During Dawn Aldrich's open house for her book signing, I briefly scanned through her book and smiled. The illustrations were really cute, with bright, bold colors and wide-eyes characters. I knew it was a dream come true for Dawn, something she had been wanting to write for many years. To hold the fulfillment of a dream in your hands is an indescribable experience. What a blessing for her to finally see her book in print!
Yet, as I sat at the table the next morning and read the book more closely, I was hit by the message of the story. Tears sprang to my eyes as I began to realize that little Jenny May was someone I could relate to - that little girl was me.
Before I continue on, let me summarize the story for you: little Jenny May is frustrated by her family. She carefully makes her bed and dresses herself, but her mother never says, "Well done," to her. Her brothers argue over her head at the breakfast table and none of them say "you're welcome" when she politely says "please" or "thank-you." Dad always goes fishing, yet he never invites his little girl to come catch some fish with him. Her brothers love to play Kickball, but they never ask Jenny May if she wants a turn. Jenny May begins to think she is invisible to her family and decides to run away. On her way down the road she sees Grandma's house and decides to stop and and see if she has anything to eat. Grandma's always have something good to fill a grumbling tummy. She has a talk with Grandma as they make cookies together. Everything that Grandma says is exactly what Jenny May needs to hear and it makes her smile. When Grandma asks, "Do you still think you are invisible?" Jenny May answers, "Not to you, but just to everyone else."
Grandma encourages her to just ask to join her family in what they are doing. She wants her to learn that she needs to speak up; that she has a voice. Jenny May takes the cookies they made and goes off to share the yummy goodies with her family and when she speaks up, she finds they are eager for her to come and share their activities with them. Jenny May finally hears the words she had been yearning to hear from her family, simply because she discovered she had a voice and her voice was important too.
Oh, how important it is for children to realize they have a voice. Like I said before, I was that little girl. I did not speak up. I was a shy girl who kept to myself quite a bit. I did not speak up if I was too hot in the car, or if I felt a little carsick riding with other people. I did not speak up when I was with another girl my age and she was doing some things she should not have been doing. Maybe I could have helped her somehow, and shown her a path that would be better. I did not speak up when a group of girls decided another girl and I were really not a part of their group and put us in another room during an overnight getaway. We could hear them laughing and talking all night long, but we were the outcasts. I did not speak up when the town youth group left me behind and I decided they really did not want me around. If only I had thought my voice was important enough, and that my opinions mattered. Maybe then people would not have been so surprised to hear I could talk if I had spoken up more often. Invisible Jenny May spoke to my heart and confirmed what took me 30+ years to learn: what I have to say is important. God has given me a voice to use, and over the years He has given me wisdom to share with others. He wants me to use my God-given voice to share His love for me. Thank you, Dawn, for using your voice and sharing with me that everyone is important. Especially to our loving Lord Jesus.
This is for the young ladies who may feel so alone on Sunday morning: do not be afraid to speak up. You are beautiful and you are loved. Your voice is important. You are not alone in how you feel, and God sees you and loves you. :)
For more information on Dawn Aldrich, or to order her book, click on the picture at the top of the blog. It will take you to her website. God bless you!