More from Debbie Pierce

by Upper Room Administrator on Sunday, September 03, 2017

I was ten years old when I attended special reading classes. All these years later, I still remember how embarrassed I felt. I immediately labeled myself stupid. And with that label came shame. At the time, I didn’t understand that my comprehension problems were a result of my inability to stay focused. I was a daydreamer. The places I traveled to in my mind were far more interesting than the words written on the pages of my books. So when it came time to write a book report, I couldn’t write one. How could I write a report on something I read but didn’t retain. So I attended special reading classes. The students read aloud and the teacher engaged us in discussions. She asked us questions about the story, and instructed us to write down our impressions. I learned skills that to this day, I still use because I have a short attention span. My mind starts wandering if I don’t take notes and highlight passages in a book. But learning those skills, didn’t remove the label I attached to myself. For many years I considered myself too stupid to enroll in college.  I carried memories of those special reading classes around in my head and allowed them to disable me.

 

Years later I was employed at a bank. I enjoyed learning about debits and credits and was adept at bookkeeping. One day, the Comptroller of the bank suggested I take some accounting courses. My immediate thoughts were, “Me, take a college course? I’m too stupid to do that.” But the more I thought about it, the more I realized the Comptroller saw something in me I couldn’t see myself. So, I enrolled in an evening Accounting 1 course at a local college. I got an A. Then I took Accounting 2, another A. I started taking business courses and worked my way up to a mid- level management position at the bank. But something was missing. The young girl in those special reading classes had a dream of working with animals. I never pursued those dreams because I thought I was too stupid.

 

I was in my mid-thirties when I decided to try.  A junior college offered an Associate’s Degree in Animal Science. But the Admissions Counselor informed those courses were not available during night. I would have to attend classes during the day. I lived alone. How on earth would I support myself if I quit my management job at the bank? I got a job waitressing. I worked full-time nights, and went to school full-time during the day. Waitressing is hard work. So is taking 5 courses a semester. But I did it. And I graduated with honors. The day I received my degree was the day I finally removed my I’m stupid label. I started a pet care business and went back to college to get a Bachelor’s degree. Next year, I’m retiring.

 

I had mixed emotions when I sent today’s meditation to the Upper Room. To be honest, after I sent it, I was hoping it would get rejected. The old shame and embarrassment was paying me a visit. But God made me realize what I wrote could encourage other people. None of God’s children are stupid. Each of us is knit together for a special purpose.

Debbie Pierce

 

17 Comments

Comment by Budzanani

Thank you Debbie for such an inspiring message. As God's children we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength.

Posted September 02, 2017 at 11:14PM CDT
Comment by Tim of Columb, TN

Thank you for having the courage to share your story. I took speech therapy classes in elementary school because I stuttered. Today, I am a part-time preacher. God works amazing things in his people.

Posted September 03, 2017 at 02:48AM CDT
Comment by Edd of Ocala, FL

There is nothing we can't learn with God's help. We have a brain and the most intelligent individual uses very little of it, that's why we can learn anything if we apply ourselves as you did. God is Love for All!!!

Posted September 03, 2017 at 05:02AM CDT
Comment by Jay of Clearwater, FL

Debra,
Very inspiring and interesting devotional. I'm a retired educator and understand your focus problem entirely completely. I'm sure I would have been ADHD in school but it wasn't understood or a popular educational subject in the 1940's. I couldn't focus on, "The Adventures of Dick, Jane and Spot." My mind was ready to focus my energy on recess which was "doing." To understand information, words, facts and knowledge clearly requires application to reality. We can read, study and discuss the Bible, Religion and Christianity but doing it requires an entirely different "Focus." Applying Love, Faith and Hope is the challenge. By Grace we are given Focus. Jesus had it All in focus. He is my "Idol, Image and Hero." I walk, jog, swim, bike, climb and run with Him. He knows the Way, Truth and Life. He's likeable, lovable and very friendly. Let's get together today, Lord.
Shalom,
O'Jay.....doing the Word as best I can in Clearwater

Posted September 03, 2017 at 05:04AM CDT
Comment by Karippelil (K.E) of Gonzales, LA

Debbie,

What an encouraging and powerful witnessing! Thanks for sharing your story of perseverance .May God continue to bless you and make you be a blessing to many!

Posted September 03, 2017 at 06:08AM CDT
Comment by Ozzie of Point Pleasant, WV

Debbie, you are living proof that God will lead us, never forsake us, until we find the niche we are intended to occupy during our life here on earth. God continue to Bless you on your success now and God Bless you in your retirement days we pray.....

Posted September 03, 2017 at 06:47AM CDT
Comment by John of Sterling, MA

Thanks for sharing. I was one of those other kids at the table, and shared similar feelings of my learning abilities. God is our guide and puts helpers next to us each day. Your words are wonderful. Keep writing!

Posted September 03, 2017 at 06:49AM CDT
Comment by Mary of Albuquerque, NM

I, too, was put in a reading group for "dummies" in first grade as a result of a visual impairment. I struggled all through school to overcome the opinions of others that I was not very bright. I worked hard to graduate from high school, to enroll in college and graduate with a bachelor's, and eventually to obtain my master's degree. I have focused on working with challenged populations of all kinds - people who, like me, have had to overcome a lot of obstacles. Although I am officially "retired" from education, I still teach as a volunteer and I write, which is a form of educating. It was good to hear that you, too, Debra, are still working to overcome earlier perceptions of your abilities. I pray that you continue to do so. Keep on keeping on!

Posted September 03, 2017 at 06:57AM CDT
Comment by Matt

Debra, I can relate (special reading class in mid 60s) but I had a special teacher who was patient and kind, she opened the world of books to me. Teachers do not label children as badly today as they did when we were growing up (PTL). It's amazing what a little seed of encouragement can do .. Blessings in your retirement

Posted September 03, 2017 at 07:19AM CDT
Comment by Carolyn of Austin, TX

Debra, thank you for your honest thoughts. I'm so grateful you wrote this and that Upper Room published it. By the way, I'm an educator and believe that writing is the best way to help someone read. What you can write, you can read. So keep writing, Debra.

I can personally relate to your feelings because of experiences back in first grade decades ago. Now my grandson is experiencing this difficulty. Hopefully, his new school can help him learn to love reading and like school again.

Thank you again on so many levels.

Posted September 03, 2017 at 07:30AM CDT
Comment by Marie of Tarboro, NC

Dear Child of God, Debra. How I wish you had been told originally that you were NOT stupid, only in need of training. We all need extra training in some area. Reading, listening, giving, caring... I am so proud of/for you. God lifted you up and off you flew!!

Posted September 03, 2017 at 07:59AM CDT
Comment by Rudy of Chicago, IL

Debra, Thank you for your story & your perseverance. God loves you!
Rudy

Posted September 03, 2017 at 08:05AM CDT
Comment by Michael

God never ceases to amaze me with answers to my prayers! Your devotional was exactly what I needed this morning. My prayer prior to reading was for self discipline and a willingness to participate in a Bible study that begins this afternoon at my church. This will mean telling my visiting daughter that I will need to leave for the study somewhat prior to her usual time of departure. My concern was appearing to be rude and not at all gracious. However, by doing so, I hope to be a role model by showing her that studying His word is a priority. Hence, I pray the blessings of the study will be two fold; demonstrating my priorities as well as learning more from studying His word with others who can explain to me truths that I may be missing when I simply read the words on the page, often times without focusing on their deeper meaning.

Posted September 03, 2017 at 08:13AM CDT
Comment by Gail

Thank you for sharing your story. It is an awesome testimony!

Posted September 03, 2017 at 08:17AM CDT
Comment by Rachel

Debbie thank you for your encouragement. I often feel stupid and worthless, I feel like a failure at life. Your message gave me hope that I am not alone and that maybe one day I will find my purpose.

Posted September 03, 2017 at 07:56PM CDT
Comment by Kathy

Debra, you did it!!! Good for you! I felt so proud for you. You didn't give up. God gave you the strength and courage to keep going forward. In His infinite wisdom, you received your hard-earned achievements step by step helping you to go to the next level. God is good. Thank you for sharing your story. ~ Kathy in Canada, Ontario, Hamilton

Posted September 04, 2017 at 10:31AM CDT
Comment by sandy of HSV, AR

Oh, my goodness, I love this testimonial!!!! How children today need to hear this!

I, too, wonder how different my early education would have been if I had been tested and diagnosed. I still have never been, but with a master's in Library Science (now retired!), I can tell you that I am ADHD.

I love reading, but that memory and spelling "thing" never happened to me. I am not "stupid," and refused to allow any of our three children to use that word as they were growing up, but I have felt it. The very fact that I got through two degrees should be testament enough, but my spelling skills are horrendous. And at least you could understand numbers. I won't comment on my abilities there. LOL!!!

What I lack in memory skills, I make up for with passion in helping others and loving on them. God opens doors, as He closes others.

Loved, loved, loved your sharing, caring, devotional. I wish you well!

Love and blessings,
Sandy in the Piney Woods of Arkansas

Posted September 04, 2017 at 04:41PM CDT