Thursday, December 11, 2014

“I Pray For You Everyday”

(Friends: the following is a eulogy I delivered yesterday for a dear aunt who went to be with the Lord this past Friday).

"I Pray For You Everyday"

    Good afternoon.  It is a great honor to be here today, and I want to thank Sue and Alan for allowing me to share a few words about the blessing their mother and my aunt was and is to me.

    I have spoken in thousands of services over the years, but there are three I cherish the most.  This service is one of them.  The others are the homegoing services for my Uncle Arthur, Aunt Margaret's husband, and my Uncle Truman, my Aunt Nita's husband.  It humbles me beyond measure to have been given these privileges, and I am grateful to God and to our family for allowing me to share my heart in these three most special services.

    I cannot believe it to be coincidence that Margaret Miller, my aunt, and her mother Emmie Davis, my grandmother, went to be with the Lord they trusted on the same day of the year.  December 5, 1971 for my grandmother, and December 5, 2014 for my Aunt Margaret.  It certainly isn't coincidental in my heart because these two women played such a role in my life, and bear for me such a legacy of God's grace.

   That my grandmother and her daughter, my Aunt Margaret, departed from this life on the same day seems to grant a bit of liberty to say a few words about my grandmother.  Perhaps the best way I can express the impact of Emmie Davis upon my life is that when I went looking for a wife, without knowing it, I went looking for a woman like my grandmother.  And I found her!  My grandmother Davis was strong, smart, straightforward and forthright, and she imprinted her heart, character and way upon everyone who knew her well.  Most of all, she trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ, and I have no doubt that her influence had much to do with my becoming a believer when I was 18.  

   I must also add that my grandmother so blessed me that my youngest daughter Emmie bears her name.  Aunt Margaret's mother, my grandmother - I am grateful for her ongoing legacy in my heart and life.  And allow me to be bold enough to suggest that if Grandma were here today, she'd tell all our family in her straightforward and forthright way to "Trust in the Lord Jesus with all your heart, and with every fiber of your being!  And sit up straight and behave yourselves!  Yes ma'am!  I am so grateful for my Aunt Margaret's mother.   

    And I am grateful for her daughters, my Aunt Margaret and my Aunt Nita.  When their brother, my father, died so very early in my life, my aunts determined to have a role in my life for which I give much thanksgiving.  Their caring, their generosity, and their love were and are gifts to me for which I can never give enough thanks.  Of course, I can no longer look into my Aunt Margaret's eyes in this lifetime to express my gratitude.  But I am so glad that I can look into the eyes of my Aunt Nita today and say, "Thank you".

    Like her mother, Aunt Margaret will always bear a rich legacy in my heart.  When I think of her, I think first of her faith in the Lord Jesus, which I will address more in a moment.  I also ponder her abundant kindness and generosity,  her sense of personal responsibility, her house in which no speck of dust was ever allowed, and I think of her creamed corn!

     I must inform you today that if you've never had my Aunt Margaret's creamed corn, well, you've never had creamed corn!  It was the the ideal, the shining star of the creamed corn galaxy to which all other creamed corn aspires, but to which it cannot ascend.  I will offer one possible caveat.  I don't recall ever having my Aunt Nita's creamed corn, and since she descends from the same mother who taught her daughters to cook, her's may be the only equal.  But oh, my Aunt Margaret's creamed corn!

    My wife Frances tells the story of watching Aunt Margaret make the corn one day, hoping to learn the secret of its goodness.  She did.  Aunt Margaret removed the kernels from the cobs, being sure to glean the milk of the corn.  She added a bit a salt, and then she revealed the secret.  Butter.  Massive, copious quantities of God's great culinary gift to the world.  Frances says that she expected Aunt Margaret to cut a few generous portions from the pound or so of butter she had on the counter (or was it two?).  But oh no.  It all went into the mix, the glorious concoction!  Every last molecule of fat!   My Aunt Margaret's creamed corn.  I'll always remember her for it, along with countless other blessings of her cooking skill.  

   Of course, that's not the main memory I have of Aunt Margaret.  I think most of all about how much she felt her life.  That is, she cared deeply about things, and far more, about people.  She enjoyed her blessings, and was grateful for them.  But she also bore the weight of life's challenges much in heart.  The concerns, the difficulties, the sorrows, and the pains of this life were much with her, especially concerning the people she loved.  Aunt Margaret cared, and I want to tell you now how much she cared.

    A number of years ago, Frances and I visited Aunt Margaret in her home.  She asked how our family was doing, about Marie, Noah, and Emmie.  We told her they were fine, and she responded, "I'm so glad.  I pray for you all every day."

    I pray for you all every day.  May I suggest it is one thing to care deeply about things.  It is quite another to know where to take those cares, that is, to the One who can do something about them!  The Apostle Peter said it this way, Casting all your cares upon Him, for He careth for you."  My wife Frances said the other day, "You know, our family was certainly not the only ones for whom Aunt Margaret prayed every day."   I think, of course, of Sue and Alan, and your families.  As you well know, your mother prayed for you all every day.  I think of Aunt Nita and your family.  As you well know, your sister prayed for you all every day.  And many others who are here today, of family and friends, I can say without hesitation, my Aunt Margaret prayed for you every day.

    Again, it is one thing to care.  It is another to know where to take those cares, to the One who can do something about them!  Aunt Margaret knew her Lord, she knew He cared, and she cast all her cares upon Him.  I pray for you every day.   I hear the echoes of those words even now in my heart.  That's what I remember most about my Aunt Margaret, and I am oh so grateful!  

   A final thought.  When we learned that Aunt Margaret had passed from this life into the next, my grown children Marie, Noah, and Emmie, determined that nothing would keep them from attending this service.   That's what Aunt Margaret meant to not only myself, but to my entire family.  She was a treasure to us.  She is a treasure to us.

Thank you.

"Pray without ceasing."
(I Thessalonians 5:17)

Weekly Memory Verse
   "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness."
(II Timothy 3:16)

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