Well – It is teacher appreciation week and so time to remember those who have taught or instructed or imparted knowledge in some way. Off the top of my head here are just a few of those I am 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 than to continue to love others as she loved me. She was and is 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 down the wrong path and gave me a stern “talking to.” He believed in me so much and did not shy away from his place of authority to act as a father figure when I desperately needed one. I will never forget his love for me in doing that. I enjoy when our paths cross and that he has never forgotten me and is still overjoyed to see me…because it is mutual. He was an awesome history teacher too!
Dr. Sammy Oxendine: Once my Pastor, he taught me to love the nations by taking me there. He risked his 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 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. Pastor Sammy 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 merciful. He taught me to let go of the past and to forgive and God used that teaching and his prayers for me to set me free.
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 loves through the challenges and teaches what a life laid down for the Lord looks like. She has pushed me out of my comfort zone, and I am so grateful to sit under and learn from such a great woman of God and anointed preacher and teacher. Brother Art Sneed who teaches what it looks like to care; and that love looks like something. He is the greatest example of shepherding that I have seen in recent years. He so truly cares and is joyful in serving…and he just makes me laugh and cry. I am beyond grateful for the opportunities these three 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 at Message of Love Church. So often as I leave a service I feel I am “following” them through it as they follow Jesus… and I wonder how anyone could even walk out the door as “glory to glory” has become so real to me in this precious place.
Catherine Melissa Street: My very first teacher that is still at it. My dear, sweet, and beautiful MOM who taught me and so many other children too. We can’t go many places without one of her former students coming up for a hug and a long conversation. She taught the 3rd grade for many, many years. But, as a teacher in our home – she taught JESUS, manners, and order. She taught- grace, mercy, and faith and she lived it each step of the way. She taught me to honor the elderly, 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 desperate cries for my soul. She has such a great reward waiting!!!
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 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 look at them all and I can see the common denominator in the truly God-called teacher is LOVE!!! I want to be just like them all when I grow up! Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!!!