This year’s Summer Sampler is about “Women Who Have Changed Our Lives,” the women who have inspired or encouraged us in our spiritual walk. These are the unsung heroes of the faith, the Sunday School teachers and neighbors and friends who were instrumental in our spiritual growth. No matter who we are or where we come from, God can use us to make a difference for eternity. And he calls all of us! We’re hoping that these stories will inspire and encourage you that you, too, can make a difference in the spiritual life of another woman.
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My Angel Mama
By Maureen Miller
I like to say we met on a wing and a prayer. Unlike the implication of this old adage, however, our friendship was blessed from the beginning.
More than three and a half decades my senior, this angel on earth was our pastor’s wife, but I didn’t first meet her in church. My initial encounter with Lucy Neeley Adams was via an article she’d written for our local newspaper, and I loved her from the start.
Lucy contributed regularly to our small-town paper. Her column, 52 Hymn Stories, was also the title of the book she’d authored (Abingdon Press, 2010) – a compilation of 52 hymns and the stories behind them.
The first time I read her column was near Easter 2005. She’d written about her older sister Margaret, sharing about her sudden passing many years before. She also wrote about how she found comfort in the lyrics of C. Austin Miles’ hymn “In the Garden,” offering a bit of the story behind this song.
Not long after, we met face to face at church and were fast friends. While I’d love to say I’m special, Lucy has a way of making everyone feel cherished. With her Southern drawl, she’ll proclaim, “Well, Sugar, I just love ya to pieces,” as she envelops you in her embrace.
One common interest between us, however – that which drew us closer, gave our friendship real purpose – was our passion for sharing God’s messages through the written word. It was this kindred desire that gave us the courage to attend our first writers’ conference in 2005 just outside Asheville, NC. After those few days learning and growing in our craft, as well as sharing late-night whispers in our dorm room, we dreamed of starting a Christian writers’ group in our community.
Our God-birthed dream became a reality in His perfect timing, and our writers’ fellowship began meeting monthly not long after. Although it started small, with only a handful of people, it grew over time. Today, there are a dozen or more in attendance some months, and we’ve been blessed to have special guest speakers over the years – Cec Murphey, Cindy Sproles, and Andrea Merrell, to name a few.
Several years ago, Lucy moved to Tennessee to be closer to family. I miss her dearly but am thankful for her detailed emails and our occasional phone conversations. She continues to be such an inspiration in my life, as she’s been an inspiration to many over more than eight decades. Her encouragement has given me confidence as a writer, and I currently contribute to the same small-town newspaper where we first met.
My correspondences with Lucy still begin, as they’ve always begun, with Dear Angel Mama, as that’s what this wonderful woman of God is to me. She’s prayed me through the loss of a daughter, the ill health of my husband, and other seasons of sadness.
Yes, Lucy and I met on a wing and a prayer, and I’m thankful I’ll have eternity with her in the presence of the One she loves most.
I can hear her now, on that day when she meets Him face to face – “Well, I’ve just loved ya to pieces!” Then she’ll break into song, likely with an autoharp on her lap. At the top of her lungs, she’ll sing His praise – What a Friend we have in Jesus….
Indeed, He’s dearer to me today, too – largely because of my friend Lucy, my sweet Angel Mama.
Maureen Miller, wife, mother of three, and “Mora” to two, lives on Selah Farm, a hobby homestead nestled in the mountains of western North Carolina. With a passion for God’s Word, she writes regularly for a number of online devotion sites, as well as for her local newspaper. Asking daily to have eyes and ears wide open that she might experience God in the miracles of His created world, she blogs about such at www.penningpansies.com. Her debut novel is under contract with Redemption Press.