I’d like to share a personal story of heroism from a personal hero of mine. She is a teacher who leads a choir of angelic voices every Tuesday and Thursday at the crack of dawn before school starts. Every day she hustles and bustles about taking care of her kids in the morning, leaving for work oftentimes before the sun rises, returning from work late due to volunteerism and taking care of students, and finally returning home to prepare dinner and resume taking care of the kids in the evening. On occasion, she readies her students for special performances, oftentimes scheduled at the last minute. Each day poses a new challenge for her, and she always takes it on headlong.

In the last few years, she has had some set backs in terms of her health. While nothing was life threatening, or so she has been told, she needed to take new and powerful medicine to help her cope. Each day was more challenging and draining, and yet she has always managed to keep her promises to her school, her students, and her children.

Then last week happened…

After suffering from one misdiagnosis to another enduring incredible pain and exhaustion beyond what any normal person would and should endure, the problem came to a head–she needed surgery. Her gall bladder was riddled with stones and needed to be removed immediately.

On the eve of her surgery, she was a bit of a nervous wreck. However, on the morn of her procedure, she was the epitome of calm. Like a soldier who knew that a job needed to be done, she marched through the halls of the familiar hospital, and bravely prepared herself for the operation.

The miracle of modern science, her laparoscopic gall bladder removal was a complete success, but left her bruised and scarred. Within two hours she was up and walking, and within another half hour, she was discharged from the hospital.

Not one to give in, after a little rest, she managed to continue to keep in contact with her school, ensure that the substitute teacher knew what to do, and by that Thursday, just a few days after the surgery, she managed to go back to school early in the morning to rehearse her choir.

You see, they had a title to defend. Last year was the first time in over 15 years that the school had received a first place in the state competition. This teacher was determined to not only make sure that the school took another award, but that the students would have the experience of making beautiful music and be recognized for it. That day, the principal sent her home because she came down with a fever of 102 degrees.

That Saturday, after attending her 5-year-old’s opening ceremony for tee-ball, she hastily, in her continued but dwindling pain, to ready herself for the competition. God smiled cheerfully down on her, because, amid that crazy morning, she remained cool, composed, and focused.

That afternoon, at 4 p.m., she conducted three pieces, giving the students every cue they needed to succeed in their song. The middle-schoolers sang amazingly with a sound altogether enjoyable and unique. A thunderous applause broke after the performance, and the judges continued speaking into their recorders feverishly.

The time between the performance and the results seemed an eternity. Anxiously the students fidgeted about, and the teacher, anxious and feverish herself (she became ill again directly after the performance with another low-grade temperature), made every attempt to calm her students, and they were the model of discipline and grace.

Across the room with a swagger of authority came the volunteer to post the results. All eyes were on this person, as if she was a celebrity. With a flip of the paper and a stab with the pin in the cork board, the results were posted.

THEY TOOK FIRST PLACE, and the kids reacted as if they had received the Grammy!

Those who know me may already have guessed that this teacher is my wife, Lisa. She over and over has taught me the meaning of grace through adversity. When you put out all your strength of heart, and mind, you can achieve the loftiest of goals.

Keep Moving Forward.