Wednesday, April 1, 2009
A Special Story for You
Today, I would like to read you a little story. Well, part of a story that I am sure most of you have read to yourself or your kids at some point. I have collected children's books since college, and had accumulated quite a collection by the time we had Abigail. One of my favorite times of the day with Abigail is when she just climbs into my lap to be read to. LOVE IT.
I was reading to her just a little bit ago from the book You Are Special by Max Lucado. There is a part of the story that just jumps out at me every time I read it....as a good message for our kids, but also as one I need to hear every day. I have even read this part of the book to Paul before when he has had a down day in ministry and has needed some extra encouragement. You know, the kind you can only find in a good piece of children's literature.
For those who haven't read it, quick synopsis. The story has a bunch of little wooden people called Wemmicks. They were all made by the woodcarver, Eli (see: God). They scurry around town, giving each other stickers....gold stars for the "good" Wemmicks who are smart, funny, pretty, talented, etc., and gray dots for those who are the opposite of all of those things. One little wooden guy named Punchinello just can't seem to get his act together. He isn't the most attractive, his wood is scratched, he falls down a lot, and says silly things. Sometimes those mean Wemmicks give him extra dots just because he already has so many.
Then he meets a little gal Wemmick named Lucia. She is tall and beautiful and she doesn't have ANY stickers....stars or dots. She has a daily habit of spending time with Eli, the woodcarver, and has learned her worth in his eyes. She knows what the other Wemmicks think doesn't matter because he made her and he thinks she is special. She shares this with Punchinello, and off he goes to meet his maker.
Here is the part I love. Punchinello goes in to the workshop and meets Eli.
Eli stooped down and picked him up and set him on the bench. "Hmm," the maker spoke thoughtfully as he looked at the gray dots. "Looks like you've been given some bad marks."
"I didn't mean to, Eli. I really tried hard."
"Oh, you don't have to defend yourself to me, child. I don't care what the other Wemmicks think."
"No, and you shouldn't either. Who are they to give stars or dots? They're Wemmicks just like you. What they think doesn't matter, Punchinello. All that matters is what I think. And I think you are pretty special."
Punchinello laughed. "Me, special? Why? I can't walk fast. I can't jump. My paint is peeling. Why do I matter to you?"
Eli looked at Punchinello, put his hands on those small wooden shoulders, and spoke very slowly. "Because you're mine. That's why you matter to me."
Now, who doesn't need that little reminder now and then? Even when I read this book to Abigail, she says, "Eli is Jesus, right?" There is something in us that has to know we are made special. That even when there are days when it feels like you've been given one gray dot after another, all that matters is what our Maker thinks.
Even more, some days we even feel like we have lots of gold stars. Those are the days when it is even easier to forget about what our Maker thinks. To think we are pretty special because of our talents, our abilities, our "fresh paint", our sparkling personalities. It is easier to forget about our Maker on those days, sometimes more than it is the days we are covered with dots. Those are the times we need even more of a reminder that we are special because of who He sees us as, not how others see us.
I guess I needed to read this to Abigail today, but sometimes I need it more for me. Whether it feels like a dot day or a star day, I need that daily face-to-face with my Jesus to remind me that He loves me and thinks I am special, simply because I am His. I wanted to encourage you with that today as well, friends. We need those moments of clarity that can only come from the pages of a children's story. To have that childlike attitude of knowing that Eli is Jesus, and He loves us very much.