Thankless Lives

Blog / Produced by The High Calling
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“The wicked man earns deceptive wages, but he who sows righteousness reaps a sure reward.”

Proverbs 11:16

“It happened quite a while ago,” she told me, “at a time in my life when I was at my lowest—that’s what I remember.”

I was writing a story about her for a magazine, and this woman—she was forty, maybe—was telling me things I wasn’t sure I needed to know.

“I’d had four kids in six years in that little trailer we lived in.” She fumbled with her fingers. “I know I wasn’t the world’s best wife then—probably because I was trying to be the world’s best mother.”

Whatever she was unearthing from her memory was very sharp.

“One summer night my husband came home from a game—he played softball at the time.” She wasn’t looking at me at all. “It was late and I’d been with the kids all day—you know what I mean?—and he said to me, ‘You know, your friend—and I won’t say her name—she tried to seduce me tonight.’”

That’s when she looked at me. “That was the lowest point in my entire life,” she told me. “I can’t remember feeling any more worthless.”

Her husband was indirectly asking her to be a better lover. As the mother of four kids under six, she wasn’t sure she had more love to give to anyone, not even her husband.

“That’s when, for the first time, I understood how much I needed something more than even my husband, certainly something more than I was. For the first time, I knew how much I needed the Lord,” she said.

Lots of people hit bottom before they find the way up.

“Then something happened I’ll never forget,” she said. “This old woman from church,” she said, her eyes lighting, “—she slipped me a check for $100, put it in my hand.” Her lips tightened through a smile. “She told me I needed a new coat—‘Don’t you dare spend that on your kids,’ she told me. “I don’t know that ever, in my whole life, I received as wonderful a gift as I did with that $100,” this woman told me. “Do you understand what I’m telling you?”

I’ve never forgotten that story. A gift of love hits exactly the right spot. That old woman’s hundred bucks was really a million, and no one else ever knew a thing about what she’d done.