There Was a Little Girl
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
There was a little girl,
Who had a little curl,
Right in the middle of her forehead.
When she was good,
She was very good indeed,
But when she was bad she was horrid.
The Fair-Haired Child
There was once a fair-haired child who often heard this poem when she was young. By all accounts, she was said to be bright and lovely; possessing a tender and compassionate heart. Yet, she lacked any real confidence, quiet and shy to the extreme. In social situations frequently aware that she was different, seeming to be lacking in those traits which made her readily accepted by her peers, she withdrew into herself, listening to that voice which constantly whispered to her: “Never good enough.” Easily bruised, she learned to shut others out at the first sign of pain—too afraid that if others knew who she really was, there would be more ridicule, rejection, or humiliation–loneliness and isolation easier to bear than the vulnerability and fear of letting others get too close.
As she grew older, others considered her to be competent and confident, with wisdom beyond her years, yet that voice continued to whisper: “Never good enough.” She did not understand that the drive for perfection was the complete opposite from the call to excellence. It was easier to focus on what was lacking than grateful for what was God-given—unable to understand that being perceived as different from those she saw around her didn’t mean “odd” or “unacceptable” or “worthless” or “flawed.”
Not until she had a child of her own did the realization began to dawn–this child was a special treasure—the way God saw her too. Not wanting her child to suffer the same shyness and self-doubt which had plagued her for decades, she began to fill the child’s heart and thoughts with the goodness of God’s many gifts to her and the special call on her life that required each specific skill and talent—something she hadn’t heard herself as a child, even though well-loved. She had begun to understand that God makes no mistakes in who He creates, precisely giving to each those specific gifts, talents, and personality traits which will enable them to walk confidently into His pre-ordained call for their lives.
There is no telling what the fair-haired child missed by listening to those decades of demonic lies and allowing the strangle hold of fear to dominate her life. The heart seared with numbness from pushing the pain ever deeper, was difficult to revive. Certainly fear does not come from God—faith is His path. She is beginning to understand her value is in what God created and Jesus Christ died for on Calvary, not in Satan’s whispered lies or what she thought was true. She became overwhelmed with anger hearing those same lies whispered to others like her—anger at what is being stolen from them; wanting their hearts healed and restored before decades are wasted or lost.
She does not know what the end of this story will be—only God knows that. However, she has come to understand that God creates each individual for His purposes and the advancement of His Kingdom. No one is unnecessary, no one doesn’t fit, no one is without a God-given inheritance or without a purpose, and no one is without incredible value to Him–each one a unique and special treasure. How could she have valued as worthless what God values so highly? How could she have valued what others thought of her more than what God had said was true?
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29: 11-13 (NKJV)
“For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the earth.” Deuteronomy 7:6 (NKJV)
Copyright © 2010 by Susan E. Johnson
All rights reserved