Sometimes people come into your life and make an indelible imprint that forever changes who you are. I want to tell you about a couple of those people in my own life – Red and Frances Jones. Mr. Red and Mrs. Frances had the gift of hospitality. Long before I ever knew them, they were constantly inviting college students and young couples into their home. The treated my husband, Michael, as if he was their own. Even though there was no blood relation, Michael always referred to them as his grandparents.
When I met Mr. Red and Mrs. Frances, I was enamored by them. Not only were they in love with their Savior, but they were madly in love with each other after years and years of marriage. I loved watching them bat their eyes at one another across the table and to listen to the subtle ways they would flirt with each other while playing Shanghai (a card game they taught me and which I love). They had compassion on others and cared greatly about the lost. Mrs. Frances faithfully taught Sunday school for years and her class adored her. Mr. Red was a servant leader; he spent countless hours working as the church treasurer and as a deacon.
When we learned that we were going to have a baby, Mr. Red and Mrs. Frances were the very first people we told. We cried and rejoiced together! Unfortunately, shortly before Jorjanne was born, Mrs. Frances passed away. We decided to give Jorjanne the middle name Frances after this godly woman we had grown to love.
As time progressed, Michael’s bipolar disorder slowly took control of his life. At some of our lowest points, Mr. Red was my rock. I could go to him for wisdom and for shelter. Years earlier, my dad had asked Mr. Red to “look after his little girl” and this was a task Mr. Red took seriously. He always treated me like family and I always thought of him as a protector in my life. We had some precious times in prayer together and his home became a respite for me when I needed to get away for a few hours. He would play with Jorjanne and allow me to find a quiet place to seek the Lord.
This week marks ten years since Mrs. Frances died, and today Mr. Red went home to join her. While my heart hurts over the loss of a man I loved as if he were my own family, I also rejoice in knowing that he has been reunited with both his bride and with His Groom. I now know what it means to long for heaven because I have so many loved ones who are up there celebrating Mr. Red’s homecoming. One day, I shall join them in that great celebration.
Until that day, I pray that I can carry on the legacy left behind by Red and Frances Jones. I pray that Jorjanne will reflect Christ as Mrs. Frances did and that she will one day marry a man like Mr. Red. I thank God for blessing me with such incredible role models in my life. I hope that my legacy will point others to Christ like the Jones'. When I hear the song, "Thank You" by Ray Boltz, I will always think of Mr. Red and Mrs. Frances.