I wrote this after my beloved Aunt Naomi passed away in 2011. It was written to my girls but felt I could share it with you, my friends and readers on my blog.
Yesterday my Aunt Naomi was buried. 88 years of age … a lifetime of serving Jesus in the home and on the mission field both overseas and in the U.S. Dearly loved by ALL who knew her and a powerful influence in my life.
Driving home today my heart has been challenged in a new way. I write this to the girls in my generation and also to those coming after us … our daughters, daughters-in-love, and granddaughters.
To our grandmother, Eula Kopp and to our mothers … I pay tribute. None of us would be where we are today if it wasn’t for Grandma Kopp. Committed to Jesus first and then to Grandpa. We’ve all heard her story of being on her knees in prayer seeking God’s will if she was to marry Grandpa and the “divine love” that flooded her heart early in the early morning hours as she sought God on her knees and the love for the one she was engaged to be taken out of her heart. How often I heard her say, “Without that kind of love we would not have made it!”
She was a woman who loved Jesus, knew His Word, hid it in her heart, prayed for her children for years, influenced her grandchildren and great-grandchildren for the Lord. She lived the Word and preached the Word.
I personally would not be here today if it wasn’t for a grandmother that knew how to pray. She saved my life from drowning because she heard God say, “Pray …” and I was over 400 miles away. I was not the only one Grandma prayed for.
I am eternally grateful to God for my godly mother and aunt who influenced my life for God. I knew ministry was not easy and yet because of the model of godly grandparents and parents it was a “calling” I felt as well. We all had an example before us of strong, godly women who were also leaders.
I was thinking this morning of Biblical strong godly women …
Miriam … learned early to be watchful for those around her; she participated in the release of her people after 400 years of slavery; she became a prophetess and a leader of the women of Israel. She had a season of bitterness and complaining but when disciplined she received it, was healed and was received back into fellowship.
Deborah … who did it all! Wife, song writer, prophetess and a judge. She was the exception to every definition of a woman’s role in the society in which she lived. She was confident, assertive and had incredible faith in God. God choose her to be the only female judge Israel had and her voice was heard and respected in a culture dominated by men.
Esther … a beautiful nobody who was made queen … not just “Queen for a Day” but for a time and purpose. She knew who she was and Who she belonged to. Her choices were limited but when confronted with evil she willingly made a decision to choose right over wrong. Justice over injustice. Faith over fear. Her strength of character and confidence in God enabled her to change the course of history.
Mary … one simple sentence changed her life and the course of all mankind, “Be it unto me according to your word.” She made her body and her spirit available to the Holy Spirit. She became vulnerable to the Holy Spirit. She opened her life to the misunderstanding of others, to their ridicule, to their questions and smirks behind her back … but she obeyed her call and opened the door for countless millions to know her Child … the Son of God.
Priscilla … an influential woman in the early church. She hosted a church in her home along with her husband, Aquila. She was a teacher of the Word … when she heard Apollos speaking at the synagogue in Ephesus she realized he was teaching the baptism of John but not the baptism of the Holy Spirit. She could have become angry and disgusted and walked away or she could have publicly pointed out his error or even told others not to associate with him. Instead she and Aquila invited him into their home and explained God’s ways to him more thoroughly.
There are many more I could point out but here is what I want to say to us … we’ve had the example of strong, godly women in our family. They are gone now and are we following in their footsteps? We’ve had our example … are we being that same example to our daughters and granddaughters? The matriarchs of our family are gone. Are we taking their place? How are our lives speaking to those coming along behind us? Are we setting a godly example of speaking kindly but forcefully for God? Are we living boldly? Are we women of prayer? Are we living victorious lives in Christ?
Hey, none of us are perfect (or else we wouldn’t be here!) but we cannot let past failures and mistakes define who we are or what we can do for Him. I’m not saying we are all to be “preachers” or even public speakers but are we women of the Spirit? Are we women of the Word? Are we women of prayer?
We women like our homes. During our life we acquire china, crystal, perhaps diamonds and jewelry. Is that all we are leaving our families as our inheritance or are we passing on to them the assurance that God loves them, that He hears our prayers, that He answers (sometimes yes, sometimes no and sometimes wait but always answers!). Are we teaching them to search the scriptures and to hide His Word in their hearts?
Years ago I heard Jim Spillman give this quote … “If we are all Word, we will dry up. If we are all Spirit, we will blow up but if we are Word and Spirit we will grow up”. I like that! We need to let the generation following us know that there is JOY in serving Jesus and live it by example before them.
Sometimes it is hard for me to “pass on” what God has done for me or implanted in my heart because I feel inadequate, I’m not great with words, I’m “simple” in my speaking and writing (I’ve shared with all of you at one time or another that one lady told me that what I shared was “simple” … ha! But I know the lady meant that I applied the Word to everyday life instead of flowerly speech … at least that is what I keep telling myself!!!) But what I want to challenge myself with … and to all of you … is that we are now the matriarchs of our generation and our families. Ouch! It doesn’t mean we are “old” but that we are now the generation that has to step up to the plate and lead by example.
Pass on our faith, our passion, and our love for Jesus!