I want to introduce you to a very special lady. Her name is Nancy. Nancy has been an important part of our church family since it’s beginnings. She is too frail to come out on a Sunday so I went and visited her. And for good reason – this week she turned 100.
You heard right – 100 years old. Nancy has woken up to 360,000 mornings, worshipped God for near on 5000 Sundays, and of course celebrated 100 birthdays. Amazing.
“So how does it feel to be 100?” I asked.
“Tired,” she said with a wry smile, “I wouldn’t recommend it.”
She didn’t look that tired to me. In fact, compared to my teenage daughter that morning I thought she was looking pretty lively (but then again, teenagers never look that lively early in the morning).
“But I still have this” she said, tapping her forehead. “I thank God every day for a sound mind.”
Well that’s one thing she certainly does have. Nancy is sharp! She learned to use a computer and email at 90. She knew the names of my family without having met any of them. She remembered the title of the message at church last Sunday (not having attended) and keeps up with all that is going on.
All of this memory retention works for a very good purpose: Nancy is a faithful woman of prayer. As one person put it this week, “She’s not just a prayer warrior; she’s a Major General!” She’s a woman of prayer because she is a woman of great faith. She believes in a God whose arm is not too short to save and whose ear is open to his children’s cries. Nancy doesn’t hesitate to avail herself to that. We should all be very thankful for women like Nancy. For their prayers avail for you and me.
I’m always curious as to the making of such people so I asked her a bit about her story. She was born into a large family in Wakefield, Nelson in the middle of World War I. Her parents were devoted followers of Christ and their children followed in their footsteps. Nancy trained as a nurse and then served as a missionary for a few years, along with her sister and then returned to Nelson where she became deputy Matron of Nelson Hospital. This is where her testimony for Jesus shined.
You see the nursing hierarchy back in those days was not known for their – shall we say, kind and gentle spirit. They were tough ladies. They were known to give the young nursing trainees a hard time. But not Nancy. One of the nurses in our church worked under her. She said, “I only stayed because of Nancy. She kept me hanging in there.” Jesus calls his follower to let their light shine – the light of God’s patience, kindness and grace. Nancy did just that. And one woman we know is thankful to her for it.
Nancy was also instrumental in starting the Nurses Christian Fellowship in Nelson and attended gatherings of this organization overseas. When her mother became too frail to care for herself Nancy left her job to nurse her mother in her home. She did that for over 20 years. Few people would have known about this. But God knew and I’m certain he has taken note of it. Her reward will be in heaven.
In summary, Nancy is one of those under-rated Christians of enormous faith, a generous heart and a kind and gracious spirit who is content with her lot and thankful every day for small (and big) mercies. I think we can all learn from her.
Happy Birthday Nancy!
God, You have taught me from my youth,
and I still proclaim Your wonderful works.
Even when I am old and gray,
God, do not abandon me.
Then I will proclaim Your power
to another generation,
Your strength to all who are to come.
Psalm 71:17–18 (HCSB)