My life has been touched by some very special people. I want this post to focus on one whom is no longer with us. One of the persons which has impacted my life the most, was a godly woman. She was a woman of faith which was actually an encouragement to my own mother. While my parents grew up secular for the most part without a particular creed or religion, they did believe in the existence of G-d. This woman whom I will call Mary, made it her personal responsibility to share the Word with my mom. She constantly invited my mom to church, and when my mom was too busy to attend, she would ask if in her place she would send my older sisters. This woman never gave up, nor would she be turned away so easily by rejection. She was an amazing woman, always showing concern for the wellbeing of others.
Mary’s story was one of triumph. Her young years were filled with sorrow and sadness, but she never let that determine her destiny. She could have blamed outer circumstances as reason for bitterness and resentment. Instead she rose above it all and became the amazing woman who touched the lives of many. Mary grew up with a determined attitude. She knew what she wanted in life, and she fought for what she valued.
This woman had a family of five children. The oldest around my mom’s age. So the gap in age between her and me was quite a large one. For many years I only heard from her occasionally. Running into her and every now and then, we would exchange a few brief words. At the time around my engagement, something changed drastically. I found myself visiting her almost on a daily basis. It was during those visits, that I got to know her in a more personal way.
She was always welcoming and greeted me with a smile every time I came by. Usually during my visits, she would share things about herself with me. There were times that she would pull out a notebook of poems she had written and share them with me. Other times we would sit and just talk about things such as faith and family. The talks were always so interesting and lively, being that besides so much knowledge she had a good sense of humor as well. She would answer my many questions, as I sat there in awe at the wisdom of this elderly woman. I’m not certain whether she realized an admiration on my part. Mary was a humble woman and many times wondered out loud why I would take the time to visit with her. Maybe it was the fact that I was in my late teen years coupled by the large difference in years between us that made her wonder. Yet she was always grateful and appreciative of my visits.
What I find so remarkable about this woman, is the fruitfulness of her life. She always shared her faith with the people she met along the way. And the thing I now wished I would have asked her about, is one that has constantly been on my mind. Three of her children which were her sons, the other two were daughters, went on to become ministers. One of them actually was the one that conducted my wedding ceremony. How, I wonder, did she raise her children. I know of her children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren; they have continued in the faith even many years after her passing away.
The impact this woman had is one I wish I had, at least on my descendants. It’s not so much the fact that she raised three ministers, that is the most admirable. What left an impression on me is the fact that she taught her children well. How many times in Scripture we read of a new generation that did not know G-d.
7 “And the people served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the LORD, that he did for Israel.
8And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died, being an hundred and ten years old.
9And they buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnathheres, in the mount of Ephraim, on the north side of the hill Gaash.
10And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel.
11And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim:
12And they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the LORD to anger.
13And they forsook the LORD, and served Baal and Ashtaroth.” Judges 2:7-13
It’s heartbreaking to think that G-d’s children would not walk in his ways because the previous generation had failed in teaching their children. This is something I’m constantly repeating to my own children and one of the main reasons we chose to home-school. I pray Hashem gives me the wisdom and diligence to teach my children so that my future descendants will continue to love, serve Him, and walk in his ways.
This is a lesson I get from the Patriarchs. They took such special care to transmit what they valued (the fear of Hashem and love of His Word) to the following generations that even to this day they’re still baring fruit. How amazing is that! We read about Abraham:
19 “For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.” Genesis 18:19
Mary knew the importance of teaching the next generation too. She was diligent and loving, and while I may never know how she raised her children, I can to this day see how effective she was. She was a successful woman in my opinion. May Hashem grant us all, that love Him and are seeking to serve Him, the effectiveness in transmitting to the future generations the fear of the True and Living G-d. May he strengthen us and give us a vision to see past our immediate circumstances and instead focus on what counts to eternity.