Foolish Scrapper to Wise Servant

She reached up, grabbed him and dug her long fingernails into his arm until blood squirted out.  He responded by hitting her in the jaw, knocking her out. John had taken out his seventh grade teacher at Park Street Elementary, Ms. Chapman, but she wasn’t the true target.

During recess, John’s team won at softball. As the whistle blew to return to school, he was walking back with Ms. Chapman close by. The captain of the other team pushed John: “Get out of my way you ____ (and expressed an expletive that insulted John’s mom).” Fireball John didn’t think twice about retaliating by punching the boy and Ms. Chapman unfortunately intervened at her own peril.

John observed his teacher for a few minutes to make sure she was okay. Upon awakening, she pointed to the principal’s office in exasperation. “Go.”

The principal’s office was not unfamiliar territory for John.  Ms. Principal said, “What happened now John?”  He told her, “I hit Ms. Chapman.”  Then he told her why.

She said, “Go home you are expelled.”  She noticed the blood on his arm but said it had stopped bleeding and he was ok.

When John sauntered home.  His dad was there and wiped his arm off.  After hearing John’s story he said, “Get in the car, we are going back to school.”  John never saw his dad so angry.

Dad marched into the principal’s office with John close behind him.  He told the principal “This kid has been a lot of trouble but he told me what happened and he is not a liar and I believe him.  Regardless of what happened the teacher had no right to grab him and draw blood and you are not going to kick him out for the rest of the year.”

She thought for it a little bit and said “Ok, we will give him in-school suspension.”  Dad agreed.



The outer office is where John stayed the rest of the school year.

That is where he developed a love of reading because that is the only thing he could do to make the time pass faster.

As a result, John failed seventh grade.  He only spent seventeen days in the classroom.

Only God knew how the angry and impulsive boy would become a sensitive, compassionate man who would counsel and minister to many.  John has served as a youth minister, minister and counselor and therapist on a boy’s ranch.

This incident in my husband’s life is the introduction to his life story as found in our book “Shekinah Dwellers” (coming soon).  John likes to quote the scripture below to demonstrate the power of God in changing a person.

 1 Corinthians 1:25-27      New International Version (NIV)

 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.

26 Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.

Classmates at John’s high school reunions were shocked to find out that John became a minister.

wise servant

Many also confirm the stories he has shared about how he never started a fight but never failed to protect the underdog and finish many altercations.

If you have a scrapper in your family or if you have an anger problem yourself, don’t give up.  God can change a heart and mold it to confirm to his image.  God is in the business of changing foolish scrappers to wise servants.




COMPELtip#vibrant verbs invigorate your writing, graphics add interest, first sentence should spark interest


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Pat from Georgia

Pat Strickland is a wife, mother, grandmother and daughter of the King of Kings. She has been a pastor’s wife, a registrar at Young Harris College and a memoir writer. Her desire is “to seek God with all my heart and He will provide the much more in my life.”

12 thoughts on “Foolish Scrapper to Wise Servant”

  1. Pat, that was a great story! I love a few scrappers. Thank you for reminding us all that God can use all of us for His glory when we surrender to him. ~visiting for the Compel linkup today

  2. What a beautiful testimony on John’s life. We all have a past. And some miss the testimony God has written into the sin and failings “back when”. I’m grateful you shared this with us and I know God will use it as He continues to use you and John in the lives of those who know you and love you. And praying it reaches many.

  3. Isn’t that so often how it happens. 🙂 The “scrappers” of the world, often end up being the biggest lights for Jesus, because they have a story of redemption.

    Thanks for sharing, Pat.

    Blessings to you and John and your ministry.

    ~ Brenda Ottinger

  4. Great job using the verbs! You really got me wondering with that first sentence too! Way to go. Continue linking up! Join me on Tuesday’s on Purposeful Faith and Suzie on Thursdays! It’s great to get to know you.

  5. Thanks for the great story of redemption and perseverance. John’s dad standing up for him reminded me of how God is always standing beside us, even in our lesser moments.
    Thanks for sharing and keep writing!

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