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.

 

 

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346 Responses to “Someone Comes Along”

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Comments:

  1. 201
    Lynda Rickey says:

    Dear Beth,
    God is so amazing to put people in our lives who love us and guide us. I am so glad that we do not grieve as those who have no hope. Heaven is becoming sweeter and sweeter with each passing day. I will pray for you and your family and hers in the coming days and thank the Lord for the special way He cares for all of us. I love you sister, Lynda

  2. 202
    MIchele says:

    I am looking forward to seeing Mrs. Mary Helen in heaven. Because of her love and support of you, God could use you to change so many lives including mine. I was at the very end of my rope, hanging onto what little strength I had left, crying to God to send me someone to disciple me into the wholeness that I needed and He desired. That’s when i heard about a local bible study group that was having a Beth Moore study.I just can hardly wait to give her a bone crushing hug. What a wonderful thing to have someone like her in your life. I also bless God for picking you out of so many to lead us in the way.

  3. 203
    Marje Scheib says:

    Beth, I am sorry for your loss but rejoicing along with you that your dear friend is at home with Jesus. Your tribute is so beautiful. Thank you for sharing this love story. Thanking the Lord for what Mrs. Mary Helen brought to you and your family.

    • 203.1
      Ashley says:

      Couldn’t have said it any better, Marje.

      Sending lots of love to all this sweet woman has impacted. What a lovely legacy. What a blessing. <3

  4. 204
    Colima says:

    I just wanted to extend a virtual *hug* to you. I’m sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing Mrs. Mary Helen with us. I know I am thankful for her having a hand in getting your voice “out there” because through you I’ve understood Jesus and God’s word in a way that I might not have on my own.

  5. 205
    Deb Weaver says:

    Precious memories. Precious life. Precious love. (((HUGS))) to you all.

  6. 206
    Michele says:

    Hello Beth:

    Thank you for opening your heart and sharing. I remember in one of your sermons you told the story of a little girl you met who shared a similar childhood tragedy and you believed God led you to not express sorrow at her experience but to declare that we know what God can do with our brokenness. Similarly today, as I read your post, my feeling is that the correct thing to do is not to express sorrow for your loss (although I do feel that) but to rejoice in the blessing of this friendship. As someone who have had angels planted in my life just when I needed them, I know the value of angels and so I rejoice with you today. She sounds like such a special angel and the enrichment she brought to your life feels awesome. I rejoice with you with that enrichment. And again thank you for sharing.

  7. 207
    Sue says:

    Beth, what a great testimony of God’s perfect plan! Mrs. Mary Helen was such a blessing to you and your family and so loved by obviously so many. Thank you for sharing her with us at this time. I can feel the tender love and relationship you all shared and know she is surely dancing in heaven! What a blessing she is to us all for the role she played in Living Proof Ministries…Glory goes to God! Your family as well as her family will be in my prayers that as you say, you can grieve the loss to the extent you loved. What a blessing we received with your sharing of her life and purposes she filled in obedience to God.

  8. 208
    Janet Cline says:

    I don’t know why I’m sitting here crying, but I am. I never met Mrs. Mary Helen, but I almost feel like I know her. I agree with others who said they can’t wait to meet her in heaven. She reminds me of my G.G. (Great Grandma). It’s going to be great “when we all get to heaven!” Thanks for sharing this!

  9. 209
    Tricia says:

    Beth,

    I grieve with you for the loss of Mrs. Mary Helen to love on this earth. You are so richly blessed to have a stranger love you with God’s love. May He bless you, your family and her family this week. Our God is great!

    Tricia

  10. 210
    Naomi says:

    Dear Beth and Family: May the Lord give you His comfort and peace in the loss of Mrs. Mary Helen. Love, Naomi

  11. 211
    Sandra Wilson says:

    What an awesome lady. I pray that those who loved her can find comfort in the Holy Spirit. I know she and King Jesus are having a ball right now. I pray I can find a Mrs. Mary Helen one day.
    God bless

  12. 212
    sister sheri says:

    Thank you for sharing your warm memories. What a precious woman! I am so glad she invested in you, so that you could invest in me, so that I will invest in others…

  13. 213
    Eileen says:

    Dearest Beth,

    So sorry for your loss but oh, what a gift our Lord got in Mrs. Mary Helen! You gave a beautiful tribute to her and I’m sure she was so blessed to have you in her life too!
    Thank you for a lovely “story” with so much hope and love!

    God Bless you always!!

  14. 214
    Hayley says:

    So very sorry for the loss of your dear friend.

  15. 215
    Texas in the Mountains says:

    Rejoice with those who rejoice
    Mourn with those who mourn.

    I am so sorry for your loss.

    Yesterday, my mother-in-law passed away.
    Her husband of 57 years was there with her, holding her hand and singing to her as she passed from this life into eternal life.

    Oh, amen and AMEN!

  16. 216
    Sherry says:

    Beth, I am so sorry for your loss. Thank God for people like Mrs. Davis who comes along in our lives. As she has touched and poured into your life, you have touched and poured into the lives of countless people (not just women), and for that I am truly thankful. Her rewards in Heaven will be many! God bless you as you continue to carry the torch of faith. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story.

  17. 217
    Lynn says:

    Oh, now I’m bawling my eyes out too. What a treasure God sent you in Mrs. Mary Helen. Wouldn’t it be great if everyone could have such a person in their lives?

  18. 218
    Leslie says:

    What a beautiful friend! I SO want to be a Mary Helen to others — thanks for the inspiration!

  19. 219
    Heather F says:

    Beth,
    I am so sorry for your loss. It’s great when you have supportive people in your life who really care for you and others. We have a lady at our church who is our prayer warrior, who prays to God like no other person I know! She is what we like to call our “Senior Saint” here on earth and Mrs. Mary Helen reminded me of her in your post! Prayers for peace to you and everyone who knew and loved Mrs. Mary Helen!

  20. 220
    carla says:

    The more stories you tell the more blessed you have been in your life.I feel God blessing you in every person you tell about. You trully were fortunate to have such a friend, a second mother. I am so sorry for your loss.

  21. 221
    Sheryl says:

    Wow! Tears in my eyes as I write. Beth, you were truly blessed by this woman. I can’t imagine how happy she is right now staring into the eyes of her Lord.

    Whew! I know you blessed her life too.

    Praying for her family and for your family.

    Sheryl

  22. 222
    Victoria says:

    Praying for you all during this time…and praising God for working in her life so much that she is leaving a legacy. I did not know her, but just through your words I feel like I can feel her love, and her love for you and your ministry has trickled down to all that you have served and ministered to…including me.

    Prayers, Blessings and Love to you all!

  23. 223
    Hannah Lee says:

    CUE THE UGLY(but extremely heartfelt) CRY!

    Oh my goodness, Beth. What a sweet post! You were so blessed to have such an incredible support with Mrs. Mary Helen. God brought you an angel and there is no doubt she is singing some amazing praises from her Heavenly home now. This makes me want to hug the necks of my “second-mothers” and let them know how much I appreciate them.

    Thanks for sharing!

  24. 224
    Janis Bart says:

    Praying John 14:27 (NLT) over you and all of your this special woman’s family.

    “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”

    • 224.1
      Sandy Bowers says:

      Janis,

      This was part of the scripture reading I did at my dad’s funeral this morning. So meaningful and so appropriate Siesta.

  25. 225
    Mandy says:

    Beth, I love you. My prayers are with you and your family, also with Mrs. Mary Helen’s family.

  26. 226
    Amanda says:

    That made me cry like a baby. What a precious lady.

  27. 227
    carla says:

    Beth, I’m sorry for the loss you and your family are experiencing right now. Oh to know you’re loved like that. God is gracious and loving to send us people like that into our lives to enrich them and make a little brighter while here. We’ll sure have you in our prayers, nuch love, Carla

  28. 228
    Lichelle says:

    Beth:
    Thank you so much for sharing that precious gift with all of us. I am so sorry for your loss and the girls too. May the peace of our Lord Jesus just wrap his big arms around all of your family as you come together to celebrate the life of this loved one. And I feel sure, God is smiling proudly as he has welcomed her into his Kingdom.

    I too would love to give her a big hug someday to say thankyou for helping get your voice out there to all of us… One person can make the world of difference in so many lives.

    Loving you, praying for you and crying with you.

  29. 229
    Jill says:

    Beth your writing is so powerful, I feel like I know her too and how thankful I am for Mrs. Mary Helen! I can only imagine the rejoicing as she was welcomed into Heaven. I am sorry for the loss that all those who loved her are suffering. Praying for everyone.

  30. 230
    Debbie says:

    Thank you so much for sharing the love and friendship you had for so many years. What wonderful memories you have. It has been so wonderful to read the memories of other women who knew and were touched by her shared on the blog. What a precious example she is for me. My prayers are with all of you and her family.
    xoxo
    Debbie in Portland

  31. 231
    Marie says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss, Siesta Mamma.

    This hit me in a unique way. For a long while now I have bemoaned the fact that I don’t have that kind of consistent, mentoring-type, loving woman-to-woman friendship in my daily life. It just hasn’t seemed fair. But now…well, I wonder if Jesus is just waiting for me to stop whining and go be that kind of friend to someone.

  32. 232
    Lisa says:

    What a beautiful tribute! I know the angels in heaven are rejoicing. I pray you are comforted in your sorrows. It is hard to lose someone so precious. I pray we can all be more of a blessing to others like she was to you.
    Love in Christ,
    Lisa

  33. 233
    Rebecca Cain says:

    This made me cry. Can’t explain it.

  34. 234
    Connie Hein says:

    Oh my – moved me beyond words – what an inspiration this is to me today. Thank you for sharing this Beth.

  35. 235

    Thank you for sharing Mrs. Mary Helen with us. I am so sorry for your loss…to Keith, Amanda and Melissa, too! After looking at those sweet pictures, I can just see Mrs. Mary Helen praising our sweet Jesus. She’s in His presence…right now.

    Love you all, Kristi

  36. 236
    KK says:

    Oh Beth, what a precious, precious woman of God. I know you must miss her terribly. What an angel. Wish we could all have our own Mrs. Mary Helen. What a wonderful example she was to so many. Bless her sweet heart.

  37. 237
    Debra says:

    Tears for you all but Praises for the jewels she left behind in each heart that she touched for God! What a beautiful woman!! I can’t wait to meet her!
    Debra
    ElDorado AR

  38. 238
    Deborah Mott says:

    Thank the LORD for TITUS women like Mrs. Mary Helen Davis!!!! You are a TITUS woman to multitudes through her gift to you by the LORD JESUS! Rejoicing with you at her giving and life blood in you and HIS MINISTRY THROUGH YOU BOTH TO THE WORLD. I thank you for all you have done to mentor me. You are a year older but have mentored me like no other ever has and I have never met you! May the LORD comfort you in the “graduation” separation and in the grief of the reality of being separated for this time. Thank you for sharing. To GOD be the GLORY GREAT THINGS HE HAS DONE!

  39. 239
    shannon conner says:

    Thank God for women like Mrs. Mary Helen!

  40. 240
    Andrea Porter says:

    Mrs. Mary Helen,
    I know you are just singing with the angels and praising our Savior, loud and proud. I am sure you touched so many lives and I wish I had had a chance to meet you, but another day. I am so glad you supported Siesta Mama in her ministry, she was blessed to have your support and I am sure her family was a blessing to you as well. To the Moore family, please accept my sincere condolences and sympathy for your loss.

  41. 241
    JanefromSC says:

    Beth and girls, Know that I am praying for you all during this time. I too had a woman in my life that I treasured very much. Every Christmas I put decorations on my tree that she crocheted for me. My dining room table is graced with a gorgeous centerpiece she made for me. Ladies like that are just not made every day. I feel your loss and pray that God will comfort each of you and her family during this time.

  42. 242
    Kirsten says:

    Oh my word, this post just got to me today. I’m tearing up for you all, and am so sorry for your loss. God has been so gracious to allow those people to come along side of us throughout our lives.

  43. 243

    Beth, what an amazing treasure. It is easy to glean mentors from those merely in the spotlight. I love how you said your life was “transformed in those arms.” That’s exactly what YOU do after you teach. I absolutely see Mrs. Mary Helen’s influence/likeness in you, that you come down from the platform and hug your listeners at Passion conferences. Others merely sign books, but who else physically nurtures like that? Mrs. Mary Helen gives me another piece of the puzzle of how God uses the body: the nurturer, the woman who fills in gaps no one else notices, but you definitely notice when she’s not there. Praying for you and your family as you say goodbye to your second mother – for a time. What you say in James is so right, God has absolutely transformed the family. It takes nurturers to grow natural nurtures to their full potential. I’m absolutely challenged to be THAT nurturer. Thank you so much for sharing your heart.

  44. 244
    Maureen says:

    I can’t wait to meet Mrs. Mary Helen!!! And, I’m so sorry for the pain sooooooo many will feel as a result of her great, great love and loss of her presence!! Mrs. Mary Helen is a picture of who my beloved mom was before she went to live with Jesus…

    Again, thank you for sharing your heart!

  45. 245
    Tanya Hoffman says:

    Beth,

    Thank you for sharing Mary Helen with us. Praise the Lord, she has seen the Glory of the One and Only.

    I love you Beth. I have never met you personally but I have been in the audience as you have taught (in Pittsburgh when you announced you were going to be a Grandma) and I have read your blog, memorized scripture with you, prayed for you, and been the group leader at women’s Bible study group where we have done your DVD ciriculum. If that does not make us Sisters then I don’t know what does!

  46. 246
    Sue W Smith says:

    My heart aches for you in the loss of your dear friend. Your story brought tears to my eyes. I have recently lost a dear brother and although we know we’ll see him again some day, the void while here on this earth is tremendous. I love reading your blog. I’m currently doing the James Bible Study and loving every minute of it and being convicted by it daily. Keep ’em coming Beth.

  47. 247
    Shelly says:

    May He comfort each of your hearts. I am so deeply sorry for this loss. An irreplaceable woman who left a mark in each of your lives.

    What a reminder to pour out our own lives into the younger generations.

    Love to you guys.

  48. 248
    Patty Farmer says:

    Dear Beth
    Thank you so much for sharing Mrs. Mary Helen. Such a beautiful story of being the hands and feet of Christ.I am sure that you and your family will miss her. Because she poured into your life, you have poured into mine. Thank you so much for giving me the Precious Gift of Jesus in the Bible studies that you have done. I will pray for you, your family and Mrs. Mary Helen. Just like one of the other ladies mentioned, wouldn’t it be wonderful for us all to have a Mary Helen.
    Love in Christ
    Patty

  49. 249

    🙁

    You are in my thoughts and prayers.

  50. 250
    Vickie says:

    Dear Beth,

    And to everyone that loves Mrs. Mary Helen….I am hearing a collective cry from many folks. The ones that knew her very well. The ones that knew her briefly . And the ones of us that met her through your inspiring tribute. As many have stated, may we all honor her life by becoming what she was/is/and will always be. Her work here was done and like you said, Jesus came calling to take her home. It was time for her to receive her eternal reward. Praise be to King Jesus! He will be the Comforter that we all know Him to be. Many a prayers and thoughts will protect you all as you face tomorrow.

    We love you so.

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