Someone Comes Along

Every now and then, someone comes along who changes everything. I was in my late twenties when a woman I’d come to know through my aerobics class then a small Sunday school class came up to me and said with a gentle firmness, “God is calling me to support you in ministry.”

It was the first time…

A) that anybody had ever called whatever on earth I was doing “ministry.”

and,

B) that there was even enough to be done for anyone to actually help me do it, for crying out loud.

Though I’d already come to like her so much and was instantly taken aback by her kindness, I could not have begun to grasp how God had smiled on me that moment. As I look back on it, she would only have been a couple of years older than I am now.

Her name was Mary Helen Davis. Or, to my family and to multiple hundreds of people at Houston’s First Baptist Church, “Mrs. Mary Helen.” I was in my early thirties and teaching my first ungraded class of women when she walked in one Sunday right before class with one of those off-white rectangular cassette recorders with the big thick buttons. I looked at her curiously and she waved her hand as if to dismiss it entirely and said, “I’m just going to set this right here…” (a folding table near my small podium) “…and record some of these lessons. Who knows but that somebody might want one some time. Don’t pay any attention to it. You’ll never know it’s there.”

Within several years as the class grew, she moved a duplicator upstairs in her home and copied tapes all by herself each week for anybody who signed up for one. And…wait for it…laid hands on every single tape. She hand wrote the title of the lesson on each cassette with a Sharpie. Several years after that, her best buddy and our second official volunteer, Julie Weir, began helping her. Because of God’s grace alone, the class kept growing and people kept ordering and a couple of years after that, we started looking for a tiny little office space so our homes were not turned upside down. I wish I had some way of making this next statement appear on this page with all the passion and honesty that I feel as I write it: NO ONE ON THE PLANET has supported, (accidentally) steered, served and loved this ministry more than Mrs. Mary Helen Davis. She even let me try the name “Living Proof” on her. Turned out, she liked it.

Soon after that, that title developed into the name of a non-profit and necessitated a board of directors. And she was on it.

During all this time, she was not just supporting me in ministry. She supported me in mothering. Melissa was one and Amanda was four when Mrs. Mary Helen first came into our lives. Because she was in both my Sunday School class and my aerobics classes, we saw her a minimum of three times a week. My girls do not remember life pre-Mrs. Mary Helen. To give you some idea of how in love they fell with her, there was a period of years when I never – let me say that again a little louder – I NEVER got one single craft that Melissa Moore did in Sunday School. Nope. Mrs. Mary Helen did. Stay with me here. EVEN MY MOTHER’S DAY PRESENT made in kindergarten Sunday School went straight past me and into Mrs. Mary Helen’s hands. We both laughed so hard behind Melissa’s back that we nearly couldn’t stand up. Mrs. Mary Helen was such a fun sport that she’d take them…and I’d let her…and we’d tell it and retell it on Melissa for years to come. (Amanda was too sensitive about people’s feelings to be as forthright about passing me over for Mrs. Mary Helen but I don’t doubt she wanted to. I’m sure it was a sacrifice.) My mother had gone to be with the Lord Jesus when Amanda married and Mrs. Mary Helen sat right beside me on that front row and when, at the first glimpse of that gorgeous bride, I stood to my feet, she stood right beside me. And bawled her head off.

When Melissa was six years-old and in the hospital for a week, you can guess who she requested. Of course, she got both of us. I did not give over that easy. But at least I got to go home and get a change of clothes on occasion. Melissa swore and declared that Mrs. Mary Helen would be one of her bridesmaids and we were all – including Mrs. Mary Helen – scared to death she was serious. We were all relieved when she gave over at the time and let Mrs. Mary Helen simply stand in place as the Bride’s maternal grandmother. Mrs. Mary Helen just didn’t know if she could bring herself to wear one of those strapless bridesmaids’ dresses.

Mrs. Mary Helen adored my children. And my husband. Oh, she’d laugh at him! (And all the harder if I didn’t think he was very funny.) But, to be fair, she didn’t just love our family. She loved everyone she met. She cooked for people, doted on them and showered them with gifts. Case in point: one time my coworker Sabrina talked about often serving her family their dinner on paper plates. Mrs. Mary Helen never judged her. She just bought her a whole set of dishes. Sabrina treasures them like diamonds set in solid gold today. So many of my coworkers can tell similar stories and all of them can boast in God’s kindness to them shown through that one powerful woman who never appeared anywhere except behind the scenes. She moved to Washington State several years ago to live near her daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren – whom she totally adored. We could hardly tear ourselves away from her but her health was declining and she did exactly what she needed to do. Her family got to lap up every possible drop of those last few years. God was all wise. He always is.

Our beloved Mrs. Mary Helen saw Jesus late Wednesday night.

We are so happy for her. And so happy for HIM. He must surely be delighted. And, there is no doubt in my mind that He has the best tape ministry He’s ever had.

But I have cried my eyes out, over and over since her daughter Carol let me know that He’d come for her. She was loving enough to tell me only a couple of minutes later. I am so thankful that she has so graciously allowed me to love her mother alongside her, as my second mother. My girls are heartbroken over her passing, too. Oh, mercy. She was a love. We will grieve to the extent that we loved. We will spend much of next week getting ready for her service. It will be back here in Houston where she raised her family and she will be buried right next to her man.This is the two of them. It was taken I guess about 10 years ago.

 

This is her and her BFF Julie Weir. We were all dressed in jammies for a staff Christmas party.

 

A few of us at another staff Christmas party when we moved from a jammy theme to a headdress theme.

And another. She is holding our Jackson in this picture who appeared that day as Claus.

I am almost positive this was taken at Amanda’s wedding:

This picture is Mrs. Mary Helen, her daughter, Carol, and me on a very important day at Living Proof Ministries: the dedication of the Mary Helen Davis Resource Center.

This will be on the wall of that center as long as God chooses for Living Proof Ministries to exist.

We all hope we’re loved but, for all of us, occasionally we absolutely KNOW we are loved. We don’t know why maybe. But we are. I do not know why God caused this woman to love me.

But she did.

 

And my entire life was changed in those arms.

 

 

Share

346 Responses to “Someone Comes Along”

If you'd like your own pic by your comment, go to Gravatar.com. Click the first button "Get your gravatar today ->", and it will walk you through a simple process to select a picture.

Comments:

  1. 301
    Jo Nell Nees says:

    I just finished the Beth Moore Study on the Book of James at the Cypress Second Baptist facility. I can not thank Beth Moore and her daughter Melissa enough for my new knowledge of James. This was my first Beth Moore Bible Study, and I can guarantee it will not be my last, God willing. What a blessing. Thank you again for all your hard work and placing in my heart a burning desire to be more like James.

  2. 302
    Melanie says:

    Beth,
    Is there any way that Mrs. Mary Helen could have been at one of your conferences in Shreveport, La.? I wish I could remember the year (and I hate to mention this but it was the year the lady came up missing from the audience). I was sitting with my sister waiting on the conference to start when this young girl walked up to us and asked if the lady sitting on the other side of us was Mrs. So and So. Of course the only people there we knew were each other. I looked at my sister and said I don’t know who Mrs. So and So is but she must be somebody really special because the young girl was so over joyed that she may be meeting this lady. For the longest time off and on I would think about that…and still wondered who in the world was Mrs. So and So and what was her story. When I read this and saw her name for some reason it sounds familiar as if it may be the name the young girl whispered. If this was her….then she touched my life in a unique way that day…

  3. 303
    Jill D. says:

    This is absolutely beautiful. Thank you Beth, for sharing how God used Mrs. Mary Helen to start what is now Living Proof and what has changed so many of our lives. I have been studying God’s word with you for 12 years now and my life has been impacted tremendously. I love seeing how God orchestrates all things for His perfect purposes and see how much Mrs. Mary Helen is part of all of our journeys with Him through LPM. Will be praying for your family and hers during your time of grief and celebration.
    In Christ’s magnificent Love,
    Jill D.

  4. 304
    Earlene Gordon says:

    If I could give anyone in the world a Holmon Bible Atlas, it would go to our oldest grandson Christopher Floyd. Christopher loves maps, history, and is studying to be a history professor. Christopher is the first boy to be born in the Gordon family in 50 years. He is the apple of my eye, and I know he is the apple of God’s eye. Chris loves to read, he has at least 26 bible applications on his iphone-or whatever that thing is.
    Beside Chris is a struggling and I mean struggling college student. Ever been there?

  5. 305
    Debbie Laker says:

    Oh my, my heart almost leaped out of my body when I read about this give away. And I so hope Im on time in getting entered into the giveaway. I usually get the LPM blog at a day late.
    I love to read about our history within the Bible and in the groups that I lead this would be so helpful. I’m so excited. Thankyou and God Bless for this opportunity.

    debbie laker

  6. 306
    Lynn Hanf says:

    Hi y’all… My favorite book to share in hopes of everyone reading it in their lifetime is Anne of Green Gables!

  7. 307
    vernabridal says:

    I occasionally find this page when I just browsing some fashion pages, you must spend much time on your blog, these stuffs are very beautiful, where do you get them? I will keep a close eye on it, moreover, where can I find more quality blogs like yours?

  8. 308
    Glenda~St.Charles, MO says:

    So, glad you had someone to fill an empty spot after the loss of your mom.

Leave a Reply

To receive a daily digest of comments on this post, enter your email address below: