Trials, Tattoos and the Truth

     We sat in our favorite coffee shop, reminiscing about the “old days” in the charming spot where we had spent so much time together. One minute we were chuckling over a funny anecdote, and the next we were sniffling as we shared some difficulties we had faced since our last visit. For me, this time was especially poignant as I was able to thank Amanda in person for the blessing she had been to me during the difficult season of my life. You see, when I learned I had cancer and started treatment, Amanda came alongside me in selfless support and friendship. She sought the Lord on my behalf regularly, and I have the proof of that at my home where, tucked away in a special box, I have sheets and sheets of handwritten scriptures that the Lord gave to Amanda to share with me. Those verses, written in her distinct handwriting, were a gift of hope and encouragement that I will treasure forever. Her favorite verse jumped off the pages to minister to me,

“Peace I leave you; my peace I give you. Not as the world gives, I give to you.” (John 14:27)

     When I was hurting, just knowing that there was someone who loved me, who actively took me before the Lord in her prayers, and who would selflessly take the time to share His Truth with me, brought the peace of the Lord that I cannot explain. 

     I have until now left out the most incredible part of this story. You see, at the time that I was sick, Amanda was my 17 year old student - a senior in the high school at which I taught. While most girls her age were concerned with boys or fashion or what they would do after graduation, Amanda concerned herself with a teacher, twice her age, who was hurting. Even now, when we get together, she expresses her concern and love towards me. I get emotional when I think of this lovely young woman and her selfless compassion.

    In the five years since we were with each other every day at school, Amanda has lived a lifetime of trials and difficulties - much more than most adults I know. I have watched her struggle against the devil and his desire to stop the gift the Lord gave to her of compassion and love. I have tried to be for her the blessing that she was to me, and to be the voice of Truth for her the way she was for me. This day when we sat at our favorite coffee shop and laughed and cried together, she spoke of seeing “the light at the end of the tunnel” of the struggle.  And she told me about a new tattoo she was getting in a couple of days. It would cover some physical scars, and proclaim the truth of the Lord in her life. 

“Peace I leave you; my peace I give you. Not as the world gives, gives, I give to you.”

     I am praying that the tattoo and the powerful, constant reminder it bears, will be the voice of Truth for Amanda. And I am excited that every time I see Amanda - every time we get the opportunity to laugh and to cry together, I will remember the gift of Truth that she gave me.