Smiling at the Future

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When we first met our friend whom I’ll call Jane, she was a devout Christian, a great friend, and a servant to people in need. She was also a wise businesswoman, the keeper of a beautiful home, and an excellent cook. Jane was a cancer survivor; and, just a few months before, she had been widowed for the second time. When we first met Jane, she was in her mid-sixties. Now she is in her late 80s.

We became acquainted with Jane because Ray had recently been hired as the minister at her church. Our home in Illinois had sold quickly but our hunt for a new one in Tennessee didn’t keep up that pace. Jane had a solution — we should stay with her while we looked for a house.

We took her up on it. Our belongings came to Tennessee in a moving truck and went into storage. Ray and I along with our children, aged 14, 12, and 9, moved in with Jane. Bethany’s dog Sparky moved into her storage room.

Our family loved every minute of it. According to everything Jane has said since then, so did she. Our stay ended up lasting only three weeks, but the friendship has endured.

I wasn’t the only busy bee when all three of our children got married in a mere fourteen months! Jane, who was close to eighty at the time, hosted beautiful teas in her home for John’s bride Audra and for our daughters Bethany and Mary Evelyn.

Ray and I had a good long visit with Jane last Sunday. I knew almost every element of her story before that day, but I connected some fresh dots and brought home a powerful lesson.

Jane’s first husband died two years after they had built the home where she lives today. She was a stay-at-home mama with a ten-year-old daughter and an eight-year-old son. Her husband was a small business owner. Stay-at-home mama Jane learned how to run her husband’s business — and run it very well — and she reared her children alone. While they were in college, Jane married again. She had a beautiful eighteen-year-marriage with her second husband who, as I said, died a few months before we met her.

Jane spends her days in a recliner in her still-beautiful home. She is no longer able to stand. We talked about that on Sunday. She pointed out that she still has her vision and her hearing. She can use her hands — she used them to send out Christmas cards this year. I’d like to add that she still has her pleasant voice, her cheerful smile, and her wonderful attitude which she still uses to bless other people.

Strength and dignity are her clothing,
And she smiles at the future.
Proverbs 31:25


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  1. What an inspiring story! It’s so beautiful to see what a difference it makes when we lean on the Lord in our difficulties. He truly brought beauty out of her suffering!

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