Our Keepsake Journal is Here! 🎉

I’d had her as my student for nearly 100 days. Sullen, sad, just existing, her countenance carried burden and a troubled spirit. When mom came to parent-teacher conferences and asked with weary, troubled eyes, “Has she asked you to call her by a different name yet? All her other teachers tell me she is asking to be called _______.”

“No, she hasn’t mentioned a word to me about it.”

Mom poured her heart out about the messy circumstance this young person had endured. I will never, ever forget that conference as my heart has ached for this student since then. I hadn’t seen a smile consume her face all school year. The semester crawled on, and absences became the norm. It was obvious this young person was struggling with gender-identity issues, but out of seven teachers, I was the only one she had not approached about being called a different name.   

Without even being aware, this young person was teaching me much more important lessons than I was teaching her. 

My awakening happened while teaching English to high schoolers, and on this particular day, I recognized my need to unlearn much of what I thought was right

I’m literally the most awkward and blunt individual I know, and when or if I encounter a person who is more awkward than I am, I’m intrigued, almost fascinated. As black and white about morals stances as they come, I’ve always prided myself on boldness, drawing hard lines, and demanding excellence. I love people who are not afraid to call a spade a spade, and you can know me for only a hot minute and conclude I’m not a coddler.  

RELATED: I Live Loud and Love Big—And I’m Not Sorry

I was raised to be a loud voice, a strong voice, and certainly, there are appropriate times for that, but so many times the strongest leaders are quiet, gentle, and soft.  Jesus embodied the perfect balance of gentleness and strengththere is a reason why He is called the Lion AND the Lamb.  

I’m approaching 40, and I have grown up in church my entire life. My husband and I have been doing ministry for a decade, so presumably, I have heard Jesus’ parables dozens of times, yet l was rocked with the revelation that Jesus would likely speak the words in Mathew 23:13 to me, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces.” 

Ouch! But, oh, so deserved . . . that is until my heart was softened and my eyes opened.

Finally, in mid-January, this student politely asked if she could talk to me after class. I knew what was coming. Quietly and respectfully, I heard, “Mrs. Mobley, I just wanted to let you know I no longer go by (girl name), but please call me (boy name).”  I was impressed with the direct, confident demeanor and eye contact.  

Instead of spewing my stance, “Ummm, there are two genders. God made man and woman in His image,” I surprised myself. As opposed to spouting bold convictions, I questioned, “May I ask why I’m the last teacher you have talked to about this?

RELATED: My Niece Is Transgendered And She’s Amazing

Direct eye contact ceased and eyes darted to shoes, “Ummm, I thought you’d be upset.”

My heart softened, realizing she was afraid of my judgment.

The world is scared to death of harsh judgment from the church, and often for good reason. I simply murmured, “All that matters at this moment is are you comfortable in my class? Can you learn?”

The next moments will be etched in my mind forever. She literally jumped off the ground and threw both arms around my neck. A smile and joy overtook her face, and I think I may have even witnessed glassy eyes. “Thank you so much, Mrs. Mobley!! You have no idea how much this means!”

In that moment, convictions do not need to be spoutedlove and compassion need to pour forth like cool water. She KNEW my conviction without me speaking it, but she didn’t know how deeply I cared about her. She needed to see and hear the truth, “You are cared for. You are loved.”

We will never make an impact in this world for Jesus if we meet the world’s expectation of judgment and harsh words.

The world should crave the presence of Jesus followers, not fear them. Our words and responses should be a cup of cold water to hurt, lonely, and dejected people. 

RELATED: Jesus Had an Inner Circle But Talked to ALL People—We Should Too

My student taught me much more than any academic lesson I poured into her.  Because of this interaction, I truly understand the depth of Jesus’ parable in Mark chapter three about the healing of the shriveled hand on the Sabbath. Of course, it is important to honor the Sabbath, for it’s one of the Ten Commandments. But, more important than rigidly upholding the Sabbath was the condition of the heart. 

We MUST love God’s people more than our opinions and our convictions

Jesus teaches in Matthew 22: 39 that the second most important command is to “Love your neighbor as yourself.” We need to “put down our signs, cross over the lines, and love like He did” as Casting Crowns, sings in “Jesus Friend of Sinners.” May our responses always reflect Christ instead of causing recoil. Go into this dark world and spread love loudly instead of spewing conviction vehemently.

Previously published on the author’s blog

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Carla Mobley

Though I wear many hats, the roles I take the most pride in are Christ follower, wife, and mom. My husband, Micah, and I have been married for 15 years. Micah serves Faith Community Church of God as a senior pastor in Huntington, IN.  I am so blessed to be a mother to three kids: Elle (19), Josie (14), and Isaiah (10). Since an early age, I have been passionate about literature and writing. I love teaching high school literature and have enjoyed a 15-year career.  Currently, I’m a teacher at Huntington North High School.

The Day My Mother Died I Thought My Faith Did Too

In: Faith, Grief, Loss
Holding older woman's hand

She left this world with an endless faith while mine became broken and shattered. She taught me to believe in God’s love and his faithfulness. But in losing her, I couldn’t feel it so I believed it to be nonexistent. I felt alone in ways like I’d never known before. I felt helpless and hopeless. I felt like He had abandoned my mother and betrayed me by taking her too soon. He didn’t feel near the brokenhearted. He felt invisible and unreal. The day my mother died I felt alone and faithless while still clinging to her belief of heaven....

Keep Reading

Jesus Meets Me in the Pew

In: Faith
Woman sitting in church pew

I entered the church sanctuary a woman with a hurting and heavy heart. Too many worries on my mind, some unkind words spoken at home, and not enough love wrapped around my shoulders were getting the best of me. What I longed to find was Jesus in a rocking chair, extending His arms to me, welcoming me into his lap, and inviting me to exhaust myself into Him. I sought out an empty pew where I could hide in anonymity, where I could read my bulletin if I didn’t feel like listening to the announcements, sing if I felt up...

Keep Reading

Can I Still Trust Jesus after Losing My Child?

In: Faith, Grief, Loss
Sad woman with hands on face

Everyone knows there is a time to be born and a time to die. We expect both of those unavoidable events in our lives, but we don’t expect them to come just 1342 days apart. For my baby daughter, cancer decided that the number of her days would be so many fewer than the hopeful expectation my heart held as her mama. I had dreams that began the moment the two pink lines faintly appeared on the early morning pregnancy test. I had hopes that grew with every sneak peek provided during my many routine ultrasounds. I had formed a...

Keep Reading

5 Kids in the Bible Who Will Inspire Yours

In: Faith, Kids
Little girl reading from Bible

Gathering my kids for morning Bible study has become our family’s cornerstone, a time not just for spiritual growth but for real, hearty conversations about life, courage, and making a difference. It’s not perfect, but it’s ours. My oldest, who’s 11, is at that age where he’s just beginning to understand the weight of his actions and decisions. He’s eager, yet unsure, about his ability to influence his world. It’s a big deal for him, and frankly, for me too. I want him to know, deeply know, that his choices matter, that he can be a force for good, just...

Keep Reading

Mad Martha, Mary, Mom, and Me

In: Faith, Living
Woman wrapped in a blanket standing by water

As a brand-new, born-again, un-churched Christian fresh in my new faith with zero knowledge of the Bible, I am steaming, hissing mad when I first read these words from Luke 10:38-42: “Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell...

Keep Reading

I Can’t Pray away My Anxiety But I Can Trust God to Hold Me through It

In: Faith, Living
Woman with flowers in field

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t afraid. I was scared of people, of speaking, and even of being looked at. As I got older, I worried about everything. I was aware of the physical impact that stress and worry have on our bodies and our mental health, but I couldn’t break the cycle. I declined invitations and stuck with what I knew. Then we had a child who knew no fear. The person I needed to protect and nurture was vulnerable. There was danger in everything. It got worse. He grew older and more independent. He became a...

Keep Reading

Your Kids Don’t Need More Things, They Need More You

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Mother and young girl smiling together at home

He reached for my hand and then looked up. His sweet smile and lingering gaze flooded my weary heart with much-needed peace. “Thank you for taking me to the library, Mommy! It’s like we’re on a date! I like it when it’s just the two of us.” We entered the library, hand in hand, and headed toward the LEGO table. As I began gathering books nearby, I was surprised to feel my son’s arms around me. He gave me a quick squeeze and a kiss with an “I love you, Mommy” before returning to his LEGO—three separate times. My typically...

Keep Reading

Mom, Will You Pray With Me?

In: Faith, Motherhood
Little girl praying, profile shot

“Will you pray with me?” This is a question I hear daily from my 9-year-old. Her worried heart at times grips her, making it difficult for her to fall asleep or nervous to try something new. Her first instinct is to pray with Mom. Perhaps this is because of how many times her Dad and I have told her that God is with her, that she is never alone, and that she can always come to Him in prayer and He will answer. Perhaps it is because she has seen her Dad and I lean on the Lord in times...

Keep Reading

My Aunt Is the Woman I Want to Become

In: Faith, Living
Woman with older woman smiling

It’s something she may not hear enough, but my aunt is truly amazing. Anyone who knows her recognizes her as one-of-a-kind in the best way possible. It’s not just her playful jokes that bring a smile to my face, her soul is genuinely the sweetest I know. I hope she knows that I see her, appreciate her, and acknowledge all the effort she puts in every day, wholeheartedly giving of herself to everyone around her. When I look back on my childhood, I see my aunt as a really important part of it. We have shared so much time together,...

Keep Reading

A Big Family Can Mean Big Feelings

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Family with many kids holding hands on beach

I’m a mother of six. Some are biological, and some are adopted. I homeschool most of them. I’m a “trauma momma” with my own mental health struggles. My husband and I together are raising children who have their own mental illnesses and special needs. Not all of them, but many of them. I battle thoughts of anxiety and OCD daily. I exercise, eat decently, take meds and supplements, yet I still have to go to battle. The new year has started slow and steady. Our younger kids who are going to public school are doing great in their classes and...

Keep Reading