Have you ever read a book and just knew it was a keeper?
This is one of those books.
Just the Way You Are by Max Lucado
A group of 5 orphaned children band together in a small village to fight the cold. They come to find out the the King has adopted them and that He is coming to visit.
The villagers learned of the approaching visit from the King and they doled out instructions, such as, “only those with gifts will be allowed to live in the castle” and “you must impress the King”.
Having no clue if this was required for the King, the children began preparing for His visit. Like all children, they yearned to be accepted, liked, and most importantly, loved. Figuring that this was the way into the castle and respectively into His heart they hustled about honing their individual skills. Also, like every child, each one is different and has different skills that they are blessed with, seriously, each child is different.
As the children began, these skills emerged ~
One child was s skilled wooden craftsman, he set to making a piece of wooden art.
One child was a painter and she set to capturing the beauty of the heavens on canvas.
One child had the gift of music and she set to making music with her voice and instrument.
One child was wise beyond his years and he set to book learning, to impress the King.
There was one child thought that had nothing to offer…..or so she thought.
This little child was the most enduring of the five. As she had a beautiful heart and shared it with everyone that passed her way. No matter the person, their station in life, she spoke kind words to each of them in her loving and kind way. She cared for each person and her heart was so big.
As typical of children and how they do not always see themselves for who they really are, this little one doubted that she had any skills to present to the King.
She hurried to her brother, the carver and asked him to teach her his skill so that she could impress the King, “I haven’t time” was the response……how many times have I uttered those heart hurting and discouraging words to one of my little people?!
Still determined, she rushed to her sister, the painter and asked her to teach her to use a brush, “Not now” was the response……..how many times I have used those exact same words to deter my little ones?!
Unrelenting she hurried to her other sister, the musician, but she couldn’t speak over the sound of the applause. Her heart was growing heavy, yet she remembered she had one more brother….
Thinking now that she was far from acceptance, she hurried to her brother, that was filled with wisdom, and asked him to teach her, “Go away” was his response.
This now utterly discouraged little child heart was so very heavy and burdened. How could anyone not see her skill? Was she able to overcome? Did she waste away due to the lack of attention?
As many children would undoubtably do, she hung her head just knowing that no matter what she did, she had no talent to offer to the King, her father, her love.
Some days later a man in plain clothes came to the village and this little orphan girl ran to assist him, like she does with everyone. Offering him rest from his wearying journey, caring for him and his donkey. She waited through his nap and then spoke so kindly to him that he was without doubt over whelmed by her kindness and said that they would visit more upon his return after he visited those he came to see.
Those people though were so very busy, they had no time for him……the wood craftsman asked him to return tomorrow, the artist was not to be bothered, the musician was too busy to talk and the wise man had gone off to school.
Yet there was a little girl with no talents that waited on him, spoke kindly to him and offered him her heart. The King was so pleased with her that upon His return he shared his experiences and this little girl realized that this was her King, her father. So excited, yet saddened, she remarked that she had no talents to offer Him. Like all children, she spoke from her heart.
Lovingly, the King says, “I love you just the way you are.”
We need to hear these words more often in daily life.
We need to be reminded that our children are perfect just the way they are.
We need to remember that our God, our King, loves us just the way we are.
Why would we want to change, conform to the world, when the world will leave us high and dry upon a moment’s notice. The one true King, the loving heavenly father, loves us through thick and thin, just the way we are.
A fantastic book to have on hand for every household. A sweet and gentle reminder that no matter how rotten a day may have gone, how truly “bad” a situation has been, no matter the words spoken…….I love you Just the Way You Are.