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  • Writer's pictureSharon

My Spiritual Mother


For 30 years, JoAnne has been my mentor, counselor, prayer warrior, and friend.  She has prayed me through the darkest days of my life.  She has challenged me to walk out my faith.  She has cried with me.  She has rejoiced with me.  And she has always, always, always given God the glory in all things and at all times.


This week she celebrates her 91st birthday.   As my spiritual mother and friend, JoAnne has taught me so very much.  Some of those lessons — and her familiar sayings — include:


  • Hospitality is a gift to others.  The little things, like pretty table settings at the dinner make guests feel special.  And JoAnne loves to make guests feel special.  Really special.

  • To properly execute the gift of hospitality, one can never have too many sets of dishes or table linens.

  • You're never too old to be called out.  Just ask my friend who, in her 60s, was chewing gum in the worship center. There are some things you just don't do in the church house.  JoAnne has called me out when my attitude needed a course correction when I was in my 30s, 40s, and 50s.  I must have learned well because, so far in my 60s, I've haven't been called out... yet.

  • "We're not going there."  JoAnne allows you to vent about something once or twice, but if you haven't done anything proactively to change the situation and, most importantly, haven't stopped to seek God about changing YOU and your attitude, then those four words — always said lovingly — will bring your one-sided rant to a screeching halt mid-sentence.  Rant over.

  • "Well, now." Usually means something you said isn't sitting right with her and that, while she has something to say about it, she is listening for the Holy Spirit to give her clarity and permission to speak. It is also sometimes used interchangeable with "hmm."  And during those moments of silence, you will often conclude for yourself that "we're not going there."

  • Listen more than you talk.

  • You don't have to tell everyone what you know.  In other words, be selective with whom you share your precious thoughts and feelings.  Not everyone can be trusted.  Some people are spiteful.  Some will trample your pearls.  Others will try to blow out your candle so theirs will shine brighter.

  • "Quiet your mind."  Stop the complaining, whining and negative talk.  Block out the external noise and useless chatter.  Listen for the still small voice of the Lord.

  • Never — ever — betray a confidence.

  • Time with a friend is time well spent.  Make friend-time a priority.

  • If someone keeps coming to mind, pick up the phone and call them.

  • Everyone likes getting cards in the mail.  Snail-mail cards bring words of encouragement that can be read and re-read, which means they bring encouragement countless times!

  • "God is SOOOOOO good."  All the time.  In the valley.  On the mountaintop.  JoAnne has experienced it all and testifies and lives this Truth.   

  • "Tell me what's going on." It doesn't mean JoAnne's looking for gossip, she wants to know what's going on in your life and in the lives of mutual friends.  And she wants to know for one specific reason:  so she can pray.

  • Don't just tell someone you'll pray for them, stop and pray WITH them.  Right then.  Right there. Without excuse. Without hesitation.  Without embarrassment.  We should never be too busy to pause and take care of kingdom work — to appeal to the only One who can change the situation, or change us.

  • "Go into your watchtower and wait and see what God is going to do, because it's going to be good.  Real good!"   Which means JoAnne has heard your story and she's prayed with you about it.  Now, the ball is in your court to take action: to climb into your watchtower  wait and watch to see what God is going to do.  In the wait, I have work to do: I'm to pray without ceasing, seek truth in God's word, be still and listen for His voice — no matter how long the wait lasts.  In His perfect timing, God WILL answer.  His answer is always better than we can ask or think, for our good and for His glory.  His answer is always "reallll gooood!"


JoAnne's example and influence has radically changed my life.  When I first met her, my husband had just left me and I was a hopeless mess. She poured into me, prayed with me, and demonstrated how to walk through a hard time in a Christ-like manner.   She consistently lives her faith, never wavering from Christ's teachings.  She has lavished me with love.  She loves big.  She is generous, faithful and loyal.  And she always speaks the Truth in love.   


At 91, while she has slowed down physically, she is still going strong spiritually, sharing the gospel, praying for others and loving big.


I want to be just like JoAnne.


Happy birthday, dear JoAnne!


Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.

Colossians 2:6-7 (ESV)



  


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