Posted on July 26, 2012 - by Regina
Someone who has made an impact on me. Sounds like an easy-enough task, doesn’t it?
My life has been, and continues to be, filled with people who made a difference to me. Today, however, I find myself going back to my childhood to someone who has continued to make a difference in my life.
Yes, I said childhood. You see, Margaret Ellen Stroube Merrick and her husband, James Huell Merrick were my own parents’ Sunday School teachers, when they were in high school. They were that young couple with a cute little red-haired baby, and later a sweet little dark-haired baby, that attended my parents’ wedding. In fact, with two toddlers in tow, they were a little late for the wedding, so they delayed the start until they could get there.
The next year, about the time I was born, they had a third little boy who became one of my classmates. As I grew into little-girlhood, their oldest son was my ideal for what an older brother would be like. He never ignored me, never made fun or pushed me to the side. Instead, he laughed with me and played with us little kids. The middle son? Well, he was nice, too. The younger was my first boyfriend, at age five. It ended there, as well.
I always looked to Margaret as a fun, happy person who loved me, and was the mother of one of my classmates. She went back to school and earned her teaching degree, and always said that she would teach even if they didn’t pay her. When I was in third grade, she was my Sunday School teacher, and I will never forget that year. She had us memorize scripture, visit the sick, and learn more about a walk with God that we didn’t even realize we were learning at the time.
In sixth grade, my dream came true. Margaret, or Mrs. Merrick, then, became my homeroom teacher! I can honestly say that she is one of two or three teachers that I still look to as my all-time-favorites. She made learning fun – and read us a Bible story every day. Not the BIBLE, mind you, but a Bible STORY. She was sneaky like that.
When I was a young teen, she began taking a group of us to visit a nursing home on a regular basis. She showed us how to show compassion to the elderly by simply being there with our youthful countenance and listening as they told us stories and tried to make US laugh.
About that time, I started noticing that middle son of hers. When Todd and I started dating, I was no longer one of her students, so I had to learn to call her “Margaret” again. Would you believe I spent the first two years of our dating life not calling her anything? It just felt funny.
Now, nearly thirty years later, I call her Mee-Maw, because she became one of two wonderful grandmothers to my amazing daughters. She prays for us all, attends sporting events and arts events for her seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, works with children in her church, and visits the sick and those in the nursing home.
Yes, she made an impact on me from a very early age. So when I think of Hebrews 12:1-3, I think of my friend, my teacher, my mentor, and my mother-in-law.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Don’t you just love that “great cloud of witnesses?” I know I do!