To say that I had written something that would even come near to adequately honoring Mary Sample would be in vain, but to write nothing would not do justice to the work that the Lord did and continues to do through the life that she lived and the lives that she impacted.
From knowing Ms. Mary and her children and glancing over Sydney’s and Mary’s facebook walls I am continuously met with this—the impact she had for the Kingdom was great. She poured herself tirelessly into the lives of others. Her inheritance—it must be enormous. Mary poured herself into the lives of children, youth, and teenagers as well as the women around her. She loved young and old, prodigal and wise, rich and poor alike. She proclaimed truth over lives, loved deeply with the love of Christ, and encouraged the downcast. She gave to those in need whatever she had and served the Lord with a contagious joy. She was passionate about Jesus and His works on the Earth, discipling that fervor into her own children and other students alike.
I remember the many Sundays from my high school years that she stood at the information booth in student ministries with youth gathered around her. In Matthew 5 Jesus tells us:
You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
If you have ever lit a candle in a dark room then you know that your eyes are drawn to it. We are attracted to the light. Likewise, we are drawn to those like Ms. Mary who are so full of light—so full of the Holy Spirit that it overflows from them. That we desire what they have—her love for children, joy in the Lord and what He was doing in everyone’s lives, peace in the midst of confusion, patience with youth, kindness to all, gentleness even in rebuke, faithfulness to commitments, self- control, and goodness to all. Her light shines like a city on a hill.
More than the youth, Ms.Mary invested in her children, raising them up in the way of the Lord. What an inheritance she must have that the three children our Father gave her are so fully devoted to and in love with Him: Carter in seminary, Sydney sharing the gospel around the world, and Emily with a passion for missions as well. Mary was always so proud of her kids—so proud of who they were, the stage of life they were in, and the adventures they were on, but most importantly the work of the Holy Spirit in each of their lives.
Mary was a great source of wisdom for me. She encouraged me in toilet papering, streaking, and going to Mexico for the weekend. Each summer her words came like a mother’s would with pride and prayers as I would leave unsure of my own parents’ desires. She prayed with me through my struggles and rejoiced with me when I rejoiced. I will ever so greatly miss her. But I celebrate the fact that she gets to praise Jesus in heaven now in a manner that we don’t even grasp.