The story of Anna Baby - and how the real kind of perfect is not so perfect looking - deeply touched me. Below is a picture of Anna Salamy's best buddy from her hospital years, called Anna Baby.
If you haven't listened to Episode 10 of Time With Giants, you absolutely should! It is a touching episode, and the Salamy's humility and honesty is poignant. But just in case you missed this part of the story, I want to transcribe the little paper that comes with the Anna Baby dolls that are delivered to little girls who are hospital-bound, which Marlo shared in the interview:
"Once upon a time, there was a perfect baby doll. She was soft and clean, her hair was smooth and shiny, and her dress was pink. Wherever Anna went, Baby went too, her hair clutched tightly in Anna's tiny fingers. Through the years, Baby's beautiful dress became worn out. Her arms became unsewn, and her hair stuck up all over. Baby grew old and shabby, but Anna loved her just as much. To her, Baby was perfect. There is the kind of perfect that you find at the store where everything is new and wrapped in plastic, and there is the kind of perfect that happens when something is loved and needed. Baby was perfect when Anna got her, but through time, love, and suffering, she became perfect. Anna needed the kind of doll who could get out of the box and into a hospital bed. She didn't need a doll to look at but a doll to hold onto."
Anna with Baby
Marlo compares how Baby became perfect to how Jesus already was and still became perfect. He was perfect because He was God, but while He was on earth Jesus became perfect through suffering and trial. Though He suffered, He never sinned. She compares Baby also to the missionaries she trains. We can be the shiny, impressive kind of perfect on the outside, but it is when we experience suffering, life, loss, and struggle that we become perfect. That is when we can be most effective to a lost world. We recognize how much we need Jesus and the extremes He has saved us from, and we recognize what it is that we actually put our hope in - Christ alone.