I have aspired to these words because of the faithful example of my grandmother.
I lived to know “love” like she did.
Genuine, transparent and honest.
I lived to “do” as she did out of genuine love for others.
No matter their story, she gave, served and never doubted her commitment to the opportunity that God would provide.
Available. Sensitive. Attentive.
I live to “live” like she did.
Full. Free. Faithful.
By faith, with the Lord’s help and empowered by the “helper”, the Holy Spirit.
She was the breath of God and that passion still breathes in me.
She was opulent. She was a lover of life, a dreamer of big dreams and a faithful servant of God.
Because God never does things half-way.
She was brave, strong-minded and invincible, with a whole lot of Scarlett O’Hara in her.
She picked up the pieces in the midst of tragedy and built life kingdoms with love, grace, kindness and faith.
My grandfather, her husband, would succumb to a heart attack at the age of 42. Gone too soon. She was resilient and has a push through attitude- There was not an option to quit but to thrive, not just survive!
Yet the steel resolve, life’s had chiseled in stone on my grandmother’s brow as her face told her story of hard things.
YES! Hard things.
She grew up a tobacco and watermelon farmer’s daughter. They lived on land inherited from my great-grandmother Emma Blanche Melvin. Her father, Larry Fisher married into a very wealthy, yet hard-working family and proceeded to the work of his hand- a 200 hundred acre farm alongside of his beloved.
Only two of their children survived their childhood. It was challenging but God was faithful to fill their small family with love, mercy and commitment to giving to the greater good of others.
Sadness. Loss. Struggle.
My grandmother would learn it all too well herself! She gave birth to my mother, Anne, and she would be her only child after many lost pregnancies.
I have never known such rich love and I have failed at much of the active part of faith spoken to and based on the “perfect” Proverbs 31 wife.
Yet I know grace, an unending love for my Savior and a commitment to give my life to loving and serving others in Jesus name.
So while I never expected unrealistic perfection from my grandmother I learned about grace from her. Grace given. Grace received. She owned her failure, sorrow, pain, offered up a sincere apology for any error and then picked herself up to blaze a new and good path forward.
I LOVED, still love and admire her tenacity. No time to waste! She KNEW the worth of her work and she challenged me to live the same. She lived fully present despite being a widow until she died.
Passion. To dream big dreams. To obey every little unseen yet worthy sacrifice to see it to the end and to the best of my ability.
She taught me real things. Like how to make biscuits. My favorite place was standing on a short stool at the white and red metal table. Most every morning she cooked and I made biscuits. He morning routine included listening to the local news, weather and of course the obituaries on the old radio in her kitchen. I was offended shushed up so that she could hear. When she hears about a need, an unexpected loss, felt moved with compassion- we’d make more biscuits, fry some chicken, pack a box with it all and add some sweet tea.
We’d pile in the car and deliver food made with love, wrap compassions arms around someone with great love and set the table, put ice in the glasses and make sure everyone was cared for. She would say to me as we left every time, “We can only pray that the mourner’s sorrow would be made light with loves response.”
So, Mama Hales, this one is for you! I cannot imagine my life of faith without your tender heart and guided hand that faithfully taught me how to find my passion for doing good with my life and encouraged me to extend mercy and grace to everyone one small step at a time.
Heaven is better for you being there as I can imagine your strong demeanor and passion is bowed low before the Heavenly Father in worship. You are praying us forward and encouraging us to not lose heart. To keep the faith. To obey the Father. To never forget God’s love for us. To serve Him for all of our days.
Not one will ever likely tell of the your impact in your small world but I will remain faithful to every little thing that I am tasked to do- for YOUR glory and our good.
So much to learn, so much to surrender and so much left to live- a beautiful legacy of faith that you have gifted us with and now we hold it all in our hearts until heaven.
“A good woman is hard to find,and worth far more than diamonds. Her husband trusts her without reserve, and never has reason to regret it. Never spiteful, she treats him generously all her life long.
She shops around for the best yarns and cottons, and enjoys knitting and sewing.
She’s like a trading ship that sails to faraway places and brings back exotic surprises.
She’s up before dawn, preparing breakfastfor her family and organizing her day.
She looks over a field and buys it, then, with money she’s put aside, plants a garden.
First thing in the morning, she dresses for work, rolls up her sleeves, eager to get started.
She senses the worth of her work……and is in no hurry to call it quits for the day.
She’s skilled in the crafts of home and hearth, diligent in homemaking.
She’s quick to assist anyone in need, reaches out to help the poor.
She doesn’t worry about her family when it snows; their winter clothes are all mended and ready to wear.
She makes her own clothing, and dresses in colorful linens and silks.
Her husband is greatly respected when he deliberates with the city fathers.
She designs gowns and sells them, brings the sweaters she knits to the dress shops. Her clothes are well-made and elegant, and she always faces tomorrow with a smile.
When she speaks she has something worthwhile to say, and she always says it kindly.
She keeps an eye on everyone in her household,
and keeps them all busy and productive.
Her child(ren) respect and bless her; her husband joins in with words of praise.
“Many women have done wonderful things, but you’ve outclassed them all!”
Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades. The woman to be admired and praised is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God.
Give her everything she deserves! Festoon her life with praises!”