Today’s Scripture: Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones. Proverbs 16:24

“Wow, have you seen her face?” whispered one child to another.

“I wonder how she eats, she can barely even talk,” another child added. Mary stifled back the tears that were ready to rush down her blushing cheeks. From constant jokes and comments to the frequent stares she received, Mary endured cruelty from the kids at school just because of her misshapen mouth and garbled speech. She was convinced no one could love her…until she met Miss Lenard. This teacher had a sweet face, shiny brown hair, and a warm smile, and there was a kindness about her that Mary came to love.

As the school days passed, the annual hearing test that Mary dreaded grew closer. Not only did she have a cleft palate, but she was also deaf in one ear. Mary didn’t want one more thing for the kids to make fun of. When her name was called, she walked up and pretended to cover her good ear and positioned her deaf ear facing Miss Lenard. She knew she would have to repeat back whatever the teacher whispered and waited anxiously for her teacher to speak. Miss Lenard leaned in and whispered, “Mary, I wish you were my little girl.” In that moment, all Mary’s fear, sadness, and embarrassment were erased. Those words transformed her life. For the first time that she could remember, she felt loved, accepted, and treasured.

If a teacher’s words of affirmation can change a little girl’s life, imagine what your words can accomplish in tandem with God’s love. How often do we use words like: “I’m proud of you!” “You’re such a treasure.” “Well done.” or “I love you.”? Sadly, we probably do not use these affirming words with children nearly as much as we should. Whether you are a parent, grandparent, teacher, or classroom assistant always keep in mind that your words have a deep effect on the children whose lives you are a part of. Honestly, your words can transform a life. Often, we are in such a hurry that we neglect to realize that most of our words are filled with criticism and seldom show love. I want you to pray today that the Lord would show you a little life that you could touch. Whether it is a child in your class or your own child, go out of your way to show Christ to them. Your words of affirmation matter more than you know.

Devotional by Jim Scudder Jr.