You Are Special

At each child dedication we give two books to new parents, The Jesus Storybook Bible and You are Special by Max Lucado. After Caroline was dedicated we stashed both away so she wouldn’t use them as objects of her teething pain. I don’t remember how old she was when we first started reading You are Special to her, but I remember my reaction: lots of tears. Admittedly, since becoming a mom I cry much more easily than I once did, but this book really hit a nerve. So, naturally, I didn’t read it to her again for a while.

The book is about the Wemmicks, small wooden people carved by a woodworker named Eli. The Wemmicks give golden star stickers to those who are beautiful and talented and those who are neither beautiful nor talented get grey dot stickers. The story follows Punchinello, a small Wemmick who tries his hardest to earn stars but only gets dots. A turning point in this story is when Punchinello meets Lucia, a Wemmick with no stars or dots. When Punchinello eagerly asks Lucia why the stars and dots fall off, she directs him to the woodworker, Eli. When Punchinello visits Eli, he greets him by name. Their conversation is warm, and Eli reminds Punchinello that he is special because he made him. He tells him “the stickers only stick if you let them. The more you trust my love, the less you care about their stickers.” Eli tells Punchinello to come to see him every day and he will begin to understand his love.

So why does this simple story about the Wemmicks get to me? Well, if you know me, you know I’m a people pleaser. I’m pretty good at it, having had 29 years to refine my practice and shore up plenty of excuses and twisted truths about myself and the world to support my practice of people-pleasing. Really, my need for the star stickers of this world goes deeper than just wanting a person to like me. I want to meet the unrealistic expectation I’ve created for myself that I never talk about. That person in my brain who is fed by social media and the women of this world who seemingly do it all, the #mombosses who go out and make life happen for themselves.

As I begin to visit my “woodworker” more often and learn of his love for me, my excuses and twisted truths are chipped away. That woman in my brain is taken captive for the sake of Christ. My creator gently reminds me, like a father would, that my citizenship is not here on this earth. Then I become more like Lucia in the story. The stickers carry no weight to me, and I can look at the things of this world with a filter of truth.

What is very deceptive about this process, however, is how quickly those truths you think you know become twisted yet sound right. Regular seeking out of the truth we claim becomes an essential part of our lives as image-bearers of Christ. I hope you will join me in identifying the source of the star stickers in our lives and then seeking our loving “woodworker” for the truth about who we are in Christ.

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