Thursday, March 25, 2010

Positive, Powerful Words

Maryann Bird, from her book, The Whisper Test, shares the following story:
"I grew up knowing I was different. I hated it. I was born with a cleft palate and when I started school, my classmates made it clear to me how I looked to others. A little girl, with a misshapen lip, a crooked nose, lopsided teeth, and garbled speech. When schoolmates asked, 'What happened to your lip?' I'd tell them I'd fallen and cut it on a piece of glass. Somehow it seemed more acceptable to have suffered an accident rather than to have been born different. I was convinced that no one else other than my family could love me.

There was, however a teacher in the second grade we all adored. Mrs. Leonard, by name. She was short, round, happy. A sparkling lady. Annually, we had a hearing test. Mrs. Leonard gave it to everyone in the class. And finally it was my turn. I knew from past years as we stood against the door and covered one ear, the teacher, sitting at her desk, would whisper something and we would have to say back what we heard her say. 'The sky is blue.' Or 'Do you have new shoes?' I waited for her words - the words that God must have put in her mouth - the seven words that changed my life. Mrs. Leonard whispered, 'I wish you were my little girl.'"

What an incredible "shame lifter" Mrs. Leonard was for a little girl. Only seven words were spoken, but they changed her student's life. I wonder what words I could share today that would bring hope to those around me? 'Heavenly Father, help me to see those who need whispers of your love.' Oh, by the way, I believe the Lord Jesus continually whispers to a lost and hurting world, 'I wish you were mine.'


  1. Marilyn - I am a church planter's wife from Ohio that wrote you many months back to tell you how valuable your T.A.W.G worksheet has been that I found in your book Listening for God. You wrote me back and mentioned your new book Shamelifter. I ordered it right away and it was so pivotal for me. I could relate on so many levels (long story - but I grew up with a ministry dad who wasn't very nice to his family and always struggled with the dichotomy). Anyway - I sent an email several months ago to 50 girlfriends that live in the Columbus area arranging a book discussion night at my house for Monday, April 12 asking them to order and read Shamelifter and then come for discussion. I can't tell you the overwhelming response already from those emailing and calling to tell me how God has used the book in their lives. Will you pray for us on Monday as we gather to share testimonies of what God is doing in our lives through the sharing of your incredible, authentic story? Thanks so much for being so real and provoking introspection that leads to healing in Christ!

  2. Dear Melissa, I just saw your post from April 9. I wish I had seen it sooner!
    I was so disappointed to realize that I did not receive your prayer request until today, April 13.
    However, I have to tell you a fun God story from yesterday - the day you requested prayer for the group of gals that would be meeting together in your home to talk about Shame Lifter. I was outside yesterday and all of a sudden I felt very prompted to pray about my book. I said, "Father, if there is anyone reading my book today, would you please encourage them, show them your Truth and bring healing to their wounded hearts." Normally, I don't pray a blanket prayer like that for my book - in fact, I almost felt a bit silly doing that. :) However, after reading your post, I was again encouraged to realize how our Heavenly Father knows all that is going on and He is so wonderfully prompts his children to pray!! What a faithful God we have!
    I would love to know how your time of sharing went last night. Thank you for reaching out to so many people. I can tell that you are a giver of grace to those around you!
    God bless you as you continue to minister in Ohio. (And yes, I remember your gracious letter!)
    Blessings to you!
    Marilyn Hontz
    "...May the God of peace...equip you with everything good for doing His will..." Hebrews 13:20,21

  3. Marilyn - I just thought to check this site to see if perhaps you had gotten it! My email address is The night was really awesome. I would say about 30 different women read the book but because of conflicts (kids sports, etc.), we had about 15 women here. I had prayed for the Lord to guide the discussion. I had only prepared 4 questions to ask: 1. What was one thing that really stuck out to you from the book? 2. Was there anything that got unearthed from your past that you weren't expecting? 3. Do you struggle more with being a shame-giver, shame-receiver, or a shame-enabler and how are you seeing growth in becoming a shame-lifter? 4. What was one nurturing thing someone did for you that you remember from childhood? (I wanted to end very positively after knowing we would delve deep.) These 4 questions took us several hours as each woman shared and led us into other areas. I even ran into someone later in the week that told me she was sorry she hadn't come. I told her "no problem" its a busy time of year. "No" she said, "I couldn't come - the book affected me so greatly and so personally and i knew you'd have a lot of women there." I know a bit of her story and hadn't made the connection - she had an abusive pastor father. We are getting together for lunch soon to talk more. I can only say "thank you" Marilyn - for getting personal and letting God use your story in such a huge way. We had several women in the group with sexual abuse in their past. There were others with ministry parents (like me) who have always struggled to "reforgive." As a pastor's wife - I know you know the pain out there in the hearts of women. They so need our precious Lord to lift their shame. It was so neat to hear about your "blanket prayer" for us. God is so good! His Holy Spirit helps us pray even when don't know the details! Praising God for your boldness and authenticiy today! Melissa