I am honored to welcome a dear friend, Brenda Yoder of Beyond the Picket Fence Ministries, as she shares her tribute to her mother-in-law for the series Saints Among Us. Enjoy her reflections here and visit her blog, Life Beyond the Picket Fence at brendayoder.com.
When I think of a saint that’s among us, one who’s influenced my life, I think of my mother-in-law. Recently I was reminded of her quiet, powerful life when a piece of paper fell out of a devotional she gave me several years ago. On the paper the words “My Daily Prayer” was written on it. It read:
My Daily Prayer
If I can do some good today,
If I can serve along life’s way,
If I can something helpful say,
Lord, show me how.
If I can right a human wrong,
If I can help to make one strong,
If I can cheer with smile or song,
Lord, show me the how.
If I can aid one in distress,
If I can make a burden less,
If I can spread more happiness,
Lord show me how.
The significance of this prayer is that my mother-in-law lived these words. The power of who she was as a wife, mother, friend, sister, church member, is that she lived these words daily without calling significance to herself. As a farmer’s wife, she simply lived and loved well. Not only did she come along side me as a young mom, gently teaching me the ways of motherhood and housekeeping, but she came alongside many others to which she ministered. When you were with her, you felt as though time stopped, that you were the only person on the earth at that moment, even though her busy life went on around her. She lived this prayer, which made her unexpected death at age sixty-seven so painful, yet okay. She lived with no regrets — that’s the legacy she left behind.
My daughter was eight when my mother-in-law died, the seventh of twelve grandchildren who knew they had the most special place in their grandma’s heart. For a writing assignment in 4th grade, my daughter wrote:
The Person I Admire
My Grandma’s name is Lois Yoder. She would’ve been 68 years old. Her birthday is December 10, 1934. She was very kind and nice. I admire grandma for her kindness.
Many people told stories about her kindness. One story was that grandma helped a woman feel comfortable when she became English from Amish. She was kind to us grandkids by alway being “there.” She always there for me.
She was kind to animals. She raised a deer from birth. Grandma even raised a raccoon!
One gentleman from our church said, “We, on earth have lost a saint, but heaven has gained one.”
My mother-in-law died on August 17, 2000.
As Mother’s Day approaches, I’m reminded by her life that the most important things we do in life are what we do when no one’s looking, both for our family and others. It’s how my mother-in-law lived day in and day out. Perhaps she really prayed this prayer to her Lord every day.
Help me be kind. Lord, show me the way.
A simple, yet most profound statement, lived by a woman I consider a saint, exemplifying true humility and an authentic love for God.
Who shows you authentic love and kindness?