Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Ladies of Amelia

As Mother's Day approaches, I have been thinking about the women who most influenced my life.  I have been blessed with godly women in my family who have been a great inspiration to me, but today, I want to focus on a group of women who helped make me what I am.

In this era of mega churches, it seems that small little churches feel they have no impact.  I don't believe that's true.  I think a small caring group can pour into the lives of others in a way no one else can.  When you are small, every person counts.  You're a lot less likely to slip through the cracks in a small church.

I grew up in  a small church in the South.  I really don't remember the numbers, but we probably averaged 60-75 people on Sundays.  I just remember that the atmosphere of the church was very homey and friendly.  Walking in the church doors always felt like coming home.

Let me share with you some outstanding ladies that I remember with fondness 36 years later.

  • Roberta and Lois - Two sisters who willingly endured the trials and tribulations of working with Youth.  I remember their willingness to chaperon, chauffeur, teach and clean up after a bunch of teenagers.  They loved to tease and were not above pulling a practical joke.  Roberta was a cake maker and decorator, Lois was our pianist.  They fed us body and soul with their gifts.  From them I learned: you can always find humor in every situation, it doesn't matter whether your house is spic and span just serve dessert, be faithful to your church - be there every time the door is open, and praise the Lord with singing.
  • Miss Maudie - She sat in the second row every service and beamed!  I can still see her smiling face even all these years later.  She had the gift of encouragement.  If you were in the choir, her smiles encouraged you to sing your best!  
  • Miss Bea - She was also very friendly and loving.  She had a little Spanish blood in her somewhere and  her lively brown eyes seemed to snap with life.  Miss Bea was very learned in the bible and seemed to know a biblical answer for everything. From her I learned the value of personal bible study.
  • Miss Daisy - an older lady, who may or may not have been slightly crotchety, but was extremely loyal.  For some reason, she really liked me and when I left home to get married entrusted to me her prize crystal relish dish.  She said she wanted me to have it because it was antique and she knew I would take care of it and use it to set a nice table. Her faith in me has made me so careful, and really inspired me in my love of dishes and tablescaping.  I still own that dish all these years later.
  • MeeMaw Sessions - the mother of Lois and Roberta and the adopted grandmother of everyone in the church.  Somehow, you really felt like she was your grandmother!  I used to go to her house on Sunday afternoons with her (real) granddaughter.  We always felt so at home there.  I remember she believed in having plenty of food - her counter tops were always lined with boxes and boxes of food.  I guess her cabinets were already full ... From her, I learned the value of stocking up!
  • Sister Hart- the Pastor's wife and a wonderful singer.  She looked a lot like Vestal Goodman, but sang as a high soprano. I remember her singing, "I'll Tell the World that I'm a Christian."  From her I learned that you must use the talents God gives you.  She also was a warm and caring person and always greeted me with enthusiasm.  It always felt like she was so glad to see me!
  • Sister Alma - an older lady that was very observant.  I might have felt she was nosy when I was a kid, but now I see that she was a very concerned person.  She was the first to keep the prayer chain going whenever there was a need.  She was also generous and loved to share her garden produce. It's good to have people in the church who notice when something is wrong instead of people who ignore you and never ask about you!
  • Miss Ginger - a simple single mom who just accepted everyone for who they were.  She was always the same and never seemed to get upset. One of my prized possessions are a set of hand-embroidered pillowcases she made me when I got married.
  • Sister Bates - the driving force at the church.  She was the head deacon's wife and seemed to be responsible for everything!  I remember her as a willing worker involved in every aspect of the church, often having to do thankless tasks with little appreciation. Her special loves were being the GA girls leader and the choir director.  I admit I didn't appreciate Sister Bates then as much as I do now.  She really was a marvel - a tireless worker, creative - and while she was not a touchy-feely kind of person, she really had a heart for ministry.  She was the one who pushed me to make a public confession for Christ.  I'm forever grateful for that! Her example to me was one of always being available for anything the Lord might call you to do.  She believed that the need was the call to ministry.
I salute you, ladies of Amelia.  Most of you are already living in a wonderful home with your Savior. I'm hoping that when I get there, our homes will be in the same neighborhood.  It was an honor to do life with you.  I want to do eternity with you as well!

I'm sharing this post with the community at Shanda's A Pause on the Path.


Lori said...

I loved this post! I thought there was something wrong with me that I seem to be longing for the simple, what used to be churches, the ease of friendship and care that seems to come from a small community of believers. Thank you for sharing your story about these lovely ladies, we should all be so blessed:)

Lori said...

I loved this post! I thought there was something wrong with me that I seem to be longing for the simple, what used to be churches, the ease of friendship and care that seems to come from a small community of believers. Thank you for sharing your story about these lovely ladies, we should all be so blessed:)

Mari-Anna Frangén Stålnacke said...

What a wonderful tribute to the church ladies! I hope to meet them at Jesus' feet. Thank you for sharing! Blessings to you and yours!

ells said...

This is just lovely...what a legacy they left...and they probably had no idea...may we be such woman...thanks for this...blessings~

Lisa notes... said...

What a tribute to all godly women everywhere. I'm sure there are young girls at your church right now who will include YOU in a list like this someday!

Diana said...

What a beautiful post. My eyes welled up with tears. Thank you so much for sharing!

My Life as a Mom said...

I love small churches and the people who pour into one another's life. We attend a small church and it is such a blessing. What a great post, honoring those whom God has placed in your path. Blessings to you!

Kristin Bridgman said...

I loved this post, love the names of these women, and all that you learned from them. Sometimes I think a lot gets lost in the mega churches. Give me a little white steeple anytime:)
Thanks for sharing.

Cora from Hidden Riches said...

I just drank in every last word of this post! Soooo beautiful, and such a wonderful tribute to these special ladies. It made me go up and down the rows of pews of my childhood church, seeing all those ladies, hearing their voices, seeing them working out their gifts to so many others. Sometimes it isn't until many years later that we realize the affects these people had on our lives. Thank you for this. And thank you for visiting my blog today. Your comment was a blessing to me!

Cathy said...

How Sweet to write a memorial of your dear sisters that have touched your heart! I need to do this...real soon, because so many are in their last years~ ♥♥♥