“Her children rise up and call her blessed” Proverbs 31:28
On March 26th, I took part in the memorial service for one of the most remarkable women that I will ever meet. She was my grandmother, Lorene “Jack” Francis. Hers is an incredible story: 11 children, 30 grandchildren, 40 great grandchildren, 50+ years of marriage, a successful business built, and countless lives touched through service and friendship. The statement I’ve heard all of my life about my Grandmother is, “I don’t know how she did it all.” There’s another woman in the Bible that we can say that about. The Proverbs 31 Woman. Characterized by her great value (v. 10), trustworthiness (v. 11-12), her diligence and hardwork (v. 13-19, 24), her generosity (v. 20), her wisdom (v. 26), and the good that she brings to her husband (v. 11, 23). Friends and family of Jack Francis were a witness to this kind of life. Here are a few specific characteristics of our Proverbs 31 woman that I will never forget:
1) Her love and devotion to her family. She remembered every birthday, celebrated every good report card, and served as a rock of confidence to all her family. To know Grandma Jack was to know that you were valued and loved without condition.
2) She was a devoted student of God’s Word. I would be Dr. Corley by now if I had her appetite for reading and learning. As a young pastor one of my favorite things to do was to bring up a passage I was studying and listen to her talk of sermons different pastors preached and books she’d read about that or apply the truth to some situation in the world today. And she was a person that was always humbly grappling with faith issues. She never stopped learning and submitting her life to God’s word.
3) She was generous. She was a consistent and faithful contributer to her church, to numerous ministries and missionaries, and to anyone who had a need. All my life I’ve heard from people who were going through difficult financial times and would have some cash slipped into their hand by Mrs. Jack. Her pastor told me that he was sent countless times on missions of mercy to deliver money or food to people in the community from an anonymous donor that was Grandma Jack.
Because of these realities, her life, her name, her example will not be soon forgotten. The Francis family has been given an incredible gift: a Godly legacy to follow.
“the offspring of the righteous will be delivered” Proverbs 11:21
“in the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge” Proverbs 14:26
“The righteous who walks in his integrity – blessed are his children after him” Proverbs 20:7
The question is, will we pick up her mantle and carry it forward?
And as for the question, “How did she do it all?” Without a doubt, her “secret” was her deep and abiding relationship with Jesus Christ. Her love, devotion, generosity were a product of that relationship.
Today I am fulfilling Proverbs 31:28 – “her children rise up and call her blessed.”
And I believe the backstory of my life begins with her. Like another young Pastor at the outset of a great movement of God, I believe it can be said of me: “I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois (coincidentally Grandma Jack’s middle name) and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you” 2 Timothy 1:5.