One of my earliest memories – sitting in a semi-circle in front of a flannel board listening to Mrs. Nanson tell us about Jesus. I can still feel the scratch of the backing against my little fingers as she shows us what holds the paper figures on the sky blue felted board. It’s just a mental snapshot of something that happened every week without fail, but there it is. A moment of sweetness captured like an insect in amber.
Two or three years later and I’m six years old. An odd little child who befriends all the neighbors, I’m four doors down at Sherri Graham’s house, laying out in the sun in the backyard with my friend – who just happens to be about 17. The memory is all wrapped up in the smell of suntan lotion, the loops of the terry cloth towel against my face, and the warmth of the summer day wrapping me up like a big blanket. She’s telling me about Jesus and I consider in my heart that it’s time to accept Him as Savior. Years later she has no recollection of the day when I remind her. I know that I will never forget a teenage girl took the time and undoubtedly patience to talk to a little girl about eternal things.
When I turn seven, I decide it is time to get baptized. Mrs. Badry teaches my group the significance of the step we are about to take. She is all musical voice and hair the color of light as she tells us about Jesus. Forty-something years later she remembers me as the girl who rode her bike all over town so she wouldn’t miss out on anything. I certainly didn’t miss out on this.
Woven in and among these are memories of my grandmother. By weekday, she scurries along with a spotless home and a boundless kitchen. A woman who never sat down through an entire meal – always hopping up to serve. Ah, but on the Sundays when it is her turn to tell us about Jesus, the power flowing from her nearly five foot tall frame is a sight to behold. A well-worn hankie tucked into the palm of her hand, she speaks with authority but never harshness. When she teaches Sunday school in her tiny church, we march into the room to the left of the stage and sit in wee chairs from Mexico. She sings with us, “The devil is a sly old fox. If I could catch him I’d put him in a box. I’d lock that box and throw away the key, for all those tricks he’s played on me.” Her faith is a ponderous and awesome thing that she shares with the smallest of her grandchildren. Even then I can feel the responsibility of the truth she entrusts to us.
It is the first day of November – the month of thankfulness. I am so thankful today for the women in my childhood who gave to me the gift of faith, time, patience, life. Women young and old who did not discount my youth or dismiss my presence. Women who were the Light-Bearers to my lonely heart and welcomed me into the circle of belief. All but one of these are already at the feet of Jesus and will stretch out their arms to receive me on the day I join them there. They already know their significance in my story, but I wanted you to know them as well.
Take a moment today to honor the women in your story. The Light-Bearers of faith that made the difference to you. And tell them or their families of their legacy of eternity.