Linda, thanks for doing this interview with us so we can get to know you better. We can’t wait for people to read your thoughts about growing older in grace. Those are truths so many of us need to hear.
Can you tell us about your family?
I am grateful to have been born into my family, in spite of all our flaws. We lived in West Philadelphia near the art museum, and my household consisted of Dad, Mom, and seven siblings, including myself. There were two of us girls and five boys, and we resided in a three bedroom, one bathroom row home. Those were fun, crowded times! I also have a son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter who I love very much.
Do you have any interesting family traditions?
I don’t recall calling them traditions but there were things we did regularly. Each year we spent one week in Wildwood and one week in Atlantic City. We had aunts who owned homes in each place so we would spend our family vacations there. It wasn’t until I got older that I realized we were not rich!
Where do you live now and what community group do you attend?
I live in Secane PA and attend the Sanyo community group.
When and how did you start coming to Covenant Fellowship Church?
I came to Covenant approximately 6 years ago. I was invited by Bill and Becky Davis who now attend Risen Hope.
Do you have any embarrassing moments you can share with us?
I don’t know if I was more hurt or embarrassed, but I can laugh at it now. Several years ago, I walked into a 7 Eleven to buy something and the cashier looked at me and said, “Oh, I thought it was snowing!” Excuse me?” I replied. She answered, “I saw your hair and I thought it was snowing.” I know folks in line heard her. I had just started to embrace my gray hair. I thanked God I was saved and didn’t say much but I’m sure my facial expression said it all! I politely paid for my stuff and left, but it was embarrassing and stuck with me for a while. Now I am so over it! Proverbs 16:31 says, “Gray hair is a crown of glory.”
Tell us about your job.
I am retired after 44 years working at Wells Fargo, and now I am currently one of the receptionists here at Covenant and love it. Greeting people and helping in any way I can is truly an honor.
Can you list “five favorites in five words”?
Family, sweets, traveling, Bible, shopping.
What ministries do you serve in at CFC and how have you have seen God work in one of those ministries?
I serve as a Celebration Dinner volunteer for The Bridge Course, a Covenant Prime helper, and try to be available for whatever small serving opportunities come my way. I have loved seeing God move in the lives of those who have come through the Bridge Course and also in my women’s ministry Bible study, led by Anita Gray.
What are you currently studying and learning in your devotional times?
I have several devotionals and studies I am enjoying. I am doing the Isaiah Day by Day devotional and also reading Understanding your Blessings in Christ by Elizabeth George. What I am learning is that I am so blessed to have been adopted into the family of my beloved Jesus. I am rich with spiritual blessings that have been given to me, not because any of my doing or deserving, but because of His grace and love for me which I will never be able to comprehend. But I am oh so grateful.
What is your favorite verse or passage of scripture, and why?
One of my favorite scriptures is Jeremiah 29:11: “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.’”
I recall the Lord showing me this scripture at a very, very dark time in my life when I felt so much condemnation and guilt and hopelessness. I grabbed onto this passage, along with some other promises, and never let go. He restored my hope, He restored my faith, and He restored my fellowship with Him (even though He had never even left me.) Life can be hard, but God’s grace and love come at me even harder at those times through His word. And his love is also manifested through the love of his people. For that, I am forever grateful.
If you could talk to a younger version of yourself, what advice would you give her?
Let me see…I would not only tell her things, but l would be better to my younger self. I was always loved by my parents, and I know I was loved by God, but I was not always accepted by the world for some reason, so I had self-esteem issues. But thanks be to God for helping me embrace who He says I am! I have overcome and silenced those negative voices and come to realize there is no need for me to be accepted by the world. It only matters who Christ says I am in Him. So I would tell my younger self to love God, trust God, believe God, and accept who He says you are in Him.
When and how did you come to Christ?
I knew about God since I was a young girl. I lived in a hospital from age ten to thirteen battling Rheumatic Fever. I never came home during that time, and sometimes I would write to God, asking him to heal me. So I knew even back then that He was powerful; however, it wasn’t until my late twenties that I truly came to know Him personally as my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
At that time, I had just lost my oldest brother to gun violence and eleven months later, I lost my mother to cancer. My mom had been my best friend, and I was broken-hearted. As a young single mom, trying to hold down my job and raise a child on my own, I felt lost and didn’t know how I was going to make it. I had a friend who every Sunday would call me and invite me out to church. I had become accustomed to this (this was before cell phones and being able to see who was calling you) so I just ignored her. However, one Sunday I answered her call, went to church, and heard the gospel in a new way. I kept coming back, hearing that God sent his only son to die on the cross for me, that it was by grace and not works that I could be saved, that I couldn’t earn his love, and that I could repent and come to him. I finally understood God’s love and came to him with my whole heart. I’ve had many struggles along the way, but I Jesus is there to carry me through each one of them. I used to wonder, “How am I going to make it?” And now I know: with Christ, that’s how.
What is one situation you have faced or are facing? Share how God moved or is moving in the midst of your experience?
I will be a little transparent here. What I face in this season is the fear of aging and not being useful to anyone. I know it’s crazy, but it can feel very real. But the Lord has reassured me through his Word in Isaiah 46:4: “Even to your old age I am He and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear: I will carry and I will save.”
That truth helps me not linger in my fears and reminds me those fears don’t come from Him. God has been so good to me. He continues to give me the strength to care for my granddaughter and to assist my son and his wife if I am needed, along with various other responsibilities. Sometimes we think we have to be doing this great big deed and that God only recognizes those things, but no! God sees all things: taking meals to someone, sitting with someone who just needs to talk, praying with someone, sharing the gospel with someone, or befriending someone who others pass by. All these things are necessary to build God’s kingdom.
So let me remind you that no matter your age, you can be used by God until you breathe your last breath. Stay encouraged, and encourage others.