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by Shellie Power
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A Little boy sits at his desk. Everything that happens at this desk is a struggle. He sees all the other students and knows that he is different from them in ability. That fact is not hidden from him--it is evident--it is something he deals with day in and day out. He must learn to handle this using the wisdom of a six year old, for this is who he is.

A woman lies alone in her bed. Everything is a struggle. She sees many people come and go and she knows that she is different from them in ability. That fact is not hidden from her--it is evident--it is something she deals with day in and day out. She must learn to handle this, but how?

Even simply picking up a pencil is difficult for the boy. It is awkward and he is clumsy with it in his hand. His tongue sticks out as a sign of deep concentration and yet the lines that mark his page are stilted, disconnected and messy. They lack the art and grace it takes to make lines connect in an orderly way to form words. Some days he feels like giving up.

Even simply walking to the door of her room is difficult for the woman. Her steps are staggered and shaky. Her forehead perspires with determination. Her progress is slow. She lacks the strength and today, the co-ordination it takes to connect her steps in order to walk. Some days she feels like giving up. Today she took six steps.

The little boy does daily exercises. It is called Occupational Therapy. He practices making circles on a page. He holds his pencil and fills a page with circles. Some of them are round. Some of them are closed. Most of them are shaky and jagged--a sign that this is still difficult.

The woman does daily exercises. It is called Physical Therapy. She practices moving her legs. She concentrates on her muscles and goes through the motions. She feels the burning and shaking in her legs. Today she takes only four steps and they are anything but steady. It is one step at a time.

The little boy sits at his desk and listens. His class is learning to pray. Today they will be sending their thought to a woman who is very sick in the hospital. It is hard for her to breathe. She is on oxygen. It is hard for her to move; some days she takes only a few steps.

Together the class prays and then they begin to draw pictures that will be turned into cards. The boy watches the others begin and is reminded of his weakness. He sees pictures appearing on other papers. Rainbows, flowers, butterflies, all kinds of trees. They are all beautiful. The boy receives a gentle reminder of how he is able to do circles. He begins to fill the page. All different colors, all different circles. His page is full. As other students notice his page they are puzzled. One student comments that if the circles had faces it would look like a cool page full of smiles. His tongue is sticking out as he adds two dots and a smile to each circle. It is one step at a time.

The woman lies in her room. She is unable to move. Today there will be no steps. She is sad and feels like giving up.

The little boy sits at his desk and stares at his happy face picture. He is proud yet also nervous. The class has been instructed to write a message to go with their picture. He wants it to be short as it takes him a long time to write. As his hand awkwardly begins to connect lines, he sticks out his tongue and writes a message. It is one step at a time.

The woman lies alone and opens a package. There are many different pictures and messages inside. She smiles as she reads them. One suddenly catches her eye and tears roll down her cheeks. The words are so simple--almost too simple--but it is exactly what she needs to hear. She feels sick, tired, broken and unlovable and yet this card with hundreds of smiling faces comforts her for it says simply: "SMILE! GOD LOVES YOU!"
The woman hangs this picture where all who visit can see it. It serves as a reminder of the greatest truth. It motivates her and in times of near despair-- gives her a reason to smile.

The little boy sits at his desk and hears how the nurses at the hospital were impressed by a cheerful picture hanging in a patient's room. It is just a page of smiles. They have asked the students to make more to hang by the beds of lonely patients. The little boy watches the others begin. He sees pictures appearing. All different colors. All different circles. All beautiful smiles. He smiles.

Neither the boy nor the woman will ever know how God used both in their weakness to make each other strong. The sheet of smiling happy faces is a testimony of how God truly can make all things beautiful in His time.

As teachers it is easy to fall into the trap of viewing students, fellow Image bearers, only in the light of their ability. We see their strengths and weaknesses and sometime that is the only way we know them. As Christian teachers let the happy face be a symbol. Each time you see a happy face may you be reminded of how God sees us and our students. When he looks at us he does not see us in light of our abilities. He looks at us all, regardless of our weaknesses, through the eyes of His Son. Therefore when he sees us, He sees only His beautiful sons and daughters. When you see a happy face remember the greatest truth and

As a challenge, find a way to pass this simple message on to your students. They need to know how their Creator sees them.

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