The best stories begin with “Once upon a time” – so – Once upon a time a college student at age 18 began to teach Sunday School for primary age children. This was a joy and a blessing to her. She continued teaching this age group wherever she attended church until 1957 when she and her family – husband and two little boys – joined Shades Mountain Baptist Church.
She taught for over 48 years
Soon she was approached about teaching an adult women’s class. Thus began 48 years of Sunday mornings teaching women’s groups. Her most recent group known as the Love Class, she taught for 16 years! It so happened that one of those years the class had studied the books of Psalms for an entire quarter, and Psalms can become rather repetitious!
On this particular Sunday, the KEY verses to be emphasized were Psalms 94:11 – “The Lord knoweth the thoughts of man;” and Psalms 139:1-2 “O Lord thou hast searched me and knoweth me. Thou knoweth my downsitting and mine uprising; thou understandeth my thoughts afar off.” In other words, God knows our innermost thoughts.
She loved chocolate
As she was teaching, she became aware that the group before her looked bored and lethargic. The teacher decided to use a personal example. She LOVED CHOCOLATE. She had this philosophy: If there was CHOCOLATE in the house and her husband did not know it, it was OK for her to eat it.
So she would tell this story and then return to the subject: GOD KNOWS OUR INNERMOST THOUGHTS. With her plan in mind, she began to speak intending to say “Most of you know I’m the world’s WORST CHOCOHOLIC.” She spoke slowly and distinctly, but these are the words that actually came out of her mouth: “Most of you know I am the world’s WORST ALCOHOLIC!” No longer were the women looking bored!
The teacher saw all eyebrows raised as smiles of amusement touched their lips. The teacher was not aware of what she had just said! By now you must have realized that the teacher was none other than yours truly Joyce Wheeler whose lips in all my 83 years have never touched anything ALCOHOLIC.
The class knew me well
Yes, the class members did know me well enough to know I had intended to say CHOCOHOLIC. However, on that fateful Sunday there was one visitor and prospective member present. ——She joined the class the next Sunday and rarely missed a Sunday telling me she didn’t dare miss, just in case I should reveal some other dark secret about myself.
On my next birthday when I walked into the classroom I was handed a beautifully wrapped package with instructions to open IMMEDIATELY. It was very HEAVY. When I tore away the beautiful wrappings, I discovered a 5 pound Hershey bar! It took a long time to eat it, but I managed –with a little HELP FROM MY FRIENDS!