God Sends No One Alone


Their little eyes look around for their people. The ones who came to see them. Their mamas, daddies, siblings, relatives.

The girls are wearing colorful dresses, hair fixed neatly. The boys also are dressed in their finest, with vests and suit jackets and pocket squares. Sunday shoes laced tightly. Mama’s voices in their heads: Don’t get dirty.

Except for one little boy.

It is Kindergarten Graduation Day.

kindergarten graduation


After the school program in the cafeteria, we filter back into the classroom.

Parents take photos of their students. They flip through folders of their child’s work from the year. They look at their art and they smile and they laugh.


Except for one little boy.

I hear whimpering in the Legos corner. There sits Caleb (not his real name). In tears.

And in tatters. He has no church clothes. His black pants are ripped in both legs, and the wrong size anyway. His face is tear-stained. His shoes are the only “normal” piece of his outfit—only because his teacher (my Jenna) had earlier asked if he wanted to switch from his regular shoes to his special school shoes (donated and kept in the classroom just for him).

Of course it’s not unusual for a kindergartener to be crying about something. Maybe a friend took their crayon. Or somebody accidentally (or on purpose) bumped them. Or they’re just tired and need a nap.

But when I ask Caleb why he is so sad, today he answers, “My mama didn’t come.” And he cries some more.

And a part of me cries on the inside, too.

He sees that other kids have parents here, loving on them, giving them attention, proud of them.

Who came for him?

I give him a hug and tell him he will see his mama later. That she loves him. That she’s proud of him.

Granted, I know none of these things. But surely it is true? I want to believe as much as he does.

Perhaps his mother told him earlier that she couldn’t come today because she had to work or was sick. Maybe she said her heart would be there with him anyway.

But maybe she didn’t.

Maybe she is in a hotel room (or wherever “home” is this week) getting a fix or sleeping off a hangover. I don’t know.

This is what I do know: it matters whether or not someone shows up for us.

Not just to 6-year-old boys. Also to 80-year-old spouses at an anniversary party. And to families at reunions. And to patients in hospitals and brides in weddings and grieving friends at funeral homes.

And to new graduates of kindergarten.

It’s time for me to leave the classroom and I hate to say good-bye to these babies I’ve grown to love through only one visit a week. Most I’ll never see again except through photos.

And Caleb? What will happen to little Caleb?

Only God knows. I beg Him—please keep sending people to show up for Caleb.

It may or may not be his mama that comes for him. But it will always be someone, somewhere. This year, it was my daughter. Next year, it will be more schoolteachers, maybe a social worker, an uncle or a grandma.


God sends no one out here alone.

Not even one raggedy, but oh so special, little boy on his kindergarten graduation day.

* * *

Who can you show up for this week? Who has shown up for you? Please share in the comments.

55 thoughts on “God Sends No One Alone

  1. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    It was good to work with a group of professionals who lived by, “everyone who goes in comes out…or no one does.”

    That carries into civilian life. Jonathan Shay found that many veterans with severe PTSD found their purpose again in helping those who are abandoned by society.

    (Combat trauma isn’t about real ‘traumatization’; at its root is homesickness…yes, for the fight…and for a sense of mission that is larger than oneself.)


    1. LisaNotes Post author

      There really isn’t as many appropriate analogies in civilian life as in the military for what you’re saying here, Andrew: “everyone who goes in comes out…or no one does.” What a beautiful thing if we could all live like that for those we are entrusted to care for.

  2. Ed

    Great post, and a thoughtful one at that!
    I wish I could show up for my sister. She’s having a hard time and could use the company, but she’s in the east coast and I am stuck in the west. Usually I try to reach out to family and friends in a tough spot. Actually I will reach out to anyone whenever possible despite my own circumstances. Usually just as an ear, a shoulder to cry on… coffee….99 cents burger, etc…. It’s all part of being a Christian.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I have a hunch that your sister has felt your love today, Ed, through the words you’re sharing from your heart here, even though she’ll likely never see this. The fact that you want to reach out to her, to others, to whoever needs you, sends ripples of love into the world that eventually bump into all of us. Thanks for your heart.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      My heart hurts so much for this little fellow too. 🙁 I can hardly bear to think about how his summer will be. Just praying for Jesus to show up in miraculous ways in his life.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, it does put our problems more into perspective, I agree, Angie. I may be concerned about what my next meal will be, but never that I will have one. 🙁

  3. Renee A.

    This article is so pertinent to me! Not just because I am a teacher for students with special needs whose parents routinely don’t show up (if their parents are even around).

    But in my own life “showing up” has just happened. My oldest son recently turned 30. There were sadly many times when he was still living at home when it was me who did not show up, too busy with other people, too tired, too whatever. I realized years later how much he suffered by my mental, emotional, and spiritual neglect…. I live in a different state than my son now, but recently was able to get away to visit on his birthday. Here is the important part of this long story. I lived in “his” state for 18 years. I have many dear friends there. I told no one I was coming. This visit was Only for my son, and I know it meant something to him b/c when he texted me, he used ! marks. Most 30 year old men don’t do this….. We have not really done anything special. I hung out at his apt. I met his sweet girlfriend. I brought him lunch. I washed dishes. I was just there, and yet I have had a wonderful time!! Never, never, discount the importance of “just showing up”. It is never too late to begin again if that is where you are at today. Go!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Oh, this is what it’s all about! Thank you for sharing your story, Renee! May we all be touched by it and be reminded that neither we nor our kids are ever too old to show up for. What you did was something your son will always remember. I’ll remember your story too.

  4. floyd

    (Gulp). That’s a tough one. Even if his mom is at work, to support him, those are the kind of days that stick with a kid and help shape their world view… and when the tears end, too often the rage begins. I’m praying for him. Each one deserves both; to not have to be alone and a prayer.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I can see you’re thinking ahead like I am, Floyd. 🙁 I already see rage in this child, and I can feel certain that it’s coming from years of neglect and from hard, hard things he’s already seen. I worry about what’s next for him, how his character is being shaped by forced beyond his control. May the Lord intervene in ways that can move mountains for this child.

  5. Carly

    It’s so sad when children are left feeling alone and ignored like that, even when there is an understandable reason for it. I’m glad you were there to encourage and comfort him. It’s hard when we won’t be there to continue to do that, but you’re right, we just have to pray and trust that God will provide other people to show up for this boy and other children like him.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thanks, Carly. We do have to trust that God will keep putting people in each other’s lives, yes? And keep looking around us for whose lives we are supposed to be in now. I regret that I likely won’t see this little guy again though. He is so precious. Lord, have mercy.

  6. Barbara H.

    So sad. I’m glad you were there to encourage him a little – that’s a reminder to me to be on the lookout for those who need a friendly word. Love that last picture of Jenna – it looks like she’s blessing the little boy with her hand on his head.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I love that picture of Jenna, too. She is quite ready for summer break, but I know she will miss these kids terribly, and that they will miss her too. It was an eventful first year of teaching, lessons for me too.

  7. Beth

    Thank the Lord for people like your daughter and you, Lisa, who are always seeking out the lonely, rejected and helpless in life. I’m sure that this little boy was touched by the kindness and compassion you showed to him and I join you in praying that God will bring many more loving and compassionate people across his path all the days of his life. I know this little boy’s plight makes the Lord weep, but so glad you saw him and stopped to care–as well as tell us of his story.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I do believe that God sends people into our lives just when we need them. I’m so grateful for that grace! I pray I won’t be that person that says no too often when I’m the one being sent. Thanks for your prayers and sweet words, Beth.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, unfortunately there is never a lack of hurting people all around us (and sometimes including us). May the Lord’s grace always be larger than the pains though! Thanks for weighing in, Jennifer.

  8. Susan Nowell @ My Place to Yours

    Praying for “Caleb” right now, Lisa. For his little broken heart, his physical needs—and his spiritual. Praying for his parents. Praying for everyone who may be tearing down his precious spirit—and everyone (like you and Jenna) doing their best to build it up in the short period they have with him. May our faithful God bring people into his life to show up for him, to love him, to meet his needs. May this little one not fall through the cracks. There are so many “Calebs” in our world… and we don’t have to look far at all to find them, BUT WE DO HAVE TO LOOK. They’re often outside of our comfort zone, aren’t they? . . . Thank you to you and your precious Jenna for looking—and responding. Thank you for sharing this story.

  9. saleslady371

    It’s sad but fills me with hope because of your faith, Lisa. I love your words that speak life that someone will show up because we pray that they do in Caleb’s life. May God bless you for showing up and may He bless your daughter for doing more than just her job, but God’s Kingdom work as well.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thank you so much, Mary. I struggle with but have to CHOOSE to have hope, because in my flesh, I see nothing but hopelessness for this little guy. 🙁 But I must remember that our God is able to do all things. Your encouragement helps me believe.

  10. Ifeoma Samuel

    I read this article via email….it blessed my heart Lisa….I am grateful for daughter. I think I said that some time ago. Please let her know she has a fan praying for her in far away Nigeria.
    And oh those are for her too.
    God bless you, Lisa and your sweet family.

  11. ~ linda

    Oh, Lisa, I know how you have loved this children. Thank you for caring about each one and especially ‘Caleb.’ I hold him in my prayers and utter the words you have spoken, Lisa. God will be with him and watch over him. I pray that he will keep another close to him in all of his days.
    May you be able to join your daughter in her classrooms in future years. …an honor and a privilege for everyone involved.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thank you, sweet Linda. You have encouraged me from the beginning of the school year and I so appreciate your gentle cheers for me to get involved. It was a glorious (if not heart-wrenching experience) and I do hope I’ll be invited back against for the next school year. 🙂

  12. Brenda

    Oh, bless his little heart. Joining you in prayer for “Caleb,” that God would go before him and make sure that there are always people who show up for him. I understand the heartbreak of Caleb’s heart. I come from a dysfunctional family, and my parents haven’t shown up for me in years; they don’t even know my children. Two of whom are adults now. Yeah, I feel ya, Caleb. Hang in there buddy, God always holds our hands. Never alone, indeed. Sweet post today, Lisa. Thanks for sharing. ((xoxo))

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I appreciate you sharing this, Brenda. Although it makes me sad too to realize that you still don’t have your parents showing up for you. 🙁 But how encouraging to hear you say that yes, God doesn’t leave us alone. You know from which you speak, so I will continue to pray for little Caleb and I appreciate your prayers too!

  13. Michele Morin

    Lisa, I love your heart for those on the fringes. I’m starting a new summer job in June, and I’m trusting God for opportunities to “be there” for the women with whom I’ll be working.

  14. Lori

    Lisa, reading this brought back so many memories of precious children I taught. There are a couple I would love to find out what happened in their lives. There is one from my first year of teaching that has been on my heart for the last six months. I can’t help but pray for him and his brother any time they come to mind. I even have to laugh at some of the situations they found themselves in that year because I was in tears over them every week. I’m praying for little Caleb. Thanks for linking up with Thankful Thursdays.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      (Sorry I’m just now getting your comment, Lori!) So these little fellows stick in your mind even years afterwards, huh? That’s good to hear yet daunting as well. It’s a blessing to them that you continue to pray even this much later! Thanks for sharing this.

  15. Jean Wise

    That just breaks my heart. I pray for my grandkids future spouses with a similar prayer – that they may have good friends and make wise decisions. That they feel loved and accepted. I think Caleb is blessed to have you notice and listen to him!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      You praying for your grandkids’ future spouses—that’s a huge blessing, Jean. They may or may never be aware of it, but God already sees in advance who those sweet family members will be and must be so pleased by your attention to these future generations!

  16. Lori Schumaker

    Oh, Lisa! My heart is aching for this sweet little boy. I taught in an area similar to this for several years. It was so rewarding, but yet my heart was always a mess because I just couldn’t fix all the problems. It was a big lesson in trusting God. It also reminds me of when we met our daughter in an orphanage half way across the world. The other precious children were hanging onto us with eyes that begged we make things better for them, too. The pressure in my chest as I had to unwrap a set of little hands from around my leg and leave is one I will never forget.
    Beautiful post – thank you, friend!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      This is important for me to read, Lori. I can’t imagine having my heart break like this every year with a new set of kids (and I’m not even the teacher but just the teacher’s mom!). So yes, it is a lesson to trust God more! Thanks for sharing your experience about your daughter too. I can’t imagine how that felt to watch the other kids’ eyes. 🙁

  17. Sharon

    Oh Lisa, I cannot speak through my tears. This just made me so very sad. But knowing your Jenna (and her mama, too), I have a feeling that *Caleb* will be watched and cared for even as he moves on to another classroom. I pray for him, that God will protect him, and bring others to his life that will offer healing. May God find Caleb and may Caleb find God, and may Caleb’s broken heart be mended by the Great Physician who loves him so.


    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Just now getting this comment, Sharon, or I would have replied sooner. I appreciate your tender heart in feeling deeply for Caleb yourself. Thank you for praying for him and for the people that will come into his life next. I know God hears our prayers so, Lord, we are counting on you!

  18. Valerie

    I feel so sad for that sweet boy! I pray that God continues to send people his way to show him that he’s loved. When I taught, it was always so hard to say goodbye to the students each year. You become like a little family. Thank you for sharing this at 100 Happy Days!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thanks for your prayers for this week fellow, Valerie! I do believe that God hears each prayer and honors our requests. I can’t imagine how you teachers have done it through the years, loving and then watching the kids move on, for better or worse.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I appreciate what you’re sharing, Lux. I love hearing that God indeeds sends people our way, and that he will send just the right people into little Caleb’s life!

  19. June

    Thank God for people like you and your daughter, Lisa. By God’s grace this little boy will be drawn by the love he sees in your eyes, and those like you and he will respond to God’s call on his life. We often under estimate the value of our presence in the lives of others. May we all be in tune to the Holy Spirits guidance in this regard. Have a blessed weekend, friend!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Your words encourage me very much, June: “We often underestimate the value of our presence in the lives of others. May we all be in tune to the Holy Spirits guidance in this regard.” Amen, sister!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thank you for your prayers, Ruth. I know every one counts! I appreciate you sharing your post, too. It’s encouraging to be reminded to keep my eyes on Jesus instead of the mountains that I *think* I can move without him.

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