March 22, 2012

The Whisper Test

Mary Ann Bird was born with multiple birth defects. She was deaf in one ear, had a cleft palate, a disfigured face, a crooked nose, lopsided teeth, and garbled speech. She suffered not only from her physical impairments but also from the emotional trauma of being different from others.
"I grew up knowing 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 looked to others: Just a little ugly girl."

"When schoolmates asked, '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."

One of her worst experiences at school, she reported, was the day of the annual hearing test. The teacher would call each child to her desk, and the child would cover first one ear, and then the other. The teacher would whisper something to the child. This was the whisper test. If the teacher’s phrase was heard and repeated, the child passed the test. To avoid the humiliation of failure, Mary Ann always would cheat on the test, secretly cupping her hand over her one good ear so that she still could hear what the teacher said.

There was, however, a teacher in the second grade whom the children adored: Mrs. Leonard. She was short, round, happy, a sparkling lady. Something about her made children feel valued and special. They wanted to please her.

"Mrs. Leonard gave the test to everyone in the 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 would have to repeat it back -- things like "The sky is blue" or "Do you have new shoes?"

I waited there for those words that God must have put into her mouth, those seven words that changed my life. Mrs. Leonard said, in her whisper, "I wish you were MY little girl."

It was a transforming moment for Mary Ann. It changed her life. She began to see herself in a new light. Later she would go on to be a teacher, seeing herself no longer as deformed but as a person who has inner beauty and love to share with others.

Imagine the power of words that you use. Do you use them for life or death?

Proverbs 18:21 says, "Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof."

Indeed, words do make a difference in a person's life. They either edify or tear down. What are you saying to your spouse? Children? Friends? Strangers?

In John 6:63, Christ goes even further in talking about His Father's words:

"It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life."

Peter wisefully recognized who Jesus Christ was. When others were abandoning Him, Christ turned to him and asked if he planned to leave Him as well.

"Peter answered, "Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life." (John 6:68).

Reader, knowing that God's word bring salvation and eternal life, what are you waiting for? Turn to Christ now. Read further here: The Plan of Salvation.

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