Monday, August 11, 2014

If you want to build a wall and Miss Marion's Lessons


While editing a devotional book I wrote a few years ago, I came across this piece called Miss Marion's Lessons. Once more, God  reminds me to always build a bridge.

I will instruct you and teach you. Psalm 32:8

One Sunday evening, my seven year old, Bethany, and I reviewed the day’s happenings as she put on her pajamas for bed.

I had taught her Sunday school class for several years, but because of my recent breast cancer diagnosis, my friend, Marion, had volunteered to take over for a time. Miss Marion often told stories from when her twin boys were little. Once my son, upon leaving class, streaked up to me and said, “You’ll never believe what those twins have done now.”

“What happened in Sunday School this morning?” I asked Bethany hoping for another story.

“We played a pretend game and changed our names. Mine was Sassafras.”

I laughed as we pulled her pajama top over her head. “Great name. What else did you do?”

“We made presents for the other children that use the class room during the week.”

Tears sprang to my eyes.

The other children she referred to were from another church to which we’d opened our facility. The children were left unsupervised at times, and their imagination led them to do some interesting things with materials left in the classrooms. When I was teaching, we were careful to store literature and supplies where they couldn’t be harmed. I never felt good about this, but there seemed no alternative.

Sometimes, we’d leave paper and crayons for the children to play with during the week, but not often.

When Bethany said they made presents for these children, I almost cried, because it hadn’t occurred to me to do that.

Miss Marion was building a bridge instead of a barrier. She reached out rather than turn her classroom into a fortress. She taught the children to do the same. She also was instructing me and reminding me that we need to bless.

As I ponder this, I realize I have a relationship against which I brace myself. I feel myself building a fortress. I suppose amidst difficulties, that’s the human thing to do. However, Jesus in me would ask me to span the distance, to let the drawbridge down. He’d ask me to bless. It’s hard to reach over that irritating thing someone else is doing. However, in the power of the Holy Spirit, we may extend the love of Jesus to another and in doing so, amazing things can happen.

We never know all that happens when we expend our energies in teaching a child. I do know that while teaching my children, Miss Marion has also taught me.


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