Friday, May 8, 2009

How do you define Teacher?

“A hundred years from now, it will not matter what kind of house we lived in, what kind of car we drove, or what our bank account balance was. But the world may be different because we made a difference in the life of a child.” –Author Unknown

Six years ago I stumbled into a church after not being in one for the good part of going on 12yrs. I could say I didn't know what made me go that night, but I had just spent a month lying on my back after my first spinal surgery thinking about my life and the things I wanted to change. As I walked through those doors, I really didn't know what to expect. I had heard the church was much different than those traditional churches like I had grown up in and went to all my life. It was what they called "A Night of Worship", which I found out meant it was singing only and no spoken message from a pastor. As I sat and listened and looked around it was very different from the other places I had experienced. The people were singing and raising there hands as if to reach out to someone they knew without a doubt was there to take hold of their hand or to even carry them if need be. I couldn't imagine trusting someone that much, especially when I couldn't even see them. But they raised their hands, sang loudly, and even clapped when the song had a beat that brought on the notion to do so. I tried to concentrate on the words of the songs being sung. They talked of love, compassion, and a risen king who had come to serve and set His people free from bondage. Tears began to run down my face in streams as if I were opening a flood gate that had been closed for years. It was as if they were speaking the pain flowing from my soul that had been kept in bondage for so long and wanted to be free from all the pain. I couldn't speak. I couldn't sing. Nothing would come out of my mouth, but later I was told He still understood. "How could He understand though?", I wondered. As I left the building that night my mind was racing and yet trying to comprehend in small portions the events of the evening. It was so much to take in at one time. As I arrived home that evening, I was jolted back into the reality of my own existence and my own life at my home. There was lots of yelling and cursing and not at all what I had experienced that night in the words sung around me. I quietly slipped into my bedroom to try to escape the surrounding and drama I had walked back into that night. I shut the door as if to place myself in what I hoped to be a soundproof booth of some kind that would drown out everything around me. After preparing myself for bed that night, I lay on my bed and tried to pray. I had not done it sincerely in so long, that some part of me even questioned whether God would even be willing to listen and hear the words I was about to speak. At the same time though, I had to talk to someone and let out the feelings I had for so long held inside. As I spoke, I again began to cry the more I spoke of the pain and hurt I felt inside. I begged for God to provide some way for my life to change and to teach me how to believe in His power, mercy, and grace that they sang about that night. After I had said "Amen", I felt drained of what little energy I may have had before I had begun to speak that night. I picked up the information sheets about the church that I had grabbed on my way out of the church that night. I flipped through until I arrived at the section that listed the women's bible studies presently going on in the church. I spotted one that was going on the Wednesday morning coming up. I had no expectations of it being anything that would change my life but I did know it would be another opportuntiy for me to get away from this house for another hour or two that morning. Wednesday morning came quickly and I was extremely nervous. I hated going into new places and meeting new people. My mind would race with thoughts of "What if they don't like me?"; "What if they are all prettier and skinner than me?"; " What if they all have more money than me and wear prettier clothes than me?" I had always had these same questions and same fears everywhere I went. I felt like I would never be good enough for anyone I met, friend or foe. Something in me I felt just didn't measure up to what "the" standard was, whatever that was. As I drove up to the building there were not many cars. I entered and the the secretary told me no one had arrived for the bible study yet and that I was a little early. I tend to be early because I am afraid of walking in late where everyone knows your late and bring on more questions in my head. Anyway, I waited and the other women began to slowly pour into the meeting room. Soon the leader of the group entered. She was this bubbly woman dressed beautifully and very personable. She had the most amazing way of talking to God as she prayed that morning. It was as if she were talking to someone right next to her that she had known for years and could just be herself with. I learned so much that day as she and the other women spoke about the book they were reading at the time. They spoke of a powerful and loving and faithful God. They called Him their Father, Friend, and Savior. I had decided to just listen and be quiet that first day there and then I could determine whether I would return or not the next week. I left that day and obtained a copy of the book they were reading and had already made my decision to give it another shot the next week. When I returned the next week, there were a few new ladies I had not seen the week before. The discussion became deeper and I began to notice how vulnerable and real these women were with one another. I had always wanted this type of relationship with friends without the major fear of being hurt, but my fears had been too strong for too long to allow me to have this. As the group began to discuss the current chapter that week, I decided to try to give some input as if to test the waters I was about to jump into. I was so scared!!! I had to literally force the words out of my mouth as I opened it. After making my comments, a lady across the circle from me put down her books and said, "I don't know why, but I feel God leading me to ask the group to lay hands on you and pray." She then ask if it was okay. As much as I wanted to say no because I was scared to death, my mouth allowed the word yes to come out. As each of the women lay hands on me, they took turns praying. I began to physically fill a power of some kind lift off of me and a relief and peace cover me. It almost scared me at first but then as I embraced it, it was the most amazing thing I had ever experienced. These women had a faith that was unexplainable. I immediately remembered the story told to me in my childhood of the woman walking through the crowd bleeding and she simply touched the hem of Jesus robe and was healed because she truly had faith in His power. Over the next several weeks, months, and years I have repeatedly seen this faith in these women I met that day in bible study. I have come to know that bubbly, beautiful, personable on a more vulnerable level. She has repeatedly trusted in God to show her the directions she and her husband and family should make in this life. I am writing this today during teacher appreciation week because she is how I define "Teacher". Why? Because her words and actions have always modeled the greatest teacher of them all, Jesus. She will soon be moving on with her family to another state. But this is one teacher and friend I will always remember because she has been an important part of me learning who Christ really is and who God really is as a Father. Thank you Debbie for all your love, support, and Compassion and most of all your example!!!! I love you and will truly miss you!!!

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