Ms. Mary: A Paragon of Love

On the sixth day of Creation God created man in His own image but even God knew that His work was not done until he created woman. Regardless of the might of man, there are things that couldn’t be accomplished without the caress, the wink, the unconditional love, the pat on the back, the sustenance, the maintenance of a woman. I praise God Almighty that we were bestowed with such a woman as Mary Toney, the one I affectionally called Ms, Mary. Last week, when I heard the news that she had transitioned into eternity, my heart grew heavy but the memory of her smile, her warmth and her compassion has given me comfort. I am still grieving over the fact that I won’t see her smile or hear her comforting words on this side of Glory but I don’t grieve as those who have no hope.

". . She is clothed with strength and dignity. She can laugh at things to come. She speaks with wisdom and faithful instruction on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arises and call her blessed, her husband also and he praises her. Many women do noble things but you surpass them all. . .a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned and let her works bring her praise at the city gate." Proverbs 31: 25-31

Dignity, grace, courage, faith-filled and strength are all words that describe Ms. Mary. We will miss her gentle smile, encouraging words and strength but her legacy and contributions are timeless. A woman whose faith allowed her to stand for what was just and right. With a gentle smile and a sweet spirit, Ms. Mary encouraged everyone she encountered to live kinder, braver, honorable lives with integrity and hope because she demonstrated those traits with every fiber of her being on a daily basis. Ms. Mary never heisted to tell you when she thought you were wrong or being thoughtless or arrogant and she did not suffer fools. When Ms. Mary told you she believed in you, something she expressed to me on several occasions, you believed her and began believing in yourself.

No matter when you saw Ms. Mary, whether it was at Ramey’s, at Tabernacle, at Tina’s Hair Salon on Saturday, at home or simply in passing, she was always gracious and wore a smile that was so radiant that it could light the world. People may not remember all the quotes, anecdotes, or pearls of wisdom that Ms. Mary deposited in their lives but they will always remember how she made them feel. Ms. Mary made you feel that you mattered, that you were enough. Ms. Mary made us feel that you were heard and seen and loved and special and worth the effort. We can never fill the void that was left after Ms. Mary transitioned into eternity nether can we fill her shoes but we can walk in her footsteps because she demonstrated the love, life and light of God by listening, caring, sharing and loving everyone that she encountered.

To have known Ms. Mary was to know unconditional love. Her love and memory will remain in our hearts and spirits forever--gently urging us to pursue God's purpose for our lives.. Ms. Mary saw good in everyone and attempted to help them see good in themselves. As we reflect on the many ways Ms. Mary has touched our lives we finally begin to see how deeply she cared for each one of us. Mary Toney’s life and mission was about love.

Ms. Mary was a loving, selfless and devoted daughter, sister, aunt, wife, mother, grandmother and friend. Her life of faith, courage, and commitment serves as a resonant sermon to the ages of the purpose and power available to all of us. Her example of reaching out to others in love and reconciliation taught us that love is indestructible and only increases by being shared. May we all walk as she did, with dignity, courage, and confidence in the knowledge that we are all children of the One True Living God! We give praise and thanks to God for Ms. Mary, for she has truly enriched our lives.

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