Saturday, July 24, 2010

Sweet Williamine

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!

At the same time, my heart aches for her beloved daughter, Alice. Even though Alice knows their parting is temporary and that her mother is in a much better place, she is going to miss her dearly. Please keep Alice in your prayers as I am as well.

As I have thought about Williamine so much the last couple of days, and have reflected on the life she lived, I feel challenged. I want to be remembered like Williamine will be remembered. I don’t want to just live my life being a “good person” who did “nice things” for people. That’s all good, but way more than that I want to be a woman who is remembered for the way she served the Lord…living out His message in daily life, in big and small ways. To be called a godly, Christian woman! To never quit looking for new opportunities to serve others in Christ’s love, no matter where I am in life, no matter how old or young, well or ill, able or unable. To remind others of how good He is, being content, even while going through tough life circumstances. To share life giving words with others, not just tickling their ears, but for God’s words to fill my lips. To inspire others to seek Him more, always! To teach others by example!

Williamine was a Titus 2 woman…
“…teach the older women to live in a way that honors God…The older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good…” Titus 2:3-5

I want to be a Titus 2 woman as well! I’m thankful that Williamine lived this out for me to see, teaching me in word AND deed! I bet she has the most beautiful crown!!

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!


  1. Rachel, I just wanted to let you know how your words have spoken directly to me tonight... you have put said exactly what I have been thinking the past few days, but haven't been able to put into words. Williamine was such a wonderful example to us all and I also get teary eyed just thinking about how much we are going to miss her contagious smile and encouraging words. And as I look back on the past few years that I have gotten to know Williamine, I regret not taking more time to learn from her years of wisdom and experience. Thank you so much Rachel for sharing this with us and for your challenge for us to strive to become Titus 2 women and to live our lives as Williamine did every day!

  2. Your kind words have somehow made it easier to bear that I have lost my greatest prayer warrior. In going through Mom's things to clear out the apartment, I found several cards that you and Janet Tonjes had sent that she kept and I'm sure referred to often. You have a way with words, Rachel, and I'm am so grateful to the Lord for your encouragement. I think you have a good start on the Titus 2 woman!!


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