Tribute ~ intertwining Myrna’s story with the message/testimony of Psalm 23. Psalm 23 beautifully describes the journey of a person that puts their faith in Jesus Christ. I.e. a wonderful picture of what we are becoming when God is at the center of life.
1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. Myrna was born Aug. 28, 1932 and died Nov. 20, ’17. She has an older brother, Bob, who is living in Klein Falls, OR, not far from where they grew up in Redmond, OR. I don’t think anyone would accuse Myrna or her family of being wealthy, but all a person really needs is contentment. Growing up in Redmond Myrna enjoyed horseback riding and 4H activities. Perhaps life on the dead end of the Sumas Road was a good place for her to spend her last years….
Only God knows the heart, but Mark says his mother gave her life to the Lord Jesus Christ in the early 80’s at CrossRoads Community Church in Vancouver. There were ups and downs in her life, disappointments as is common to us all, yet she strived to live in peace with God at the center of her life and contentment being her character.
2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. Myrna was married out of high school to Ed Sullivan. Together they had Mark, Dennis and Carrie. (Footnote: Ed died last January, so the Sullivan children lost both mom and dad this year.) The Sullivans made their home in Vancouver, WA. Myrna was always a peacemaker. She did not like conflict. STILL WATERS was her greatest desire. She told Mark (and I assume all her children) all the time that she loved them. Most of the time she was a calm soul. Mark laughs at the time when he was about 12 his mother kinda got upset with him and he, being a bigger person than her even then, took the wooden spoon she was holding and broke it then defiantly said to his mother, “What are you going to do about it.” Mom looked at Mark and said, “Tell your father,” and then went peacefully about her day and sure enough when Ed got home she let Mark’s father deal with him.
Myrna craved STILL WATERS. When I asked Mark about a scripture it wasn’t Ps. 23 he thought of, it was the “STILL WATERS” he felt described his mother so wellBeside the still waters. I am using Ps. 23 because that is the place we find the Still waters…
3 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. The good Lord took care of Myrna. The marriage with Ed did not last forever, but Myrna forged ahead. She worked in two different banks in loans and notes for 20-25 years. Mark says she must have been good at it, because they offered her a management position, but she declined because she didn’t think she could do it. Sounds like Myrna. Unassuming. Humble. I personally think she undersold herself! She did not have a lot of confidence in herself!
She never really spoke to me of her disappointments in life, only alluded to them, but chose to focus on making the best of the hand she was dealt, appreciating her world, her children, her home. Most conversations I had with her over the years would be her ending with the idea that she did not always understand everything that happened or why the things were the way they were, but the good Lord knows and she will strive for contentment. The quiet waters, Restoration. “He leads me in the paths of righteousness” means that we are fooling ourselves if we think we are the author of our stories. God is leading us for his purposes, and his purposes are right…
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. Myrna is my hero… she faced cancer but came back to God. Something happened in her marriage but she kept going. The valley of the shadow of death certainly refers to all those circumstances of life we would never choose but they are a part of every life. When we fool ourselves into thinking we are the author of our own stories and can control our own destiny, we never include hard times, but life ALWAYS includes disappointments, tragedy, heartache. God’s promise is his presence, YOU ARE WITH ME.
Myrna married Bill Wood and moved to Orcas Island. On Orcas Myrna enjoyed the Senior Center, a group of friends. If you know Myrna, you know she never wanted to be the center of attention, but she liked people. Bill died about 15 years ago. Myrna moved with Carrie to Sumas about 8-9 years ago? Mark came a bit later. Myrna’s life is a life of trusting in God, believing he directed her paths…
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. I loved Myrna’s sense of humor. A twinkle in her eye. Even in the video when she said, “good by Mryna” that is classic Myrna. Mark called his mother a “Pistol.” What he will probably miss most about his mother is the daily back and forth, jokingly upping one back and forth with their teasing. To really know her you had to see her one on one, in her home. Although Bernita tells early on when Myrna came to the church she said to Joe Bronkema, the greeter at the time, how can I be a greeter. Joe told her some things and she said, “I want to be a greeter right now.” I can hear her saying that.
Her cup did run over, her joy was evident. A simple quiet person who loved people. Thank God for Myrna Wood. She crocheted dozens and dozens of afghans. My mother told her it was a gift she had and Myrna replied, “It’s my only gift.” NO. She was an encourager. She loved people. She listened. Horace Stokes was a tall man so she took the time to crochet an extra long afghan for Horace… a quiet person who quietly blessed others. Almost always when I saw Myrna in her home I would end by saying, can I pray before I leave, and she always said, “Yes, please do.” And she meant it… she craved it, she delighted in prayer…
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever. I think this is the promise that kept Myrna going, the promise of a forever future with God. Myrna was a peacemaker, an encourager, quiet. Now she is in the hands of God, waiting for that day of resurrection in which we will be forever with God. I had the privilege of telling Mark his mother passed away late in the afternoon of Nov. 20. He had an awesome beautiful prayer of hope and trust to be united with his mother in eternity. May the Lord bless Myrna, her family, her friends, her community. May her life be a testimony of quiet faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.
To Mark and Carrie, thank you. Thank you for sharing your mother. I appreciate so much spending those precious times with the two of you at your mother’s bedside. I cannot imagine a better gift to your mother than for her to be with the two of you! I’m so glad you found Sumas, Carrie.
Promises of God: God has given us promises written in His word. Every so often I am asked, “Do you really believe in eternal life?” YES. I have assurance/ peace because I believe what God tells us in the Bible. And I see other people of great faith! My faith was reaffirmed a few weeks before Myrna died. Sally and I went to see her, she was awake but not able to talk much. As I left I asked if I could pray. Sally was on one side and me on the other… I cannot describe it completely, I don’t know what Mark and Carrie felt, but for me, it was like Myrna was an angel…She grabbed my hand… she had a quiet confidence, a peace beyond understanding, a goodness and rightness about her… I honestly I may have been the one praying, but it was Myrna that was blessing me! It was a holy moment. YES, I believe in eternal life and the promises of God!
At the end of the great love chapter, 1 Cor. 13, it says, “Now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. FAITH, HOPE, LOVE
FAITH brings us to God: Eph. 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.
John 6:47: Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.
More amazing than our faith, is God’s faithfulness to us: Ps. 91:4: He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield.
HOPE is the great expectation to keep believing that His promises will come true.
Rom. 12:12 is simple: Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, be constant in prayer.
Is. 41:10: Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
The greatest of these is LOVE: God’s promises are based on love: John 3:16, for God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.
Love is the bridge between this world and the world to come: Rom. 8:37-39: No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Committal: In the sure and certain hope of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, we commend to almighty God Myrna Wood. May the Lord bless her and keep her.
Song: Holy, Holy, Holy #101
Prayer (In remembrance of Myrna when I say, Let’s pray, please respond together, “Yes, please do). READY. Let’s pray [Yes, Please do]
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