Thursday, April 21, 2011

Thursday, 21 April 2011 {Just the Way You Are}

Before I begin, I would like to introduce myself.  My name is Elise, and like Mallory, I am not a writer by any means.  I am simply a 15 year old girl typing what is on my heart.

I recently rediscovered one of my favorite childhood books, Just the Way You Are by Max Lucado.  It has been an encouragement to me in the last few weeks.  In the story, there are 5 orphaned children.  When the king learns of their lonliness, he wants to come visit their village and adopt them.  All the village people begin to ask the children what gift they will use to impress the king.  One is a whittler, and he carves a beautiful gift for his father and king.  Another paints a picture, and the third is a talented musician who practices for hours.  One is very smart and reads to gain knowledge to impress the king with.  But the last child doesn't think she has a gift.  She can't do any of the things her siblings could do, so she offers her heart.  All her time is spent greeting the strangers and befreinding the beggars at the city gate.  Since she doesn't believe she has a gift, she fears she will dissapoint her new father.  So she goes to each of her siblings, asking if they will teach her their gift.  But each sends her away; they have no time.  So she takes her place again caring for people, when one day a normal-looking man visits the village.  The orphan girl cares for his donkey and serves him however she can.  He goes away to see her siblings, but they are all too busy for him.  They are too wrapped up in impressing their king, they don't realize who the king is.  But when the man returns to the young girl, she has time for him and she realizes who he is.  He is her father, her king.  She wants to be his daughter, but is fearful that she isn't worthy.  The last few sentences of the story read: "The king smiled. 'My dear, you gave the best gift of all-you gave your heart...your kindness, your time, your love.  Of course you'll be my child.  I love you just the way you are.' And so it happened that the children with many talents but no time missed the visit of the king, while the girl whose only gift was the gift of her heart became the child of the king." 

When I think about this, a few things come to mind.  First, how encouraging and comforting.  I don't know about you, but many times I feel inferior to others.  I'm not the smartest, the richest, the prettiest, the most athletic, the most musical, the most artistic, the most popular.  Not in the least bit.  I'm not the best at any of the things you must be to gain the world's approval and be valued.  But Jesus still cares.  He can still use me.  He only requires that my heart is fixed on Him.  That I love Him with all my heart; that I love people.

Second, this reminds me of the story of Martha and Mary.  Martha is like the children who don't have time for the King; Mary is like the young girl who sits at Jesus' feet and listens.  I want to be like the young girl, who sets everything aside and serves others, serves Jesus.  The other Bible story this reminds me of is Jeremiah 1.  In this chapter, God calls Jeremiah to be a prophet.  But Jeremiah doesn't feel like he is enough:  "'Ah, Sovereign Lord,' I said. 'I do not know how to speak; I am only a child.'  But the Lord said to me, 'Do not say, I am only a child. You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you.  Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,' declares the Lord" (Jeremiah 1:6-8).  Jeremiah felt how I feel sometimes:  I can't because I am not old enough, not rich enough, not popular enough, not pretty enough, not good enough.  But those aren't thoughts from Him.  He says that our hearts are enough.  He will give us the rest, all we need to do is trust in Him.

So today, offer Him your heart, for Him to mold you and shape you into the person He wants you to be.  And rest in His arms because He loves you just the way you are.

-Elise

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