By Anita Mondragon

I wrote this story many years ago for my grandchildren.  Read it to your young ones. Hopefully they will get the meaning. –anita


Camellia.  What a beautiful name!  Even the meaning of it is grand!  Camellia is the name of a shrub…a member of the tea family.  This shrub has glossy evergreen leaves, and red or white flowers on it that are similar to roses.

Rightly so that this beautiful child of pale blonde hair, bright cornflower blue eyes, and lips as read as a rose should be given this name.  Why!  Everything about her was beautiful…well, everything except for her heart.  There was just something that wasn’t right there.  Her parents realized this and did all in their power to change it; but it seemed of no use, because nothing seemed to work.  The only time she seemed to change at all was after she’d been in Sunday school.

You see…Camellia was like the chameleon lizard that changes colors to hide himself.  This lizard can fit into any situation and go totally unnoticed if he wants to.  Camellia was very good at pretending to be something she most definitely was not!

It was almost like she was three different people living in one body.  At home, she was “Camellia, the ALMOST perfect.”  At school, she was “Camellia, the NOT SO perfect.”  And on Sundays at Sunday school, she was known as “Camellia, the MOST holy.”  When she was around her parents, she was pretty agreeable.  Everyone at church, thought she was a very nice, spiritual girl…never making a fuss…always doing things properly.  But at school…that was a different story!  All of her friends knew her well…they knew the REAL Camellia.  She was anything but holy or agreeable!  The words that came from her mouth were like venom from a rattlesnake, and her actions weren’t even near perfect.  She lied, and gossiped, and liked to hurt people on purpose with her words.  She was a bully!  Yes!  She knew how to change colors just at the right time.

Her friends at school were just like her…mean and hateful!  Granny used to tell her, “Be careful of your friends dear!  Remember…birds of a feather, flock together!”  That was her way of saying that only the same kinds of people hang around together.  Instead of listening to granny, and looking inside of her own heart, she ignored her, and stayed with those friends of hers.  She loved being at school the most, because she didn’t have to pretend.

Being at home wasn’t too bad…most of the time anyway.  She had fooled her parents, and congratulated herself on this.  They even had said, “We know that she’s not all that she should be, but…all in all, she is a good child.”  Boy!  If they only knew the REAL Camellia!

Now, Sunday school was another matter.  Her teacher, Ms. Jones, must have done a lot of praying, because Camellia was sure that she could see right through her disguise!  This made Camellia very uncomfortable!  And…then…there was all of that constant tapping at her heart’s door.  Why!  It was more than she could stand at times!  Thank goodness she only had to go once a week!

As the years passed, she found it more and more easy to lead three lives…being pretty good, being not so good, and being most holy.  One day, all of that came to an end.  Daddy began to have family devotions every evening.  He said that reading the Bible would be good for all of them.  After a few times of this, Camellia had her doubts!  Every time he would open the Big Black Book and read from its pages, then all of that tapping would start again!  What was that????  More importantly…WHO was that?????  She wondered as a little shiver would go up her spine.

One night, daddy was reading in the book of Revelation, chapter 3, verse 20.  It says, “Behold I stand at the door, and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and fellowship with him, and he will fellowship with me.”  So! …It was Jesus, the Good Shepherd that was knocking!  But…why did he want to come into the blackness of Camellia’s heart?  She pondered on this for a bit.  Camellia knew that her heart was small and empty, and dark.  She had never let anyone come in there before.  As she pondered, she heard daddy say, “Let’s go back and read the verses before this last one…”

You see, daddy and mommy had been praying for Camellia for some time now.  Daddy saw the frown that crossed her face, and he knew that the tapping was getting louder and louder.

He began to read, “I know you, that you aren’t hot or cold”…then he added, “or good or bad.”  He kept reading.  “I wish you would be hot or cold”…”or good or bad.”  “Because you are neither…but you’re just lukewarm”…”Or in-between”…”Then I’ll vomit you out of my mouth!  You say I’m rich and need nothing, but don’t you know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked?  I advise you to buy gold from me that’s been put in the fire, so you can be rich; and white robes so that you won’t be naked or ashamed; and put medicine on your eyes so that you can see.  You need to know that the ones that I love, I speak sharply to and punish them if I must; so be sorry for your sins and change your ways!”  With this, daddy hesitated and then looked at his sweet Camellia.  She was crying…and it was real this time, of that he was sure!  She slipped to her knees and called out to the Good Shepherd and opened the door of her heart to Him.

Over the next week or so, everyone that knew her, saw a big change taking place.  She was just Camellia now…NOT perfect, NOT mean or hateful, and NOT holy…just FORGIVEN!  She stopped being ugly with her words, she stopped lying, and she stopped pretending.  She didn’t change colors to “fit in” anymore.  She let her true colors from the love of Jesus shine through her now…and she was like a rainbow…more beautiful than ever!

Anita Mondragon 2000

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