Our Life is Our Legacy

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A godly woman is beyond average because she keeps her word. She honors her vows. She exhibits great faith. She overcomes great obstacles. And she affects her family, her community, even the world. ~ Elizabeth George

 

Recently I sat through the most endearing, beautiful, and honoring memorial for a long-time friend, Lewis Clark, Sr. I listened with rapt attention while his sons, grandsons, friends and pastor stood and shared the life of this amazing man. All the while I struggled to make out their faces through the blur of tears. I’ve never been to a memorial as beautiful as this one.

Some of the constant themes of Lewis’s life-legacy were how he taught men to be men, how to worship, how to grow in faith, and how to love their wives. Such endearing words were spoken of him that afternoon. He would have been humbled to hear them. While I sat in the service I thought of his widow, Patsy. It occurred to me that in the same way Lewis taught men to be men, Patsy mentored women. I am grateful she is still with us and I want to take the time to share what she means to me.

I met Patsy during one of the lowest times in my life when my first husband walked out on our three-month-old daughter and me for another woman. He never looked back. The only time he saw our baby daughter was when his mother kept her and invited him to dinner. I can’t begin to express the emotional traffic jam that went on in my head. Rejection – was I not good enough for his love? Did he care what happened to our daughter? Fear – I dropped out of college to marry him. I’ve jokingly said I got a M.R.S. degree. Now it had been ripped from me. How was I supposed to support our daughter and myself? At that time there was no such thing as the Internet. To go back to college meant I had to attend classes. My parents worked and I had no money for childcare. Add to that anger and a terrible self-image.

But even worse, back in those days, as far as most Christians were concerned a divorcee was considered tainted. I felt doomed to living my life alone. Honestly, one could have received forgiveness for murder easier than divorce. Well-meaning people told me, “God will be your husband,” and “God will be a father to your daughter.” I was only twenty-one. This didn’t comfort me—at all! I needed God with skin on. Needless to say, I felt like an outcast even in the Christian community.

Until Patsy.

She created a ministry for women and invited me to join. I was so lonely and I gratefully accepted. There was no condemnation in her sweet expression. Her touch was healing. Her hand was an extension of Christ to me. She was Christ’s love with skin on.

That poor woman listened to me for countless hours as I mentally processed all that had happened to me. I always called her as the sun set because that was the loneliest time of day. I guess because it was the time my husband used to come home. She always picked up the phone. I said the same thing over and over and over and to her credit, she listened patiently. She would say to me, “Linda, you can’t unscramble eggs. Jesus knows that your heart is bowed before him.” What comfort I found in her words.

 Later, Neal Apple came into my life. He loved me with the love of Christ. He adopted my daughter and we were blessed with four more children. I continued on in the women’s group where Patsy taught the ladies how to pray, how to worship, how to be Godly women and how to love our husbands.  As time went on she saw potential in me and mentored me to teach. In fact it is Patsy who set me on the path I follow today as a speaker for an international ministry. And it is she who inspired me to be a mentor to others.
When my soul was darkest, she was a light. I did heal. I did forgive. She was Jesus with skin for me. Patsy is faithful to the legacy God entrusted to her care. Today I want to honor my dear friend while we are still on this earth together.
I love you Patsy!
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2 thoughts on “Our Life is Our Legacy

  1. Linda, this is so beautiful. I’m so happy for you. I met you only once, so far, and I felt a kinship to you in Christ’s love. So thankful for your friend who helped you when you needed support in Christian love.

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