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Saturday, October 12, 2013

A Quiet and Remarkable Life: "I have never seen her angry or disrespectful"

Esther Yoder 1938-2013
The Esther in the Bible is a beautiful young woman who becomes a highly esteemed queen. My 85-year-old sister Esther, whose memorial service was held Thursday at the Bethel Mennonite Church near Rustburg, brought her own kind of royalty into the home in which I grew up.

Unfortunately for me, she moved out when I was only eight to marry the love of her life, the late Robert Edward Yoder (not a relative). We all marveled at her patience as the queen mother of eight in the rapidly growing little kingdom that became her new family.

At her funeral I had the privilege of reading some of the memories each of her eight children had written, all of whom were blessed by living under her reign.

Here is a condensed version of one of those, by her oldest son Bob (Robert Edward, Jr.):

Mother's life was not impressive by most standards. She never really learned to drive, rarely took a trip, never spoke out in public, and was embarrassed by how her emotions would get in the way when she tried. Yet I don't know of anyone who more consistently lived a life of simple faith, servanthood and respect for others. The "fruit of the Spirit" in Galatians 5 (love, joy, peace patience, kindness, etc.) were such a part of her life that we barely needed to be taught about them because of how well she demonstrated them.

I have never seen her angry. I have never heard her say a disrespectful word about anyone. Like Mary, the mother of Jesus, she pondered much in her heart, gave advice sparingly, and exuded the nature of Christ beautifully. Consistently calm and loving, she never accused or jumped to rash conclusions.

Only eternity will reveal how strong and deep are the foundations that Dad and Mom have given us children to build our lives on. I know mom would never take the credit for this, because she would say it has been Jesus within and a constant moving toward God that has made her what she is.

I deeply love her as a shining example of what I believe is a truly successful life.

Here's a 9/3/13 link showing a special moment when Esther's daughter, granddaughter and infant great-granddaughter bond at her hospital bed soon after her stroke.
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