I just never liked her. There was just something about her, you know? She was loud, inappropriate with most of her remarks, and she seemed to always know how to push my buttons. Of course, I knew better, but that did not make it any easier.

coffeeAnd then, one day, it all changed. It was a grey Saturday morning, and we were sitting around, four women having coffee. Why she wound up in the midst of the three of us old friends, I have no idea. But there she was, having coffee with us. And as much as I longed to delight in the moment, her presence was ruining it for me. The conversation was light, and at some point, Kathryn mentioned her daughter reaching out to another child who was being picked on at school. The loud woman turned quiet, and the room became uncomfortable.

“What’s her deal now?” I wondered.

“That happened to me,” she said quietly. “Only it wasn’t at school. It was at home. By my Daddy.” The woman began to share her story and the atrocities of her childhood, the cruelty and humiliations she endured at the hands of her father, her mother’s weakness in ignoring the abuse, the homeless years, the man who took her in. She spoke for probably twenty minutes. And I listened.

Her story made her real to me. Her story gave me insight. Her story totally changed the way I saw her. I felt my heart melting toward her.

After I got home that afternoon, I thought about the ugly shriveled up handicapped man who lived across the street when I was little, and how I loved him so because he was alone and ugly, and how he taught me to play chess and we used to sit and talk for hours on the hot summer days. I never minded his ugliness, because I knew his story, and his looks were completely irrelevant in the equation of love.

And then, I remembered the woman who never stood up while in church and how I used to think she was so full of herself until I found she couldn’t really stand because her back was just too painful.

I thank God for the woman who rubbed me the wrong way and became my dear friend. It took her to chisel through my shameless know-it-all  pride. And at fifty-five years young, I finally learned a valuable life lesson–listen to the story behind the faces, Barbara, because knowing someone’s story changes everything.

Yes, Lord, I am listening.


Wanna come on over to my new blog to check it out?


Sometimes, I link up with any or all of these wonderful writers: Hearts 4 Home,SDG, Hearts Reflected, WLW, EOA, Things I can’t say, Growing Home, Play Dates with God, Monday Musings, Hear it on Sunday,Inspire Me Monday, Tell me a Story, The Better Mom, a Mama’s Story, Into the Word, In and Around Mondays,OYHT, Gratituesday,Titus2Tuesdays, Extraordinay, Lessons from Ivy,Denise in Bloom, Sweet Blessings, Faith Filled Friday, Finding Joy, WholeHearted Home, Mom’s the Word, Reclaiming a Redeemed Life, Still Saturday, Wildcrafting Wednesdays



  1. What a reminder – and one I keep having to learn again and again. We shouldn’t judge a book by its cover – or a person by their outward expression. We each have a story which formed us. knowing that story certainly paints the person in a different light.


  2. Ouch. How easy it is to judge. 😦 I love hearing the backstories because they almost always make me change my mind about a person. And I try to remember now (ahead of time when I can!) that everybody has a backstory…. Thanks for sharing this, Barbara. I relate.


  3. Barbara, a beautiful post full of much wisdom. May we remember to look past to the story for we all have one. May our Lord give us eyes to see others in the same way He sees us. Blessed to have been your neighbor at Unite this morning!


  4. Such a beautiful lesson!

    There have been times in the past when I could’ve been that woman; socially awkward and never feeling like I fit in. I think if you’ve walked in those shoes, it makes it a bit easier to look beyond the outward appearance and try to discern the heart of a person.

    Visiting you today from Unite! Thanks for sharing this!


  5. Your post triggered several thoughts; one I am not proud of as a child, making fun of an older lady. My mom came out and spoke to me about it and brought shame to my face. There are some people, you just don’t want to be best friends with, but hearing their story just might change that.
    Thank you for sharing your awesome post with us here at “Tell Me a Story.”


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