“It was in my early teenage years that I decided I wanted to bring people to Jesus. That was what I wanted to spend my life doing and I told the Lord that. I said “I’d like to have a nice husband but he’s got to put you first, I’m not going to drag some man along, and I want to spend my life leading people to You.”
This quote epitomized my time spent with Beverly. I have never met a woman more committed to serving the Lord with her entire life. Early in our time together, she shared with me that if my plan was to share this with the younger generation, then she wanted to focus primarily on sharing spiritual wisdom. Of all that she could share with me, that was what she most wanted people to know. That is truly and clearly where her heart lies. And I think that is abundantly evident throughout our time together:
Born in 1933, Beverly grew up all over the United States. Ultimately attending, as she puts it, one hundred and six high schools:
“I went to 106 high schools. I went to one high school in PA, three in TX, two in MT, and one in WV. There were six schools I went to in 3 years. My father had different audits so we moved a lot. The last high school I went to was called Hundred High School, so when we were getting ready to move into that town I thought “this will be fun, I can tell people I’ve been to 100 and 6 high schools.”
Later in the interview, Beverly shared with me that she went on to sell World Book. I found when I asked her what her earliest childhood memory was that God was preparing her to be in sales from an early age:
“Mother and daddy liked gardening. And so they raised all these tomatoes. I learned to sell. God taught me selling skills early on, so I would go in town. There was this delivery bike so she’d load me up with three for a dime tomatoes and all these different things we’d raise and I would go into town and sell vegetables…I also learned to sell eggs. She would put eggs into my basket and I would ride my bike all around in these areas and sell all the eggs. She gave me one penny per dozen and I’d stop at the store and spend twenty cents on a pint and eat the whole thing.”
Beverly had a close relationship with her parents, and she was thankful that they raised her in the church because that changed the trajectory of her entire life, and through her example, has changed the lives of many others.
What advice did you get from your parents that you’ve taken with you?
“Their example. If you ever have a home, your biggest asset will be your example. Loving one another and your children, and getting them into things that are going to help them spiritually, seeing that they go to things that are going to minister to them.”
After college, Beverly became a middle school physical education teacher in Baltimore city. This was a job that she absolutely loved, you could see it all over her face and in the way that she talked about the children she had the privilege to teach.
“I loved it. I’ve loved everything I’ve done. You should not get into something you don’t love because life is short and you don’t want to be dragging.”
It was inspiring and refreshing to see someone be so passionate about their career, and I wondered what she would tell my generation, who is so frequently stuck in the “what to do next” phase.
“You’re going to have to be on your knees before the Lord. And expect him to show you what to do. I don’t think you have to just agonize and agonize. Expect him to show you, and he’ll show you “this is it”. Its not always the highest paying job but he’ll show you something, and a lot of times its what you like, something that you’re bent towards anyway. So you will be happy in what you’ve chosen. I don’t think he puts you into something you just hate.”
Beverly was inspiring to me in more ways than just her passion for God and her exuberance for all that she had the opportunity to do in her life. She had mentioned earlier in the interview that she had told God that she would like to marry, but only a man who loved Him more than he loved her. I asked her if she ultimately found that man:
“I could’ve been married at least 3 times but if the person didn’t really pursue God, it just didn’t interest me. Because I watched other women; Christian woman meets guy, she’s going to save him, she’s going to bring him to the Lord. And I tried to say honey, it doesn’t usually work that way.”
Marriage is so heavily on the mind of people my age these days. To meet someone who actually chose not to get married, even though they could have had the chance, was eye opening. So often we compromise our beliefs or what we really need in order to find a significant other. Beverly did no such thing:
“I’m happy with the way my life turned out because God’s been in charge and you lose control if you marry somebody and they’re not interested in the Lord’s will, I wouldn’t be happy with that and they probably wouldn’t be happy with me.”
Despite the fact that she chose not to marry, Beverly is certainly an advocate for marriage and feels most people are meant to marry. I knew that she would have a unique perspective for those who are still waiting to find someone. Her advice encourages us to look outside of ourselves and put the focus on others as we wait:
“The best thing you can do, serve other people. If you get your mind on that, you’ll be happy. It’s true. If you’re all wound up, “oh I want to get married”, if its just consuming you, and I’m not saying its wrong to want to get married of course, but if you let it consume you, you’re missing out on all these people you could be serving…The more you do for other people, the happier you are. In so doing you’ll probably meet somebody who has the same interest in other people and then you’re happy because they’re happy doing the same thing you’re doing. That’s who you want to get hitched up with.”
I left my time with Beverly with a renewed sense of peace about where my life was going. Despite her life turning out differently than she had pictured, she was so confident that God had led her to and through every part of it. I walked away that day knowing full well, from Beverly’s example, that God is in control:
“Set your goal to please the Lord, to do what he’s telling you to do, and then let him do the job.”
– Want to read more from Beverly? Check out the Living Lessons page