Deut. 6:6-7 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
My mother had just come in from a long day of teaching. She had taught elementary school for several years. She had worked to attain her Master’s degree in Special Education, and had been one of the most respected teachers in this field. She then became an elementary principal for nine years. When the Lord opened up an opportunity for her to get back into teaching, she readily took it. Now, here she was, nearing the end of another school year. I had stopped by to visit her just as she had gotten home. She was looking through the mail, the highlight of her day! That day, she received something from the Department of Education. She opened it immediately. It was the annual salary report. Salaries for teachers in Arkansas is based largely upon experience. At this point, she had experience. The report had neat columns of information. One item it listed was how many sick days she had been given and how many had been used.
She gasped as she read the report. She had accrued over 100 days of sick leave! “Would you just look at that.” She said softly. “Isn’t that an amazing testimony of God’s blessings? I can’t believe I have that many un-used sick days.” I agreed with her that it was, indeed, a great blessing.
That sort of conversation wasn’t unusual in my family. I suppose there were people who judged us because my mom wasn’t a “stay-at-home-mom”. If they judged my parents’ walk with the Lord based on that one criterion, they were sorely off the mark. My Mom and Dad talked about the Lord and the Bible constantly. It was the book by which they centered their lives. Every decision was based upon God’s Word. My Mom’s favorite book of the Bible is Proverbs. I know this without checking with her about it, because she talked about it…a lot! She studied it and applied its wisdom. That’s why her students adored her, and teachers liked her. That’s why after six years of retirement, her former superintendent still offers her a job every time he sees her – every time. Because she lived like Christ. Was she perfect? No, she wasn’t and isn’t. But there was no question about just Who she was, and is, trying to emulate.
My Dad went to heaven over five years ago now. God gave me amazing strength and grace to allow me to say a few words, along with my siblings, at his funeral. I was up until 2 AM the day of his funeral, grappling with what to say. I prayed. I wept uncontrollably. How was I supposed to sum up 26 years of friendship, teaching, and love in just a few minutes at a podium? I couldn’t. But the Lord, in His magnificent way, told me what to say. He reminded me of today’s verse. That was what I should say. That summed up my Mom, as well as my Dad.
My Mom taught Language Arts to hundreds of students over the years. However, the most important lesson she ever taught, didn’t take place in a classroom. She and Dad taught me that I could trust God and His Word for everything. They proved it at breakfast, while they worked, when they came home in the evening, and as they ended their day in rest. This is the most important lesson that I could teach my children, as well. I want them to honor Christ with their lives even more than I want them to learn proper English, and I’m a stickler about grammar. 😉
Today, as I begin a new week of homeschooling, mothering, and working, I want to remember this verse. This verse reminds me of my priorities – to live like Christ all the time. When I fail, I want to get up and keep going for Him. Just like Dad and Mom.