This past spring my precious grandma, Lillian Pierce Taylor (age 95), went to be with her Savior. For months we had experienced a dreadful anticipation of sorts. Dreading the goodbye and yet longing with her for the day she would see her Savior face to face and finally rid herself of the overwhelming sufferings of this broken, sinful world. Through tears we gathered to remember her on a chilly morning in Corning, NY where her husband was buried over 20 years before. We smiled knowing she knew greater joy than ever and yet cried missing her dearly. We grieved the tragedy of sin and death and praised the one who conquered it.
We mourned with great hope because she’s a daughter of the King. What an incredible example she was to me and to so many of a faithful and sacrificial Christian life. She was the wife of a pastor, a mother of 5, an evangelist, a faithful Bible teacher, a missionary to prisoners, and the list goes on and on. My mom recently received a letter from an organization my Grandma labored for letting us know of part of her incredible legacy. We didn’t realize that she took a local prison outreach and turned it into a national ministry sharing the Gospel with prisoners. She sacrificed in every way to share of the goodness of the Lord. She had a rock solid faith and a passionate love for Christ and for this reason we named our daughter Lillian after her. I’m truly thankful that my daughters got to know her well and called her, fittingly, “great Lillian.”
I continue to grieve the loss of my grandma. I often think of her on Sunday mornings at church while singing. Songs such as “O Church Arise” spur me on to keep the faith and anticipate the glory that is now her reality. The lyrics read:
“As saints of old, still line the way,
Retelling triumphs of His grace,
We hear their calls, and hunger for the day
When with Christ we stand in Glory.”
My husband was called to pastor a church here in VA about 6 years before her passing and I see it as grace from the Lord that we were able to more regularly visit her. By this time her health had failed enough that conversations about ministry were difficult for her to have but something about just being with this faithful saint encouraged me to persevere in the challenging work as a pastor’s wife. During the final years of her life when great Lillian grew more tired, the girls had a unique ability to bring a smile to her face. We always held her hands tightly. I feel like I memorized her hands and they became a meaningful symbol to me of her years of faithful labor for the King eternal. Great Lillian continued to share of Christ until the Lord called her to heaven and the nurses who diligently cared for her had all heard of her precious Lord and His salvation. She was a joy to serve, especially in her elderly years when she grew even more pleasant and full of complete peace in her heavenly Father.
Not only did my grandma leave a legacy she also gifted us with hundreds of her poems. One of her poems was read at her funeral and I cherish it. It reads:
“My eyes no longer see the flowers that nod
The Bible says I now see God.
My hands now feel cold to you-
Rejoice as there work is through.
My feet no longer will be swift.
For where I am they will never drift.
The sweat that was once on my brow
Won’t appear, Dear ones, where I am now.
The heart that once beat in my breast
is silent now with no more stress.
The great creator of this earthly remains
Prepared a place where there’s no more pains.
He sent His son to pay your debt.
Bow down today so you’ll never regret.
Some, my friend have waited too long
Now they have no redemption song.
Remember Jesus paid for your debt of sin
That precious blood will take you in.
I hope this will be read when I am gone-
For I will still be loving you after I pass on.”
I pray that the Lord will continue to be glorified through Great Lillian’s legacy of faith and that my testimony of His grace will be similar to the end. We love you Great Lillian!
Psalm 73:23-24 “Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory.”