She had sparkling eyes, a warm smile and a sweet voice that I can hear to this day. For a brief season, Betty was my mentor and my friend.
In thinking of the people who have left their mark on my life over the past 60 years, Betty immediately comes to mind. She attended the little country church where I worshiped as a newlywed, and she took this young bride under her wing.
Betty had a good three decades on when me when we became friends. Her kindness drew me to her immediately. Perhaps the ease with which she showed compassion was the outcome of coping with her own slight deformity. You see, Betty had been born with a hair lip and a little scar traveled from beneath her nose to the middle of her top lip. Betty’s external flaw was barely noticeable due to the joy that radiated from within her heart.
Betty taught me so much about what is beautiful and lovely in this world. She showed me how to create a pleasant home and how to enhance my own appearance. A business woman, she humbly offered advice and encouragement as I pursued a career as a newspaper reporter. Somehow, she saw past my shyness and insecurities to nurture the woman she helped me become. And at a time when my newly-claimed Christianity was still fresh and flaming, she gave me a platform to share my faith journey with other women in our church. To this day, I credit my ability to stand in front of a group of Sisters in Christ (or any group, for that matter) to the nudge given to me by Betty.
There is a term for the kind of fellowship Betty and I enjoyed during our brief friendship: koinonia
This beautiful word is found 19 times in the Greek New Testament. Rich in meaning, it is described as sharing with one another as Christ would have. “It implies the spirit of generous sharing or the act of giving as contrasted with selfish getting. When koinonia is present, the spirit of sharing and giving becomes tangible.” (Wikipedia)
Betty shared her life with me, giving generously and freely of herself. As a Daughter of the King, she took seriously the command found 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 urge 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 malign the word of God.”
Betty inspired me to live as a Titus woman, and to share koinonia fellowship with the young women God has placed in my life. Walking forward into my seventh decade, I’m finally comfortable with the role of mentor and “sage”. I love looking into the heart of a woman and searching out her giftedness. I am honored when she looks to me for counsel or advice. Praying for her home and her family is a privilege I take seriously, and celebrating the love of Christ with her is a joy.
As life swept us along, Betty and I lost touch with one another, and now she is with the other Saints in heaven. But the touch Betty had on my life remains. I believe all women need a “Betty” in their lives.
Has someone touched your life in a way that forever changed you? Several of my friends have agreed to share their “Betty” relationships over the coming weeks. I’m calling these posts “Saints Among Us” because Scripture tells us that the saints stand about us as “a great cloud of witnesses.” They cheer us on and urge us forward, always surrounding us with their prayers.
You can honor the “saints” in your life here, or if you are a blogger and want to do the honor on your own blog, please link up with us here so that we may celebrate with you. You are welcomed to snag the icon at the top of my blog to link to us here.
Next week, my friend and fellow writer Monica Clark shares her memories of a teacher who showed her how to make learning a lifestyle.