I’m So Proud of You!

10 06 2018

I mentioned in the past that my grade school years were not very joyful seeing that I had Rock _na learning disability, or to put in bluntly, I couldn’t read. Every year was a struggle but the worse was my 4th grade year. All the subjects were tougher than the first three years of my educational trek and it didn’t help matters that I was convinced my teacher had been a prison guard or drill sergeant in her prior occupation.  Seemed she stayed on my case from September to June, but looking back I can’t spite her for it; that’s just the way it was done then.  Most educators were taught they had to be tough and this old gal was the personification of that technique. She threatened often with holding me back, so I did the best I could and prayed for a miracle. To this day I’m sure if it was a miracle or this female Sergeant Slaughter didn’t want to take the chance of getting stuck with me a 2nd time.  To my amazement and utter joy when the final grade card was handed out she had promoted me to the 5th grade. Hallelujah!! I was moving on and leaving “Rita the Rock” behind! Ma and my Great Aunt Pearl knew how worried I was and encouraged me every chance they could. I couldn’t wait to get home and tell the great news.

The final bell rang and I was out the school door like a shot. I ran as hard as I could, smiling all the way. Unfortunately, a couple of older kids (better known then and now as bullies) decided to celebrate the end of school by beating the pulp out of me. Oh the joys of youth! After these future upstanding citizens had finished getting their jollies roughing me up, I took off running again still anxious to get home with my news even though pain was rising from the beating I had just taken only to trip over something and down I went on the hard sidewalk. Now I was bleeding and crying from my injuries. Still I kept focused on getting home no matter what. Mom was gone so I called out to Aunt Pearl who I heard up on the 2nd floor. Taking off like a rocket, I shot up the stairs, and as my luck would have it that day I slipped and fell creating a gash in my forehead. Hearing the clamor, Pearl came running and was horrified to see her nephew looking like he had been run over by a truck! After drying my tears, cleaning me up and patching the wounds she asked, “Johnny, what in the world happened to you?” I gave her a short version of the apocalypse I endured getting home, but all that was secondary to what I really wanted to say. Even though I looked like I had a few rounds with Mike Tyson, I mustered up my biggest grin, “Aunt Pearl, I passed. I’m going to the 5th grade.”  She closed her eyes for a moment like she was about to cry. Reaching out, Pearl took me in her arms and softly said, “I am so proud of you.” At that moment the beating, the calamities and even the rough year I had at school seem to melt right away. I was feeling loved and hearing words that gave my body and soul worth, and that meant more than anything in the world.

During the years I spent being a Christian, I will never tell anyone that it has been a joyous and happy experience each and every day. I have had failures, feelings of hopelessness, setbacks and discouragement. There have been those moments I felt I couldn’t go another day with the burden with which life was weighing me down.  And there have been times I’ve felt alone, that there was no one that cared nor understood my situation. But God has a way of getting His message across to anyone who will listen. That message can be summed up in these verses.

John 16:33 “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.”

None of us have a promise of an easy time as we “Travel the Rock Road,” but like Ma and like Aunt Pearl, God has made a promise that no matter what comes our way, He’ll be there for us. During the low times, He’s there to comfort saying, “I’m so proud of you”. During our moments of victory, He’s there saying “I’m so proud of you.” One writer put it this way. “I can’t brag about my love for God because I fail Him daily. But I can brag about His love for me, because it never fails.” Knowing God is cheering me on, I think I have a good reason to smile through the bumps and bruises of life. Amen? I know life won’t be perfect until I reach Heaven and that’s alright by me. Now when I get there, and it happens that I run into a female Sergeant Slaughter type saying, “Johnny, you still owe me a history assignment;” well, you can be sure I’ll be happy to see her then disappear to the other side of Heaven for a couple hundred years!

See ya next time.


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