10: tali sue

It started with an email from her teacher in the morning… “Just wanted to let you know…”

That evening, as she was getting ready for bed there was finally time to ask her about it.

“So, how was school today?”

Immediately, big brown eyes became pools of tears glistening in the soft glow of the lamp. Bottom lip quivering she began to tell me about her day. About her friend at school who wanted to compare science answers to hers. How she felt when her teacher caught her.

“So you knew you were in trouble the moment she saw you?”

Head bowed… “yes...”

“So you knew you were doing something wrong?”

A tear slips down her cheek… “yes…”

“I see.”

The silence hung between us.  I asked God to give me the words that would refine rather than condemn. Her lesson was learned.  Her punishment at school appropriate. An “F” on the assignment she worked so hard on the night before, and worse… she was not allowed to teach her weekly Bible Study during recess.

“We are held to a different standard, you know…” And she nods.

She knows.

And I am so thankful for that. My beautiful Tali Sue… not perfect, but like all of us… she is working on it. I didn’t have to grill her to get the truth, she just let it spill out of her, as though she knew confession would be good for her soul.  And it was.

Knowing that at some point this month, I would write about Tali… I could never have imagined what the writing prompt would have been.  I’ve never had a call or an email or a note from a teacher like that before.  Especially not for Tali… yet it was a reminder to me that she really is just a little girl, trying to figure out this world.  What it looks like to live set apart.

That the same little girl that sits every evening making duct tape bows that save children out of slavery, can get caught cheating in school. That the little girl who knows all of the answers in Sunday School, sometimes slips on the answers in life. That the little girl that would choose to go to a prayer meeting over a birthday party, sinks into step with the world sometimes.

But how I love her heart. How I love her desire to serve, to care for others, to be a friend. How I love her transparency when I ask her “how was school today”… her giggle when I ask about her boyfriend… the way she dances her way through life… the way she looks at the world…her quick wit... her confidence… her beautiful, beautiful spirit…

How I love her passion for Jesus, and her boldness to share Him with others.   How I love her willingness to be changed and refined by Him. Her desire to be set apart… even if she is still learning to walk that out.

Beautiful, sweet spirited Tali Sue... I love you. And you know what else... Jesus does too

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