Little Mama’s Hero

This may be the coolest one yet.

Hands down, one of the greatest blessings about working at Jeremiah’s Place is seeing the hand of God at work. I literally have to sift through all of the testimonies each month to pick which one is the coolest. Get the tissues, this is a good one!

Every week, we meet with our residents, go over goals, help with dilemmas, and brainstorm through circumstances. At the end of our individual time together, Janet always asks that I give them each a personal goal for the week.

One particular resident is an overachiever. That may sound like a good thing, but this is done at the risk of her self-care. She is a manager of a local restaurant, has two special needs children and a two-year-old that runs circles around all of us. Little Mama is bright, articulate, and very creative, but she never invests in herself. As you can imagine, all of her energies go into her children, and then she drops in the bed, exhausted, until she gets up and hits repeat.

So, for this Little Mama, I suggested that she add some quiet time into her schedule, possibly after the kids are in bed, or at a minimum on the weekend. Knowing her creative bent, I asked if she ever journaled. She brightened up and said she used to love to write! She referenced how this love was introduced and fanned into flames by an all-time favorite teacher in high school. This teacher inspired in her a love of English and literature.

When she mentioned the teacher’s name, I just about fell out of my chair. Suspecting that I was about to fall into what I call a “Godincidence,” I asked what year she graduated. 1991, she answered. And with that, the little squirrels in my brain started running circles. I knew God was smiling down like He does when He’s fixing to do something really cool.

I could hardly wait to get in my car and make a phone call. I called my friend and Board member, Juanita Tipton. I asked what subject she taught in high school and whether she was teaching in 1991. She answered, English and Yes. I knew instantly that God was showing out!

I began to tell her what had prompted my phone call and how this mama’s face lit up as she talked about her love for English, literature, writing, and Mrs. Tipton. I went on to say how she had gushed in honor when she reflected on her memories of Juanita. As you can imagine, we were both in tears by now. I felt a little God wink as I orchestrated the plan for the following Wednesday interview time.

I invited Juanita to arrive in our office a few minutes before Little Mama got there for her weekly “grill session.” Little Mama walked in, as usual, with her Pendaflex full of overachieving paperwork, talking a mile a minute, and trying to summarize the past week before jumping head first into the next week without taking a breath. Finally, she stopped long enough to notice someone else had joined us in the office.

What happened next is script worthy! You should have seen their faces when they made eye contact. Little Mama was beside herself to see her “English Hero” standing before her with a great big ole hug after 32 years of separation, followed by a litany of loving words of affirmation. I tell ya that is the stuff heaven is made of.

But wait! There’s more. We partnered those two generations in getting together again to prime the ole writing skills in Little Mama that have long been shut down. Juanita is going to mentor Little Mama again. Just like the old days. So good!

If you don’t think God is in the details, come hang out at Jeremiah’s Place for a while, and you’ll be a new believer. You can’t make this stuff up, and I couldn’t have planned that in my greatest efforts. But God can, and He does. Every day.

It gets better still. We just got news that Little Mama got accepted into UNG Fall Semester. She wants to get a degree in psychology with an interest in research in autism.

So again, if you would like to be a part of Jeremiah’s Place, we have many ways you can partner with us: volunteer, make a donation, and very soon you can enjoy some spaghetti! We are planning right now for our Spaghetti Supper fundraiser on Monday, May 1. We would love to have you join us!

As always, thank you for your heart and prayers for Jeremiah’s Place.

We couldn’t do what we do without folks like you, and we are grateful.

God Bless!

Kerri Johnson
Executive Director
North Georgia Interfaith Ministries – Jeremiah’s Place