Well – It is teacher appreciation week and so time to remember those who have taught or instructed or imparted knowledge in some way. So, off the top of my head here are just a few of those I am so thankful for.
Mrs. Gaskill: my elementary school librarian who taught me to love books and reading and let me tag along every day after school instead of hanging in my mom’s classroom. I thought I would become a librarian when I grew up, instead I just live among many books.
Mrs. Frances Kiser: my high school English teacher, who encouraged me in writing and coached me through my high school graduation speech. She treated me so much like her own daughter and she truly did love me back to life during my darkest of days following my dad’s death. I know no other way to repay other than to just continue to love others as she loved me. She was a precious gem!
Dr. Tony Eastman: my college history professor at Gardner-Webb who taught me that sometimes the best teaching is painful. He pulled me aside when I was walking in the wrong path and gave me a stern “talking to” He believed in me so very much and did not shy from his position of authority in Christ and as my teacher to act as father figure to me at a time when I so desperately needed one. I will never forget his love for me in doing that and I love it when our paths cross and that he has never forgotten me and is overjoyed to see me now…because it is mutual and he was a most awesome history teacher as well. I loved his classes!
Dr. Sammy Oxendine: He was once my pastor. He taught me to love the nations by taking me there. He risked his very life to complete the work of the Lord and take us to Romania– at the time we did not know, but he knew, that he was very, very sick. True sacrifice and love! I am eternally grateful and I don’t take one minute of what I received and learned there for granted. He taught me what patience looks like as he allowed second, third, fourth chances and answered many questions in some excruciatingly long emails during my first years of salvation. He never allowed excuses and yet was so merciful. He would never describe himself as compassionate or merciful but yet he showed it in so many ways. He taught me to let go of the past and to forgive. He was and is a true spiritual father to me and I love him with my whole heart. Those English students at Lee University and Belmont-Abbey are so blessed to have him now teaching them! I pray they know it!
My present pastors at Message of Love: Pastor Jeff Johnson who teaches me Truth in such a way that I am challenged, renewed and frankly amazed week after week. Pastor Frankie Sneed who teaches me so much. To LOVE- I mean REALLY LOVE- God, His Word and those He loves. She teaches what a life laid down for the Lord really looks like. She has pushed me out of my comfort zone and I am so grateful to sit under such a great woman of God and such an anointed preacher. Brother Art Sneed who teaches what it looks like to care. He is the greatest example of shepherding that I have seen in recent years. He so truly cares and is joyful in it…and he just makes me laugh and cry. I am beyond grateful for the opportunities these great men and woman of God have given me. They disciple. They invest in others and allow us to follow behind and learn by doing, imitating or whatever it takes until we can do it ourselves. Teachers, allowing us to follow like Jesus did. I just imagine the disciples following around after Jesus, listening to Him, watching Him, imitating Him, failing sometimes, but continuing on and on. I feel I live this kind of life. So often as I leave the services I feel I am “following” them through it but in the process it has been actually following Jesus… and I wonder how anyone could even walk out as “glory to glory” has become so real to me in this precious church under these anointed ministers.
Catherine Melissa Street: My very first teacher that is still at it. My dear, sweet, and beautiful MOM who taught so many other children too. In our home we learned JESUS, manners and a love of learning. She taught- grace, mercy and faith and she lived it each step of the way. She taught me order and to honor the elderly and my teachers and pastors. She taught me to always be one that learns. Here I am today – still learning every chance I get. She taught me what pressing through in prayer really looks like and I know that I am only here today because of her years of desperate cries for my soul. She was speaking faith even at the times I wasn’t walking as I should as she would grab me and declare – “everything works together for good.” I get it now and I believe it, Mom! None of her heartache in this life and hers for me will be wasted. She has a great reward waiting for her!!!
Most precious of all teachers to me is the HOLY SPIRIT – The best and most faithful. He is beside me every minute as my teacher and guide! My interpreter, my instructor! My counselor, my provider, my precious friend!!! What He has taught me personally has already filled volumes and we have only just begun. What would I do without Him?!? Glad I don’t ever have to find out.
I am so blessed to have had and to continue to have the best of teachers. I could go on and on as so many others are brought to my mind. I was raised by a village of teachers and preachers so I have a wonderful heritage! I want to be like them all, when I grow up! Yes indeed, my life is forever changed because of them. Happy Teacher Appreciation Week to you all.