This week I had to say good-bye to two very important women in my life. Maw Maw was 91 years old and Ma ‘Ma was 102 years old. One lived in Alabama and the other lived in Georgia. Both impacted my life as Christian sisters and friends – teaching, encouraging and helping me thru life’s episodes.
Neither lady served as a Fortune 500 executive nor could claim renowned from her existence. They both simply loved God and loved their families. They were kind enough to open their arms and include me in the family circle. Both ladies had two daughters but still had room to ‘adopt” me and support me in ministry and life.
The grandchildren of both ladies wept and shared stories of love, training and discipline. Maw Maw and Ma’Ma may not have established a world renown company, sought political office or had a huge bank account but they did impact two or three generations with love and truth.
I can remember being the mother of two young boys and being so overwhelmed. Ma’Ma would call at just the right moment and say, “I’m coming to pick the boys up and take them to the park”. My natural family live eight hours away and couldn’t help but Ma’Ma saw the need and responded. She ministered along side me for ten years as I taught Backyard Bible Clubs in Thomasville. She never went on a trip without bringing me a present. In her 80’s she was still driving to Atlanta by herself and helping those in need. At times when I was sick, she always came to check on me and bring some of her famous egg custard. It was the best comfort in the world!
Maw Maw came into my life through ministry I shared with her two daughters. She brought laughter and joy to every event and was not afraid to help if she was physically able. She had a way of humorously cutting through the confusing times and making us all laugh. She never drove a car but was ready for every trip and adventure, trusting those who loved her. She was a great example of “not having to be in control”. Maw Maw loved to read and taught us all that a good book was never a waste of time. Her lifestyle and love of God colored every page of our world.
These two ladies taught me about true love, and they brought to life the scriptures in Titus 2:1-5 NLT, “As for you, Titus, promote the kind of living that reflects wholesome teaching. Teach the older men to exercise self-control, to be worthy of respect, and to live wisely. They must have sound faith and be filled with love and patience. Similarly, teach the older women to live in a way that honors God. They must not slander others or be heavy drinkers. Instead, they should teach others what is good. These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God.”
The Amplified version of the Bible, AMP puts this way. “But as for you, teach the things which are in agreement with sound doctrine [which produces men and women of good character whose lifestyle identifies them as true Christians]. Older men are to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love, in steadfastness [Christlike in character]. Older women similarly are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor addicted to much wine, teaching what is right and good, so that they may encourage the young women to tenderly love their husbands and their children, to be sensible, pure, makers of a home [where God is honored], good-natured, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.” I find myself hoping that my generation and those who come after me will readjust our lives to become like Maw Maw and Ma’Ma. It’s time to put down our cell phones and iPads. It’s time to give our family members our undivided attention and teach our children that they are the most important gifts we have. It’s time to value motherhood. It’s time to place children and family first. They are our lasting heritage, and no one, no job, no schedule compares.