A ten dollar gift that helped save a life

Her voice trembled as she talked to the radio deejay. “If it wasn’t for you—if it wasn’t for you saying that, I wouldn’t be alive.”  

The young woman was obviously in tears, obviously broken. She told Wally, the deejay, how she had planned to commit suicide the day before. I only heard part of the story, so I don’t know the hows or whys or whats, but I heard the voice of a desperate, despairing girl who believed she ought to—needed to—end her life. Then she turned on the radio and heard these words: You’re worth it. You’re worthwhile.

The words hit her hard. Through the deejay’s voice, she heard God saying, “You are valuable to me.”

She chose to live.

Her voice trembled.

“If it wasn’t for you, for you saying that, I wouldn’t be here today. I wouldn’t be alive.”

My favorite Christian radio station is fully funded by donations. For the past two days, they have been having a “share-a-thon”, trying to raise money so their ministry can continue for the next year. Some years they meet their dollar goal; other years, they don’t. Any amount is welcome, and I’ve heard of donations ranging from five dollars to a thousand.

Frankly, it’s nerve-racking to flip on the station and hear that they still need such-and-such amount of money to make the goal, that they need twenty more callers before the end of the hour, that they need donations. It feels like one more plea from one more worthy charity, and I’m already inundated with fundraising letters from a dozen charities or more.

But what keeps me listening is the stories.

This morning, a woman donated ten dollars. A one time gift, a not so impressive amount. Yet she emailed the morning deejay that her husband had recently lost his job. Money is tight, the future uncertain, questions besiege her mind: What if he can’t find another job? How will we put food on the table? How will we pay the bills?

In her place, I would’ve kept that ten-dollar bill safe in my wallet. I need this more than that radio station. I have two kids and a husband and bills to pay. I need this. It’s mine.

Yet this woman gave it anyway. 

Frankly, I know nothing of this type of sacrifice. I’ve written about this before. From a financial perspective, I’ve been spoiled rotten or lucky or blessed, depending on your view of these things. I’ve never worried about paying the electric bill or bouncing checks. I’ve given to charity out of abundance, but I’ve never truly sacrificed to do it. So when I hear about women and men and children who give, even when it means doing without something else, I am humbled.

The woman who gave her ten dollars didn’t know this young woman on the brink of suicide. They may never meet this side of heaven.

But one impacted the life of the other.

The woman’s gift, small and sacrificial, helped fund this non-profit station. It gave the deejays the ability to speak with honesty and vulnerability. And it gave this girl a chance to hear the truth, to hear words of hope when she had none, and a life was saved.  

For me, the sacrifice may not be money. It may be time or energy, things I am sorely lacking most days. Many times I want to hoard it for myself. But this story shows me that whenever I give that last bit of energy, squeeze another minute from my crazy schedule, make that extra effort even when I feel I have nothing left, that it can still make a difference in someone’s life.

It might even save their life.


2 thoughts on “A ten dollar gift that helped save a life

  1. Hey Laura:

    There was a song a few years ago called Thank YOu For Serving the Lord I think it was. It brought tears to my eyes every time I heard it. The other one was Butterfly Kisses. Balled like a baby every time I heard it.

    I had my own radio show for a while until the station changed formats from conservative talk to liberal talk. I saved a young woman from divorce. I was doing a show on how lousy traditional marriage counselors are and their obscenely high failure rate. I got a call from a young black mother who was on the verge of a divorce from her husband and had a young child at home. She told me that they had been to marriage counseling for 6 months and that the counselor had only made it worse.

    I talked to her and coached her on the air for 15 minutes and had her laughing and joking and on the way home to reconcile with her husband. YOU just never know when you are going to be make a difference in someone’s life. The key is to be always ready in season and out of season.

    Blessings on you and yours


    1. Oh, I do know both of those songs! Thank You, by Ray Boltz, and Butterfly Kisses, by Bob Carlisle. Lovely songs: I heard the first one at practically every missions conference I’ve attended, and the second at a lot of weddings (for the father-daughter dance).

      How beautiful that you were able to help this young woman. I know she and her family are very thankful for how you helped them during a very difficult time. Thank God you were ready and willing to help her!

      Blessings to you, too. Laura


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