Student Waiting Outside The Toilet Could Hear Teacher Moaning.

Story By Karen Harper DeLoach (Author)

It was a picture perfect Sunday morning — bright sunshine, dew drops on green blades of grass, fresh cool air, puffy white clouds against a clear blue sky. I should have been humming “This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it?” Instead, as I walked into the foyer of my church, I absolutely dreaded the day.

It was 9 a.m., time for Praise Team practice. Normally, I loved singing with the Praise Team. At 9:40, Sunday School. I relished preparing the lesson for my Young Adult Class each week. We were in the middle of a challenging Bible study based on Beth Moore’s Breaking Free, Making Liberty in Christ a Reality in Life, and I thoroughly enjoyed teaching it to a wonderful group of students. Afterward, we could all look forward to worship and ministry in the Word with the rest of the church congregation. What’s not to like?

But that morning, I couldn’t think past my pain. I was having “a bad spell,” as grandma used to say. My crickety joints were giving me a fit! Rather than looking forward to singing praises to the Lord, I was dreading the pain of standing up through it. And the two steps up to the stage might as well have been fifty.

Thankfully, I hadn’t seen anybody since entering the church. I know they would have read “dread” all over my face. Not a good testimony! I took a drink from the water fountain and then stepped into the ladies restroom. Suddenly, deja vu all over again?

I remembered another Sunday morning many years earlier. I was heading to the ladies room when I saw my Sunday School teacher go in. As I waited my turn outside the door, I heard her retch and moan and throw up, murmuring, “Lord, help… so sick… so sick… “in between retching. She was experiencing a mid-30’s pregnancy and was suffering with morning sickness.

I walked away, not wanting her to be embarrassed by stepping outside and finding someone standing there, listening to her dilemma. I went on to class.

A few minutes later, she walked into the College and Career class with a big smile on her face and a lilt to her voice as she called out, “Good morning, everyone!” She made a funny comment and laughed. Then she began our Bible study, teaching with all her usual enthusiasm and insight.

As a young woman barely out of my teens, that had an impact on me. My teacher could have called in sick that morning. Or she could have slumped into the classroom with a totally different demeanor which reflected how she really felt. Instead, she chose to put on a smile, obviously depending on the Lord to strengthen her for the task at hand. I wanted to be that kind of Christian.

Now, thirty years later, I remembered her example. Lord, I don’t want my demeanor to divert anyone’s attention from You when I’m singing or teaching. Help me to walk in Your strength this morning.

I couldn’t do a whole lot about my limp, but I could definitely do something about my countenance. Before I walked out of the rest room that morning, I practiced my smile in the mirror. And as I headed toward the sanctuary, I softly sang, “This is the day the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it…”

The Word says “A merry heart does good, like medicine?” (Proverbs 17:22). Thank God for a teacher who taught me how to take a dose, even on the worst of mornings.

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