If you knew Helen Chandler, you know that she boldly shared Jesus with everyone she met. She never missed an opportunity to ask someone what church they attended and happily invited them to her beloved Pine Forest Baptist Church.
If you really knew Helen, you also know she enjoyed laughing and cracking a joke every now and then. She also loved her Dallas Cowboys and could often be heard yelling at the TV while watching them play.
And if you really, really knew Helen, you know she had a stubborn streak that made her a pretty tough cookie at times.
Speaking of cookies, she loved to bake and probably gifted you with a pie or zucchini bread at some point in your life. There are probably hundreds of Vidor’s school children that used one of her chair bags. I know as she loving made each one, she prayed for the child that would receive it. She also had a powerful green thumb. She could start a thriving plant from just a clipping. Her yard was always filled with well-loved plants.
When I was thinking of what to say today, I found her prayer list in her Bible. She was a fervent and dedicated prayer warrior. She prayed for people until they left this earth. I know this because she marked through their names when they passed. The first thing on the list is my brother’s family.
Brother–I love you and I am proud of how you took responsibility and welcomed Mawmaw into your home and life for the last two years. Your place as her favorite is now eternally secure. Sister-in-law–I can’t even begin to tell you how much I appreciate every little thing and every big thing you did for Mawmaw. I know she is eternally grateful for your loving care. Nephew–Mawmaw loved you so much. She always said God had a special plan for you. Her heart’s desire was for you and your sister to come to know Jesus and live lives that honor Him. Niece–You are such a sweet and funny girl. Mawmaw kept me posted on what you did that day that made her smile. You were such a joy to her. Thank you all for the sacrifices you made to give her peace and dignity until God called her home.
Next on the list was my family. There was such comfort in knowing that my precious Grandmother talked to Jesus about me and my family everyday. The rest of the list is filled with family and friends that she loved and cherished. Many of you here today were lifted up in prayer by her daily.
During my last visit with her at the end of October, I was blessed to have some beautiful time with her. She was present in the moments we shared. We laughed and prayed together. We read the Bible and drank coffee. During breakfast one day, she said “Sister, this will be our last breakfast like this.” I asked why and she said “because the Lord is going to call me home.”
Well, He did. My rejoicing for her new home is matched with my heartache, but I know she is transformed and surrounded by a host of her loved ones and her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
When you think about Helen, let it be a reminder to pray for someone and boldly share Jesus with those around you. In closing, I’d like to read a card Mawmaw sent to me on my birthday in 2010. When I read it, I knew I would save it for today–
“Life Legacies–Thoughts for my Granddaughter on her birthday
Live deep–Never stop learning, playing or finding wonder in the world around you. Live the length of your life, but live the depth of it as well.
Travel light–There is no use in carrying around worry and regret. They only weigh you down. Always keep yourself open to hope and to love. They give us wings.
Forgive imperfections–in yourself and in others. Imperfections keep things interesting. They’re the cracks where the light shines through.
Own beautiful things–and not just to keep in the drawer, tucked away for a perfect day. Surround yourself with things that make you happy, that remind you of the beauty all around us if we only keep our eyes open to it.
Make mistakes–Follow detours. Sometimes it takes an unexpected turn to help us find the life that is waiting for us around the bend. Trust yourself and the path that is meant for you.
Take care of yourself–and sometimes that means you need the ice cream. Be good to your body, but also to your mind and spirit. You’re the only one who can.
And always, always know you are loved–you are a gift to this world and a blessing to me. And that will never change.”
Love you, Mawmaw