By Cindy Hester
The last time I went home to visit Mom I had the opportunity to attend a birthday luncheon for two dear ladies to whom I am extremely fortunate to be related. Another friend of the family, Miss Bobbie Lee, also joined us. Miss Bobbie Lee may as well be considered family since she has been acquainted with Mom and Dad since childhood. I just have to tell you, I left this luncheon feeling so encouraged and blessed.
First, I was sitting among four beautiful, strong women. These women have each endured loss of one type or another and not only survived, but thrived. None of them look even close to their numerical ages (which I won't divulge for fear of retribution!) None of them act like "older" women are stereotypically expected to behave. Their sense of joy, humor, compassion and determination profoundly pulsated through their numerous topics of conversation.
Second, I came to further appreciate the incredible female genetic pool from which I originated. Not only do these women look incredibly beautiful and much younger than their years, they also remain impressively influential. Of course there's Mom who served in the never-ending, challenging capacity of pastor's wife for well over forty years, and who still actively serves as mother, grandmother and great-grandmother to a small country of descendants. Mom, who is a giver, still takes the time to check on and care after others in her church and community. Next there is Lynda, Dad's cousin on his father's side of the family. Lynda is a retired school teacher, Mayor's wife, loving mother and grandmother, and still finds time to substitute teach and play an active role in her community. Then there is "Aunt" Virginia Faye Baker, Dad's cousin on his mother's side of the family. (She is famous for the story of Dad wearing a pair of her bloomers as a kid whenever he went home with her family after church one Sunday and had no other play clothes.) Aunt Virginia Faye has not only raised a family, been a County Judges wife, she is still actively employed at a local insurance company despite the fact she is in her 80's. She also still cooks a big Sunday dinner for her family and friends each week! (...makes me tired just thinking about it...)
Third, and perhaps most important, I realized the amazing heritage of faith woven throughout these great women. They are quick to tell you where their help comes from. "Their help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth." Their deep faith and dependence upon the Lord refreshes their spirit working far more effectively than any outer beauty treatment could ever claim. The fruits of the the Spirit, love, peace, joy, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control pour from their hearts bringing love to all who come in contact with their presence. Not only do they possess outer beauty, their inner beauty shines as a beacon lighting the way for us who are following in their path.
So I say thank you, ladies, for sharing an experience I will never forget. I do hope we will make it a point to get together more often. I love you all.
I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD watches over you—the LORD is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. Psalm 121