Thursday, August 3, 2017

a legacy left behind

I am going to the home-going celebration of a dear older lady who has been in my life for the last four years.  Her name is Mrs. Audrey Stallings.  She was a beautiful, encouraging, Jesus-loving, Titus 2 woman that I had the privilege of meeting by accident at a youth event several years ago.  We had been given an assignment as a service project for Saturday afternoon of that D-Now, which was to go and visit some elderly people who were unable to leave their homes.

Honestly, I think their name was given to us by accident, because at that time, they were not shut ins.  God wanted us to meet this dear elderly couple, though, Mr. Frank and Mrs. Audrey, and He arranged a divine appointment that day.

We walked inside, which was toasty and warm, and she had hot cocoa and warm cookies waiting on us.  We sat in a circle in their cramped little living room, and she just opened her mouth and began to talk.  Right away, my friend Scottie and I were mesmerized at all the wisdom that poured from her mouth.  She introduced them and shared some of their story with us, then invited the girls to begin asking questions.

A full two hours later, and well past our time to have left, we asked for a picture with them, and the girls asked if Mr. Frank and Mrs. Audrey would be their adopted grandparents.  They wholeheartedly agreed to be that for the girls, and after we circled around and had them pray over us, we left.

I mean.  Are they not the most adorable you have ever seen?  After that beautiful time on that D-Now weekend, Mrs. Audrey would regularly come upstairs and pour into these girls.  She prayed faithfully for all of us, Scottie and myself as well, and we knew that in her, we had found a forever friend, and mentor.

The girls would just unexpectedly drop by her house when the need arose, and she always welcomed them in with open arms.  She had given all of us their phone number, and we knew we could call on them anytime.

These girls ended up graduating, but even after they'd left the youth area, we knew that Mrs. Audrey was still a vital part of our student ministry.

This was on a Wednesday night, family style church service, where our Pastor had people come up and share about their ministry and how others could get involved.  You had better believe that Mrs. Audrey made her way up to that stage on this night and shared about how her ministry would never die until the day Jesus called her home.

She was there to encourage them on at their senior dinner the year they graduated, and then after these girls moved to the college ministry, Mrs. Audrey asked for more girls.  So just this past winter at yet another D-Now event, we took our girls to go see them once again.  These girls already knew who the Stallings were, because word of their ministry had spread to everyone, and they both still faithfully prayed over the girls in youth.

And these girls were their newly adopted granddaughters, established the same afternoon Missy and I took the girls to see them.  Mr. Frank was pretty feeble during the time we were there and couldn't really be a part for too long, because he was so weak.  But he would pipe up every now and then from his recliner in their den, as he heard Mrs. Audrey say something he thought was worth him interjecting.

Imagine my surprise, when I learned that she was very sick and that hospice was being called in to care for her, while I was on my way to Denver a couple of weeks ago.  I never got to see her again, the last time being this weekend in February, at D-Now.  She was unable to come because of Mr. Frank, and how sick he was, but when she got sick, it all happened very fast, and she passed away sometime over the weekend.

Today is her home-going celebration, and I will be sitting there among a crowd of people who will be there to honor her, and dear Mr. Frank.  Please help me pray for him~can you imagine losing your spouse of almost sixty-five years?  I surely cannot, and wonder how long he will last, now that she is gone.  Thank you, in advance, for your prayers for him, and their family.

Mrs. Audrey was a wonderful example of the Titus 2 woman.  I'll write it out, so that you can understand for yourself what she was to many.

In the same way, older women are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not addicted to much wine.  They are to teach what is good, so they may encourage the young women to love their husbands and to love their children, to be self-controlled, pure, homemakers, kind, and submissive to their husbands, so that God's message will not be slandered.  Titus 2:3-5

She wasn't only a mentor to teenage girls, but to their leaders in the student ministry as well.

I am so thankful for the hope we have in Jesus, for those of us who are believers in and followers of Him.  I know that she is in heaven, and that I will see her again, because to be out of the body means that one is present with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8).

Thanks for reading, friends.  Love to all.

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