There are certain people that when they come into your life your life changes forever. Some, we are blessed to be born into their family, others come and go through seasons and a select few, we chose to hold onto for as long as the grasp will hold. My Aunt Wilma is one that I can say my blessing came because I was born into a relationship with her. Do you have someone in your life that changed you? Well, Aunt Wilma’s presence made a difference in my life. I can honestly say my life changed because of her. Her laughter spilled through a house like a bird’s song in the trees. Her face always filled with a smile that lifted the eyes. It never mattered how busy her life may be if I came to town she made sure to come and see me. She reminded me of the value of presence and how powerfully it impacts the heart. Last night, she went home to be with our LORD Jesus. I can say that so easily because I know without a doubt where my Aunt Willy lives now.
My earliest memories of Jesus include my Aunt Willy. She made sure that every summer Tony, Nikki and I joined her and her kids for Vacation Bible School. I honestly do not remember the Bible Stories or the lessons I learned, but I do remember the songs. I still sing them today carrying on the heritage with my children. I remember the laughter and that church is a happy place. I remember the peace. I knew church was a place of freedom and release. I remember running the halls while Aunt Willy either set up or took down for the day. She had no problem letting us play. I remember loving Jesus simply because Aunt Willy did.
As a child, I did not know that this would play a tremendous role in my surrendering my life to Christ later on, but I know Aunt Willy did. She was purposeful and intentional in talking to me about Jesus all my life and even when I chose to make poor choices she always welcomed me with loving open arms. I never felt judged—only loved.
I guess the most important thing we can do in life is to leave a legacy—a heritage that withstands the hardships of life. Aunt Wilma left me a legacy. I am living it out right now to the fullest measure in ministry through Christ. Interestingly, her time in my life in the scheme of things was so short… a visit here, a captured moment there! Yet, those moments never fell empty to the ground with wasted conversations. As I said, she was purposeful. I had the privilege of seeing Aunt Willy at Easter. At one point, I chose to be purposeful with her as I held her hands and told her how much she has meant in my walk with Christ. How wonderful of GOD to allow me to tell her she made a difference in my life! I watched tears swell in her eyes and as I heard her say, “I did that?!” If you knew her you would know that her voice rose with a lilt. I can hear her now!
Isn’t it amazing how when people are serving so wholeheartedly in a holy task they are so unaware of what they have done in and through Christ! I am just one testimony of countless thousands I am sure, but now Aunt Wilma is looking into Jesus’ eyes as He unfolds before her a lifetime of holy moments that she had no clue about. I can hear her saying… “I did that?!” As Jesus answers, “Yes, my child, well done!”
Aunt Willy… I love you! Thank You so much for singing to me…
Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so,
Little ones to Him belong; they are weak, but He is strong!
Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so!
Aunt Wilma told me. Who told You? Now, Who are you going to tell?
Tara Rye (Randy Branham’s daughter)
June 29, 2007