Revive Our Hearts Podcast

The Tallest Angel

Episode Resources

Watch stories from our Spanish ministry: Aviva Nuestros Corazones.

Leslie Basham: Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth tells you about a Christmastime conversation between a girl named Dorie and her teacher.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: "God doesn't love me." The words had come from this small nine-year-old girl who stirred under the gaze of Miss Ellis. Then bending her head to her own desk, Miss Ellis prayed in her heart for the nth time, "Help her, dear God, and help me to help her. Please show Dorie that You do love her, too."

Leslie: Today we’ll hear Dorie’s story. Here on Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of The Wonder of His Name. It's Thursday, December 22, 2016.

As we get ready for Christmas Day, Nancy has gathered a group of young women together. Nancy used to love it when her parents would read a special Christmas story to her, and now she’s passing on that tradition. Here’s Nancy.

Nancy: Before we get started, I’m going to ask each of you girls to just tell us your name, tell us how old you are, and tell us something that is one of your favorite things about Christmas. So let’s start over here with Catherine.

Catherine Slagle: My name is Catherine Slagle. I am nine years old. A few of my favorite things about Christmas is the special meal we have, how much fun we have with our toys, and that’s about it.

Nancy: Good. Some special things she likes about Christmas. How about next to her?

Lindsey Rademaker: My name is Lindsey Rademaker. I’m nine years old, and one of my favorite things about Christmas is how happy we can be.

Nancy: Thank you, Lindsey. And how about your sister over here?

Chelsea Rademaker: My name is Chelsea Rademaker. I’m twelve years old. My favorite part about Christmas is when we drink eggnog and sing songs.

Nancy: Eggnog—boy, I like eggnog. Singing those carols is fun, too.

Margo Loveing: My name is Margo Loveing. I’m twelve years, and one of my favorite things about Christmas is the fun time we have.

Nancy: Thank you, Margo.

Rebecca Lewis: My name is Rebecca Lewis. I’m eleven years old, and my favorite part about Christmas is reading the Christmas story.

Keely Allen: I’m Keeley Allen. I’m eleven, and my favorite part about Christmas is when we get to share gifts with others and about Jesus Christ.

Nancy: Thanks, Keeley.

Elisabeth Lewis: My name is Elisabeth Lewis. I’m thirteen years old, and my favorite thing about Christmas is getting together with relatives.

Nancy: Do you have lots of relatives, Elisabeth?

Elisabeth: Yes.

Nancy: And do they come to your house, or do you go to their house?

Elisabeth: I usually go to theirs because we live a long ways away.

Nancy: Okay, so you get to travel at Christmastime.

Elisabeth: Yes.

Nancy: Great.

Tiffany Rensberger: My name is Tiffany Rensberger. I’m twelve years old, and my favorite thing to do at Christmas is giving gifts.

Nancy: I like that part, too. Thanks, Tiffany.

Alicia Green: My name is Alicia Green. I’m thirteen, and my favorite thing about Christmas is being able to see my family and just reading the Christmas story.

Nancy: Great. And over here.

Shawna Loveing: My name is Shawna Loveing, and I’m ten years old. My favorite part about Christmas is getting the tree and setting everything up on it.

Nancy: Do you like to have a big tree at your house?

Shawna: Yes, we do.

Nancy: And do you put a lot of decorations on it?

Shawna: Yes, ma’am.

Nancy: Do you make some of the decorations?

Shawna: No, not often. We have some from a while back, and we put it on the tree.

Nancy: So we have lots of different traditions that we enjoy doing at Christmas. But I want to start this Christmas by reading us a story called, "The Tallest Angel." This is a story about a girl who did not understand how much God loved her. But God wanted her to know how much He loved her, and so He sent someone into her life who helped her understand the love of God.

So listen as I read this story about the tallest angel.

Nancy Reading: "'God doesn't love me.' The words echoed sharply through the thoughts of Miss Ellis as she looked around the fourth grade schoolroom. Her gaze skipped lightly over the many bent heads and then rested on one in particular. Ever since the first day of school, Miss Ellis had been hurt and troubled by these bitter assertions.

"'God doesn't love me.' The words had come from a small nine-year-old girl who stirred under the gaze of Miss Ellis. Then bending her head to her own desk, Miss Ellis prayed in her heart for the nth time, 'Help her, dear God, and help me to help her. Please show Dorie that You do love her, too.'

"Dorie sat with her geography book open upon her desk, but the thoughts that raced through her mind were not concerned with the capital of Ohio.

"A moment before she had felt the warm eyes of Miss Ellis upon her. Now angry sentences played tag with each other in her bowed head. Once again she heard the calm voice of Miss Ellis. 'God wants us to be happy in His love.' Dorie laughed bitterly to herself. 'How could anyone be happy with a hunched back and leg braces?'

"'God loves everyone,' Miss Ellis had said, to which Dorie had angrily replied, 'But He doesn't love me. That's why He made me ugly and crippled.'

"'God is good,' Miss Ellis said.

"'God is not good to me. He is mean to me. That's what He is—to let me grow up so crooked.' Dorie raised her head and looked at the children around her.

"Maryanne had long golden curls. Dorie had straight brown hair pulled back tight and braided into an unlovely pigtail. Jeanetta had china-blue eyes that twinkled like evening stars. Dorie had brown eyes that seemed smoky, so full of bitterness were they. Ellen Sue had a pink rosebud mouth that readily spread into a happy smile. Well, Ellen Sue could smile—she had a lovely dimpled body and ruffled ribboned dresses.

"But why should Dorie smile? Her mouth was straight and tight and her body hunched and twisted. Anyone would laugh to see ruffles on her dresses. No pink and blue dresses for her; only straight, dark gowns that hung like sacks over her small, hunched frame."

Nancy: Can you girls think of some other reasons that some people might think that God doesn't really love them? Dorie thought that God didn't love her because she was made with this hunched back, and she had to wear these leg braces. But can you think of some other reasons that some people might think that God doesn't love them? Shawna?

Shawna: Maybe because they have big finances, and they can't pay that much. They think that God doesn't provide for them.

Nancy: Okay. I think many people probably feel that way if they don't have enough money to buy the things they need. Elisabeth?

Elisabeth: Maybe for kids who don't have very loving parents. They don't have time for them maybe? They don't give very much time to their kids, and it makes them think that God gave them parents who didn't love them.

Nancy: You know what? You are so right. In fact, I had a young man tell me this week that when he was growing up, he never heard his dad say, "I love you." Because he didn't feel like his parents loved him, he wondered if God really loved him. You're absolutely right. Any other reasons you can think of that people might think, God doesn't really love me?

Girl: Maybe because some children have lost parents that have died or have turned away from God, and they just think that they're not loved by God.

Nancy: Yes. If they've experienced a great hurt or tragedy in their life, they could think, "God doesn't really love me." So there can be lots of reasons that people might think, "God doesn't really love me." Well, let's go on with the story about Dorie.

Nancy Reading: "Suddenly hate and anger so filled the heart of the little girl that she felt she must get away from this room full of straight-bodied children or she would choke. She signaled her desire to Miss Ellis, who nodded permission. There was neither pity nor laughter in the eyes that followed Dorie to the door—only casual indifference.

"The children had long since accepted Dorie as she was. No one ever jeered at her awkwardness, nor did anyone fuss over her in pity. The children did not mean to be unkind, but knowing the limits of Dorie's mobility, they usually ran off to their active games, leaving her a lonely little spectator.

"Miss Ellis saw the children settle back to their studies as the door closed after Dorie. She stared at the door, not seeing the door at all—only the small hunchbacked girl. ‘What can I do to help her be happy?’ she pondered. What could anyone say or do to comfort and encourage such a child?

"She had talked to Dorie's parents and had found them to be of little help. They seemed inclined to feel that Dorie's crippled condition was a blot upon them—one that they did not deserve.

"Miss Ellis had urged them not to try to explain Dorie's condition but to accept it and try to see God's blessings through it. They were almost scornful to the idea that any blessing could be found in a crippled, unhappy child; but they did agree to come to church and to bring Dorie as often as possible.

"'Please help Dorie,' prayed Miss Ellis. 'Help Dorie and her parents, too.' Then the hall bell sounded, and Miss Ellis arose to dismiss her class.

"The reds, yellows, and greens of autumn faded into the white of winter. The Christmas season was unfolding in the room. Tiny Christmas trees stood shyly on the windowsills. A great green wreath covered the door. Its silver bells jingled whenever the door moved, and the delighted giggles of the children echoed in return. The blue-white shadows of a winter afternoon were creeping across the snow as Miss Ellis watched the excited children set up the manger scene on the low sand table.

"'Christmas,' thought Miss Ellis, 'is a time of peace and joy. Even the children feel the spirit and try to be nicer to one another.'

"'Is your Christmas dress done yet, Ellen Sue?' Maryanne asked her friend. Without waiting for an answer, she chattered on. 'Mother got material for mine today. It's red. Real red velvet. Oh, I can hardly wait. Can you?'

"'Mine is all done but the hem,' Ellen Sue fairly trembled with excitement. 'It's pink with rosebuds made of ribbon.'

"Miss Ellis smiled, remembering the thrill of the Christmas dresses of her own childhood. How carefully they were planned and how lovingly her mother had made each one. Miss Ellis leaned back to cherish the memories a moment longer. Then a movement caught her eye.

"Slowly, with storm-filled eyes, Dorie was backing away from the chattering children. Miss Ellis' heart stirred with sympathy. She watched the unhappy child ease herself into her chair, pull a book from her desk and bend her head over it.

"She isn't studying,’ thought Miss Ellis. ‘She is only pretending to cover up her misery.’ Dorie stared at the book in front of her, fighting against the tears that demanded release.

"What if one of the girls had asked her about her Christmas dress? Her Christmas dress, indeed! Would anyone call a brown sack of a dress a Christmas dress? Would the children laugh? No. Dorie knew the girls wouldn't laugh. They would just feel sorry for her in her shapeless dress. Sometimes that was almost worse than if they would laugh. At least then she would have an excuse to pour out the angry words that crowded into her throat.

"'Dorie,' a warm voice broke in upon her thoughts. 'Dorie, will you help me with these Christmas decorations? You could walk along and hold them for me while I pin them up, please.'

"Dorie arose, thankful for the diversion and thankful to be near Miss Ellis. The silver tinsel was pleasant to hold, and Miss Ellis always made her feel so much better. Slowly they proceeded around the room, draping the tinsel garland as they went.

"The children started asking Miss Ellis about the Christmas program. 'Please, Miss Ellis, can I be Mary in the Christmas program?' one of the children said.

"'Miss Ellis, I'd like to be Joseph.'

"'I should be Mary because I can't sing in the angel choir.'

"Miss Ellis raised her hand for quiet. After a moment she began, 'I've already chosen the ones who will play the parts of Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, and the angel choir.'

"'Tell us the names! Tell us the names now!' the children chorused. 'All right,' agreed Miss Ellis as she reached for a paper from her desk. 'Here they are.'

"'Sue Ellen will be Mary. Daniel will be Joseph. John, Alan, and Morris will be the shepherds. All the rest of you will be choir angels. Miss Ellis scanned the eager, hopeful faces around her till she saw the face of Dorie.

"There was no eager hope in her small, pinched face. Dorie felt from bitter experience that no one wanted a hunchback in a program. Miss Ellis could not bear the numb resignation on that small white face.

"Almost without realizing what she was saying, she finished the sentence, 'All will be choir angels, except Dorie.' There was a moment of hushed surprise. 'Dorie will be the special angel who talks to the shepherds.'

“All the children gasped and turned to look at Dorie. ‘Dorie? A special angel?’ They had never thought of that. As realization penetrated Dorie's amazement, a slow smile relaxed the pinched features. A little candle flame of happiness shone in the brown eyes.

"'Her eyes are lovely when she’s happy,' marveled Miss Ellis. 'O Lord, help her to be happy more often.' The hall bell sounded the end of another school day. Soon all the children had bidden Miss Ellis good-bye as they hurried from the room. All but one—all but Dorie. She stood very still, as if clinging to a magic moment for as long as possible. The lights had flickered out of her eyes, and her face seemed whiter than ever before.

"Miss Ellis knelt and took Dorie's cold little hands in her own. 'What is it, Dorie? Don't you want to be a special angel after all?'

"'I do, I do,' Dorie's voice broke. ‘But . . . but I'll be a horrid, hunchbacked angel. Everyone will stare at me and laugh because angels are straight and beau . . .' Dorie's small body shook with uncontrollable sobs.

"'Listen to me, Dorie,' Miss Ellis began slowly. 'You are going to be my special angel. Somehow I'm going to make you look straight and beautiful like real angels. Will you just be happy, Dorie, and let me plan it all out? Then I'll tell you all about it.'

"Dorie lifted her head hopefully. 'Do you think you can, Miss Ellis? Do you think you can?'

"'I know I can, Dorie. Smile now. You're so pretty when you smile. And say over and over, "God loves me. God loves me." That will make you want to smile. Will you try it, Dorie?'

"A shadow of disbelief crossed Dorie's face. Then she brightened with resolution. 'I'll say it, Miss Ellis. And if you can make me look like a straight angel, I'll try to believe it.'

"'That's the spirit, Dorie. Good-bye now, and have nice dreams tonight.' Dorie went to the door, paused a moment, then turned again to Miss Ellis. 'Yes, Dorie? Is there something else?'

"Dorie hesitated for a long moment. Then she said slowly, 'Do you think I could look like a tall angel, too? I'm smaller than anyone else because my back is so bent. Do you think I could look like a tall angel?'

"'I'm sure we can make you look tall,' promised Miss Ellis. Dorie sighed with satisfaction and let the door swing shut behind her. The silver bells on the Christmas wreath jingled merrily, almost mockingly.

"'What have I done?’ thought Miss Ellis soberly. ‘I've promised a little crooked girl that she will be a tall, straight angel. I haven't the slightest idea how I'm going to do it. Dear God, please help me. Show me the way. For the first time since I've known her, I've seen Dorie happy. Please help her to be happy in Your love, dear God. Show me the way to help her.’

"Miss Ellis went to sleep that night with a prayer still in her heart. Morning came, crisp and clear. Lacy frills of frost hung daintily from every branch and bush. Miss Ellis rubbed her eyes and looked out of her window. The sparkling white beauty of the morning reminded her of angels.

"Angels! She recalled her promise. She had dreamed of angels, too. What was the dream about? What was it? Miss Ellis tapped her finger against her lip in concentration.

"Suddenly, as if a dark door had opened to the sunshine, the dream— the whole angel plan—swept into her mind. Idea after idea tumbled about like dancing sunbeams. She must hurry and dress. She must get to the schoolhouse early to talk to Joe the janitor. Joe could do anything, and she was sure that Joe would help her.

"At the door of the school, she scarcely paused to stomp the snow from her boots. Quickly, she went down to the furnace room where Joe was stoking coal into the hungry furnace. 'Joe,' she began. 'I need your help. I've got a big job ahead of me. I'm going to make little Dorie Saunders into a tall, straight angel for our Christmas pageant.'

"Joe thumped his shovel down, looked at her intently and scratched his head. 'You certainly did pick yourself a job, Miss Ellis. How are you going to do all this, and where do I figure?'

"'It's like this, Joe.' She outlined her plan to him, and Joe agreed to it. Miss Ellis went lightly up the steps to her fourth-grade room.

"She greeted the children cheerily, smiling warmly at Dorie. Dorie returned the smile with the candle flames of happiness glowing again in her eyes. For Dorie, the day was enchanted.

"Round-faced angels smiled at her through the O's in her arithmetic book. The time passed dreamily on whirring angel wings. At last school was over, and she was alone with Miss Ellis, waiting to hear the marvelous plan that would make her a straight and beautiful angel.

"'I've thought it all out, Dorie.' Miss Ellis pulled Dorie close as she explained the plan. 'Mrs. Brown and I are going to make you a long white gown and wings. Joe will fix you up so you will be the tallest angel of all. But, Dorie, let's keep it a secret until the night of the program, shall we?'

"Dorie nodded vigorously. She couldn't speak. The vision was too lovely for words, so she just nodded and hugged Miss Ellis as tight as her thin arms could squeeze. Then she limped from the room.

"Dorie had never felt such happiness. Now she really had a place in the scheme of events. At least until Christmas, she felt she really belonged with the other children. She was really like other children. Maybe God loved even her.

"At last the night of the program came. Carols of praise to the newborn King rang through the school. Now it was time for the Christmas pageant. Soft music invited a quiet mood, and the audience waited for the curtains to open upon a shepherd scene. The sky was dark as the shepherds sat huddled around their fire. Then suddenly a bright light burst over the scene.

"The audience gasped in surprise. High up on a pedestal, dressed in a gown of shimmering white satin, Dorie raised her arms in salutation. 'Fear not!' Her face was radiant as she spoke. 'For behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people!'

"Her voice gathered conviction as she continued. 'For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord!' The triumphant ring in her voice carried to the choir, and the children sang, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men,' as they had never sung before.

"Dorie's father blinked hard at the tears that stung his eyes, and he thought in his heart, ‘Why, she’s a beautiful child!’ Dorie's mother closed her eyes on the lovely vision, praying silently, ‘Forgive me, God. I haven't appreciated the good things about Dorie because I've been so busy complaining about her misfortunes.’

"The sound of the carols sung by the choir died away and the curtains silently closed. Miss Ellis hurried backstage and lifted Dorie from her high pedestal. 'Dorie,' she asked softly. 'What happened? How did you feel when you were the angel? Something wonderful happened to you. I saw it in your face.'

"Dorie hesitated. 'You'll laugh.'

"'Never, never, Dorie. I promise.'

"'Well, while I was saying the angel message, I began to feel taller and taller and real straight.' She paused and looked intently at Miss Ellis.

"'Go on, dear,' urged Miss Ellis gently. 'What else?'

"'Well, I didn't feel my braces anymore. And do you know what?'

"'No. What? Tell me.'

"'Right then I knew it was true. God does love me.'

"'Dorie, as long as you know that is true, you'll never be really unhappy again. Someday, my dear, you will stand straight and tall and beautiful among the real angels in heaven.'"

Thank You, Lord Jesus, that You love us so much—even if we're very different from other people, or even if we have problems that we can't solve. And thank You for those people that You have used to help us understand how much You love us. I pray that this Christmas You would help us to show others Your love, to reach out to them, to communicate Your love to them, to encourage them, to lift them up, and that through our love others may come to know how much You love them. I pray in Jesus' name, amen.

Leslie: That’s Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth. She’s been reading and reflecting on a story called “The Tallest Angel.” It was read with the permission of Joe Wheeler, editor and compiler of Christmas in My Heart, book 2.

Maybe you know a young person who would enjoy hearing today’s story with you. You can stream or download the audio at ReviveOurHearts.com. Each day, you can hear the audio or read a transcript from Revive Our Hearts. We’re able to bring you the program each day thanks to listeners who support the ministry financially. Here’s Nancy to tell you how you can get involved in sharing the ministry with others.

Nancy: Women all around the world are connecting with the message of heart revival and biblical womanhood through the different outreaches of Revive Our Hearts.

I think about a group of women I met with not too long ago from the Revive Our Hearts team in South Africa. They were so excited to be here. I think there were eight or nine of them. They have started Revive Our Hearts South Africa. They have all kinds of vision and are excited about what God is doing through the ministry in their part of the world.

Then there is Revive Our Hearts Europe. It's another group of women who are praying together. They are doing this by means of Internet because they are scattered in different countries. They pray together monthly. They are fasting and praying and asking God to send revival to Europe, to spread this message throughout that region of the world.

Then Aviva Nuestros Corazaones, which many of you are familiar with, is our Spanish ministry, based in the Dominican Republic, that continues to grow and reach Spanish-speaking women everywhere. God is doing great things. They are getting ready to publish the first book in the True Woman line of books that is in Spanish—not just translated from English to Spanish.

We have some video stories of some of these international happenings on the Revive Our Hearts website or the Youtube channel.

I know there are a lot of us are especially tuned as we come to Christmas and year-end to do special giving. I hope you don't wait until the end of the year to do your giving. But a lot of us want to see if there is anything more we can give at year-end.

For Revive Our Hearts, approximately 40% of our entire year's donations come during the month of December. So that means this month we are trusting the Lord for 1.8 million dollars. I don't hardly know how many zeros that has, but God knows. He knows how much it is. It's not mine to worry about. Our job is to keep doing the job God has called us to do—to share with our partners what the need is. We tell the Lord. We tell our friends. Then we say, "Lord, You prompt the hearts of those You would have to be involved in giving to meet that need.

We don't spend money we don't have. What comes in at the end of this year helps us to know what outreaches we can support in the coming year and where we may need to pull back. So God's provision this month is very instrumental and influential in determining what 2017 looks like for this ministry.

Now, many of you are aware that for a number of years, a group of generous friends of the ministry have provided a matching challenge—where they double every gift received in the month of December up to a certain amount. The amount for that challenge this year is $600,000. With their $600,000 that's matched, that's 1.2 million dollars, if my math is right. Then we are asking the Lord for an addition $600,000 above that to meet the total need of 1.8 million.

Leslie: To support Revive Our Hearts during this critical time, visit ReviveOurHearts.com, or call us at 1–800–569–5959. Tomorrow Nancy will tell us another story, this one right from the pages of the gospels. Join us for the original Christmas story—tomorrow on Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version.

 

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