There was much chaos and confusion that revolved around my growing up years (mostly the later ones) as a result of the school I attended from 3rd grade - 12th grade.
BUT....inspite of everything....i have found things (people, really) to be truly thankful for.
My best friend.
Circumstances should have torn us apart, but they didn't. We are stronger than ever, and i know the Lord put us together because 1) He likes to laugh, and 2) He knew i would need someone like her to walk through life with me.
I wish everyone could have a friend like her.
Mrs. Arlene Neal.
She is the reason i write. She showed me the way and taught me to love words. Her classes were always fun and creative. I remember when i first met her i was afraid of her (hah!), but now i have nothing in my heart but love and respect for her. She is an amazing woman. She was fair in her treatment of the students (unlike most of the other teachers), and i knew she cared about each one of us by the way she was constantly speaking truth in love. She never raised her voice to scare us into submission or obediance. She would simply sit on her stool at the front of the classroom and address us like we were adults. Occasionally, there would be a fire in her eyes, but it was never out of anger; she simply wanted the best for us.
Mr. John Grubbs.
He is the reason i love astronomy. He is probably one of the smartest people you could ever meet. He knows everything about everything. You can literally see his mind working as he talks. He taught me math and science. Subjects that weren't my best, but if he was teaching, i always understood. He wanted us to understand. He wasn't at the front of the class to brag and show off his brains and abilities (or cowboy hat, boots, and belt). He really and truly wanted us to learn. And if i'm honest with myself, even though they were subjects i wasn't particularly fond of, when something finally did click in my slow working brain, i was genuinely excited about it. Only an excellent teacher can cause a student who seriously doesn't like math to be excited about it. He was a humble man who would never ask for recognition, but he deserved it more than anyone else. Yet, he was content to sit in the background and answer the tough questions while everyone else got the glory for it. He also refused to play favorites.
These two teachers are what i see when i look back and say, "Lord, where were you in all of this?" He was there...in both of them. They were a safe place for students. They loved us purely and unconditionally like the Lord loves us. I can't remember one instance in which either of these teachers ever made me feel awkward or not good enough or unimportant or hellbound (unlike our principal who told many of us we just weren't quite saved). They gave us hope, and showed us the love of God when everyone else was telling us we couldn't and wouldn't be good enough.
And of course Amanda, my best friend, has always been and always will be a light in any darkness that might come my way.
For these three people i am so thankful. They are one of God's many good gifts in my life.
I am so blessed!