In 2 Timothy, Paul writes to encourage a young pastor. He reminds Timothy of the godly legacy that he has come from as he points to the faith handed down from his grandmother Lois and mother Eunice (2 Timothy 2:5). What a powerful reminder of the impact of godly women.
As Timothy had his Lois, I have my Bea. Bea Harrison has walked faithfully with the Lord for many years now and today is her 90th birthday. To know her is to know her fiery sense of humor, her love of country and love of music. She can zing and sing. I am so appreciative, now more than ever, of her faithful walk with Jesus. She was widowed 31 years ago, but used her testimony as a means of sharing God’s grace and hope. The grace of God that had transformed her life and her marriage would now carry her onward. She traveled regularly to Christian Women’s Clubs sharing her story with any who would listen. She became a seasoned speaker. As a boy, I remember her regularly listening to biblical preaching on the radio. It wasn’t unusual to hear her listening to Chuck Swindoll, Charles Stanley or John MacArthur. She has been an avid reader, having an immense library that she has been very generous with.
I remember one particular conversation with her my senior year of high school. Our church had an annual youth Sunday where the teens would lead the church service and one of the guys would give the sermon. That year it was my turn to share. It was the first sermon I had ever given. She caught me shortly before the service was to begin and asked if I was nervous. I replied that I was. At that point she surprised me by telling me that even after all the years of her speaking she still got nervous. It was a good thing though. It reminded her that it was through God’s strength and not her own. That has stuck with me longer than anything else she has told me. Those words continue to ring true to me every time I preach. God’s strength, not my own.
“Every leader should lead, show, and go the way. If I am willing, God can use me in every circumstance of my life.” -note in Grandma’s Bible
A couple years ago Grandma was put into a nursing home. That kind of adjustment can come with a lot of difficulties. It has brought about a lot of changes for her. Still, she sees the opportunity there as a mission field. She has told me of all the people there that don’t know Jesus and she may be the last one to share with them. She has also said that she doesn’t want to just sit around twiddling her thumbs until Jesus takes her home. So she has done something about it. She started a Bible study in her room. She opens up the Scriptures and points people to the Savior. I get tears in my eyes just thinking about this. What a legacy! What a privilege to have an example of faith in my family line that loves Jesus, lives for Jesus and striving to finish well.
Today it is an honor to say, “Happy 90th Birthday, Grandma! Thank you for your faithful legacy in pointing your family to the hope and grace of Jesus. I look forward to celebrating with you tomorrow. I love you.”