A woman named Mary Ann Bird tells her story:
I grew up knowing that I was different, and I hated it. I was born with a cleft palate, and when I started school my classmates made it clear to me how I must look to others: a little gift with a misshapen lip, crooked nose, lopsided teeth, and garbled speech. When my schoolmates would ask, “What happened to your lip?” I’d tell them I’d fallen and cut it on a piece of glass. Somehow it seemed more acceptable to have suffered an accident than to have been born different. I was convinced that no one outside my family could love me.
There was, however, a teacher in the second grade whom we all adored — Mrs. Leonard by name. She was short, round, happy, a sparkling lady. Annually, we would have a hearing test. I was virtually deaf in one ear; but when I had taken the test in past years, I discovered that if I did not press my hand as tightly upon my ears as I was instructed to do, I could pass the test. Mrs. Leonard gave the test to everyone in class, and finally it was my turn.
I knew from past years that as we stood against the door and covered one ear, the teacher sitting at her desk would whisper something and we could have to repeat it back…things like “The sky is blue,” or “Do you have new shoes?” I waited there for those words which God must have put into her mouth, those seven words which changed my life. Mrs. Leonard said in her whisper, “I wish you were my little girl.”
1 John 4:19 says: “We love because God first loved us.” In the midst of life’s challenges, isn’t it good to be reminded that we have a God who loves us, who tells us, “You are my child, my beloved. With you I am well pleased.”?
May you hear God’s words of love and feel God’s embrace this week!
~ Blessings, Michael