Last week my 98 year old aunt went home to be with Jesus. In 3 weeks she would have been 99. My last visit with her a month ago was as always a time of inspiration and encouragement. She was blessed to have good health and was very mentally alert until the end.
My uncle who is her late husband was my dad’s youngest brother. He was a Baptist preacher. In his early years he would preach at several churches rotating the Sundays for each church family. My sweet aunt was a very committed and devoted preacher’s wife. She was a model for her children, nephews, nieces, young people, wives, mothers, grandmothers and lots of others.
She was always an encouragement to me in ministry. At each visit she would ask about the ministry and how things were going. She loved Jesus and demonstrated that love by her desire for everyone to have a relationship with Him.
I remember with fondness so many visits with Aunt Julia and her family at our home in Ruskin. Her husband, my Uncle E.E, would always come to the house during his vacation to spend time with my dad so they could try to empty Tampa Bay and all surrounding waters of all the fish that were good to fry. He too was one who recognized the blessing of a good wife and treated her as “Queen” of his household.
So often we forget that each individual will leave a legacy. Do we take time to make a genuine personal inventory to reflect on the legacy we may leave? In my lifetime I have made many mistakes. I have suffered many consequences of bad choices. However, by the grace of God and the influence of so many people in my life I have made some good choices in the last year that I am trusting will result in some positive attributes in the legacy I may leave.
My Aunt Julia and Uncle E. E. walked with me through some very difficult times. They never condemned me or ostracized me. Each visit with them was a time of encouragement as they demonstrated unconditional love and forgiveness for past wrongs.
I was most encouraged this past Saturday as a result of 37 people meeting in a local restaurant to be part of a surprise early birthday party for me. Several folks wrote down some words describing some fond memories of their association with me. I was humbled when mention was made of my compassion and caring for the hurting and wounded.
I cannot take credit for any positive remarks. It was God taking the mess I made and through His RESTORATION and GRACE giving me a message to share with others. I was in the ditch and a good Samaritan found me and ministered to me. A number of good Samaritans, including my very special Aunt Julia, assisted me and was used by God to acquire recovery and restoration. It is a joy to be able as the director of Christian 12 Step to play and pay it forward.
Every day God provides me with opportunities to share with others His unconditional and restoring love. God is so good!!!