Buddy's Mom was graciously released from the prison of her body several years ago. As sorrowful as we are to have her gone from us, we are overjoyed to have her well and home. I'm so glad that Buddy had the opportunity to do his mother’s funeral and honor her in such an amazing way. He did an incredible job, and I am so proud of him. Not only did he do so by what he spoke that day, but also, and even more importantly, by the way he lives daily.
I'm also glad to have the opportunity to honor Mrs. Hoffman on this special day.
Frances Hoffman was quite wonderful. It’s true! I know it’s hard to believe we could all think so, that perhaps we're just glossing over things, but quite truthfully, words aren't even adequate to tell what she was like and how much we adored her. Given the shortness of this space, I have to share only in part, many of you have heard me tell this, but I never tire of the telling any time I can--she changed my life.
We sat and looked through her old prayer journals of the last twenty years. Talk about riches - we felt up to our elbows in a treasure chest of jewels! What beautiful nuggets to find my name written to our Father, offered up in prayer, blessings and requests on my behalf. Not only us as parents, but prayers for our children...prayers that we have seen God answer. How precious an inheritance - how valuable beyond price.
These are the pages that I didn't know about: prayers I never heard. I look forward to discovering each precious one in the days to come. But so far, my favorite is still the letter of more than thirty years ago, sent me just after our engagement. I remember it often...I can still feel that day. I feel the warmth of the sun and the shady confusion in my heart, contemplating my past and my future. Not confusion over the engagement, but I could not for the life of me figure out why this wonderful thing was happening--to me! How? How did I find such a Prince? Why would he want to take me away on his white horse? (Or a dark chocolate brown Nova Super Sport, as the case may be) Why were my dreams and prayers coming true? My parents had not a dream come true, quite the opposite - these were nightmare days for our entire family. My brother was in deep difficulty; my sister had long given up on fairytales, how could this be for just me?
Many a day had I pondered these sorts of questions before, more questions always than answers. Why did I have such a heart for God, was always my biggest question. It was not a heart cultivated by parental example or encouraged and nurtured by them; they were busy trying to figure out their own mess. This seemed to be a heart beckoned and drawn like magnetic filaments from an unseen giant magnet on the other side. It was an irresistible delight and joy in my heart from the time I could begin to speak. My mother says it creped her out a bit when I was so young. She says I had tea parties with Jesus, and would speak to Him as if I could see him. Where was this desire from and why only in me with such intensity? I knew it was not of my own goodness; I knew it was from somewhere else.
As I had sat in the sun mulling over such, I noticed the mail carrier had delivered the mail and ran to see if the carrier pigeon had brought news from Prince Charming. To my bigger surprise was this letter from Mrs. Hoffman. In fairy book script, it began, "My Dearest Jody" my heart melted with the love that oozed from these pages. She wrote answers to questions that she never knew I was asking. As the letter unfolded, she told the story of her prayers for me since she was pregnant with Buddy. She said that she would hold him as a newborn rocking him and praying for me. Praying for the little girl that would one day marry him. She prayed she would have a heart for God and that she would make good choices. She prayed wherever she was that she would follow God and at just the right time, they would meet.
My heart leaped inside, so this was it! So this was why! She had been praying for me! This is where that heart came from. This is why I was drawn to God. This is why I would pour over the pages of my Bible and find scripture that would feed my soul, guide my way, and develop a hunger so strong that only God himself could feed it. She had prayed this into me.
The confusion and shadows once cast over me was now flooded out by the clarity of the letter and her prayers for me over those many years. For the first time it made sense. Then it absolutely overwhelmed me that prayers for someone you had never met or ever knew could change their life. How grateful I was. How valuable this woman and her prayer for me. How priceless is that? Proverbs says..."her worth is far above rubies".
May this encourage you to be in prayer for the ones yet unknown that will one day be your sons or daughters-in-law. They are wonderful to meet, and even more wonderful to know, I thank God for each of them. (And look forward to meeting the other, wherever he may be).
Mrs. Hoffman, I will forever be grateful; I love you. Thank you for changing my life with your prayers. Jody