God doesn’t need government approval to show up in schools, as Esther experienced when she was only 6 years old. You can read more from Esther on her blog, For Such a Time as This. (If you’d like to share a time when God showed up in your life, go here to submit your Thin Place story.)
Steadying myself from the bumps and jostles of the ride to school, I looked out the school bus window only to see my reflection. Straight black hair framed my flat, round face. A little button nose. Almond-shaped eyes. I longed for bouncy, curly blond hair, a nice pointy nose – that could actually hold my glasses up —and long eye lashes. Just like everyone else. From the second row, I could see the bus driver’s face in the big rear view mirror. She glanced up every once in a while shouting at the older boys in the back who were obnoxious, loud and disobedient. Her shouting fell on deaf ears, each holler more and more irrelevant. The bus pulled up to the elementary school and my fingers squeezed the handle of my Strawberry Shortcake lunchbox. I waited for the folding bus doors to open. The sixth-grade boys rushed forward, crowding out my fellow first graders. One of them sneered at me. Reaching up to pull his eyes into a straight line, he shouted “Chink! Chink!” His friend joined in the taunting, “Chinese, Japanese, dirty knees…”
Every eye was on me, the quiet little Chinese girl who just wanted to have blonde pigtails and big blue eyes. A lump formed in my throat. Tears threatened to spill out, but every fiber of my body held them in, refusing to let those boys win. I stared straight ahead, willing myself to disappear. A blast of cold air blew into the bus, the open door rescued me as the boys stumbled out of the bus, forgetting about me.
Slinking back into visible invisibility, I hoisted my backpack onto my shoulders. I trudged to my classroom, running my hand over construction-paper-covered bulletin boards. The lump in my throat receded and the sting of mocking words subsided as the warmth of God’s love melted the membrane between heaven and earth.
In that primary-colored first-grade hall in Brinkerhoff Elementary school, God saw my tender, hurt heart and filled it. He didn’t fill it with my parents’ words of cultural pride or little blonde girls wanting to be my friend, or good grades and a smiley on a spelling test.
He filled my heart with an unmistakable love and the kind of truth-telling that speaks to a six-year-old heart. Those ugly words aren’t true, you are beautiful to Me –I created you! You are special to me, straight black hair, almonds eyes, creamy skin and all. You’re not invisible to Me. Though no one else understands, I know what it feels like to be different. Daughter, your heritage will used by me to bless others.
Little did I know that God would use my differentness to bring me closer to Him. Even today, He leverages my loneliness to minister to those that are cast out. He capitalizes on my dual-cultured life to help me lead more effectively. He makes those who are invisible visible to my heart. He sees me in the thin places.