When everything is said and done, how do you want to be remembered? What can you do TODAY to prepare for that?
Over the weekend, I traveled to Virginia with my husband and family to attend my husband’s grandmother’s funeral. My goal was to be at his side and support him during this incredibly hard time, as his grandmother played a huge role in his life, as well as offer my condolences to the family. However, God had so much more in store for me than that. This question, how do you want to be remembered, pierced my soul during this time.
What Did Nana Leave Behind?
I got to really see first-hand what Mamie Elizabeth Lyles, aka Nana, left behind this weekend. She made such an impact in and through those she poured into. Yes, family cried and had sad moments in facing her loss, but I saw such a sense of family unity, love, and strength in the midst of this weekend’s engagements.
Family unity was huge and evident in Nana’s life. I heard many family members talk about how family was always important to her. In the expressions part of the funeral, I heard someone refer to her as the “glue” of the family. I also knew this was true because of how all the family came together in love to honor her life. Many played their part in this, whether it was the sacrifice of travel, contributing to flower arrangements, getting together to share family time in laughter and sharing old stories, or stepping out in faith to speak at her service to share who she was and what she meant to them. I recall being in the church, pulling out my notebook and writing, “Thank you Nana, for teaching me to value family, love, and to remember to leave something behind.”
Strength was also a huge attribute Nana left behind. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, strength is the quality or state of being strong: capacity for exertion or endurance (the ability to withstand hardship or adversity; especially, the ability to sustain a prolonged stressful effort or activity). An example of Nana’s strength being passed down was evident in the life of my husband, Desmond Padilla. He showed strength in the way he endured in the wait for his transplant. He fought the good fight, and got to see God’s hand over his life because of it. In spite of how sick he felt, how weak he became, he pushed and kept working, and got up every morning to worship God, ask HIM for strength, and tackled the day. I also know this by seeing how the family worked hard to make everything come together in spite of being tired, sad, and having so many other things on their plates. They showed strength in their work ethic to make sure this weekend came together smoothly and effectively.
I heard a few people share reflections as to how they remember her and what she meant to them. My husband’s reflections hit me the hardest. He said, “She was Mamie Lyles to some of you, but to me, she was my Nana!” He went on to share how she would bring him to church (give him mints so he would sit quietly), teach them the importance of being clean and organized, taught them to be strong in the face of adversity, and corrected them when they needed it. He mentioned how she was a woman of few words, but when she did speak, she spoke with wisdom and was received. All of these things I heard about Nana’s life forced me to ask myself, “How do you want to be remembered Evelyn?”
What Do I Want to Leave Behind?
In my experience this weekend with my husband’s family, I realized I wanted to leave something great behind as well. I want to leave an impact and be remembered as strong, wise, God-fearing, loving, kind, and giving. I want great memories shared about me and I how contributed here on earth. I want my next generation to be able to learn from my mistakes and grow from my teachings. I want them to know that when I’m gone they can celebrate my homecoming, for I will be home!
As I thought about God’s word, I asked myself, “What scriptures stand out to you regarding this question?” Then it hit me. When it’s all said and done, I pray that in this life, I would be a Proverbs 31 woman. The Amplified version of Proverbs 31 highlights this:
An excellent woman [one who is spiritual, capable, intelligent, and virtuous]…Her value is more precious than jewels and her worth is far above rubies or pearls. The heart of her husband trusts in her…She comforts, encourages, and does him only good and not evil all the days of her life…and works with willing hands in delight…She brings her [household’s] food… She rises also while it is still night and gives food to her household and assigns tasks…With her profits she plants fruitful vines in her vineyard. She equips herself with strength [spiritual, mental, and physical fitness for her God-given task] and makes her arms strong… her lamp does not go out, but it burns continually through the night [she is prepared for whatever lies ahead]. She stretches out her hands to the distaff…She opens and extends her hand to the poor, and she reaches out her filled hands to the needy. She does not fear…Her husband is known in the [city’s] gates. She makes [fine] linen garments and sells them… Strength and dignity are her clothing and her position is strong and secure; and she smiles at the future [knowing that she and her family are prepared]. She opens her mouth in [skillful and godly] wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue [giving counsel and instruction]. She looks well to how things go in her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed (happy, prosperous, to be admired); Her husband also, and he praises her, saying, “Many daughters have done nobly, and well [with the strength of character that is steadfast in goodness], but you excel them all.” Charm and grace are deceptive, and [superficial] beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord [reverently worshiping, obeying, serving, and trusting Him with awe-filled respect], she shall be praised. Give her of the product of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates [of the city]. #GOALS
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER
- How do I want to be remembered when it is all said and done?
- What can I do today to get myself in the right path towards the goal?
MY PRAYER FOR TODAY
Lord, I pray I would be a woman who speaks to the King in her husband and King in her sons. I pray I would be a mother who speaks to the Queen in her daughters! I pray, Lord, that I’m remembered as a virtuous, strong, and wise woman who her children will rise and call her blessed. I want to be remembered as being strong and faithful to YOU God in the face of adversity, and as one who encouraged another to believe, to press, and to never give up! I pray, oh God, that I’m remembered as one who taught the younger generation great things, that I put others ahead of myself, that I was there when I was needed, that I showed grit and grace, but most of all, that I’d be remembered as a woman who loved and believed in YOU God! Give me strength to endure to the end. Continue to speak to me and guide me, that I may fight the good fight to the end. I know you knew me before I was in my mother’s womb. I’m here with purpose and with divine intent; therefore, I ask You to help me walk in YOUR will for my life! You called me and YOU have an awesome plan for my life. Help me uncover that plan so I can continue to run this race with confidence and obedience unto YOU!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
In loving memory of Mamie Elizabeth Lyles aka NANA! You will always be loved…and remembered!