Celebrating Mama Jewell

We celebrated the life of Mama Jewell Saturday.Mama Jewell was 92.She was blind, with all sorts of failing body parts.But oh how she was loved.I didn’t know Mama Jewell well, but I knew her daughter, Judy, who is a beautiful--in every way--woman.What a celebration it was!  At least 14—men and women, young and old--had stories to tell of her impact on them.  Plus the pastor, and Judy and her husband, Bart.Personally, I was amazed, encouraged, amused and convicted.Convicted?  Yes by a number of things.  Let me share just 3.

She Encouraged People

Everyone related how Mama Jewell encouraged them.  She knew them.  She recognized voices.  She asked about them.  She listened to them.  She spoke love and God’s Word to them.I think my primary gift and calling is to encourage people.  And I do that.  But somehow I don’t think it is always on such a personal, attentive level.So Lord, may I truly speak and write my encouraging words from a genuine heart of care and compassion.

She Was Joyful

Mama Jewell was always joyful.  She never complained.  Everyone said so.  Did she have reason to complain?  Oh yes, more than most of us.  Basically blind for many years, she was always dependent on people.  She was in and out of the hospital, often in pain.  The closest she came to complaining?  “My Judy is just too good to me.”I’m an editor.  I’m pretty good at seeing what’s wrong with writing and making it better.  Unfortunately I often apply my editing skills in other arenas.  It’s so easy to see what is wrong, who should change, what really needs some work.  And I don’t always keep my edits to myself.So Lord, would you turn my edits, my corrections, my negative thoughts, into joy and gratitude.  May I dwell in the good and beauty you have given.

Her Language Was Praise

Look at the pictures of Mama Jewell.  In every one her hands are raised in praise to God.  This was her normal response to anything and everything.  She saw God in big and little circumstances.  She applied the Word in all things.  And she praised the Lord always.I usually get around to thanking and praising in the circumstances of my life.  But usually I have a little conversation with God first, pointing out what is not okay, suggesting a new approach, sharing my ideas.  Then praise.Lord, may my first response increasingly be:  Thank You, Lord.  Praise You, Lord!Someday, when my friends and family celebrate my life, may encouragement, joy and praise cause each one to lift their arms to our Lord.