Much of the story, I learned from my Mother, who lost her own mother to stomach cancer when she was fourteen. As the eldest child and the only girl, she knew everyone assumed she would forfeit any further studies and stay home and care for her four younger brothers ranging in age from 11 to 2.
What a relief it must have been to her, when her father informed her that her Evans grandparents, his father and step-mother were moving in to help care for the family. Her father lost his mother early, and his father, Mom’s grandfather, eventually married Eliza Evans who became our Great-Grandma Evans.This woman had a heart as big as that community where the family made their home. Even when my mother was a little girl, Grandmother would send her off with a pot of hot soup to a family where there was sickness or some reason for care and compassion. My Mom had learned from accompanying her grandmother on such missions that it was appropriate not only to offer the soup to the family for physical sustenance but also to read to them a portion from the Bible for their emotional and spiritual sustenance, which she did in her turn. It was the beginning of my Mother's awareness that God was calling her to serve Him full time as minister of His grace in The Salvation Army.
At the age of 16, I stood with my parents and the folks of the community of Hant's Harbour around her grave as the casket was lowered and we sang in honour of her life,
"I'll be true, Lord to Thee
I'll be true, Lord to Thee
And whatever may befall
I shall surely conquer all,
If I am but true to Thee."
At that age, I had little idea what the future held for me, but I made that promise with all my heart, nevertheless.
This summer I was able again to stand in front of the grave of this courageous woman, Eliza Evans and reflect on the truth of those words for me. As I watched my little granddaughters gather flowers that were growing in the cemetery around us and place them lovingly on the tomb of a great-great-grandmother they had never known but knew was loved by their grandma, and their mother’s grandma, I marvelled again at the faithfulness of God from one generation to the next.
We make our promises and by His grace, we keep them to the best of our ability, and we are able to depend on His faithfulness whatever comes our way.