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About this time many years ago, I received my first speeding ticket. I wish I could say my “only,” but a few people who know me very well might read this and I want to be transparent, as they say. Plus, another post is out there about how I like race cars.

There was this wonderful Sunday School teacher, which doesn’t adequately describe all she did on a regular basis for the children at our church. I never thought she would still be teaching when our second child became a third grader, but fortunately for us she was an extreme version of the “energizer bunny” and kept on going. And going. This may be a good time to mention that quite a few speeding tickets could have been given out on Sunday mornings as the parents of her class members flew into the parking lot on two wheels as their children jumped out and ran into the classroom.

One day I stopped by to say hello and she told me she was thinking she couldn’t continue much longer - it was getting to be too much for her. Before even thinking about it, my mouth opened and out came the words: What about if I helped you - would you be able to teach a little longer?

I had gotten behind on a project at home and was running late for our regular meeting at church. Mind you, this was in the middle of the day in the middle of the week. And she was usually there at least one more day before Sunday. So, the Dunwoody police stopped me to say hello. I was surprised they didn’t buy the whole, “I’m in a hurry because I’m supposed to be helping my friend set up her Sunday School classroom” story. What surprised me even more was that I confessed what happened when I got there! The most Bible-honoring, God-fearing woman I knew, and I told her I just got a ticket. She was like that. She wasn’t all warm and fuzzy, but there was something that just made you want to open up to her. And she REALLY listened. She looked you in the eye and asked questions and helped you understand yourself a little better.

Over those few years as her assistant, I would balk a little at the homework I had to do to help Sunday School go off without a hitch each Sunday. She would give the children tickets for remembering their Bibles and for arriving on time - hence the earlier “squeal into the parking lot” comment. They were asked to look up and mark the verse of the day - another exciting moment of realization for me. It was okay to actually make a mark in your Bible! I cringed the first few times I saw the kids highlighting all of those verses. But, she wanted them to realize their Bible was their own and it was meant to be USED, not kept looking all neat, collecting dust on a shelf.

Some of my “duties” included: drawing maps of the Holy Land; leading songs and portions of the lesson (usually not quite to her liking); hanging the books of the Bible around the room to be read while singing the memorization song she created; gathering costumes for that Sunday’s drama based on our Bible lesson. I soon realized it was a mistake to let her know I could draw pretty well...the letters of each child’s name were to be created large enough to include smaller drawings of their favorite activities, their siblings, and reminders of the Bible and our lessons, all done by hand (computer-generated just wouldn’t do) and displayed by other children holding them up for a photo with the birthday child as a part of their celebration. I think my kids still have theirs.

She was strict, but she helped them realize not only how special the scriptures and God could be in their lives, but also how very special THEY were to God - just by being who they were. A favorite activity was to have the children write and say John 3:16, inserting their name in place of the words, “the world.” Try it.

I would love to have a conversation with her about 2020. It would grieve her to miss all of these Sundays being with “her kids.” She probably would’ve called each child and given them a personal lesson over the phone. And mailed them rewards and birthday letters. This amazing woman changed a lot of lives, including mine, and I’m grateful.

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