Recently, I got a Facebook message from a girl who was really mean to me in school. We were actually best friends for years before that. I’m talking slumber parties, Christmas presents, friendship bracelets. The whole deal. But one school year she found a new table at lunch and a new group of friends, and seemingly overnight they were “the cool kids” with me as their target for years to come.
Her recent message wasn’t even mean, but decades later I still had a pit in my stomach when I realized who it was from. Imagine your childhood bully, just casually sliding into your DM’s as you were writing an article about being bullied and why kindness is so important to you all these years later. Imagine THAT! God is really funny.
In my new children’s book, Spreading Kindness like Betty Confetti, Betty is a girl who constantly goes out of her way to welcome the “new kid”, Brandi, who was feeling left out at school. Betty tries so hard because she remembers what it felt like to be on the outside, herself.
This is so important to me because I’ve lived it.
I’ve often been picked on for being “too much,” picked last for the team, or not chosen at all. I don’t always bounce back quickly from unkind words, but it is God who restores my heart and helps me offer grace and forgiveness to others time and time again.
Once I was the girl looking anxiously around the lunch room, holding my tray, and not knowing where it was safe to sit. Now I’m the woman who confidently says, “You can sit with us!”
One day in school when the mean girls were their meanest, I cried myself to sleep, praying for God to send me just one true friend. Now, I can see SO clearly how He did all that and more. The Lord so lovingly found a way to send me just the friend I needed, to spread kindness like confetti in every season of my life.
I think about how God sent me Susanne on my first day of kindergarten, and now she’s a kindergarten teacher herself. Or how I met Julie as we changed schools and became the “new kids” on the soccer team together. The answer to my prayer in this story was Rach, and she still prays for me, even now. In college came my awesome roommate Andrea, and we are so much alike that it’s wild! On Sorority Bid Day, I actually wasn’t picked at all, but my friend Nicole was waiting for me with open arms, and a BFF T-shirt she made to let me know I still belonged.
It’s not like I’ve gone decades without hurt feelings or heartache, but friends like these make every burden in life a little bit easier to carry.
Even as I entered the workforce pretending to be an adult, I was new, nervous, and lonely. I didn’t know I was about to meet some of the most loyal friends I have ever known. These days, God abundantly answers my grade school prayer with a community of fellow moms (and a real-life Brandi) who have become like family. Just ask my first grader — two of them are his emergency contacts!
I pray Spreading Kindness like Betty Confetti encourages every follower of Jesus (both young and old) to not only pray for God to send us kind friends, but for each of us to BE the KIND of friend others need. To send the invitation, to save the seat, to make room in our hearts, and to pull up an extra chair. I hope that as Christian parents, grandparents, and teachers we will show our children how to include others and be kind to those who may feel left out. May we understand and model that our words matter SO deeply that they can have a lasting impact on others for years to come.
As Betty learned:
You’ve yet to meet a person that Jesus doesn’t love,
so let’s help spread His kindness while He watches from above.
I bet we’ve all had a time when we had our feelings hurt by someone else. Some of us may still be hurting and I pray the Lord helps us forgive and move forward with peace that He has better plans (and better friends) waiting for us. I’m laughing as I also pray that they don’t message you on Facebook tonight just to test your forgiveness.
We have the chance every day to spread kindness like confetti, just like Betty! We can do that In our communities, in our homes. In our churches and in our schools. Whether it’s In the lunch room or in the boardroom, God can use our kind hearts to bless all of those around us. Our friendship can be an answer to someone’s prayer, just when they need it the most.
Is there someone God has laid on your heart that can use some extra kindness? How can you sprinkle some confetti their way today?
Kindness is like confetti; there’s always lots to spare. When we love like Jesus does, we spread it everywhere! Spreading Kindness like Betty Confetti, the second book in the popular Betty Confetti Inspirational Children’s storybook series by author and artist Maghon Taylor, illustrates the importance of being kind to everyone everywhere. Perfect for a little one in your life, this sweet book helps teach about kindness in an adorable and accessible way. When Betty sees a new girl at school, she tries her hardest to offer a warm welcome, but so many obstacles get in Betty’s way! Notes get passed to the wrong people. Lunchroom invitations get mixed up. But in the end, Betty’s kind heart wins the day when she shares kindness with others.
We’re thrilled to give away FIVE copies of Spreading Kindness like Betty Confetti! Just leave a comment about a time you’ve experienced kindness.
And tune in to the (in)courage podcast this weekend as Maghon Taylor and Becky Keife have a conversation about Spreading Kindness like Betty Confetti!
Listen to today’s devotion at the player below or wherever you stream podcasts.