“Where have all the heroes gone?” That question was posed to me not too long ago.
I tried to remember my childhood heroes, but I drew a blank. I guess men in capes and tights just don’t stick with you for long. Even into teenage and young adult years I couldn’t recall many.
When you think about a hero, who comes to your mind? What are the qualifiers?
Adler Felix said, “The hero is one who kindles a great light in the world, who sets up blazing torches in the dark streets of life for men to see by.”
In light of the fact that school is starting, I thought you might appreciate this…especially the teachers. Though this is not a true story, it is still true to life. We all have had or will have a “Teddy” in our lives. How we respond to difficult people can have a huge impact on their lives, and ultimately our
“Three Letters from Teddy”
As she stood in front of her 5th grade class on the very first day of school, she
told the children an untruth. Like most teachers, she looked at her students
and said that she loved them all the same. However, that was impossible, because
there in the front row, slumped in his seat, was a little boy named Teddy Stallard.
Mrs. Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and noticed that he did not
play well with the other children, that his clothes were messy and that he
constantly needed a bath. In addition, Teddy could be unpleasant. It got to the
point where Mrs. Thompson would actually take delight in marking his papers with a broad red pen, making bold X's and then putting a big "F" at the top of his papers.
At the school where Mrs. Thompson taught, she was required to review each
child's past records and she put Teddy's off until last. However, when she
reviewed his file, she was in for a surprise.
Teddy's first grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is a bright child with a ready laugh.
He does his work neatly and has good manners... he is a joy to be around."
His second grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is an excellent student, well-liked
by his classmates, but he is troubled because his mother has a terminal illness
and life at home must be a struggle."
His third grade teacher wrote, "His mother's death has been hard on him. He
tries to do his best, but his father doesn't show much interest, and his home
life will soon affect him if some steps aren't taken."
Teddy's fourth grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is withdrawn and doesn't show much
interest in school. He doesn't have many friends and he sometimes sleeps in
By now, Mrs. Thompson realized the problem and she was ashamed of herself. She
felt even worse when her students brought her Christmas presents, wrapped in
beautiful ribbons and bright paper, except for Teddy's. His present was
clumsily wrapped in the heavy, brown paper that he got from a grocery bag. Mrs.
Thompson took pains to open it in the middle of the other presents. Some of the
children started to laugh when she found a rhinestone bracelet with some of the
stones missing, and a bottle that was one-quarter full of perfume. But she
stifled the children's laughter when she exclaimed how pretty the bracelet was,
putting it on, and dabbing some of the perfume on her wrist. Teddy Stoddard stayed after school that day just long enough to say, "Mrs. Thompson, today you smelled just like my Mom used to."
After the children left, she cried for at least an hour. On that very day, she
quit teaching reading, writing, and arithmetic. Instead, she began to teach
Mrs. Thompson paid particular attention to Teddy. As she worked with him, his mind seemed to come alive. The more she encouraged him, the faster he responded.
By the end of the year, Teddy had become one of the smartest children in the
class and, despite her lie that she would love all the children the same, Teddy
became one of her "teacher's pets."
A year later, she found a note under her door, from Teddy, telling her that she
was the best teacher he ever had in his whole life.
Six years went by before she got another note from Teddy. He then wrote that he
had finished high school, third in his class, and she was still the best
teacher he ever had in life.
Four years after that, she got another letter, saying that while things had
been tough at times, he'd stayed in school, had stuck with it, and would soon
graduate from college with the highest of honors. He assured Mrs. Thompson that
she was still the best and favorite teacher he had ever had in his whole life.
Then four more years passed and yet another letter came. This time he explained
that after he got his bachelor's degree, he decided to go a little further. The
letter explained that she was still the best and favorite teacher he ever had.
But now his name was a little longer.... The letter was signed, Theodore F. Stallard, MD.
The story does not end there. You see, there was yet another letter that spring.
Teddy said he had met this girl and was going to be married. He explained that
his father had died a couple of years ago and he was wondering if Mrs. Thompson
might agree to sit at the wedding in the place that was usually reserved for
the mother of the groom. Of course, Mrs. Thompson did. And guess what? She wore that bracelet, the one with several rhinestones missing. Moreover, she made sure she was wearing the perfume that Teddy remembered his mother wearing on their last Christmas together.
They hugged each other, and Dr. Stallard whispered in Mrs. Thompson's ear,
"Thank you Mrs. Thompson for believing in me. Thank you so much for making
me feel important and showing me that I could make a difference."
Mrs. Thompson, with tears in her eyes, whispered back. She said, "Teddy, you
have it all wrong. You were the one who taught me that I could make a
difference. I didn't know how to teach until I met you."
Elizabeth Silance Ballard
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:40
Have a great week!
Years ago a group of life group leaders attended a conference at Litchfield beach. During a lunch break, I was outside looking out over the ocean. It was a cool day and the sky was a bright blue. There wasn’t a cloud in sight. As I stood there taking in the beauty, Ken Lewis walked up beside me and looked in the direction that I was looking. He grinned and asked me, “Do you know who made that?”
“Yep,” I remember responding, “my Father did.”
He didn’t skip a beat, “Mine, too!” He enthusiastically responded back.
As we stood there side by side, I was overwhelmed by the fact that because of God’s grace in my life and because of His grace in Ken’s life, we shared the same Father. I was standing beside my brother and we were looking at our Father’s handiwork.
I don’t know if Ken remembers that day or not, but I know for me, I felt like God knitted our hearts together in a special way.
Galatians 3:26-29 took on a deeper meaning:
"You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were
baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew
nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ
Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs
according to the promise."
Years passed. Ken became Coach Ken to two of my boys. Not only did he coach them in the game of basketball; he coached them in their walk with Christ. He loved them well. He treated them as his own.
For years we have prayed for each other’s families.
When God began tugging on my heart to build a website, Ken would not let me push it aside. He coached me, with incredible patience I might add. He came alongside Carolyn, Grace, Lisa, and myself and made this website a reality.
He continues to tolerate our mistakes, our submitting things in the wrong format and at the wrong time, and he endures many late night freak-outs because the computer won’t do what we want it to. If he has said, “Hit the refresh button once, he has said it a thousand times!”
This Tuesday, Ken, Liz, and their children leave for Atlanta. Selfishly, I’m not happy about this turn of events. On the other hand, I am so excited to see what God has in store for them. When all is said and done, I want God’s absolute best for the brother that He blessed me with those many years ago.
When I read Philemon 1:4-9, I think about Ken and Liz.
“I thank my God always, making mention of you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and of the faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints; and I pray that the fellowship of your faith may become effective through the knowledge of every good thing which is in you for Christ’s sake. For I have come to have much joy and comfort in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, brother.”
So let me just say, “We love you, Ken. We will miss you so much, but we know this isn’t goodbye. After all, we still know your phone number!
“Choose you this day, whom you will serve.”
Katherine Kehler told her family “I have decided that sitting on the fence is not a God thing.”
I was sitting at my computer (you know how it goes…I’ll just do this one thing) and I came across this statement that caught my attention. Being in a hurry and really not having the time to sit and read the full explanation, something still drew me in and I ended up doing just that.
This is what she said:
“In real life situations, much evil has continued because people are afraid to take a stand. Oh, they may take a stand in private conversations but few will voice their views in public. They are afraid of being rejected. I have been there. Sometimes I am a coward and sometimes I am brave. Sometimes I notice others are cowards. Sometimes they are brave. There have been times when I wished someone would have been brave enough to have voiced their support for me, but they didn’t. Lately I have realized the importance of standing up for what is right and publicly supporting others who are right in the sight of God. Sitting on the fence or being neutral is not a Godly characteristic.”
“Jesus definitely spoke up. He was not a coward!”
Yes, Jesus always spoke up for the things that were right …not by the world’s standards
but by God’s standards. Since he was the only “perfect” human that ever walked on earth shouldn’t we take our cues from him?
I’ve known only a few people whom I could truly say could always be counted on to put what was easiest aside and, without fail, support only what was right and supported by scripture. I have no doubt there were people (maybe even ones who called themselves their friends) who gossiped and said unkind things behind their back as they took their stand. We’ve all been there, right? Hurtful, right?
We were never promised it would be easy but we were promised our Heavenly Father would walk beside us all the way and carry us with his “angel army” if we needed him to. I don’t know exactly why God stopped me on this writing today but I do know he has a plan for everything under heaven. Maybe it’s you who was to be given courage and moved to action today by reading this. If so, take heed, being right in the sight of God is much better than being right in the sight of the world! And remember, “Sitting the fence is not a God thing.”
If you have a testimony of a time when you or someone you know chose to stand up for what was right in God’s eyes please tell us about it below in the comment space or email
me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We need to encourage each other in our walks because the world in most cases won’t.
“Mama, I think I get what it means when people say, ‘You don’t know what you’ve got until its gone.’” Those words were choked out by my youngest son hours after his big brother drove off for his honeymoon.
I had noticed him struggling on and off throughout the days leading up to the wedding. Make no mistake, he loves his new “sister – in –love”; we all do. She has been part of our family for a long time. The marriage only made it official.
The day of the wedding, Sam asked if Drew and Sarah Kathryn would stay in his room when they got home from the honeymoon. “No, they will stay in their house,” I informed him somewhat irritated at the question.
“What about Christmas morning? Will Drew be here Christmas morning?”
Lots of questions, hard questions, and truthfully, I wasn’t really wanting to deal with them myself so I kept brushing them aside totally missing the real struggle going on in my
Before the wedding, as a surprise for Drew and Sarah Kathryn, we located the big red truck that they had dated in, gone to both proms in, and had been such a big part of their lives. The new owner kindly allowed us to borrow it so that they could leave the reception in full-blown redneck style.
After they changed cars, Dalton, Sam, and I picked up the truck. Sam was very quiet, and despite Dalton’s and my best efforts, we could not get him to cheer up. When we got home, Dalton got out and in an attempt to cheer Sam up, I told him to get into the driver’s seat… I will blame my lapse in sound judgment on being tired and somewhat emotional myself.
Anyway, we adjusted the seat and Sam drove the truck down the dirt road. That’s when he opened up and shared what was on his heart. Funny… the effect that a country dirt road and a
big red truck can have on a boy’s heart.
I wonder why we tend to take those we love for granted. We know we love them, we know they are important, but we become so sidetracked with life that we often fail to cherish them as we should. Then when we find ourselves in the place where Sam was finding himself, we wish we had a little more time to really show them how truly precious they are to us. Even though Sam worshipped the ground his big brother walked on, he realized that he had not fully understood how precious Drew was until he was leaving.
We often hear 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 quoted in the marriage ceremony, but does it not really
apply to all relationships?
“Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.”
If we allowed this scripture to be the driving force behind all our relationships, how different
would some of them look? Would it make it easier to say goodbye? Maybe not. But the fact that the relationship was cherished as God intended for it to be would eliminate the regrets that can cause heartache. When the separation comes, the sweet memories will far outweigh the “I wish I had” memories.
Maybe we all should pause and evaluate all our relationships closely and ask God to show us what changes need to be made in order for us to cherish them as He calls us to.
Have a great week!
Over the last several months and especially on a day just a few weeks ago, I witnessed firsthand multiple examples of the most precious blessings known to man. No, not a good health report (although my mom did receive one), not appreciation displayed by one of my children (although that did happen too) but the blessing I’m talking about is the love of a genuine friend, or in this case … multiple friends!
On May 4 my son, Preston, married his high school sweetheart after dating her for 8 years. On
Friday of the rehearsal dinner, rain threatened to dampen our “outdoor” celebration. If any of you have been through planning any part of a wedding (from whichever side it may be) you know rain can come in many forms. However, when the rains came in this case, my precious friends went above and beyond. Three had to be loving honest with me and hold me accountable to act and think according to the way Jesus modeled himself through his word. “In the end, people appreciate honest criticism far more than flattery.” Proverbs 28:23 (NLT). They affirmed me, at the same time rebuked, and sharpened me. “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another”. –Proverbs 27:17 (NIV)
Two of my friends offered to run the numerous last day errands I had on my list including getting my elderly parents to and from the rehearsal dinner (which, by the way, was a difficult trek even for the savviest of “GPS”ers. Within this offer, they soon realized just how much I was going to owe them when they made a wrong turn, ended up in a graveyard, couldn’t get the GPS to pick up, and had to listen to my dad embellish upon what he was going to report to me at the end of the adventure. You have to understand, my dad is the king of “making a story better” with a few additions! I actually think that was the highlight of my parents’ weekend! Priceless!
Another friend and her husband grilled their legendary grilled bbq chicken for the 80 people
invited AND helped set up the venue. One precious friend showed up and said “Just tell me what to do”. Don’t you love that kind of friend! One friend not only provided the absolutely beautiful site but stayed there basically from sun up to well after midnight to help another precious friend decorate and move 500lb picnic tables (or at least that’s our story) for plan “C” as rain again threatened our fun for the umpteenth time! But, in the end, plan “C” couldn’t have been more perfect and neither could my friends!
So not only did these friends, and true sisters, encourage me, hold me accountable, and sharpen my faith but they modeled true unconditional friendship by just being there to help. Hur and Aaron did the same for Moses in Exodus 17:11-13, “As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up – one on one side and one on the other – so that his hands remained steady til sunset. So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.”
They, as well as my “sisters,” showed the marks of TRUE UNCONDITIONAL FRIENDSHIP in Christ. They weren’t my “yes women” they were my “friends” with all that goes along with it.
Sometimes the acts of friendship are small and sometimes they are large as they were with my sweet friends and with Hur and Aaron. I’m forever bonded to these girls and even to their husbands and children who showed up to cook, serve, and park cars! You can bet when their … let’s see … 15 children get married, I will be the first to sign up for duty!
So I guess bottom line, you may have hundreds of Facebook friends and thousands of Twitter followers, but don’t replace face-to-face friendships with profiles and status updates. I say this out of love and because when it comes time for your son’s rehearsal dinner and your emotions are all over the place (which I can PROMISE you will be) you may end up not having friends close enough to take your parents to the graveyard!
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