Difference Makers

Always remember that what you do matters. In fact, your actions and deeds today could change a life tomorrow.

I’ve probably met thousands of difference makers. Sometimes a song, a fragrance, or even a gesture reminds me of an individual who offered a gentle smile, a warm embrace, or a simple prayer. Difference makers in the life of people like you and me are everywhere. The cool thing is they probably don’t even realize that they are indeed making a difference in the life of an ordinary, everyday person.

For me, it’s sometimes through the rear-view mirror of my life that I actually realize the depth of the impact a difference maker made within my life.

Several weeks ago while speaking for a large group of women in New York I shared a true story about a photographer’s assistant who made a difference in my life, and I’m guessing throughout her life she continued to inspire many others.

I believe I was in second or third grade, when this lady touched my heart and impacted my life forever.

I remember “picture day” very clearly. As I stood in the line with the other kids, I felt rather embarrassed. My hair was messy. In fact, I couldn’t get a comb through it before leaving home so I grabbed a pair of scissors and cut the tangles off and plopped the them into the bathroom trashcan. The other girls in the line were dressed in freshly ironed, cute dresses. Their hair was nicely groomed. Really, I didn’t fit in.

Each time the photographer’s flashbulb popped, I moved one step closer to the front of the line. I tried to blend in with the other kids, but that didn’t happen. The photographer’s assistant walked up to me, knelt down, sighed, and looked me in the eye. I trembled with fear and hoped she wouldn’t make a scene, or tell others about the way I looked.

“I’ll be right back, sweetie,” she whispered.

I watched as she walked across the room to a brown metal table. She opened her purse and took out her comb, and then smiled at me as she walked towards me.

“It’s almost time for you to get your picture taken, honey, and you have a few hairs sticking up. Do you mind if I comb your hair?”

My heart melted as this beautiful lady licked her fingertips and ran them through my hair. She gently combed my hair and did the best she could to make my fine, short hair look nice.

More than 45 years later I still remember the kindness and compassion of this lady. She loved on me. She made me feel special. She definitely made a difference in my life.

Like the photographer’s assistant, difference makers are God’s chosen people. They generously share compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience even when no one is looking (Colossians 3:12 paraphrased).

Thank you to all the difference makers of yesterday, today, and tomorrow.


Copyright 2008 by Jan Coates, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.
Jan Coates is an author, speaker, consultant, founder of Set Free Today Ministries and serves on the Board of Directors of Christians in Recovery®.

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