"She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
'Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.'
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Honor her for all that her hands have done..."
The above words describing the "virtuous woman" of Proverbs 31 could have been written of my Amish mother, Mary Nisly Yoder. She died of cancer nearly forty years ago at 68 years of age, which now seems so young to have to say good bye to everyone and everything you’ve loved here on earth. And she was truly in love with life and with her nine children and dozens of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
On my mother’s tombstone are the words of a gospel song she loved and lived by, “I need no mansion here below.” My mother had only a sixth grade education, was born poor and always lived very frugally, but she knew how to make her life truly rich in a multitude of ways, by her love of flowers and of vegetable gardening, by her enjoyment of nature and of raising canaries, by her love of singing and reading, and by her gracious hospitality and her many friendships.
As a child I was nurtured by her warm hugs and her stories and by her example of a quiet faith and unselfish life. She was well known in our community for the generous help and encouragement she gave her family, her neighbors, and her many church friends. Our house was a always a haven of hospitality.
But it was certainly no mansion. My parents lived in a nicely kept mobile home in their retirement, and that is where she died. She was happy living as one who believed there was a better life waiting for her after this one was over. Hers was the melody of a truly rich, active woman who could sing with conviction, “I need no mansion here below...”
A lump-in-the-throat thanks to you, mom. In your honor, I hope I can pass on that some of that same spirit and legacy.