5 Ways to Honor the Life of Vonette Bright

It's been a week since my friend and mentor Vonette Bright graduated to her new home with the Lord.  I've done a lot of reflecting on what I've learned from her, what her life has meant to me and many others.  As I've thought of ways to honor her life and memory, God has given me at least these five, though more to be sure.  Perhaps one or more of these ideas will resonate with you.

Bill and Vonette at Forest Home in 1946–deciding that God had called them to each other.

Bill and Vonette at Forest Home in 1946–deciding that God had called them to each other.


Because I have had the privilege of knowing Vonette Bright for many years, people often ask me what she was like. How did she impact others? What were her primary contributions to the ministry? How did she influence my life?

Implied in these inquiries are these questions: What can I learn from her? How might my life be different because of her life?

Answering those questions ultimately leads to seeing how I might learn and grow from observing her life—and thus how I could honor her in truly meaningful ways.

Vonette consistently lived these five values. Her life continues to motivate me, and I hope I can honor her as I embrace these priorities of hers.Five ways I can emulate and honor my friend:

With prayer

Vonette was a prayer warrior. She prayed, and she invited every child of God to pray.  I know she prayed for me and my family, and for our broader Cru family--and for you, directly or indirectly.

Gratefully God has also called me to pray. Of course I can pray for her family in this time of loss, for all our staff and partners, as she did faithfully. She prayed for this nation she loved and for the world, and so can I. Vonette wanted every person on earth to have an opportunity to meet Jesus, for them to become true followers and multiplying disciples. We can join her in that prayer.

With generosity

Bill and Vonette Bright were extremely generous people. Many times I saw them give to individual needs, to ministry needs, to staff and their children. I experienced her generosity many times, so I think she is pleased when I have a generous spirit.

She would also be thrilled for each of us to give to the Kingdom. We can give to the Bright Memorial Fund to help spread the gospel to the world.  Or give to a church we attend, to a ministry we care about, to a need we know of. We can help to expand the gospel reach and to extend compassionate, loving hands.

With family

She loved her family and made them a significant priority in her life. As Zach and Brad were growing up, she made every effort to include them in the ministry. She always honored her mother and father, as well as her sister and brothers. She extended that love to the families of our ministry all the time.She believed God’s children should love and serve their families, telling them about Jesus, including them in ministry life. Modeling and teaching what it means to walk in the Spirit was a lifetime endeavor. She would be honored as we engage well with our families.

With my voice

Vonette had opinions and was willing to speak them. She was discerning and wise—and gracious. I, among many, received encouraging and/or instructive words from her often.  She desired for all of the staff to represent the Lord and the ministry well.

She was quick to speak love to a person in need, to share Jesus with anyone who was open. And she was always an advocate for our staff women. She believed God intended women to play a significant role in reaching the world for Christ, and she frequently reminded ministry leaders of that.

So I seek to speak up as Vonette did. First, to tell people—everyone I can—that God loves them, that Jesus died for them, that the Spirit will give them encouragement, comfort, wisdom and the power to do whatever God asks them to do. I tell my story—what God has done in my life. I have been bold to proclaim the passions God has placed in me. I, too, speak up for the needs of women in our ministry, reminding our leaders that women play a needful and unique role in fulfilling the Great Commission.

You can speak up by telling the rest of us what kind of impact Vonette had on your life by clicking here.

With my life

Early in their married life Bill and Vonette signed a contract giving everything they had, were and would ever be to God. I believe she would be honored if each of us would surrender all we have, are and ever hope to be to the Lord.

She would assure us she had no regrets, and even now invites each of us to relinquish our lives into the hands of such a loving God. To let him guide us into His plans for our lives, to the good works He has prepared for you and for me. She would surely say, in the wonderful times and the challenging times, in the great victories and in the disappointing losses, it was the best decision she ever made.

So I join Vonette in inviting you to give all you have and all you are and all you ever will be or have or do to this God who loves you so much He sent His son to die for you. Hold nothing back—you will have no regrets and God will be pleased.

And I believe Vonette will be honored.What about you? How does her life motivate you?

C2015 Judy Douglass 

You can learn more about Vonette and the memorial service planned for her here.

Other articles I have written about Vonette Bright:

Kingdom Women: Vonette Bright—Her Surprising Path

Vonette Bright: A Lament, with Joy