Every morning just before the sun comes up, Lindy the ladybug wakes up, yawns, stretches her ladybug shell and flaps her wings gently. She flies out of her home in the hollow tree hole straight down toward the pond, picks the longest, tallest blade of grass she can see, and walk to the very tiptoe edge of it. Then she bends way way over until she can see her big smiling reflection in the pond. “Ten bee-yoo-tee-ful spots!” she’d say.
She loved how they sparkled and shone in the reflection of the water, and she loved how very black her spots were on her very bright red ladybug body. Lindy would give one more glance in the water, sigh happily and flutter off in the breeze to start her day.
One day, Lindy woke up and yawned, stretched her ladybug shell and flapped her wings gently. She picked the longest, tallest blade of grass and walked to the very tiptoe edge. Then she bent way way over and—gasp!—plopped right into the water! Hmmm. My spots are not so sparkly today! And maybe, just maybe, not so black. Are my eyes playing tricks on me?
Lindy climbed up on a lily pad and shook the water off her back. Maybe I’ll just look again. And so she perched right on the edge and peeked over the side and—oh no—there they are again! The same grayish spots staring back at her. Lindy was speechless. What did I eat last night? Did I drink something weird?
All day long her friends chattered away but Lindy never heard a word.
What’s wrong with my spots? People won’t love me if my spots aren’t black and shiny and sparkly! Bugs won’t love me either! I hope they’re normal tomorrow.
Lindy was very, very worried.
That night, Lindy went to sleep. She climbed up under a leaf and began her prayers. “Dear Jesus,” she said, “please bring my spots back to me. I love them so very much. None of my friends will like me if I don’t have my spots. They’ll stop being my friend and they won’t even think I’m a ladybug, they’ll just call me a… a… beetle!” Lindy shuddered. And then she slowly drifted off to sleep.
The next morning Lindy woke up and poked her head out from under her leaf blanket. It was a cloudy day, so she wouldn’t be able to see her reflection in the water.
“Hi, Lindy!” squeaked her friend, Molly. “Where are we going to venture to today?”
“Hi Molly”! Lindy squeaked back. “Let’s go to the playground! Maybe we can make friends with some humans!”
“Hooray!” squeaked Molly, flying a loop-de-loop in the air.
In and out they flew, through the trees, and over the shrubs until the reached the playground. “Last one to the monkey bars is a rotten beetle!” squeaked Lindy.
The sun was just starting to come, so there were sure to be lots of humans on the playground soon.
“Speaking of beetles,” said Lindy, “my spots have been acting funny. They don’t seem as beautiful or as black as they used to be. If anything happens to my spots, I wont be a beautiful ladybug anymore. Will you check my spots for me, Molly, and make sure they’re all okay?” asked Lindy.
“Sure! I’m sure it’s just your imagination.” said Molly, as she flew around to start counting.
“One, two three four five… six… seven…eight… nine! Nine beautiful spots!”
“What?!? Check again, count them again!” shrieked Lindy. Where’s the tenth spot?
“One, two, three, four, five…” Molly counted as she flew to Lindy’s other side. “Six, seven, eight, Niiiiiine,… Nine. Yep, nine spots.”
“Lindy! Lindy?!” shrieked Molly, fanning her friend with a blade of grass. “Wake up Lindy!”
Lindy slowly opened her eyes to see Molly waving her giant blade of glass wildly. “Don’t you see Molly? One of my spots must have fallen off! This is terrible! My spots are what makes me beautiful! People won’t love me if I’m not beautiful! My friends won’t love me, my family won’t love me, and little kids won’t think I’m special anymore.” Lindy was so scared and she felt all alone. “I just want to go home!”
So Molly and Lindy flew back home, with Lindy crying all the way.
That night, Lindy prayed again. “Dear Jesus, please bring my spots back to me. I love them so very much. No bug and nobody will think I’m beautiful if I don’t have my spots. Thank you, Jesus. Amen.”
The next day, Lindy woke up, hoping yesterday was just a bad dream. She very carefully yawned, stretched her ladybug shell and flapped her wings gently. She went out to the pond, picked the longest, tallest blade of grass and walked to the very tiptoe edge. Then she bent way way over and—gasp—more spots were missing! Oh no! Lindy didn’t know what to do. I’ll just hide here. Maybe I’m just sick and it’ll go away in a few days. No one needs to see me like this. She hid in her house all day.
And the very next morning, yes, the very next morning, was the worst morning ever. Lindy the ladybug yawned, stretched, went out the the pond, picked the longest, tallest blade of grass and walked to the very tiptoe edge. Then she bent way way over and… and… her spots were ALL GONE.
Lindy cried so loud and so long that all the ladybugs from far and wide came to see what was the matter. Lindy flew like a flash of lightning up to her bed so they wouldn’t see her.
“Lindy! Come out!”
“Lindy, what’s wrong?”
“Lindy, please come to the tree branch!” the voices called. Lindy flew slowly over to the tree hollow’s edge.
“It’s okay,” she said. “I know I’m not beautiful anymore. You don’t have to pretend you like me. My spots are all gone, so just leave me here and I’ll pack up my things and move away to Beetleville tomorrow.”
But Lindy’s friends were true friends. “Lindy,” said Molly. “You’re not our friend because you have spots. And you’re not beautiful because of your spots. Real beauty is inside you. You make us laugh and you’re nice and helpful and always a happy bug. We love you no matter how many spots you have. It’s you that makes you beautiful!”
“Really?” asked Lindy. “You mean it?”
“Yeah!” said 100 ladybugs. “It’s YOU that we love Lindy, not your spots.”
Those were the nicest words Lindy had ever heard. She flew down from her hole in the tree and got 100 hugs from her ladybug friends. And from then on, Lindy never worried about what she looked like in the pond. She tried to be the best, nicest Lindy she could be, and every bug said she was more beautiful than ever, even without her spots.
It’s hard not to compare ourselves to others. And it’s really hard to believe that our friends would love us no matter whether we’re wearing new clothes, new shoes, or have the prettiest hair of all our friends. 1 Samuel 16:7 says: But the Lord said unto Samuel, “don’t judge by appearance or height… for the Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, while the Lord looks at the heart.”
Looks at the heart? What does that mean? Well God thinks all of us are beautiful, no matter what our clothes look like, just like Lindy’s friends love her and think she’s beautiful no matter how many spots she has. He doesn’t care what we’re wearing, he cares what kind of person we are. 1 Peter 3:3-4 says “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment (jewelry and clothes)… instead it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”
Who can you be friends with today, that might need to hear she is beautiful, no matter what she looks like on the outside?
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