Monday, January 20, 2014

True Beauty Lived

On December 27, one of the most godly women I know entered the presence of God.  I have struggled to write this post because I just don't feel like my words can express all that my heart feels and the deep legacy that this woman left.  I guess I should start with the words that her family wrote.  Here is her obituary.  Despite the hours that I have spent talking to her over the last two and half years that I have known her, even in her death I learned so many things that I never knew.  All that I know, and all that I have learned over the last month just confirms the true beauty that I already knew existed in this woman's life.   
I have a tribute of my own that I would like to share.  
Carole Hall came into our lives when Abby decided she wanted to take piano lessons almost 3 years ago.  From the minute we met her, I liked her.  She seemed wise, she was gentle, her piano playing was phenomenal, she had taught many students over the years, she had a great sense of humor, and she even let us borrow her Clavinova Keyboard for Abby to practice at home.  
 As we got to know her, we learned so much more.  I had never really been around someone her age(mid 70s) who had so much joy.  As I learned her story, and all the pain she had experienced in her life, the joy she displayed was even more captivating.  She had every reason to be bitter an angry about the circumstances of her life.  Instead, she embraced God's calling for her and lived her life serving and seeking Him daily.  She was a widow, single mom to three children(one of which had disabilities), lived 28 years of her life with her husband MIA in Vietnam, moved her family across the country from Florida to Colorado by herself, etc.  I really could go on and on about all of the ways she inspired me.  
She taught Abby to play piano...
 ...and how to garden,
(I have never seen anyone able to grow things in CO like she could.  
These are all pictures of her back yard.) ) 
but she taught me about life.  
 She was so willing to share her life and wisdom with me.  I would take lunch or breakfast over for us to enjoy together.  Then, while we ate, I would just ask her questions and more questions. 
 She was a wealth of knowledge, experience, perspective and wisdom.  I could not get enough time with her to ask her everything I needed to.  
 Every time I was with her, I left encouraged, challenged and inspired to be better.  It was like I had spent time directly with God Himself.  
 She was the epitome of true beauty.  No, she didn't measure up to our world's standards of beauty.  She showed me what real inner beauty was.  
I would choose that any day over what the world has to offer.
 Whenever my kids and I would go over to help her garden, she invested in them. 
 She payed them in quarters according to their age.
 She helped me in the "gardening" of mine and my children's hearts
 She valued them and the work they did
 She was patient with their work and laughed right along with their silliness
 She insisted that we end our time with cookies and lemonade
Despite all the hardships she faced, she chose to live her life with joy and gratitude. I have never seen anyone do that so well. That is what drew me to her.  

I have cried many tears since I heard of her death.  As I sat at the memorial service I thought of so many questions I never got to ask her.  There are so many things I wish I could get her perspective on.
She is truly in the presence of God right now rejoicing and receiving her reward. We grieve, but not without hope that we will see her again in heaven some day.
“Many women do noble things,
    but you surpass them all.”
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
    and let her works bring her praise at the city gate."
Proverbs 31:29-31

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