When I was in eighth grade, my family was struggling with simply loving each other as Christ loved us. There was an unbearable amount of strife: yelling and arguing, the threat of divorce. I was so afraid to face reality I would hide in the cupboards for hours and cry. I had absolutely no idea how to cope, and I felt as though I were drowning in hatred and fear.
I was completely clueless in school. I was being bullied, physically, by one girl almost every day, and my friends were not accepting me into the group. Sometimes, the rejection was physical, like being pushed out of the circle. Sometimes, it was plain and blatant verbal rejection.
I had a teacher, a history teacher, that was kind in a way I had never seen before. I spent the whole year observing her, searching for ulterior motives, fears of rejection, insecurity, just anything that would contribute to such saintly behavior. I found absolutely none. Through multiple trials, she continued to reach out toward those who were hurting and bless us continuously.
At the end of the year, I determined her worthy of trusting. I found no ulterior motives, no selfish reasonings. She was simply kind and compassionate. Well, somebody stole money she had been raising with some students. She said to the class that she forgave whoever committed the act and will figure something out. I was intrigued.
My family had to switch churches. I spent three days sobbing, but eventually we moved to the church. I never assumed I would attend the same church as my teacher, but she became my small group leader in youth group. I was too anxious to sit with anybody, so I sat in a corner by myself. She offered me a place beside her repeatedly, despite my insistance to isolate myself. Finally, I responded, began speaking to her, began socializing with the peers at my youth group. They too were incredibly kind, and I felt as though a portion of heaven had rained down.
I found God through the kindness of a teacher. She witnessed and ministered to me through my trials by merely existing. She taught me what love was by showing up whenever she could when nobody else was able to. She reached out to an outcast like Jesus did, and I restored my relationship with God because of the kindness of a teacher.