A dear lady friend from our church passed away on Wednesday evening. Williamine Woolworth was 97 years young.
Williamine was a woman you could always count on to share her words of wisdom and encouragement. After the service on Sunday morning she would greet me (and everyone else) with a handshake and big smile. The love of Jesus came shining through her each time our paths crossed! I often asked her how she was doing, and although I knew many days she wasn’t feeling well, she wouldn’t complain. Instead she would praise the Lord, then say something like, “Well, I’m 97 years old, you know?" :)
I met Williamine 6 years ago when I first came to this church. The more I got to know her the more I appreciated her and the godly example she set for us younger women. Although I didn't know her in her younger years, it was apparent that she had spent many years loving and serving Jesus, and that she had spent much time getting to know him personally down through the years. Her relationship with Him wasn’t just a religious routine, it was real and very personal! She had a good understanding of God’s Word…and was swift to live it out and share what she knew with anyone who would listen. Although her body had aged, her mind was sharp!
At her age, having faced a couple of big falls and some health issues, she hadn’t given up on being productive and evangelical. She was still sharing the love of Jesus with others around her. Just 2 or 3 years ago she took it upon herself to raise money for a Christian women’s organization to combat abortion (an issue she felt strongly about). She filled out and mailed little cards to several women requesting a small donation, hoping to raise just a little bit of money. She was so pleased to share with me that with my donation she had raised $100.00 to send in (a lot more than she had ever hoped for). She told me that at her age there weren’t a lot of things she could do, but that was something she could do…so she did it. Amazing! I'm sure she did many other things like this that I don't know about.
Williamine had also not become stale in her walk with the Lord. She wanted to continue to learn and grow in Him. This was apparent as she participated in women’s Sunday school. She even registered to attend Rise & Shine Women’s Retreat last year! Unfortunately, she wasn’t able to attend because she felt ill that weekend. Still, she set an example before me, reminding me that no matter what age we are, no longer how long we’ve served the Lord, we never “arrive.” We keep seeking more of Him!
Even in the last couple of months I had a few opportunities to talk with Williamine. As I said before she was such an encouragement. This was something that came naturally for her. She wasn’t a woman who “tickled your ears.” No, she was rather to the point and said what she thought, so getting a compliment from her meant a lot. A couple of times she encouraged me as a leader. Another day she encouraged me as a young mom with two small boys. Her words caught me off guard, but I stored them away in my heart. They meant so much coming from such a godly Christian lady! I felt like I was hearing the words from Jesus himself, it was Him speaking through her. These words were just what I needed at the moments she shared them.
Just a few weeks ago I found myself chatting with Williamine again after church. She told me that she didn’t know why the Lord was allowing her to continue to live. She said she didn’t know what her purpose was, but she knew that He must still have something for her to do, that He must not be done with her yet! I was (and am) thankful for the chance to tell her how I felt. I said, “I know one reason for sure, you’re such an encouragement to all of us here. Each week you come here with your big smile, words of wisdom and encouragement. Many times you have been an encouragement to me.” She thanked me with a smile on her face and a gleam in her eye (which she often had!). Then, she shared that I wasn’t the first person who had said something like that to her that day. My eyes tear up even as I write this. I'm so grateful I got the chance to tell her how special she was! What an incredible lady, still wanting to be used of God, seeking His guidance and will for her life even at the very end.
I am rejoicing that Williamine is now in the presence of Jesus, praising the very One she has been serving all these years. She’s completely whole, no pain or sorrow. Praise the Lord! I look forward to seeing her again someday!
Do you know a Titus 2 woman? If so, thank her for her influence today. Are you a Titus 2 woman yourself? Let’s strive to serve Him and others as God’s Word directs us!