September 26th-28th was Spiritual Emphasis week where I work. The week is dedicated to pressing into the presence of God a little longer and a little deeper. We invite special speakers to come in and pour into our students. We had two great speakers, but on Thursday night it was my turn to stand before the podium and more importantly God’s people. The title of my sermon was, “Be Sanctified but not Satisfied.” The basis was to be holy and set apart but always desire more of God. After I stepped down and was done preaching, I glanced at my phone to check the time and I saw several missed calls from my father. My heart instantly new something was wrong. I walked out of the chapel and called my dad. He told me that my auntie Flora wasn’t doing well and that I should get to the hospital. My heart sunk to the pit of my tummy. I ran in to tell some of my interns what was going on and that I had to leave. They said, “Go we have it covered here.”
The drive to the hospital was like one I never had before all these thoughts rushed my mind. If you don’t know me well you may not know who my auntie Flora was. My auntie Flora was my rock and my buddy. When I was a baby, she quit her job just to take care of me because she didn’t want my parents to leave me with a baby sitter or at a daycare. She didn’t trust those places so she decided she would be the one to take care of me. Almost every day from Kindergarten to my senior year of High school she would pick me up from school. I often begged her to take me to Mc Donald’s after school and would search her purse until I found enough money for us to go. In her I eyes I could do no wrong and I was often a brat, but I loved and respected my auntie Flora. We spent most of our summers together at Kmart where my auntie Josie worked because we didn’t want to be in the heat and Kmart had air conditioning. On the way home and on the way there we would always pray and sing songs like, “I got a joy like a river”, “Hosanna”, “This is the day”, “what a mighty God we serve”, “come into my heart”, and many other oldies but goodies. I cherish those drives so very much. When we would have to make a turn where cars would be coming fast she taught me to say, “Stop the cars in the name of Jesus” so we could turn. To this day I do the same thing, she taught me the power of prayer and faith.
I got to the hospital and there was my beautiful auntie Flora in that hospital bed. I wanted to tell her so much. All these memories flooded my heart and my mind. I use to love to come lay down my head on her lap when she would be at home and watching TV on the couch. It was my favorite thing to do every day as a little girl and as I got older. It was a safe place for me and a place of love. My auntie Flora was my safe place. I laid my head on her in that hospital bed and my heart broke. I knew I was saying good bye. I knew I was never going to get to lay my head on her again. Part of me wanted to be selfish and wish she would be ok just one more time.. but it was time for her to go and be in the presence of Jesus. It was so hard that night, but I am so glad I got to be by her side with my family. She was always by my side. She always made sure I was ok. I know I made it through some of my hardest battles in my life because she was praying for me.
Before I started that drive to the hospital I was preaching on being sanctified but not satisfied. My Auntie Flora is a marvelous example of what that looks like. The best words to describe her would be beautiful, faithful, strong convictions, and a woman of prayer. Her title was a title not given necessarily by the church but those who loved her the most. She was our prayer warrior! That was auntie Flora’s title! She didn’t even need the title. And it wasn’t a title, it was a life line. It was who she was and what she stood for. She knew that there was power in prayer because there was a powerful God that answered prayer. She never had kids of her own but we were her children. She cried for us, prayed for us, and covered us in the blood of Jesus daily. She taught me that you don’t need a title to do amazing things for God. It is by God’s grace that any of us are here. She never had the title “pastor” in front of her name, but man, was she a shepherd to many. She made sure her sheep were cared for, fed, covered, and loved. I have had a few pastors in and out of my life, but my auntie Flora was my pastor and shepherd my whole life- with or without the title.
Auntie Flora you and I know that I am not perfect, but I promise to strive. I am not sinless but I want to sin less. I want to be a woman of faith like you. I want to be a woman of conviction like you. I want to be a woman of prayer like you. I won’t depend on a title to give me worth, but will find my worth in my God like you did. To my friends and family reading this: I think that we can agree that auntie Flora left a great legacy and she didn’t even need an earthy title to do it. We knew she was our prayer warrior but she knew that God’s grace was greater than titles!