I’ve been reading my aunt’s obituary. She passed away October 24, the last of my mother’s eight siblings, her youngest sister. I keep returning to a couple of things:
Joni was born in the state of Oklahoma to John and Lella Harrison. As a young dairy farmer and a school teacher, they had come from Tennessee as Sooners. John and Lella Harrison had a rich heritage of Christian faith. The church was the center of social life as well as spiritual life.I have a copy of the letter John wrote to the contractor who was to build the sod home he and Lella moved to in the Oklahoma Panhandle. I have a photo of their first son, and Lella’s cousin (Margaret Turner) in front of that home. They eventually moved to Jackson county, Oklahoma, where John’s parents had settled. For both families, the church was the center of their activities.
My youngest daughter has asked about their testimonies – their personal stories of their faith. I have a tape where Lella’s sister-in-law is speaking of Lella’s joining the Friendship Baptist Church after their move. How she was very clear to the congregation that the decision to move her membership from one denomination to another was a personal choice, not determined by her husband but by her reading of the Bible and her understanding of God’s word.
Joni’s daughters wrote of her testimony:
It was through the arrival of her daughters that God broke through Joni’s spiritual complacency. She had asked Christ to be her Savior as a child but as she experienced an overpowering love for her daughters and how she wanted to care for them, she began to understand God’s love for her. It was at this time in her life that she made her commitment to serve Him with her whole heart and life.I see that overwhelming love as an understanding of God’s love for us, too. It is when salvation ceases to be a personal comfort but a moving need to share God’s love with another. Yes, we can see it first with our children, but it is important to see it in the eyes of the unlovable, too. The person that irritates and frustrates us. God loves them just as much as He loves our adorable children (who will – as they grow up – frustrate us, too.)
I have no idea what God has in mind for you to do in His service. I don’t need to know that for anyone, except for myself. No one can tell me what God has in mind for my service, except our Lord Himself. He has chosen His word to be the light for my path:
NUN. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (Psalms 119:105 KJV)
Christ, the light of this world, allows us to share that light:
But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: (2 Corinthians 4:2-3 KJV)
Our commitment to His service should be for one, single, purpose:
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16 KJV)
What better example of a Proverbs 31 woman can there be than to read her children recognize her good works in service to our Lord:
Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. (Proverbs 31:28 KJV)