I met Maxine about seven years ago at my church in California. I'm guessing she was around 80 years old at the time and was no more than 4' 10" tall. Time had taken its toll on her and she stooped over just a bit as she walked with her cane. I'll never forget the first time I met her. I was standing by my husband and visiting with friends as everyone was filing out of church and heading home for lunch. Out from the ladies room came Maxine. She looked at my husband and growled, "There's no toilet paper in the ladies bathroom" and she proceeded out the door and into the parking lot. From that day forward I was a little bit afraid of her. I remember thinking, "What a grouch"!
Some time later the teacher of the Sr. Ladies Sunday School class was no longer able to continue and I was asked if I would be willing give it a try. I was so excited to be teaching again (even if the ladies were old enough to be my Grand or Great-Grandmothers). The very first Sunday as I was greeting the ladies and telling them how excited I was to be with them, in came Maxine.
It wasn't long before I began to look beyond her sometimes gruff exterior to see a beautiful Saint of God. Maxine loved the Lord and had served him all of her life. Her life had not been an easy one. She had buried two husbands and suffered through many difficult days. One Sunday I remember as she recounted to me that every morning before she put her feet on the floor she would quote her favorite Psalm from memory - Psalm 121.
1 I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? 2 My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. 3 He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you will not slumber; 4 indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. 5 The LORD watches over you—the LORD is your shade at your right hand; 6 the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. 7 The LORD will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life; 8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.
Maxine recognized that no matter what that day would bring, God was her source of help, her source of hope and He would never let her down. She made sure to point out to me that this Psalm was full of promises from God and that we could trust in Him each and every day.
When Maxine would go to the grocery store, she would never miss an opportunity to tell someone about Jesus. If she heard about a need, she would slip a little money into an envelope and make sure it got to where it needed to go. I remember after hurricane Katrina her coming into class with a wad of cash and handing it to me. She said, "I don't know how to get the money where it needs to go, but I know you will find out". When anyone was going on a mission trip, she would bring in as many cross bookmarks as her arthritic hands could make to be given away.
Last year Maxine went home to be with the Lord. Her faith has now become sight. A blessed Saint of God who served, witnessed, shared, taught, loved, trusted and gave faithfully. I am so glad that God gave me the chance to go beyond my first impression to take a much deeper look. Each time I open my Bible and see that pink and green bookmark, I'm reminded of the legacy of faith that she has left behind.
What will be your legacy?