A tribute to an older woman: remembering Sara

Sally - Julia Picture 2Twelve years ago, a rather free-spirited-homeschooling-hippie-preacher’s-wife moved into a totally new culture. She met a true southern woman—perhaps this description illustrates it: Flip flops meet ladies’ suits. In spite of their different lifestyles they found an affinity. They were both outspoken. They both loved to talk. They both loved their friends and families. They both loved Christ. This was more than enough!

As I remember my precious friend,  I realize that so much of what I loved about her was related to her actions and how they impacted me and those I love. As I interact with those around me, I hope I can always remember the things I learned from Sara’s example. She was dignified, but she was real and open. She was a southern lady, but she never made me feel out of place with my not-so-southern ways. She loved her family and her friends and she loved us. She encouraged us and supported us and built us up with her words and deeds.

Oh, how she loved my family. Sara loved and encouraged my husband in his preaching. She opened her home until she just couldn’t do it anymore. She gave our son his first job mowing lawns and praised him up and down for a job well done. She doted on our littlest boy and treated him like the smartest child in the world. She loved my girls and always showed an interest in them and enthusiasm in their interests. She always had a kind word for me, always praised me for my strengths and seemed somehow to lift me up and make me smile no matter the circumstances. I guess she trusted Jonathan to work on my weaknesses because I certainly never heard about them from her!

John 13:35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.

Oh, how I loved her sweet memories of her husband! Shortly after we moved here she said something that has stuck with me for 12 years. She was just making a comment, yet it was poignant and beautiful and, as she has gone to her reward, I rejoice! She spoke a little bit about her husband of 52 years, who had died many years before we moved here, and then said this: “Horace was such a good man and I loved him. We had our moments but he was a good husband and father. When we were first married, I prayed that he’d live for us to start a family. When we had babies, I prayed that he’d live long enough to raise them. When they were grown, I prayed that he’d live to see our grandchildren. The fact was I was never ready to let him go! I never stopped praying for him to stay. Still, I’ve been a widow for over ten years and I’ve done okay!” Oh, how I could relate to that! What wife couldn’t? We all pray for our husbands to make this journey with us! Still, Sara had said goodbye to Horace and made it her goal to live in such a way that she would meet him again.

Mark 10:6-9 But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.

Oh, how she made me smile and laugh! I love remembering some of these things she said, but what I love even more is remembering her smile and her laugh. They were absolutely contagious. She told hilarious stories and laughed with abandon. She loved babies and littles and teens and adults – I never felt a generation gap that is often so evident with others. She was reverent and respectful and ornery and fun – what a mix! She knew what she liked and what she didn’t like and she wasn’t afraid to say it. She was known to be frank and apologize later — just in case she’d offended someone!

Proverbs 17:22 A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

Oh, how I loved her faith! As she aged, she was challenged with several significant illnesses. One time, as I told her that I’d pray for her during a particular surgery, she said, “Oh, honey, thank you! It’ll be fine either way!” I have thought of that over and over when godly people face challenges. It’s so true. We spend so much time worrying and yet, with God at the helm, it truly will be fine either way…more than fine!

Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Oh, how I loved her tender heart! When our mutual friend was diagnosed with terminal cancer in her early fifties, Sara and I were talking about her plans to go live with her cousin across the country. Sara lamented, “I sure would take that for her if I could. She’s such a young little thing.”

I John 3:13 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.

Oh, how I loved her strength! Perhaps what drew us together was the similarity in our personalities—she was a headstrong woman with strong opinions – somehow that tied strings between us! Isn’t it sad though, how often women with strong personalities really struggle to get along? I have just begun to ask myself this week how it is possible that all these years, with all the strong convictions we both have and with all the discussions we had…that I never ever felt disapproved of or judged by this older woman?

Proverbs 31:25 Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.

Oh, how I loved how she made me feel! I felt loved. I felt honored. I felt encouraged. I felt appreciated. I felt approval. I felt validated. This seems like it’s all about me, doesn’t it? Can you really see what I’m saying here? It was all about Sara and how she treated me and how she loved all of us. An older woman has the power to lift up the younger women or to discourage them. Sara lifted me up!

1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

Oh, how I’ll miss her. Forget all black. Sara loved when I brightened my wardrobe…she always loved my choices…sparkles and all. She giggled when she wore flowy or sparkly things and said that Horace would’ve much preferred the straight skirts and jackets. She always commented on our girls’ modesty and femininity.

When we laid her shell to rest, I wore gold for Sara! I will remember her when I wear my gold skirt—how she sparkled her way through life! I don’t know exactly what happens in paradise…but I know Sara is rejoicing and praising God in the presence of angels and her beloved Horace! What a sweet reunion!

Revelation 21:4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.

As he spoke at her funeral, Jonathan had some messages for us, directly from Sara (of course she knew *exactly* what she wanted said and done!)…she told her best friend Georgie, “Georgie, don’t cry. Don’t get down!”

Guess what she said to the rest of us? “Have a good life. I did!” God is so good to bless us with beautiful people on our journey! Life is beautiful and I’m going to have a good one!

Ecclesiastes 9:9  Enjoy life with the wife whom you love [or husband, or as a single person], all the days of your vain life that he has given you under the sun, because that is your portion in life and in your toil at which you toil under the sun.




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One Response
  1. GCW says:

    This is beautiful, Sally. I hope I will be remembered as someone’s Sara one day. This motivates me to try to grow to that!

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