Sometimes children amaze me. Just when you think they are not paying attention or they don’t understand what you are trying to teach them, they say something incredibly profound. It reminds me I’m not the true teacher or the true changer of hearts: God is.
I had one of those moments a few days ago while I was facilitating self-esteem activities with a family of seven children. We talked about God’s truths about our identity versus lies we might hear from other people. Then, we read Max Lucado’s book You are Special, before making bookmarks decorated with stickers explaining what makes us special. I explained we are all special because God created us, and He loves us. Some of us are special because we are really good at math. Others are really funny, and some are special for other reasons.
Midway through the craft, I noticed Marisol was writing a lot on her bookmark. I started to smile as I thought back to the first time I met her – she was quiet, timid and responded to most of my questions with an “I don’t know” shoulder shrug. She couldn’t tell me what she liked to do or what she wanted to be when she grew up. It seemed like what she wanted most was to go unnoticed. I thought about how much I had seen her grow in the past year. Now, she always participates in class. She is eager to volunteer to read, greets me with a smile and hug every time I come to the house and enthusiastically tells others she wants to be a teacher when she grows up.
I was drawn out of my daydream when Marisol handed me her bookmark.
“Sarah, I finished.” she declared with a big smile.
I read her bookmark aloud, “God says I’m special because I am His princess. God loves me, and that’s why I’m a princess and why I’m beautiful.”
Marisol never would have said that a year ago. And yet, it is so true. Marisol is pretty and kind and good at drawing, but the root of what makes her special is that she is God’s daughter and that He loves her. I am so glad she knows that, and I’m so amazed by the ways God is pursuing her and restoring her into who He created her to be.
Sarah Nace is a site social worker with Back2Back Ministries. She is a dreamer and lover of stories who spends most of her time giggling with children in Cancun, Mexico.