by Betsy Roy
As we approach Mother’s Day I am thinking a lot about my mother in “love” (not law). She went home to heaven about a year and a half ago. She influenced my life greatly by her example!
Virginia used to say that she was the “woman at the well.” She had what one might say was a “colorful” past and did not come to know the Lord as Savior until her 40’s. However, she became a testimony of the scripture that when the new comes, old things do pass away. She loved the Lord fervently and became a mighty intercessor!
She raised four sons alone and went to college to earn her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees while on welfare. After earning her degrees she went to work in Elder Care Services. Eventually she became the Director of a Council on Aging . Upon her retirement in 2004 she was honored by those she served, her colleagues, and high-ranking officials in state government as someone who had put “love back in government.” My husband’s personal testimony of his mother is “I always knew that she loved me no matter what!”
Mom had a smile as big as heaven and a heart to match. She cared deeply for people and always had a kind word. While she would criticize herself she never criticized others. She was a servant of the Lord in every area of her life- whether on the job, at home, in the marketplace or in church. You could go to her with your problems and she would listen and point you to God’s Word . She gave words of life. I knew she was always praying while we were all busy running around.
She was also a great encourager and was a vital part of Women of the Word. She was a partner of the ministry, both in her giving and her prayers for many years. Early on she used to travel with me to conferences sometimes. In her latter years when travel was no longer possible for her, she did what her hands could do to serve the ministry by folding newsletters and programs while praying over each one. Virginia was a great encourager to me to press on in leading Women of the Word. She prayed for every prayer request we received, for every event, and every time I traveled. It was my habit to call her when arriving at my destination when traveling and when I got home she always asked how things went. She was very generous – giving of her time and money to bless others. We used to joke at home about all the mail she got seeking her generosity! We still get some!
My greatest memory of her is of the open bible on the kitchen table and her reading it every day and praying. She was a fervent intercessor and deeply cared for people. She brought me to know the Lord as my personal Savior 34 years ago. When I was a very young Christian I went through a rather difficult time. I remember coming into her house very distraught. She grabbed her BIG bible off the kitchen counter, opened it and told me to go lie on the bed and cry out to God and that He would comfort me and give me His words for the situation and He did. She taught me a very valuable lesson that day – Cry out to God and go to His Word. It has served me well over many years!
The Lord is our comforter, an ever-present help in time of need. Shortly after my husband Jim and I met with our Pastor to plan her graveside and memorial services, I received a daily devotional I get via email. We had been discussing a verse in Deuteronomy that was one of Mom’s favorites and that was the very verse in the devotional. Some may consider that coincidence but I know it was the Lord speaking to me in a very personal way through His Word. The verse is “The eternal God is your refuge, (or dwelling place) and underneath are the everlasting arms!” Deuteronomy 33:27. She often quoted that verse amongst many others.
Jim and I are thankful that the Lord allowed us to bring her home from the hospital for her last days. Our girls all came home to help care for their grandmother whom they dearly loved and grew up with. Jim’s brothers were also there. Many family and friends were able to come to see her one last time. It was not an easy time, but it was a blessed time of prayer, ministry, and worship around her bedside. We are still very sad at her departure, but we rejoice that in God’s presence is fullness of joy. We have this assurance – she is in His presence and most likely dancing (something she loved to do)! – no better place to be. Her life lived for the Lord has continued to bear fruit for His glory in the lives that she influenced. I am so grateful she was my “Mom”.