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home : religion : inspirational reflections September 21, 2019

8/4/2019 12:38:00 PM
What's Your Story?
Charles R. Swindoll — 'Life is  10% what happens to you and  90% how you react to it.'

Charles R. Swindoll — 'Life is 
10% what happens to you and 
90% how you react to it.'

Rev. Susan Smith Walker
Emanuel Reformed Church

When we are gone all that will remain will be our story told through the lens of those who remember us. Our story is the legacy we leave for our family and friends. For God’s people it contains our common spiritual heritage that knits us together in the Body of Christ.

Recently I read “Our Joyful Journey” by Deane Abee about their family’s adventures in life in the Maiden/Lincolnton area as they grew up together in the Lord. Deane’s sister, Naomi Robinson aka “Tut” is a member of Emanuel Reformed Church and shared the book with me saying “I know you probably won’t have time to read this”. However, once I started it I couldn’t put it down!  Their story told  how God’s people lived and loved in a simpler time many decades ago when people grew their own food, wore homemade clothes, and worked hard together  to make ends meet. They carried water from local springs to wash clothes in big steel pots, stirring them over a fire with a stick, and then moving them to other pots to be scrubbed with washboards before rinsing.   For most of their life growing up their family did not have indoor plumbing or a car. Deane, Tut, and their brothers Shuford, Charlie, Bill, Mack, and Bob thrived by being grateful for the little things in life. We might say their life was one of hardship but it is a beautiful story of finding joy in life by living in and for Christ.

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Today we complain if we have to wait too long in a fast food line so how did they do it back then? Their parents James and Monta Canipe left a legacy rooted in humbly living for God. They raised their children to live for something bigger and greater than the daily grind of life.  Their family put God first in every way and today their story lives on in the lives of the children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren who carry their message of God’s love. If we could put God first today like they did back then this would be a very different world.  Modern conveniences have dulled our spirits and while I don’t want to wash clothes in a steel tub, their experience as God’s people in a simpler world is very appealing. Funny stories about how Tut had to fight off a rooster with her pocketbook made me laugh out loud.  When their father was bedridden Deane made small presents for Tut’s birthday and hid them under her father bed sheets so he could call her in every hour all day and give her another gift. That one made me cry.

Deane says “Across the years we had tremendously supportive direction in our lives. We were taken to church every Sunday from infancy on. Weekly and sometimes daily there were church meetings but no matter how many miles away we lived; we walked to every church we attended. Even when we were too young to walk, we were carried. Wherever our many moves and destinations took us, church was a main priority.”  

Deane is 89 years old and living at Abernethy Laurels today. Her story of God’s love in her family has touched many lives. If you are reading this, your story is still being written. When you are gone, what will they remember? What’s your story?  

Rev. Walker is the pastor of Emanuel Reformed Church and she can be reached at 828-962-8196 or 

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