Good Monday morning! This CoffeeBreak blog is a personal reflection, more so than most, as I celebrate a person today. Today, Bev would have been 66! Happy Birthday in Heaven.
She’s been gone a little over 4 years now and today I am remembering her, not sadly, but with joy. Dr. Suess allegedly wrote “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened!” I had 41 years of joy with a woman that God gave to me. We were a team, inseparable, and so much stronger because of each other.
How I thank God for her legacy. She left me with four beautiful children, with memories of godliness. Was she a saint? Yes and no. She was a real human being, who had something of a stubborn streak, and whose Sicilian heritage could find its way to the surface when she was provoked. But, she also loved God. From the first day of our relationship to the last, her highest priority was serving Him.
One of my great joys in life was watching her in her work as a teacher. She loved those first graders – giving them discipline and love in equal measures. Every class learned her philosophy early in the school years – “Obedience equals fun.” She was great with kid’s ministries whether leading a chapel worship session or on the stage at Vacation Bible School. Seeing her standing on the church’s platform during worship or watching her leading a woman’s Bible study was to see grace in action. She claimed not to be a ‘counselor’ yet over our pastoral life together, she mentored many, quietly, as much be example as by word.
She was incredibly disciplined, taking care of herself, her home, her family, her work – without slacking off or excuse. She loved me quietly with steady affection. My overt affection in public was a constant irritation to her. She wouldn’t hang all over me in a crowd, but she would, when she thought it needed, rise to my defense like a lioness. She prayed for her family and was my daily advocate before the Lord.
My Bev was tough and tender. She could fall apart when she felt overwhelmed by life’s sorrows. She did not quit, ever, in the face of critics and the stormy times that come to us all. Tiny in stature, some thought she was fragile, but she was not. She knew the importance of relying on the Lord, on gathering her resources, and putting first things first.
So, today, I celebrate her memory – thankful that the Lord gave this gift to our world. Remembering her I say, “Happy Birthday. The world was blessed when you were born!” And, yes, of course, Babe, you are missed still.
This morning her oldest son posted this Scripture on Facebook in tribute to his Mom, words that say it best. “She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness. She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness. Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her: “There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!” Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised. Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.” (Proverbs 31:25-32, NLT)
Thanks for letting me remember. My prayer is that we all live in a way that when we are called home, we leave a memory that is a benediction, that inspires others to reach higher.