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A Genuine Joy

Issue 5


by Steve Young

I’m a bit ashamed to say that we lived across from her for ten years and didn’t know her name. I don’t think we had even seen her before. We had heard that an older widow lived in the house and that she was unable to get out. Occasionally, we’d see a car in the driveway and someone walk inside with groceries. A neighborhood boy mowed her lawn. When an ambulance was in the driveway one night, I went to see if everything was okay, and a relative said it was. The years passed and we stayed oblivious to the identity of our mystery neighbor.

When Jared—the lawn-mowing neighborhood boy—went off to basic training in the Air Force this past Spring, he graciously offered my 12-year-old son his lawn-mowing jobs. “Which yards?” I asked. He gave me the short list of names, including one that was new to me—Becky.

Becky! She had a name. A short time later, my son knocked on her door to ask some questions about her lawn. When he returned, he shared what he’d learned about the job and made sure to tell us, “Ms. Becky is SOOOO sweet!”

I learned firsthand that his assessment was right just a few days later when I stopped by Becky’s house to ask a few more questions and to officially meet her. She sat in her comfortable, upholstered chair facing a large window with a view of the treetops and clouds high above her backyard. Her inviting home is filled with Nativity sets she has collected for years—having more than 170 of them on display. We began talking, and that short conversation made a strong, lasting impression on me.

Becky told me how she considers herself crippled and can’t get out of the house. So, she sits in her chair looking out the window and is reminded of how good God has been to her: “My arms get tired sometimes just from praising Him.” She also shared her love for Scripture, declaring, “I love to read the Bible. I read 20 to 30 chapters a day. I read through the Bible every month or two. It has become so familiar to me.”

Becky asked what church I went to. I shared that I attend Southeast Christian, to which she excitedly replied, “I’m a member there!” before adding, “I used to attend regularly, but I can’t get out now.”

She told me that she really missed hearing the sermons since they’re no longer broadcast on local TV. I looked at the iPhone on the arm of her chair and asked if she would want to try watching online. She agreed, and I installed the Southeast App on her phone. You should have seen her face light up when she clicked on it and felt reconnected to her church!


Our conversation progressed. Becky shared some of the trials that she’s endured over her 96 years: How she lost her husband, Doc, 30 years ago. How her son died four years ago. How her own health has deteriorated and she is now mostly confined to her chair. How she lost one of her eyes in a failed surgical procedure. As I listened, I didn’t hear any bitterness in her voice. She wasn’t asking for sympathy. She was simply sharing her story. And then she was quick to say, “But He has been so good to me.”

Perhaps what moved me as much as anything was when she talked about her generosity. Becky shared the joy that she has in giving. She used to be involved in missions work, but is now limited physically.

“I may not be able to go anymore, but I can still send!” she said.

Becky chooses to give financially to support the Lord’s work, knowing that He still has plenty for her to do…it just looks different now.

Our family has had a chance to visit with Becky several times in recent months. We’ve been moved by her genuine joy, her infectious smile, and her rock-solid faith. We have been able to help her with a few things around the house and deliver home-cooked meals on occasion. We’ve given a little, but we have received so much.

I love how she still finds ways to make an impact even though she can’t leave her home. I love that her commitment to walk with the Lord has grown stronger, even as her body has grown weaker. And I love how she carries a genuine joy that no amount of hardship can touch.

Becky, I’m sorry that it took ten years to get to know you, but I am so thankful for the mark you’ve made on my family. You are a treasure, and I’m grateful that our lives intersected. Keep up the great work, my friend.

Southeast staff member Steve Young and his family live in Louisville and attend the Blankenbaker Campus.

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