Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: GET COLD FEET (10/12/17)
TITLE: Blessed Simplicity
By Kathleen Muldoon
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When the principal of a local Christian school invited me to speak to students during Respect for Life Week, I accepted his offer.
“Just talk for about five or ten minutes on your life as a person with disabilities, and then I’m sure the children will ask you a few questions,” he said. “There will be two groups, the first through third graders and then the fourth and fifth graders.”
Easy-peasy, I thought. From my story students would get a sense of what life was like for someone who wore a clunky arm brace as a child, and then a metal leg brace and prosthesis following leg amputation as a young adult. No one knew my story better than I, so I deemed no preparation necessary. I noted the engagement on my calendar and thought no more about it—until the night before, that is.
Instead of my usual jeans, I’d decided to wear a dress so the children could see what a leg brace and prosthesis look like. As I ironed the dress, I began thinking about the next day’s talk.
What if I didn’t relate my story in a Christian enough way? It’s true I’d always relied on God to get me through the rough times. But what about Scripture? I needed something definitive the children could take away with them on the biblical call to respect all people.
My brain churned all night. By 4 a.m. I was in full-blown panic mode. Why had I ever agreed to this talk? I crawled out of bed and turned on the coffee maker. As I waited, an idea burst through my sleep-deprived mind—the question and answer period, of course! I could arm myself with Scriptures that would address the type questions I anticipated.
With black coffee, my concordance, and Bible in hand, I spent the next three hours at the kitchen table. By the time I headed to the school for the first morning session, I felt in control again. I’d found numerous relevant Scriptures which addressed such things as how God looks on the inner rather than the outer person, and I’d duly marked them with post-it notes in my Bible.
The younger students arrived for the first session, looking angelic in their white and navy uniforms. Four teachers directed them into rows of folding chairs in front of me, and the teachers joined the principal in chairs behind the children.
My life story talk went off without a hitch. The children seemed attentive, although most kept their sight on my prosthesis throughout. Now it was time for questions. The first came from a girl in the front row.
“Why did God make you that way?” she asked.
Bless you, my child! I thought. Yes! I had just the answer in Romans 9:20-21.
“…who are you, a human being, to talk back to God?” I read. “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’ Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?”
I then proceeded to describe for the children a potter’s wheel, and, complete with dramatic arm and hand gestures, to show how the potter created beauty from a lump of clay. When I finished I smiled at the child, who looked a bit perplexed.
“Do you have another question?” I asked.
She stood and glanced at my prosthesis, then said, “Did you fall off the potter’s wheel?”
I heard a momentary gasp from the principal, but then when I burst out laughing so did everyone in the room.
“I guess I did,” I said when I could catch my breath. “But God likes me just the way He made me.”
As the students filed out to make room for the arriving fourth and fifth graders, I put away my Bible. Telling this second group my story flowed well. And I sent up a silent prayer of thanksgiving when the first questioner, a boy, asked, "Do you have to take your wooden leg off to take a bath?”
Quotes from NIV
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