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  • Rhonda Kelley

Words of Wisdom from My 95 Year-Old Mother

Few children have the privilege of celebrating the 95th birthday of a parent! My sister Mitzi and I are among the fortunate ones as we celebrated our mother’s 95th birthday on December 9, 2021. What a memorable day to recognize a very special lady! Joyce Compton Harrington is not only our wonderful mother, she is a beloved grandmother, great-grandmother, sister, aunt, cousin, and friend. She was overwhelmed by the hundreds of expressions of love demonstrated to her through flowers, cards, telephone calls, texts, and Facebook posts. She continues to enjoy reading and re-reading each precious message.

Our family has enjoyed hearing Mother recall the circumstances of her birth and reflect on her 95 years of life. Mother was the first child of Westbrook and Lupearl Compton, born in her grandmother’s bed in Putnam, Alabama with the help of a midwife. When asked, “What does it feel like to be 95?” Mother quickly responded: “I don’t know, I have never been 95 before.” Ha! She has often told people that she “feels 59 sitting down but 95 standing up!” She also commented: “95 is young at Lambeth House. We have half a dozen or so residents who are over 100! It’s because they feed us so well.” On another occasion, Mother proudly proclaimed: “Not long ago, I had a zit. I was so happy to have a pimple when I am well passed my adolescence!” She winked as she announced how pleased she was to receive so many flowers for her birthday: “I’m glad to be here to enjoy all my flowers today because I won’t be here to see the ones at my funeral.” Mother has truly enjoyed all 95 of her years on this earth! And, we pray she will live to enjoy many more birthdays in the future.

Amidst the exciting celebration, Mother shared some words of wisdom that must be passed along to the next generation. Here are some of her personal thoughts to be prayerfully considered:

  • Study the Bible for yourself…don’t just take your children to Sunday School. Learn God’s Word for yourself and live out its truths.

  • Obey the Lord as soon as He speaks…don’t wait and suffer the consequences.

  • Think before you speak…don’t speak too quickly.

  • Remember that God created all people in His image…so treat all people with love.

  • Remember that all people can learn…so you are never too smart or too old to learn something.

Mother’s life verse is Matthew 6:33: “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Mother has truly obeyed that biblical command. She has put the Lord first in her own life and in her family. She has sought Him during every stage of her life. She has committed herself to a life of righteousness. She has faithfully prayed for her family members by name every single day. And, as promised in Scripture, all things have been given to her here on earth and will be for an eternity in heaven. Let’s follow this example of a truly wise and very godly 95 year-old saint!!!

1 Comment

mitzi woodson
mitzi woodson
Dec 14, 2021

Mother (I'm Joyce's second and the last making me the baby) influences my life in so many ways. Here are just a few: her love of family which includes correction and forgiveness; her dedication to church not just on Sunday but during the week through service and prayer; her fashion style which still includes daily applications of lipstick; and, her servant's heart. I was telling my son Aaron this morning of how mother offered hospitality in the New Testament sense. Yes, she always set a nice table when entertaining and it was my job to put out pink placements for every meal, but whenever my dad would bring home someone from Bourbon Street, she would welcome them with fresh linens…

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