Alphabet Faith Stories: Humble Helen

Torn pieces of paper with words “Humility”

H: Humble Helen. James 4:10: “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.” (NIV)

Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition of humble/humility:

  • Not proud or haughty
  • Reflecting, expressing or offered in a spirit of deference or submission
  • Ranking low in hierarchy–humble positions

Phrases using humble/humility:

  • Humble apology
  • Humble position
  • Selflessness is humility
  • Stay humble
  • Humble like water
  • Knowledgeable but humble

H: Humble Helen’s Story:

“Helen grew up in a very large family (9 sisters and 3 brothers). When Helen’s father was involved in a factory explosion where he worked, Helen’s mother had to rely on getting help from the Salvation Army and other resources in order to feed and clothe her family. It would be months after the explosion before Helen’s father would return to work.

Embarrassed by their situation, Helen often accompanied her mother to the Salvation Army to pick up surplus food supplies such as butter, flour, peanut butter, etc. She never liked to stand in line because she felt she was being judged. Her mother often told her that things would change once her dad would return to work. But, in the meantime, Helen needed to be thankful for the items they received so that her mother could bake homemade rolls and bread. That thought would always bring a smile to Helen’s face because she knew how delicious those would taste.

Helen decided that instead of feeling embarrassed when she went with her mom, that she would try to help another person in some way. On one particular Saturday, she noticed a woman in a wheel chair picking up her food items. The workers tried to put all of the items on the wheel chair but couldn’t do it. Helen kept wondering where her family was but saw no one there to help her. So Helen got out of line and went to help this woman by carrying some of the items for her.

As they walked out of the building, Helen noticed a blue station wagon sitting near the curb. As they approached the vehicle, a much younger woman got out and took the food and put it in the car. She told Helen that she was this woman’s daughter and brought her there every month to pick up the items. The woman saw a puzzled look on Helen’s face, and explained that she was “too embarrassed” to go inside. After all, she didn’t need the food because her husband had a great job and they had the money to buy these things at the grocery store.

The woman thanked Helen for her help and she and her mother left. As Helen thought about this encounter with the mother and daughter, she realized that she did not need to feel embarrassed about her family’s situation. It was because of her father’s near-death experience and not being able to work for several months that brought them to the Salvation Army for help. Helen’s attitude changed that day as she humbled her heart and forgot about her situation when she decided to help someone less fortunate.

Every month that Helen accompanied her mother to pick up the food items, she looked for another person to help and she was reminded that “if we humble ourselves, the Lord will lift us up.” She continued to volunteer at the Salvation Army for two years after her family no longer needed the surplus items and helped countless individuals to feel important by “lifting their spirits” and by being a great role model to everyone she came in contact with. Her selflessness was humility.”

Helen’s story was also my story. I grew up in the projects along with my siblings (9 sisters and 3 brothers) and yes, the accident at the factory was real. My dad had first, second, and third degree burns on his body due to the explosion. Without the help of the surplus foods that we received every month, we would never have made it through our situation. But God knew all about our circumstances, and he humbled my heart to be receptive to His blessings. Along with soups and stews, my mom was able to make homemade rolls and bread which kept our family going until my dad was able to go back to work.

Matthew 23:12 says, “For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” (NIV) Proverbs 22:4 says, “Humility and the fear of the Lord bring wealth and honor and life.” (NIV)