Thursday, March 22, 2007

Saying Good-Bye to Helen

I have been given a great gift in my lifetime. I have been on the receiving end of some precious friendships with women who have loved me, taught me, admonished me, encouraged me, and prayed for me. One of those women is Helen. Helen has a tremendous amount of scripture hidden in her heart and is able to speak truth in an instant because she knows Jesus well. In the book of Titus, in chapter two there is a call to older women to teach younger women how to love their husbands and to be “keepers of the home.” Helen has been diligent to teach me by her example and I have had the benefit of observing her life for several years. Not only has she taught me how to apply wisdom to some of the situations in my life, she has shared her wisdom with Katy also.

We stopped by her home today for a final farewell and a cup of tea. Katy and I left her standing at her stairs waving goodbye and we pulled away crying for the loss we feel as Helen and her husband Conley move closer to their family in Ohio. She gave us a few of her books to remember her by. Knowing how much we like to study Spurgeon, she gave us her copy of Spurgeon’s Sermon Notes. We will treasure that.

On the drive home I told Katy that I am so blessed by the number of Godly women who have taught me over the years. When I left home at the age of eighteen to become Paul’s wife, the plan was already in place for me to grow in grace and knowledge. My mother-in-Law taught me how to set a table and cook a meal so that everything was hot and ready to serve at the same time. I appreciated learning to do that and now I love to entertain. I met two wonderful women in New Jersey, Barbara and Mary, who through their Bible studies taught me how to share my faith and how to raise children God’s way. When we moved to Virginia, I met Eunice who taught me how to live and how to die trusting in the mercies of God. After Eunice died, the Lord gave me Helen. Helen has taught me that laying my life down to care for someone is a gift from God. And she has certainly taught me to keep my sense of humor at all times.

I will miss Helen. About the time I was wondering how I would go on without the wit and wisdom of Helen, a woman named Beverly came into my life. A visitor at our church, she was invited to join our small group and the first time I met her I knew she was my next gift from the Lord. She was given a very heavy responsibility in caring for her young daughter, who at the age of eighteen contracted a mysterious illness that rendered her an invalid and eventually took her life. When Beverly looks me in the eye and states, “Dawn, even if it doesn’t seem like God’s grace is sufficient, you will one day look back and see that it was,” I believe her. Her words bring me courage and comfort.

I am certain that Helen will be given another “Dawn” in Ohio. Her ministry will continue. One thing I pray for the younger women in my life is that they will be able to glean something of use and value from me, as I now have become as scripture says, an “older woman.” They will have the benefit of all the wisdom my “Titus 2″ friends have passed on to me.

Comments:

  1. Bob, Amy, Emily, Meredith and Abby Says:

    Dawn,

    With tears streaming down my face, I want to say I have gleaned much from you! Although you are not much older than me, you are much wiser. Thank you for being kind and gentle, yet firm with me when I have needed it. I don’t know where I would be now if you had not reached out to me/us when we lived next door. Thanks for caring enough to share your life with me! My life will truly never be the same. I even find myself now sharing little tidbits that I remember you speaking to me. Isn’t God good to us?

    All my love,
    Amy

  2. Jess Says:

    Dawn -
    I can’t even tell you how much I have learned from you and your family. Watching you all face these challenges WITH Katy has spoken volumes to me about how much God loves me and how He’s in it for the long haul! I’ve been so blessed to call you my friend and to sit at your “feet” and learn. Being a mom is so new to me and there are days when I feel like I fumble my way through it and at the end have more ‘wrongs’ than ‘rights’…but watching how you tenderly care for your family and how you bring your husband ‘good’ not ‘harm’ has been an encouragement - I know Jesus is working on me, the same way he was working on you 20 years ago…that brings me such comfort! Thank you for being a “Helen” to me in these early years….

    We love you!
    Jes