Last night, Emily and I went to the family night for our very dear old friend, Mary Hamilton.
I was “Touched By An Angel!” Gosh, I would give anything to have ONE MORE conversation with my VERY dear friend Mary Hamilton!
As you can imagine the disappointments that come with being in full time ministry… every MINISTER needs a person like Mary to COME AND BREATHE LIFE over their dry bones from time to time!
For several years… after EVERY service, Mary would walk up to the alter and WRAP HER ARMS AROUND ME! She would preach my message back to me… and tell me I was the most special person in the universe!
I remember on one very discouraging day, Mary came to me with the speech of her lifetime (at least as her lifetime intersected with mine). With a heart filled with love and passion, Mary said to me, “I can see the discouragement in your eyes Pastor Chuck… you shake that, man of God, because this earth is not good enough for you… you hear me! (Hebrews 11:38) Don’t you let anyone reduce your value! You were born to write history… and NOTHING will stop you from doing that!”
Mary’s hugs and smiles… and the way she would hold my hands for 15 minutes at a time… oh God, how will I survive the days to come without Mary Hamilton?
Even though Mary had moved on to other ASSIGNMENTS throughout the years, she was back at Destiny Family Center a few months ago… and just as surely as the sun rises… she walked up front after my message… and she grabbed my hands… and she asked me to look into her eyes… and she said, “I love you Pastor Chuck! You know Sister Mary loves ya! Don’t you ever forget what I told you years ago! You were born to write history, man of God… don’t you let ANYONE reduce your value! Shake it off… don’t get down in the mud with people who are going nowhere… keep your eyes on the prize… keep running… don’t you EVER look back… I see you in the future and it makes me LAUGH WITH JOY!”
Oh God, I will miss that amazing woman! I don’t believe I have EVER known another person to IMPACT so many lives as MARY did without a pulpit! Every minister on earth should be so PRIVILEGED to have a LEGACY like hers!
Last night at the family night, they opened up a microphone for comments… I was too MOVED by everyone else’s comments to say anything… I was speechless and dammed up with many tears… as I sat on HOLY GROUND in the presence of a HOLY WOMAN!
If I could have talked, I would have mentioned how MOVED I AM to be a better person as I consider the life of Mary Hamilton! I would mention that I NEVER saw her frown… not ONE time. I would mention that she was the greatest ENCOURAGER… always joyful, always ENTHUSIASTIC about EVERY sermon (even the stinkers), always standning in a posture of FAITH, always living out the words of 1 Corinthians 13:4-8…
“LOVE is patient, LOVE is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. LOVE does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. LOVE never fails…”
I pray for God to make me more like Mary. I pray for her amazing children and grandchildren… that they too would follow in Mary’s footsteps… there is no better path! I also pray for Pastor Jeff Ferguson as he ministers the funeral today… 2pm at First Assembly of God- Harrisonburg VA. Pastor Jeff is speaking from this very same theme, “Touched By An Angel”… what a celebration of LIFE this shall be!
If you guys get a chance… head over to the Kyger Funeral Home website and BE INSPIRED with the comments written about Mary Hamilton! Have a most outstanding Saturday… and don’t forget church tomorrow… Destiny Family Center meets at 10am… 7 year anniversary picnic following the celebration service!