“No Eulogy Needed”

Last week, my family and I made the trek from Memphis to Cincinnati to attend my Grandma Kizzie’s memorial service. The week leading up to the service was difficult on many accounts, and I was not looking forward to the service. I didn’t think I could handle all the tears and sadness. As we approached the church and awaited the service to begin, I silently prayed for peace and comfort.

The service ended up being a huge blessing in my life. There was sadness, but the pervading feeling was one of celebration for a life lived to the fullest. All of God’s grace and goodness on display for all to see and behold. With every remark from her family and friends, it was clear that Kizzie lived a life that honored God and served others well. It was the final remarks from the pastor that moved me the most. In his words, “Kizzie did not need a eulogy because she lived her eulogy.”

Her life was an epitaph to God’s marvelous works. I am so inspired by these words. How can I live my life in such a way that my livingĀ speaks all the volumes needed?

With the frailty of life and the certainty of death, we can all be assured that one day we will die. But when that day comes, we don’t have to fret over our legacy or our fate because in Christ we are assured an eternal resting place. Maybe then the most important part of living is the actual living. And living in such a way, that brings glory to God, but also inspires those around you. My grandmother modeled this for me in the most beautiful of ways, and it was apparent that she touched many lives.

I strive to carry on her legacy, and I trust God with my future, and I know he can help me lead a “no eulogy needed” life.



It’s October, Here’s my Pink Story

I was 24 years old when I found it; at first I wasn’t sure, so I felt again and again. Then I felt the other one to be sure, which confirmed my fears: I had discovered a lump in my breast. I laid still and quiet in my bed for a long time, just thinking about the foreign mass that was residing in my breast. “A cyst, that’s what it is.” I told myself. I was 24, there was no way I had cancer, I couldn’t even allow that to enter my brain. “I have a cyst, no big deal, a lot of young women get them. I’ll be just fine”

A year later I was on the phone with one of my friends when she asked if I’d seen a doctor about my “cyst”. I hadn’t, but I assured her I would since her mother was battling breast cancer. A few weeks later I was sitting at the Vanderbilt Breast Center, and hearing the words from the radiologist, “you have a tumor, and we need to biopsy it.”

“Wait, what are saying, this isn’t a cyst, we just can’t stick a needle in it and it’ll burst.” I was shocked, at 25 I had a tumor in my breast, but could it really be cancer?

When I came in for my biopsy, I was terrified. I sat in the waiting room watching all the women around me. There were women from all walks of life, all ethnicities, and to my surprise all ages. There were women wearing scarves to cover their hair loss from chemotherapy, there were women being comforted by husbands, mothers, sisters, and friends. There were women who looked weak and frail. Yet, among all these women, you could feel one tangible thing and that was Hope.

Hope for a cure, hope for good test results, hope for shrinkage, hope for remission, hope for another day to keep fighting, keep living, keep breathing, keep hoping. I had to wipe the tears from my eyes as I gathered strength from this phenomenal group of women. Could I be this strong? Could I have hope in the face of this monster? Could my resolve be to live to see another day?

After the biopsy, I had to wait a few days before getting the results. When the phone rang, I immediately recognized the Vanderbilt prefix. I answered and held my breath. “Benign..” Began the voice on the other end of the phone. I exhaled a sigh of relief, but my heart was forever changed by the scene in that waiting room. The hope I felt. The strength that was prevalent. Those women were in a fight for their lives but they had hope, and that was the force that kept them in the ring.



I look down at the ratty and worn out bookmark, the tassel frayed and unraveling. Then, I look at the words printed on the front of the bookmark, and tears begin to stream down my face. How appropriate those words. How real they would feel one year later. How convicted I would feel by the truth in the words. Printed on the leather purple bookmark, still tucked away in the Joyce Meyer book that was a graduation present from my mother: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Oh, how true indeed! The Lord has always known the plans for me and it brings me such joy to know that while I was worried about my future, jobs, relationships, etc., He already knew those plans. When I first got the bookmark last May, I remember looking at the words, and thinking, hmm that’s a nice little bible verse. However it didn’t change anything in my heart. I continued to worry and stress about jobs and where I would be living and what I would be doing. Looking back on it now, I see how minute my worries were. I see how small my stresses were to an almighty God, but at the time they were all-consuming. I defined my identity in worldly success. So, I looked at the bookmark with some merit, but gave it no merit in my life. A few weeks later, I was in Memphis for Memorial Day, which ended up being a life changing week, and I was at Cracker Barrel with my little sister, and as we walked through the country store, I glanced a plaque with the same words printed on it. I said to my sister, “Maya, look it’s that same bible verse.” She said it must be following me around for a reason. I told her if I got the job that I was interviewing for on the next day, that they must get the plaque for me to hang on my office wall.

I did get that job, and for the next two or three months, I would see this bible verse, Jeremiah 29:11 printed everywhere. As if it truly were following me around. From looking for decorations for my new apartment, to buying a journal from the bookstore, I saw those words everywhere. Finally, I began to wonder what God could mean. In my mind his prophecy had been fulfilled. I was desperate for a job, and he blessed me with an awesome job around an amazing group of uplifting Christian people. Weren’t those his plans? Hadn’t he prospered me? It never really was about the job though.

Months later as I reflect on the past 12 months, tears stream down my face as I reread those words printed on the purple leather bookmark. When I think of the plans that I tried to create for myself, the jobs I applied for, the cities I attempted to live in, the relationships that I wanted to form; they are crumbs compared to the feast that the Lord has been preparing for me. One year later, I realize that all of the doors that had to close, all the sadness I had to endure, all of the confusion, all of the frustration, all of the things I had to turn away from, so I could turn to the one true and Holy God. The past 12 months have changed me. I trust God because I believe that his plans for me will always surpass any plans I could ever make for myself.

I can look at Jeremiah 29:11 and know that the Lord is good and sovereign and his promises always come true. I can substitute the word “plans” for job, husband, house, friends, city, tomorrow, etc. He knows my future, He holds my future, and his plan are to give me hope and a future Something I couldn’t foresee a year ago.