Yesterday I took the thanksgiving and funeral service for the oldest person in our church in Cirencester. Blanche Harrison was just shy of her 101st birthday when she died. She could never physically get to our services in Coxwell Street, but every week would listen to the recordings of the service and daily pray for the church, her family and everyone she met.
Taking Blanche’s funeral was surprisingly easy, as she was a lady of such faith and warmth. This was so apparent from everyone that I spoke to. She was a wonderful example of a Christian who radiated warmth, love, patience and kindness (we don’t all manage this quite so well). The staff in the nursing home where she lived for the last 4 years of her life wrote a letter when she died:
“We will so miss our lively conversations with her and especially all the laughter. She had such a positive outlook on life that we could all learn from. …… She brought great joy into our lives and was a true inspiration.”
If only people could say the same about me!
She had been a committed Christian for most of her life – and this lay at the heart of who she was. When her husband died nearly 25 years ago, she wrote about what it meant to her to be a Christian. We read this at her funeral.
“What Difference Does my Belief Make to my Life?
First of all, we all have to have a belief in someone or something. Maybe we put our belief in and trust in our own ability. My belief is in God and His Son the Lord Jesus Christ, and a true belief brings faith in that Person. It is that faith that holds a major part in my life and helps me through every day.
All things are possible with God, after all he is my creator and knows all about me, so I can ask him for help in every way while I put my trust in him. I have proved this so much in my life, especially when I came up to difficulties, He is always there ready to guide me and lead me to the right answer, when I ask him in faith, both in times of happiness and times of sadness.
Especially so since my husband dies, when I suddenly felt very alone, without the support of my lifelong partner. But my faith in God wasstill with me, and has helped me through, giving me the courage to go on day by day. I ask him for guidance and he is always there to give it, when I put my trust in Him. He has promised in ‘His Book’ to be with me always and I can truly say my life is far happier & fulfilled having beliefe and trust in God. But my faith has to be fed and kept alive, and this I can do by reading and understanding ‘His Book’ ‘The Bible’ and worshipping with His people.
One verse I love is Proverbs 3:5 which reads “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and he will direct your paths.”
Life is so much easier for me knowing I have a reservoir of blessings available through putting my trust in God. But my prayers are not all answered just as I want them, because God knows what is best fdor me. So I have to wait, but looking back I can see how he has ‘directed my path’ and continue to thank him for his daily care.
So simple, and so profound.
One of Blanche’s most common phrases was “Just take one day at a time”. She said it again and again to family and friends. This was based in a simple trust in God for today – and not knowing what would happen tomorrow. On the wall in her home was a poem that summed this up so well:
“Lord help me to live one day at a time.
Not to be thinking of what might have been and not worrying about what may be.
Help me to accept the fact that I cannot undo the past and I cannot see the future.
But even as I think of this and even as I face today, help me always to remember that I will enever be tried beyond what I can bear, that I cannot drift beyond your love and care.
Help me Lord to live one day at a time.”
Blanche has gone on to be “with the Lord”. Our challenge and encouragement is to emulate her faith, love, patience and joy. Help me Lord!