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Little old church ladies

It is easy to think we humble ourselves before God:
humility towards men will be the only sufficient proof
that our humility before God is real.

~ Andrew Murray, Humility: The Beauty of Holiness

little-old-ladyIt was the best seat at church.
And I was in it.

It was also the most humbling seat. At our church’s Thanksgiving lunch yesterday, I got to sit at the table with some of the most precious Christian sisters around.

Average age: 80 years old
Combined wisdom: 400+ years

They’ve lived and learned and loved for many years. They know who God is and what He can do and how sweet it is to love Him.

They have stories to tell. And compliments to give. And if I ask (and I do!), they have advice to share. As I was helping Mrs. W carry extra plates to her car (she was taking them to her invalid friend who is younger than she), she hugged me hard, held my hands, and talked to me about losing parents.

While these ladies may speak quietly and move slowly and often feel poorly on the outside, they have a beauty and richness and vibrancy on the inside that we younger ones need to humble ourselves to and soak in.

Concentrating less on ourselves and more on others is not only how we humble ourselves before man, but also how we humble ourselves before God.

Yes, you may have to listen a little harder when the older ladies are talking, and talk a little louder when they’re listening, but these sisters are a blessing you can’t afford to miss. 

You shall stand up before the gray head
and honor the face of an old man,
and you shall fear your God: I am the LORD.
Leviticus 19:32

* * *

Who is an older person in your life that you’re learning from?



aspiritofsimplicity said...

I love the old Christian ladies. So much wisdom and mostly, so much sweetness. I always think of the character of Grandma Walton.

Dorothy said...

Oh, Lisa, I join you in heartfelt thanksgiving for our sweet, elderly sisters in Christ. What a blessing they are and I'm so glad you get to enjoy their fellowship!

Barbara H. said...

What a sweet time!

I used to read a lot of Murray in college. Thanks for this convicting thought about humility.

Stephani Cochran said...

I need to remember this as I help mom and dad. Instead of seeing all that's wrong I need to see the wealth before me displayed in their lives. I forget sometimes that they are not their illnesses, they are godly people who happen to be ill.

bekahcubed said...

That is a wonderful thought about humility--and a wonderful opportunity you had to sit with the little old church ladies.

I appreciate the distinction you make regarding focus and humility. It's when I take my eyes off myself that I walk in humility. Unfortunately, I like my own looks way too often! (Lord, help me)

Carrie said...


I was thinking when I was at church yesterday that the most interesting people, the ones that attract me are the older Christian women. The kind who have lived life and proven their faith. THe kind that stop and WANT to listen to you talk and would love for you to listen as well. What beautiful models they are to me and I am so glad to be surrounded by some of them!

Nikole Hahn said...

Young and old have much to share with each other creating a nice balance, continually to challenge one another, and yet too often a divide seperates us. If we don't come together the wisdom our grandparents could give us and the future of our country could slowly fade and become brittle like an old photograph exposed to too much light.

Lisa notes... said...

I knew I wouldn’t be alone in my love for these sweet older ladies. :-) They must be the same everywhere. Will I be one of them someday? I pray I won’t be one of the grouchy, complaining kinds instead. ha.

I think this is my first Murray book. His style is easier to read than I expected from that time period.

A great perspective: see the wealth. I pray that as you help your parents move, you’ll see long into the years ago of who they once were for you, and far into the years ahead of who they will be again when they are once more made whole. May that make the now easier. Know that I’ll be praying for you often as help them transition to a new home.

Lisa notes... said...

I think that’s where many of us get tangled up: looking at ourselves, whether we like our looks or are appalled by them. Either way can make us focus on ME instead of others. I’ve always liked the quote that humility is not thinking less of ourselves but thinking of ourselves less. I hope to focus more on humility in 2011 so if you know of any good books, please send the titles my way. Aside from Murray’s book, I keep hearing about C. J. Mahaney’s book, “Humility.”

Isn’t it amazing how interesting their lives have been? There are so many layers and facts that most people don’t even know about most older folks. Sometimes when I see an older person all I see are wrinkles and ailments, and not all the years of life experiences that brought them to that point. But then when they start talking, and when I start listening (!), I learn so many interesting things. I’m glad you’re getting your fair share of beautiful models, too.

Something that bothers me is how so many grandchildren have such limited access to grandparents (and vice versa) because it’s so easy to move far away. I missed so much by not living close to my own grandparents, and learning at a younger age how to really bridge that divide. Thankfully my own kids have grown up in a more fluid environment of being exposed to people of all ages all the time.

Dianna said...

Lisa, what a special special post this is. My eyes are still moist with tears. I am blessed to have one such lady in our church...90+ years she is, but, oh, the wisdom I'm gleaning from her! And from my 80+ mother I'm learning the importance of genuinely listening to what she has to say...regardless of how many times she's told me before. I'm memorizing her voice and listening to her heart.

You are a treasure, dear one.

Lisa notes... said...

We have a sweet little lady at our church that just turned 99. I can’t even imagine. What a wonderful daughter you are to listen to your mom, even when she’s repeating. This really touched me: “Memorizing her voice and listening to her heart” – you should write a blog post about that…

Persis said...

We have quite a number of older sisters in the church who I dearly love. We have had a few times where they were able to share their testimonies with the younger women, and it has been a blessing.

Anonymous said...

This is very sweet Lisa. How wonderful that you have women 80+ that can still be active in your congregation. I have a new friend in our church I'm looking forward to getting to know. She's in her 70's, has stage 3 cancer, is bald from chemo, and insists that her cancer is a blessing because she uses it to witness to all the medical people caring for her!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!


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