Throughout my childhood, I was privileged to be actively involved in our local church. At the age of five in Sunday School, I realized my need of a Savior. At the age of nine, I began my relationship with God by receiving Him into my life as my Savior. When I was fifteen, I attended a youth retreat where a true revival took place – the only one I feel I have ever witnessed of an assembly. Today, the majority of those who made decisions that night are still actively pursuing their walk with God. Our youth pastor at that time was Mr. Wes Conner. That night, his wife prayed with me as I committed my life to God to serve Him however He would lead me.
Interestingly, the Conners had served in youth and music ministry for several years at a previous church we were a part of in a different state. Before I was old enough to be in the youth group, the Conners were our family friends. I loved them.
We babysat their baby girl who will soon give birth to her first baby. Probably unknown to Mrs. Conner, she inspired me greatly as a child. She played the piano beautifully, and she sang well. One of the songs that she and her husband sang together is still one of my favorites: “We’ve Come This Far by Faith.” She was never my piano teacher, but she inspired me to love playing. She dressed lovely, and she wore her makeup perfectly. I remember seeing her take her eye makeup off one time as she happily chatted. It’s funny how we sometimes remember little things years down the road. 😉 She was fun with the biggest smile! She loved the Lord and her husband. I remember one occasion that she invited me to her little house. We made chocolate chip cookies, and she saved some dough in the bowl for the sole purpose of eating it by the spoonfuls! 😉 We sat on the couch, and she taught me how to crochet Granny Squares. When I spoke of her recently to my mother, she said that Mrs. Conner was very involved in the work of our small ministry but eagerly achieved homemaking skills early on.
There are many ladies of influence whom God has placed in my life throughout my years. It has been a good exercise for me to “think on these things.” Other than my sweet mother, I would say Mrs. Evelyn Conner was one of the first ladies who had a part in shaping my life. Though our paths have been separated by miles and oceans through the years, she continues to be an inspiration to me. She remains a faithful Christian, wife and mother and has mastered the art of quilting.
I am sure that some of her influence was intentional so as to make a difference in my life, but surely, some was just the overflow of her life. It makes me aware of how little things are important – a comment, a compliment, a smile, a little note, the way I present myself, the way I treat even those I do not know are watching. We are all teachers of some sort whether we intend to be or whether someone is watching in the shadows. We are all given a gift of influence in varying degrees, and we do not always know whose lives are affected by ours. Let the fragrance of our lives be such that others are influenced toward Jesus because they knew us.
For the gift of influence I received from Mrs. Evelyn Conner, I am thankful. It is a lovely gift to think about.
With gratefulness to God, Jeri Lynn“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” -Philippians 4:8