 2:32 pm

      I’ve been seeing Chrystal Evans-Hurst all over the place lately! I need to check her out.

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