Twists and Turns and Red High Heels
by: Jan Whitaker
John 16:33 states: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
I don’t know about you; but, I for one can take life or myself too seriously. Life can be stressful, traumatic and even tragic at times. However, Jesus himself promised we would have tribulation. Although God is never the author of tragedies, He can use all things for our good. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). It’s our choice to stay in the place of sorrows, or embrace His Word. Remember the following: “. . . for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10).
I’m recalling a time when God intervened and brought redemption, hope and laughter to a difficult situation. I hope the following excerpt from my book, Parables from the Chalkboard, brings joy to your heart and a smile to your face:
The closer I came to my classroom door, the more the perfume invaded my nostrils. My dragging feet finally reached the 4th hour College English class, consisting of seven intelligent, yet very playful young ladies. Upon entering the room, my ears were once again besieged by screams of laughter and relentless girl-talk. I have two daughters of my own and have nothing against the fun and sometimes down-right silliness girls can have together; however, this was supposed to be an honors class with an objective towards higher achievement in academics. My attempts to maintain an appropriate classroom decorum for the first three weeks of the new school year had failed; and frankly, it was getting on my last nerve.
Feeling like I had all the experience needed for raising a strong-willed child myself, and because I was well read on the subject, I was determined to get my classroom in order. I researched and talked with my peers and spent several sessions on bended knee to resolve the situation. I tried each suggested solution to no avail. In fact, the young ladies seemed to gain even more power as my energy and ideas diminished into oblivion. Although it wasn’t true, I felt defeated.
Not the best attitude for attempting to regain classroom control; although, I was certainly dressed for the part. I heard somewhere that wearing red indicated to others that you were confident, empowered and in charge. My outfit was complete with a “power” red suit dress and matching red high heels. During the 1990’s, it was considered culturally correct and especially “self-respecting” to dress-up as a professional teacher.
And so, with my best foot forward I began to confidently and quite forcefully tell the young ladies that their unacceptable behavior was not . . . and then it happened! As I paced back and forth across the floor, I turned to emphatically make the next point when my heel got caught on a ripple in the carpet. I turned and fell face down onto an empty desk, slid off the desk and not-so-gracefully-landed sideways on the floor.
There was nothing but complete silence! For the first time in class, no one spoke a word or uttered any kind of a sound for a full minute. Surprisingly, the humbling incident was followed by a quick barrage of “Are you ok, Mrs. W?” “Can I help you get up?” and “Are you hurt anywhere?” Suddenly and without hesitation, I had full assistance and cooperation from all seven.
Amazing, I thought. Not one of these girls laughed or made fun of me! I’m not sure I would have done the same in their shoes.
With less dignity and a face that matched my suit and shoes, I settled into a student desk beside the row of girls. I looked at them and expressed my admiration for their self-control. When I shared that I probably would have laughed, we all had a good chuckle.
That twist and turn didn’t break my ankle, but it certainly broke something more important. We connected and for the remainder of the year, it became my favorite class to teach.
“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones” (Proverbs 17:22).
Cleve and Jan Whitaker are the new WLN Directors. Living in Pleasant Hill, Missouri, USA, they are an active part of Faith Ministries Community Church. Cleve is owner and manager of Capstone Carriers, LLC; a trucking company specializing in flatbed freight throughout the U.S.
Jan retired from teaching in the inner city high schools and college/university campuses. She also worked for FMIN Network as the Administrative Director. Jan operates in the prophetic and travels nationally and internationally as a teacher and counselor with GX International.
Cleve and Jan describe their combined Mission Statement as: "To be outrageous givers for the Kingdom of God through financial support. To use our spiritual gifts for strengthening, encouraging, and establishing others in their identity in Christ." Their heart is to see others find and follow God's purpose in their individual workplace and mission field.
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