Some years ago a lady told this story about her experience as a child. It has a touching lesson that I hope you enjoy. She grew up knowing she was different and hated it. she was born with a cleft palate, and when she started to go to school, her classmates – who constantly teased her – made it clear to her how she looked to others: a little girl with a misshapen lip, crooked nose, lopsided teeth, and hollow and somewhat garbled speech. She couldn’t even blow up a balloon without holding her nose, and when she bent to drink from a fountain, the water spilled out of her nose. When her schoolmates asked, “What happened to your lip?” She’d tell them that when she was a baby she had fallen and cut it on a piece of glass. Somehow it seemed more acceptable to them that she had suffered an accident than that she was born this way.

By age of seven, she was convinced that no one outside her own family loved or even liked her for who she was. Then she entered the second grade where the teacher was Mrs. Leonard. She never learned her first name was because everybody called her, Mrs. Leonard. She was plump and pretty with chubby arms and shining brown hair and warm dark eyes that smiled even on rare occasions when her mouth did not. Everyone adored her. But none of the students came to love her more than this little girl did.

It happened for a special reason. The time came for the annual “hearing tests” that were given at the school. She was barely able to hear anything out of one ear, and she dreaded revealing that she had yet another problem that would single her out as being even more odd. So she decided to cheat. She had learned to watch other children, so during the group testing, she raised her hand when they did. But the “whisper test” required a different kind of deception: Each child would go to the door of the classroom, turn sideways, close one ear with a finger, and the teacher would whisper something from her desk, which the child would repeat. Then the same thing was done for the other ear. She had discovered in kindergarten that nobody checked to see how tightly the untested ear was being covered, so she decided she would merely pretend to block her good ear.

The lady then tells what happened next: “As usual, I was last, but all through the testing I wondered what Mrs. Leonard might say to me. I knew from previous years that she whispered things like ‘The sky is blue’ or ‘Do you have new shoes?’ When my turn came, I turned my bad ear toward her, plugged up the other ear solidly with my finger, then gently backed my finger away enough to be able to hear. I waited and then the words that God surely put into her mouth, seven words that changed my life forever came into my ear. Mrs. Leonard, the pretty, fragrant teacher I adored, said softly, ‘I wish you were my little girl’

Sometimes we feel like this lady when she was young. We are not proud of what we look like as a Christian. We have so many obvious faults that sometimes we’re embarrassed to even admit that we are a believer. We don’t like what others are saying about us, but we know they are only telling the truth and we can’t dispute them. And when we go to worship, during prayer time we wonder what God thinks about us and don’t know if He’s even listening to us when we pray. But like this little girl, we may find out that God has been whispering this to us all along, “I’m glad you’re my little child.” – Dr. Robert R Seyda

About drbob76

Retired missionary, pastor, seminary professor, Board Certified Chaplain and American Cancer Society Hope Lodge Director.
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