A Servant’s Heart is Born

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

  • Ephesians 2:10

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

  • Romans 8:28

for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

  • Philippians 2:13

First, the photo above is a scan of the end of a letter.  For anyone who lived in El Paso, TX or the area around there in the 1960s, they would know who “Ann Carroll” was.  That was not her name, but she was like Dear Abby or Ann Landers on a smaller scale.

When my mother-in-law wrote to Ann Carroll to voice her opinion that if she, an immigrant to the USA from Holland, had to learn English, study for the exams, etc., why were Mexican immigrants who were sworn in at the same time afforded a translator in taking the oath?  Her letter started a firestorm in the border town.

But that also started a long friendship between my mother-in-law (long before I met my future wife) and the advice columnist.

But then “Ann Carroll’s” sister broke her arm.  This sister was the caregiver for her husband who was dying of cancer.  By this point, they were in their 80s, I think.

“Ann Carroll” asked her friend, my future mother-in-law, if she knew of anyone who could do a simple three meals a day and keep the old couple company during the day.  This was in the summer, in the mid-60s, and my future wife was 14, ten years before we met or there about.

My future mother-in-law turned to my future wife and said, “You have volunteered.”

All she had to do was to poach a couple of eggs for breakfast, their favorite.  Make a simple sandwich for lunch.  Make something else for supper, again a simple meal that a fourteen-year-old could do.  Ensure that the husband took his medication.  Bathe the wife.  And be there in case something went wrong.

My wife said that she was embarrassed beyond words with the bathing, but the lady said that at her age, it did not matter anymore and with a cast on her arm, she could not manage to bathe herself.

For a week, all my future wife could think of was that she was volunteered and how she hated this drudgery.

As the second week began, the woman of the house went to the piano and started playing, a little with one arm in a cast.  My future wife had no idea that the woman could play, and she was playing hymns that my future wife knew.  She began to sing.  The woman, who was the church organist for her church, had not known that my future wife had a beautiful soprano voice.

They started by complimenting one another.  A friendship developed.

My future wife had started her work there by riding her bicycle to their home at eight in the morning and riding the bicycle back at four in the afternoon, leaving the supper for them to serve to themselves.  But during the second week, the two women of the house were too busy playing the piano and singing to notice that the clock was striking seven in the late afternoon, and it was starting to get dark outside.  They lived about a mile apart, and my future wife was on an unlit bicycle.

Imagine, a simpler time when a fourteen-year-old girl could be a caregiver for the elderly, all alone, and could ride her bike about a mile away in perfect safety.

When the school year started in September, “Ann Carroll” had arranged for other help, but her sister had lost the cast by then anyway.  My wife’s summer had been spent doing volunteer work, but somehow she did not mind the inconvenience at all.

But the work started as drudgery.  Once the work attitude shifted from drudgery taking care of strange old people to the joy being able to visit a friend and stay all day, my wife had developed a servant’s heart.  Family came first, and she still, during that summer, had responsibilities at home.

But my future wife had developed such a friendship that during the school year, if her homework was complete and she had done her chores at home, she went where an old friend was already waiting at the piano.

In the letter, “Ann Carroll” thanked my future mother-in-law and her daughter.  It had worked out far better than she had imagined.  She enclosed a modest check that my future wife used to buy a new outfit, a skirt and blouse that had not been worn by others.  And with an accountant for a father, she saved the rest.  And although he was an accountant, he had nine children to feed.  Clothing was usually handed down.  With my wife being the oldest daughter, she got clothing from the older girls at church.

But when my sister-in-law recently sent her the letter, wondering if my wife even remembered, the memories flooded back, and without the piano accompanying her, she began to sing the old hymns.

When we do good works within our own power, our energy runs low, and we get tired.

When we do good works to glorify God, with no thought of receiving anything in return, we get love, hope, and a burst of energy that says, “I can stay a few more hours.”

And being near her birthday…


Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.


Add yours →

  1. Lovely testimony and tribute to your Sweetie.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: