Did you have a teacher that really made a difference? Who were they? How did they impact your life?

For me, it was Mrs. Lutz. she came through for me at a critical and vulnerable point in my life.

*****

“I don’t want to waste my time. You are not college material. You can’t even read! You would never make it in college. I have to spend my time with the students who are more promising. I’m sorry, I have no time for you.”

I hung my head and walked out of the high school counselor’s office. All I could think of was what I was going to tell my Dad. When I told him, what she said, his answer was:

“Well, she’s wrong. I know what it takes to go to college. It takes money! And I’ve got the money, so you are going. Figure it out!”

He was done talking.

I went to Mrs. Lutz for help.

“My Dad says he’s got the money, so I’m going to college. But I don’t know how to fill out the paperwork or what to do. My folks never finished high school, so they can’t help me.”

“Well, your Dad’s right. All it takes is money. And if he has the money then let’s get you ready to go.”

“What?”

We spent the next six months meeting after school. She had a projector that shone pages up on the wall. It highlighted the words one at a time like a karaoke machine.

“It will make you read faster,” she encouraged.

We both worked hard.

She showed me how to fill out the paperwork and how to prepare for the SATs.

At 17, she saw something in me that I had not yet discovered: “Why do you think I choose you to be the editor of the school newspaper?” she asked me one day after school. “I have confidence in your ability to get the job done. Don’t think you are going to make a great newspaper woman. You do not have the heart for it. For the ruthlessness it requires. That is not you.”

“But, you will make it, because you have persistence, tenacity.”

“Don’t give up! Keep pushing forward. You know how to do that. That is why I choose you as editor and that is what will get you through life.”

Once I entered college, I found the high school counselor was right. College was a lot harder than high school. Many of the “straight A” students in high school ended up dropping out. Mrs. Lutz said it was because their grades had come too easy in high school.

I remembered she said:“Discipline, hard work, tenacity.”

I reflected on those words years later when I entered grad school. Her confidence gave me the courage to enter new territory, to go places the Lord was calling me with the attitude, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13

Is there someone in your life that could use your encouragement? Someone who needs you to come alongside them for just a while? Look around. Listen. Who might the Lord be leading you to today?