Friday, February 24, 2012

The [Spiritually] Richest Woman I've Ever Met!

Pictured: Grace Balint, Mrs. Evelyn Green, Mary Balint
This photo was taken in 1996 at our home in Canton, GA.

This weekend is the memorial service and burial of a precious, loving woman named Mrs. (Lowell) Evelyn Green. She was 101. It will be a celebration, too, because of the amazingly powerful, Christ-centered life she lived on this earth. She is without a doubt the richest woman I've ever met! Why? Jesus made her very wealthy with His strong presence in her life. She was rich with humility and grace. She had a wealth of wisdom when she spoke. Her radiant countenance was more sparkling than diamonds. God's love gushed out of her as she constantly prayed for others.
There was an almost indescribable sweetness in our 30-year friendship. It was bathed with His love and favor. We shared so much with each other. I've seen up close what it looks like to daily be consumed by God's presence. She had a quiet spirit and a power-packed punch in her prayers. She had an intimate, faithful relationship with her Savior. She deeply, deeply loved Him and sought to honor His Name, so she was quick to repent when she was aware of her sins. She was absolutely on fire and in love with Jesus Christ!
Right now, when I think of her passing from this life to eternal life in heaven, I miss her. At the same time I deeply cherish the richness and wealth of love and wisdom she poured into my life. May God grant me the fire and passion to pass it on! I know she would like that.

(The following is a re-post from Wednesday, May 26, 2010)
Spiritual Mothering is not a new concept.
It's a Biblical principle spelled out for us in Titus 2:3-5: "Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will align the word of God."
Spiritual mothering doesn't leave anyone out, in my opinion. We all can be building God's kingdom by becoming mentor/friends to the next generation. The key is: we have to be willing! Do we care about those who are coming behind us? All of us have someone who is younger
than we are -- oh, yes we do, Sistas! -- 20-year-olds can encourage teens in the ways of the Lord, 80-year-olds can share life experiences to the middle-aged women, 12-year-old girls can make a difference in the lives of girls who are younger.
Our lifestyle is our testimony and that's what will draw a younger women to a Spiritual Mother/mentor/friend. It was almost 30 years ago when I was a new Christian and I read that "young" women should seek out an "older" woman who is a godly example and then to "get to know her and learn God's ways from her."
Mrs. Lowell Green has been that Spiritual Mother for me. (Her name is Evelyn but she always wanted to be addressed as Mrs. Lowell Green even after becoming a widow.) When I joined the church where she and Mr. Green were members I noticed immediately she was known as a prayer warrior throughout the church, she and her husband fervently prayed for missionaries and regularly participated in retreats and conferences all over the U.S. Mrs. Green was seen
and known as humble-spirited, faithful in her walk and ways, and everyone knew her and Lowell to be pillars in the faith. Actually, they were fierce prayer warriors. So I sought her out.

A very special bond quickly developed. I believe God knit our hearts together. In the early years we began to meet regularly at her home in metro Atlanta -- she was widowed by then -- and she'd
make us lunch and then we'd pray together. She'd share her heart with me and I'd share mine with her's. We'd pray for our families, friends, church, missionaries, the world, our country's leaders, you name it she wanted to cover it in prayer.
She'd often say, "The hardest thing for a Christian to do is pray!" She said that because we each have to make a sacrifice of our time and energy to pray. And, there are those distractions that come to attempt to hinder us from praying: the mind wanders, the laundry pile calls our name, the phone rings, or we say we're too tired or too busy and "I'll get back to you later, God."
Mrs. Green cared about everybody. She'd clearly remember the names of people she met on retreats and conferences and we'd pray about their calamities and celebrate their praises. People regularly approached her in person and by phone to ask her to pray for them. Over decades she has shared herself with many other mentees who desired to be close to her and they always cherished time spent with her. She made meals for friends in need. She baked a mean pound cake. She visited the sick and often when after our time together I'd drive her to visit one of her dear friends who was paralyzed from the neck down with MS. Gwen quickly became my friend, too. The woman is a Proverbs 31 woman through and through!
Mrs. Green's first answer to everything is prayer. Pray without ceasing. Trust God and pray
believing He will glorify His Name with His response. Along with carrying around a heart for God she had a dry sense of humor and a quick wit. I loved to make her laugh. When she'd get her feelings hurt by some situation she'd pray and ask God to help her push any negative thoughts out of her head. She was always quick to ask God for forgiveness in case it was 'her fault'. When we would be preparing to pray together she'd become saddened over the corruption and rebellion in the U.S. --- we've lost our first love (Christ) and thrown away our birthrights from our Founding Fathers who were Christians! She was and is grieved that the church is not shining the light of Christ and not praying, really praying on our knees daily in repentance and faith.
A few months ago, in March, I attended a small celebration of Mrs. Green's 100th birthday. Her son, David, and daughter Anna, hosted a delightful party on Peachtree Rd. in Atlanta where Mrs. Green lives in a retirement home.

At 100, Mrs. Green has dementia and does not recognize faces easily anymore. Once an avid reader, she's had to give it up. But at her birthday party she was enjoying her cake. She was on her second piece and also had some punch. Then there was another piece of cake on the table, untouched, and she was staring at it. I said, "Do you want another piece of cake?" I was
laughing because I know of her dry wit and I said, "You've had two... do you want another?" Someone at the party said, "Hey, she's 100 years old today and she's Mrs. Green and she can have anything she wants today!" We were all laughing. I pushed the plate in front of her!
Mrs. Green has always loved her sweets. Before she weakened to the state she's in now, I used to take her to one of her favorite places to eat, Chick-fil-A, to order the chicken noodle soup, crackers, and the famous lemonade. We'd refill the lemonade and take it with us so she could sip
on it all afternoon. During those lunches she kept thanking me for taking her there and said it was "so great to get outdoors again and do this with you".
She looked so beautiful on her birthday because God is living inside her and glorifying His name every day she's alive. She has often said she is longing to see the her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ face to face and is very enthusiastic at the thought of seeing 'her Lowell' again!
I can't possibly list all the ways Mrs. Green has blessed my life and the rich teachings that came from watching her persevere and live her life. She loves God with all her heart, soul, strength and mind and her neighbor as herself. I believe anyone who really knows her will tell you the same thing. I thank the Lord that He brought her into my life in such a special way! She has left a legacy for me and this is it, Sistas: our country is in trouble. There is a lot we can do. For such a time as this, is God calling you to become a Spiritual Mother/Mentor/Friend -- no matter what your age? Or are you hungry for a Spiritual Mother/Mentor and afraid to ask for a new friendship/mentor? Pray and ask God if He's speaking to you to step out. Put your foot in the water and see if God will part the sea. We can be God's lighthouses and Jesus can be the light
that shines through us to bring people to Himself and to rescue our Sistas who are struggling. We are all in this together. We are the body of Christ.
Love & blessings,

Monday, February 13, 2012

Life is Fragile. God is Not. But He's Given Us A Covering.

I believe God speaks to us all the time. He speaks through the magnificence of creation. He speaks to us when we read the Bible. He speaks through melodies of music, through our conversations, through a glance from a stranger, an eye-catching billboard and even through our thoughts. But do we hear Him?
And personally, He is speaking to me now as I am hearing more and more details of Whitney Houston's death. First of all, I am saddened to hear of her tragic death. I know she is not the only person who left this life tragically two days ago but the worldwide media made her passing known to the world.
Life really is fragile -- for all of us. God is not. He is Almighty and we need His covering. I think God is reminding us, again, -- at least those willing to listen to Him -- that He is God and we are not. We think we are invincible and sometimes might make thoughtless decisions and lustful choices. We are not invincible. We are very fragile. We have a Creator called God and we are His creatures. We were made for Him and His purposes. He made us in His love and wisdom. In our sin He gave us a Savior and His children have been washed clean by the blood of that Savior Jesus. Then He gave us rules and boundaries to keep us safe and whole and tells us to live lives that honor Him as our Creator.
"So be careful to do what the LORD your God has commanded you: do not turn aside to the right or to the left. Walk in all the way that the LORD has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess" (Deuteronomy 5:32).
When we forget God and listen to the worldly ways of living, we are no longer alert as God commands us. God warns us that life if hard and to be careful to follow His lead. "The sorrow of those increase who run after other gods" (Proverbs 16:4).
He is constantly warning us because He is gracious and merciful. He even gives us spiritual armor to protect us -- but of course we have put it on! After the detailed description in Ephesians of God's protective armor for us, the passage closes with: "With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints" (Ephesians 6:18).
We must remain alert. Daily. Why? Well, here's another warning from God that makes me shake in my boots: "So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall!" (1 Corinthians 10:12) We must remind each other to be alert and pray for each other and pray for those who don't know Him. We are the body of Christ. We must wake up, get up and get properly dressed in the full armor of God and then tell the world about the One who gives LIFE and gives it in abundance!
"Yes, LORD, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desires of our hearts" (Isaiah 26:8).
Lord, have mercy on us all. We NEED You.