Monday, March 13, 2006

Women of Valor

Happy Monday the 13th! For all you Garfield fans out there you will know that Monday the 13th was the worst possible day for the Fat Cat and I usually get a kick out of seeing this particular date pop up every now and then. Today, though, my mind is not dwelling on an imaginary orange cat, but rather on three rather extraordinary women. Now I’m sure you are wondering, “What woman could possible take the place of Garfield in anyone’s mind?” Good question. You see, March 13th was my Grandma Ben-Ezra’s birthday and thinking about her put me in mind of two other rather spectacular women who have all gone on to their reward. I thought I’d honor these three woman in one blog post.

“She girds herself with strength,
And strengthens her arms.” Proverbs 31:17

Eloise Ben-Ezra, my dad’s mom, died several years ago, but no matter how long ago she died it would be impossible for anyone who had known her to ever forget her. “Flamboyant” was a word that was often used to describe her. She was also one on the strongest women I have ever know. She had a will of iron and a heart of steel and was full of the grace of God. I remember borrowing her Bible one time and seeing all the different notes she had written next to various verses and I remember thinking, “Wow, my grandma really loves God. I want to be like her when I get bigger.” Even when she was dying of cancer, Grandma trusted her Father to carry her through. She fought long and hard in this life and she had, by God’s grace, the strength to fight well.

“She extends her hand to the poor,
Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy.” Proverbs 31:20

Edna Tanner lived across the street from my family when I was growing up. She died a few years ago in a nursing home. The thing that Mrs. Tanner will forever be remembered for in my family, was her doughnuts. She had worked at Mighty Fine Doughnuts and she would bring home the day-old doughnuts that couldn’t be sold. My siblings and I always enjoyed disposing of those doughnuts. Mrs. Tanner was in her eighties and she lived alone so we took care of her as much as we could. We’d rake leaves and shovel her driveway and she would give us doughnuts. It was a pretty fair trade, all in all. But the thing that made Mrs. Tanner special wasn’t doughnuts, but her love of God and her eagerness to see His face. She used to say that whenever God called her Home that was okay with her. So maybe giving doughnuts away wasn’t helping out the needy like the Proverbs 31verse says, but she gave us so much more than that in her example and believe me, we needed it.

“She seeks wool and flax,
And willingly works with her hands.” Proverbs 31:13

Linda Ben-Ezra, my mom, died suddenly just a few years ago. If anyone was willing to work with her hands it was my mom. In fact, her hands hardly ever stopped working! She was always busy with some project or other and whether it was working in her garden, sewing adorable clothes for her grandkids or traipsing through weeds by the side of the road collecting cattails to make dried arrangements with, she was bringing beauty to the lives of those around her and giving us an example of how creative our Creator is. My mom was the single most influential woman in my life. Without her I would never have learned that I am a daughter of the King.

By His grace, God used each of these women to teach me more about Him and to bring me closer to Him. He has blessed me more than I can say because of them.
Ladies, enjoy your rest now- you’ve earned it.

“These are they who have contended
For their Saviour’s honor long,
Wrestling on till life was ended,
Foll’wing not the sinful throng;
These, who well the fight sustained,
Triumph through the Lamb have gained.”

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