The leader of a women’s conference asked me if I would be able to talk privately with a young woman who was in deep sorrow. This woman didn’t want to “bother” me, the leader said, didn’t feel she ought to take my time when there were hundreds of others who needed it. In fact, she was scared of me. Of course I said I’d be very glad to talk with her, and please to tell her I was not fierce.
After the talk, the young woman went to report to the leader.
“Oh, it wasn’t bad after all! I walked in–I was shaking. I looked into her eyes, and I knew that she, too, had suffered. Then she gave me this beautiful smile. When I saw that huge space between her front teeth, I said to myself, ‘it’s OK–she’s not perfect!'”
My daughter Valerie once taught a women’s Bible class in Laurel, Mississippi. It happened that she lost her place in her notes as she was speaking. She tried to find it while continuing to speak, realized she couldn’t, apologized and paused to search the page. The pause grew agonizingly long. At last she gave up and adlibbed through the rest of the lesson. She couldn’t find the application, couldn’t find the conclusion. Leaving the platform afterwards, she was on the point of tears because of what seemed an abysmal failure. A lady came to her to say it was the best class so far. Later someone called to thank Val for things which had helped her.
“Mama,” she told me on the phone, “I couldn’t understand why this had happened. I had prepared faithfully, done the best I could. But then I remembered a prayer I’d prayed that week (Walt told me it was a ridiculous prayer!)–asking the Lord to make those women know that I’m just an ordinary woman like the rest of them and I need His help. I guess this was His answer, don’t you think?”
I think so. It helps to know that others are “only human,” and yet to see how God uses them inspires us that He can use with all our imperfections as well.
See all the posts in this series here.