Processed with MoldivDid you get your taxes done? April 15th has a way of making people stressed out and a bit nervous sometimes. It’s that dreaded day when the government, both state and federal, expects a full report of your financial situation. They want to make sure you’re giving them their cut of your earnings.

April 15th holds a different meaning to me. Eighteen years ago on this day, we said see you later to a very dear woman in my life, Ann Payne, known to all who loved her as Mama Payne. Mama Payne was not related to our family in any way except through love. She was like a second mother to me. She volunteered with our church youth group, where she and my mother works side by side for over a decade. She was my mother’s best friend.

Mama Payne was a integral part of my life. She was at every major life event: birthdays, graduations, my wedding, and the birth of my children. She loved me and gave me great advise like,

If you can’t pay cash for it, you shouldn’t buy it. If it’s something you want, save up for it and then buy it.”

She was also quick to point out when I had done something wrong or needed to rethink my decisions. She did so because she loved me and wanted the best for me.

Mama Payne had my picture on her desk beside pictures of her son and her other family members. Many people she worked with thought I was her daughter because of the way she spoke about me. I wasn’t legally related to her, but in every way that mattered we were family.

I think of her every year on tax day. Oh, I think of her at other times too, but on this day I intentionally pause and thank God for her: for her investment in my life, for her love, for her guidance and direction. She helped me and my mother navigate the difficult teenage years and come out of them best friends. She asked hard questions at times that forced me to dig deep. I will forever be grateful to her.

So why share this with you? Because there are people out there who need a mama or papa to invest in them. They may or may not be related to you, but they need you. They need another voice speaking into them, calling forth the gold God planted in their lives. They need someone in their corner when times get hard, cheering them on, telling them they can do it. They need the voice of correction spoken in love. They need YOU.

The survivors of sex trafficking I’ve been blessed to know personally and walk life along side of call me mama. I never asked them to, they just have, all of them. When they call and I say hello, their first response is always,

Hey, mama!”

They know that I love them fiercely, that I’ll be there for them, even when they mess up. They know I’ll also let them know it when they’re out of line or making poor choices. I do it in love. I treat them like their mine, because in my heart, they are. I call them my girls, because they are a part of my heart and always will be. They’re family.

This isn’t a new concept. It’s been God’s idea from the beginning. Look at the way Naomi invested in Ruth, Elijah invested in Elisha, and Paul invested in Timothy. Titus 2:1-8 speaks about the need for generational investment. Some churches officially call it mentoring, but it all boils down to being there to teach, love, and encourage another.

Ask God to show you who He would have you pour into right now. Ask Him who needs a mama or papa in there lives to be there. You don’t have to be older to invest in others. There’s always someone in your life who could benefit from your knowledge and wisdom, your love and affection, your time and energy. Ask God to point them out.

This takes time, but it’s not a chore. It costs you something, but the return on your investment outweighs all the money in the world. God has blessed you. Now He’s asking you to be a blessing.