I’ve been proud of my friends before but I don’t think anything even comes close to how proud I’ve been of my friend Allison these last four days. Allison lost her mother to an aggressive and a considerably short battle with cancer on Friday afternoon. The service for her mother yesterday was nothing like I’ve ever experienced. It was such an amazing tribute to her mother and an even greater one to the God her mother so devotedly served. The song “I Can Only Imagine” was played yesterday at the funeral. This song has always had an overwhelming emotional effect on me. I cannot listen to it without crying. The thought of one day standing in the Glory of God brings me to tears. Yesterday, the song literally took my breath away. I think the entire congregation heard me gasp for air between my sobs. Just thinking about Allison’s mom there with her new heavenly body that is cancer free standing in the presence of our Savior was a true worship experience unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.  I left there yesterday feeling so close to God and in awe of all His wonder.

God laid two important lessons on me during the service. One is I want to live a life worthy of my calling. I want to impact the lives of others and serve mankind just as Mrs. Hinton did. She was a great example of a servant heart. The things she did were not always something noticed or acknowledged at the time either. One example is she would smock burial gowns for stillborn babies. I cannot imagine the impact those small gowns had on so many grieving family members. I really left there thinking that I need to be doing more. I need to show others the love of Christ through service. Secondly, Mrs. Hinton was in full submission to God. She surrendered everything to Him. Throughout her battle with cancer, she would always say she would be healed by God, whether that was on Earth or in Heaven. She prayed for His Will to be done over all else when it came to how she was healed. Her full trust was completely in Him.

When I told Allison last night that she and her family did an amazing job planning the service and that I was so proud of her grace through it all, she quickly reminded me that the praise belonged to God and not to her. She faced the hardest thing any of us in our group of friends has faced and she did it with such grace. She has continued to praise Him in this storm. She hasn’t questioned His ways but has accepted His will. She has actively chosen to see God. While others would declare this a tragedy and question God, Allison has acknowledged God’s will was done. Not only has she continued her mother’s legacy through doing this but she has also honored her Heavenly Father. And all this is why I cannot be any prouder of her.

I feel like I should also mention how humbled I am to have such an amazing core group of friends. We came from all over and dropped everything to be there for Allison. My friend Ashley and her husband, David drove from Chattanooga, TN to Florence, AL and back in one day just so that they could be there on the day of the visitation. A large crew of us all piled into my parents’ house for two days just to be there in Florence. We wanted to be there to pay our respects and offer whatever support we could. The support and love that was there this weekend was beyond overwhelming to all of us. Allison’s baby girl, Alexis is probably happy not to have at least three of her mom’s sorority sisters in her face at all times. Although, we did have a lot of fun fussing over her and blowing bubbles in the backyard. I know Allison was extremely grateful and honored by not only our presence but the presence of so many. The line at the visitation wrapped around the funeral home. I think this speaks volume to Allison and her family as well. I’ve always said Allison is the friend that will drop anything for any of us, no matter what it is. I am so pleased we were able to do that for her. I am so thankful for the gift of friendship.    

Allison wrote these words below and they were shared at the service yesterday. As the preacher who read this said, “This was spoken better than any Baptist preacher.” Allison, my friend, you have a gift in your writing. You also have the gift of a servant heart just like your mother and you’re a Godly lady that seeks Him first. You demonstrate love just as 1 Corinthians Chapter 13 reads. And that my friend, will forever make me proud of you.  I also acknowledge that the glory does belong to Him above.

To some of you she is known as a teacher, friend, mentor, creative individual, seamstress, quilter and even more characteristics than I can think of at the moment. To one person for 42 years she is known as wife and companion. To mine and my sisters’ children she is known as grand momma and finally to my sister and I she is simply known as mom.

I kept thinking of this verse and this version throughout the time we have all been on this journey. It was a quick nine months but even with all the ups and downs along the way one thing remained the same LOVE, I witnessed firsthand 1 Corinthians 13:4-7,

“Love is always patient and kind; it is never jealous; love is never boastful or conceited; it is never rude or selfish; it does not take offence; and is not resentful. Love takes no pleasure in other people’s sins but delights in the truth; it is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope, and to endure whatever comes.”

To endure whatever comes, my dad showed this above all measure. He nurtured her, had everything programmed down to the second as to where he wouldn’t miss one little thing. He prayed along with my sister and I without ceasing for ultimate healing, Earthly or Heavenly. There was always trust and hope in the LORD and knowing that he is in control.

From the very start of this journey mom always told us that wither she had Earthly healing or Heavenly healing she was a winner either way. Selfishly we all wanted her here with us, but the LORD knew that he was preparing a place for her and knew just when he was going to call her home to him.

It was a pleasure and humbling experience I know for me and I’m sure my sister too, to be able to be there these past few weeks. Take some of the weight off of dad, sit there and talk with mom, pray for her, just be near her. Witness her visits with the grandchildren and her sons-in-laws. We all have our meeting places with her in Heaven and what a wonderful reunion that will be.

Our mom might not be physically with us anymore but she is and always will be forever present in our lives. The values, beliefs and traditions that she incorporated into our family will live on. The memories of her loving our children so much that no matter what was going on that day she would always come to their aid if one of them was sick or just needed her. One time she drove from Mississippi after taking care of Caleb back to the house in Florence to repack and drive all the way to Nashville to take care of Alexis all in the same day. That was just another way that she showed her love not only to the grandchildren but to us girls.

Some parents you can ask which child do you love more, now smart parents will say I love all my children the same. My mom was a smart lady, even though I tried to get her to slip up from time and time and admit it was me. But mom truly loved her children the same, neither Adrienne or I lacked the same amount of love, it might have been expressed differently from time to time but she loved us both very much and did everything in her power to make sure that we were ok. Mom would say that God gives you children to keep your prayer life current. Those long time friends of the family know exactly what we are talking about, if it wasn’t a four wheeler wreck resulting in a coma in Birmingham Hospital or Kidney Stones resulting in being airlifted from the Bahamas to Florida or numerous other illnesses and accidents. Mom would also say that my guardian angel was off playing in left field when some of those things took place. Well now I know not to worry anymore about my angel getting off track. Our mom is in heaven today glorifying God with her new cancer free body. And she is also giving our guardian angels just a few pointers on how to take care of us just a little better.

We don’t look at it as mom lost her battle, she got the ultimate prize. Being in Heaven with our Heavenly Father, who we will all see not all too soon enough. The angels were rejoicing when mom walked through those heavenly gates on Friday and she not only walked but ran into the arms of Jesus and all of those we have lost before.

 If you walk away from here to remember anything remember that through everything she did, she did it through love.

                “These three things continue forever: faith, hope and love. And the greatest of these is love.”

                                1 Corinthians 13:13

And her love for the lord, family and friends has left an imprint on our hearts that will last forever.


Gone but not forgotten,
a memory deep in my heart,
a promise of tomorrow,
of one day we won’t part,
You went ahead of me,
seeing all I want to see,
but I know where you will wait for me,
its just beyond where I can see,

time might be slow before we go home,
to reunite on Gods golden shore,
but I know where you wait for me,
its where you have no pain anymore.

I know where you wait for me,
in the presence of our King,
He’s preparing a place for me,
only he knows how long I’ll be.

But I know where you wait for me,
It’s just beyond where I can see.

























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