I have been in a fog for the last 10 days or so, ever since receiving the word that a dear friend, sister in Christ, and mentor was nearing the end of a long battle with cancer. She left this earth on Monday and I confess I am in full-on Grief Stage 1-Denial & Isolation. I can’t adequately express what Mary meant to me; not sure I fully grasp the loss yet, even. She was a constant in my life for over 10 years. But more than a simple constant, she was an unwavering rock, the very definition of perseverance. She served, and served, and served others till the end.
She was not old, but she followed the Lord, and so because she was older than me, she taught me to love my husband and children (Titus 2). She showed me how to serve (endlessly, tirelessly. I’m still trying to learn this lesson). She modeled self-control, purity of heart, the joy of making a happy home (that was open to so many people, so often). She was kind. She was submissive to her husband, who valued and respected and loves her so much.
Mary was so many things that the world would not value. Not in the least. “Just a housewife,” they say about women like her. “Just a mother,” the smirk. She lived a quiet life. Had no fancy titles or letters behind her name. No, she just did a lot of work. Worked with her hands, did hard spiritual work on herself and for others—oh, how she worked.
But Mary wasn’t here to impress the world. She was dedicated to being everything that God values. A true servant. A pure heart. A beloved child. She mothered four sons, plus three daughters-in-law, several nieces and nephews and a slew of friends and loved ones. I don’t think she had a grand master plan to affect so many people. I think she woke up in the morning, studied her Bible so she would be ready, then opened her eyes to what was around her. She saw the next thing to do for the Lord, and did it.
Now so many of us are left, like the mourners of Acts 9, fingering the figurative tunics and other garments that she left for us. Weeping. Wondering how to fill this void. There will be no miraculous raising of our beloved Tabitha here on earth—and for that, we are so thankful, since her raising will be done for eternity in Heaven.
I suppose that one by one, there will be those of us who were touched by her who will pick up a little bit of service here, a good deed there. God’s will will still be done, it will just look different. The beautiful thing is, it’s not the life, or even the death of Mary that compels us to service—and she wouldn’t want it to be. It is the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus that drove her to show love, and compassion, and to do good for others. May I be so moved, every day.
P.S. Oh, and in the notes about Mary’s funeral service, this woman that surely would not impress the world or make a lasting mark? It says the service had to be moved to a huge church building because the funeral home is “anticipating a larger crowd than they can accommodate.” All because she served. Lord, make us pure-hearted servants.
Encouragement Spoken Here
"A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver." Proverbs 25:11