Let Your Light Shine…

I cried over the phone today.

Then again at dinner.

But let me back up and tell you why first. I get a phone call today, 3pm.

“This is Grant.”

“Hi. My name is Sue (not real name), I’m with 501 USD (school district that kids are in) and are the father of a 5th grade boy at McCarter?”

My heart gets very heavy, very quick.

“And you’re the new preacher in town, right?”


I can’t count the number of parents I’ve talked to, listened to, cried with, sat with when they get news that their kid has done something utterly, profanely stupid. I’ve seen the hurt, frustration, anger, confusion. I’ve comforted as best as I can but right now in this instant all I can think of is — I’m about to be one of those parents.

“Well, Mr. English….I don’t know how to say this. I really don’t. I’ve seen a lot of Christian families, dealt with a lot of Christian parents. Almost all of them have been very combative, very judgmental and their kids hellions.”

“But I’ve never seen anything like your son. He’s respectable, honorable, likeable, and honest. He’s smart as a whip and he’s not one of them sissy boys either. Do you know that I overheard some boys talking with him and they asked him about why he didn’t do something and he told them – “Because I love Jesus.” And since he’s a good athlete, they left him alone and respected him.”

“So…Cooper isn’t in trouble?”

“In trouble? No! Well he did get in a little trouble for playing in the water fountain after gym. But when we confronted those boys about it – he was the only one that said he’d been throwing water and he’d clean it up. He was just being a boy, no big deal…but I also heard about what you and your church did for McCarter at the school fair.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Now, I’m a pagan. Never saw much use for God but after seeing your son and actually your girls as well plus what you guys are doing at McCarter…I may have to rethink this Jesus guy. You wouldn’t mind if I showed up at your church one Sunday, would you?”

I can’t really answer her because I’m crying. I’m humbled beyond measure. I stumble out yes, love to talk with you, answer any questions. We just wanted to help McCarter out. That’s it. No big deal.

We talk for a few minutes more, hang up.

At dinner tonight, I replay the whole conversation for the family. Amy tears up. I tear up. The whole family tears up. So I’m becoming a cry baby as I get older but I’m also astonished at how God moves. I shouldn’t be…but I am.

We’re not great parents. We’re parents who love Jesus and love our kids and are trying to figure out how not to ruin the gifts God gave us. I take shortcuts at times…get lazy…get frustrated. I’ve spanked the wrong kid, yelled when I’ve should have listened, and pushed when I should have hugged.

But tonight…I’ve never been prouder of my kids.

Shine…Let them wonder what you’ve got.


14 thoughts on “Let Your Light Shine…

  1. UPDATE:

    Amy dropped the kids off at school today and ran into one of the sub teachers that frequent McCarter.

    She bragged on Camber and Cayden, how subs see the worst often but not these two. We’re banking these today for the day when we get the call that one of kids has blown up the chemistry lab.


  2. good news is that if topeka public schools are like little rock public schools there arent any chemistry labs anymore.

    but, that is probly the coolest thing ive heard in a long time.


  3. Okay- if you know me at all, you know this made me cry too! That was my first response when I read this yesterday. After thinking about it, I thought HOW COOL GOD IS! He works out everything in His time, for His purpose. If you all had sold your CO house right away, you would have moved into a different school district and never had the opportunity to impact this school. Even when we don’t understand God’s timing- He is at work and sees the big picture!


  4. That is beyond awesome. Something I strive for as our children get older. You know when God has blessed you when something like that happens.


  5. Okay, I haven’t been able to let go of the phrase “Because, I love Jesus”. I am going to be sure I share that phrase with my kids (and myself) as a “handle” when they are in a situation such as you described. Thanks again for sharing…


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