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My Tribute to Mrs. Blackburn

When I was nine, I had a Sunday School teacher named Mrs. Blackburn. (Funny, I still don’t know her first name.) On Sunday morning, Mrs. Blackburn would enter a cramped classroom with a handful of bouncy little girls. My friends and I would take our seats on the cold metal folding chairs with our backs to the window, while Mrs. Blackburn sat facing us on her folding chair situated next to the door.

I don’t know much about Mrs. Blackburn. I have no idea what she liked or disliked. I don’t know who her friends were or what she did in her spare time. About the only thing I know about her is what she taught me in Sunday School. She focused on the basics.

Mrs. Blackburn taught me to memorize the books of the Bible. To this day, when I’m trying to find, say…Amos, sometimes I have to recite every book in the Old Testament in order to get there. But I can still say them all because Mrs. Blackburn made sure I learned them.

Mrs. Blackburn also gave us a memory verse each week. She concentrated on verses that described my sinful nature and what Christ had done for me. She had a piece of poster board that hung on the wall beside her. It had rows and columns drawn on it. In each row was the name of a girl in her class. At the top of each column was the verse we were working on. If you said the verse correctly, you would get a little gold star by your name. It was kind of gratifying to look up and see a row of gold stars next to your name on the poster board.

Mrs. Blackburn taught us the ACTS method of prayer: Acclamation, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication. I don’t use this method every time I pray, but rarely do I bow my head without those four words racing through my mind.

I’m certain that we were typical squirmy little girls. I’m confident that I was often distracted, if not by the girl sitting next to me, then by something as simple as the lace on my dress. Mrs. Blackburn probably had those moments when she wondered if she was getting through to me.

I can remember Mrs. Blackburn taking us to eat lunch at her house. We piled in her car. I tried to sit lady-like in my Sunday dress. She turned around and gave us each a piece of gum. I could barely see over the front seat as we drove down the road. A few short minutes into the drive, the taste of clove gum hit my system. I’ve never wanted to spit out a piece of gum so quickly in all my life. Then we arrived at her house and had what, I thought, was quite a formal lunch around her dining room table. She made Dr. Pepper ice cubes so that when the ice melted in my glass, my Dr. Pepper tasted just as syrupy as when she first poured it.

On promotion Sunday it was the habit at our church for each class to sit next to their teacher. Mrs. Blackburn welcomed the fidgety nine year-old girls on her row. It was that Sunday that I publicly declared my faith in Christ.

Mrs. Blackburn was not flashy or exciting that I recall. As I remember, she was a short little old lady who wore her gray hair in a bun on top of her head. (But, then again, to a nine year-old everyone seems old.)

So why am I reminiscing about Mrs. Blackburn on a blog?

For one reason:  she was faithful.

I know Mrs. Blackburn wasn’t perfect. None of us are. Mrs. Blackburn couldn’t rescue me from my fallen, sinful condition. But Sunday after Sunday, in her simple, basic way, she pointed me to the One who could. And she made a lasting impact on my life.

This week as you are doing the simple, the ordinary, the seemingly mundane — faithfully — remember that God can use your faithfulness to draw a little life to Him. When you’re helping a child find the right book of the Bible, when you’re rehearsing memory verses with a little guy who can’t stop moving, when you’re teaching that Sunday School class full of talkative fourth-graders, when you are singing Jesus Loves Me with jumping four and five year-olds, remember that God is using you to point these little ones to Him.

You never know. You may end up being someone else’s Mrs. Blackburn.

PS.  Thank you, Mrs. Blackburn, for your faithfulness in pointing this “little girl” to Christ.