In one of my last posts of 2015, I told you about our friend “Jane,” who was “Smiling at the Future.” Today I want to give you an update on “Jane,” whose real name is Lorraine. She is still smiling at the future, but today she is living in that future we all long for. She is at home with our Lord.
Lorraine had told Ray several months ago that when she went home, she wanted him to deliver the eulogy at her funeral. He had that great privilege on Saturday, surrounded by her family and friends.
The reason I want to tell you about Lorraine is to give you hope. I have heard from time to time that it is not possible for one woman to live out Proverbs 31. I’m here to tell you that it is possible. I know because I have seen it lived out in Lorraine. When Ray and I left Lorraine’s funeral on Saturday, I carried with me a longing to follow her powerful example.
First, I have copied Proverbs 31. Below the passage, I share a few of the many ways that Lorraine lived it out.
An excellent wife, who can find?
For her worth is far above jewels.
The heart of her husband trusts in her,
And he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.
She looks for wool and flax
And works with her hands in delight.
She is like merchant ships;
She brings her food from afar.
She rises also while it is still night
And gives food to her household
And portions to her maidens.
She considers a field and buys it;
From her earnings she plants a vineyard.
She girds herself with strength
And makes her arms strong.
She senses that her gain is good;
Her lamp does not go out at night.
She stretches out her hands to the distaff,
And her hands grasp the spindle.
She extends her hand to the poor,
And she stretches out her hands to the needy.
She is not afraid of the snow for her household,
For all her household are clothed with scarlet.
She makes coverings for herself;
Her clothing is fine linen and purple.
Her husband is known in the gates,
When he sits among the elders of the land.
She makes linen garments and sells them,
And supplies belts to the tradesmen.
Strength and dignity are her clothing,
And she smiles at the future.
She opens her mouth in wisdom,
And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
She looks well to the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and bless her;
Her husband also, and he praises her, saying:
“Many daughters have done nobly,
But you excel them all.”
Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain,
But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
Give her the product of her hands,
And let her works praise her in the gates.
Lorraine was an excellent wife — twice. She was married sixteen years to her husband Owen, who died as the result of an auto accident when their daughter was ten and their son was eight. When her children were in college, Lorraine married Dave. They were married until his death eighteen years later.
Lorraine was a precious mama. Her children and grandchildren were rising up and calling her blessed this past weekend. Ray and I met all of the grandchildren when they were little. Six were homeschooled. All of them are living full lives with purpose and all of them have wonderful memories of “Ma” who loved them so much and who had such fun with them.
Lorraine didn’t make linen garments and sell them or supply belts to the tradesmen (Proverbs 31:24), but this stay-at-home mama did enter the business world after her first husband died in 1964 (when female business owners were extremely rare). She ran his technology business with great success for the next 31 years, when her son took over.
Lorraine was a true homemaker and from that home she served so many people. I heard beautiful stories last weekend. One of my friends hung around Lorraine’s house when she was a little girl, while Lorraine and her own mother worked together to serve. Others talked about her hospitality to them when they were college students, both those who were students at the local university and friends of her children who came home with them from college.
Lorraine opened her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness was on her tongue. Lorraine was a student of God’s word and a woman of prayer. Her example was a beacon.
Lorraine smiled at the future — and at the present and the past. Her faith and her joyful spirit were at the core of what made it possible for her to succeed in being a Proverbs 31 woman.
Ray and I were blessed to have a wonderful visit with Lorraine two days before she died. Her body was almost worn out, but her smile, her laugh, and the twinkle in her eye were still there. So was her love for others. She asked about my mother and our children. She talked about how much pleasure she had looking out the window into her backyard. Three or four times in the hour-long visit, she said, “The blessings go on and on and on . . . . ”
. . . just as it is written,
“Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard,
And which have not entered the heart of man,
All that God has prepared for those who love Him.”
1 Corinthians 2:9