Do you ever think about what your obituary will say? I do – I don’t know why things like that even cross my mind. I am such a terrible driver – the Lord has truly driven my car over 100,000 miles, I’m sure! Sometimes I don’t even know how I get to places, can’t remember a thing about it! I have these nightmares where the paper says “Local woman killed while trying to slap children in back seat,” or “Local woman crosses center line into path of semi while trying to reach M&M she dropped.” I have prayed many a time that if I ever have a wreck doing one of my stupid things like that that God will only take me and spare the innocent.
I used to say my tombstone would say “I told you I was sick” as no one ever believes a mother or wife when they say they’re sick – you just have to keep on doing whatever you’re responsible to do. Now, a man that is sick, totally different story! Tom and I went to Key West several years ago and took this conch train tour that goes around Key West and tells you the history of the city and things like that, and it was really interesting. One of the neatest things was this old cemetery that had the most bizarre things on the tombstones, one of which was “At least I know where he lies tonight.” I got the biggest kick out of it. Since then, I’ve found some other bizarre ones: “Here lies Curious Fred, slipped with the blender, now he’s dead.” “Here lies an atheist, all dressed up and nowhere to go.” “When they say not to check for gas leaks with a match, they really mean it.” “The children of Israel wanted bread, and the Lord sent them manna; old Clerk Wallace wanted a wife, and the devil sent him Anna.” Get the drift? These make me laugh, but they really hit straight to the heart of the fact that how we live will be remembered, that each of us leaves a legacy.
This week in my life has been one of sorrow and celebration as Jesus has come and escorted several saints home. Jaris’ Parsons Cummings mother died this week, Edwina Angus Waybright’s mother, Kim Drennen’s father and my Aunt Kay Vannest. I did not know Mrs. Parsons and Mrs. Angus that well, but the legacy they left in their children is powerful – what great people they are, raising generations that will rise up and call their mother blessed and live to serve the Lord.
My Aunt Kay was the aunt I was closest to, as she lived just out the road from us. A break from chores and a bike ride to Aunt Kay’s house was always a treat. You were always welcomed, no matter what was going on. Kay would stop what she was doing and sit down and visit, always having a story to tell or some word of encouragement. In all my days, I never heard Kay say a negative word about anyone – literally no one! I never heard her complain about a bad day at work, having a bad attitude, not liking anything! Oh, to be more like her…
She was a nurse at Jackson General Hospital after her children (Crystal Danko and Brian Vannest) were grown, and she was a light there also. You could always hear Kay welcoming someone or encouraging them while they were in the throes of an illness. She was so good to my children, always lifting them up and giving them little gifts. Even at the end when she could not speak from her throat cancer and the resultant chemo, she sent me emails that were like reading a blessing book! She shared with me stories of her younger years that I had never heard – she wanted to write a book to encourage others – she just ran out of time before she got it done.
Jarrell Snodgrass is another life that ended here on earth this week and began anew in heaven. Jarrell attended the Ripley Nazarene Church with us, and I have known him since I was 20 years old. He served on the board of the church for many, many years, and he was always the voice of wisdom, the one with the cooler head when matters got heated or problems arose. Jarrell was faithful in attendance to church – always there even though his wife was not able to come with him. He loved his children and grandchildren, and his love for them carried them through many a hard day. When trouble arose in his family, you would find him on his knees at the altar, bending low and breathing his concerns out to his Savior.
Jarrell was so in tune with the Spirit, and he was a shouter! Some of you may have never been in a church where there is shouting and loud praise, and sometimes our church wasn’t like that either, but if Jarrell got blessed (usually during particular songs), he would just all the sudden give a whoop of praise! Sometimes if you weren’t expecting it, it would make you jump, and the teenagers would begin to giggle a bit, but they quickly settled down as it was obvious that when Jarrell Snodgrass began to shout, the Holy Spirit was present in that place. You could feel it – it would raise the hair on the back of your neck. The place would begin to have that sweet holy quietness and you would begin to feel that incredible spiritual presence that cannot be explained. He would cry and hug his brothers and sisters, and there was not a more special moment to be had on this earth, than to be hugged by this Godly man and to be bathed in the Spirit of the Lord’s presence. Jarrell saw angels coming to get him, and he described them with exquisite detail, and if there is ever a man who is at the bosom of Jesus, it is this one. Oh, how I will miss him!
I wonder today – what will be your legacy? What will be my legacy? Are we breathing into people, are we constantly aware that we may be the only Jesus people ever see? Are we fixing mistakes we’ve made so that they don’t harm our witness? Are you reading these words and thinking, “I don’t even know the Lord myself – how in the world can I breathe into anyone?” If so, that is an easy fix – all you have to do is ask Him into your heart – confess your sins and ask His forgiveness. It doesn’t have to be done at church- I have friends who were saved in hay fields, in cars, at work, in their bathroom. It takes 30 seconds for you to just lay it down at Jesus’ feet and ask Him to pick it up. Your life will NEVER be the same!
I ask you today – if you were to die tonight, where would you go? Do you know? You can know. These saints have been ushered into heaven this week, and I want to join them some day – don’t you?
My name is Teresa Evans. I am a wife to Tom, a retired Circuit Judge, and I am a court reporter by trade, a mother by God's grace and a lover of Jesus Christ. I've grown up in a family blessed with many miracles, and have received multiple miracles myself.