Linda Findley was my "Chattanooga mom" when I was living there right after graduating from college. She was my good friend Todd's mom, so most of our friends called her "Mama Todd." Her home served as a base for all of us who lived in the usual sparse post-college apartments. She often had us over for big holiday feasts if we couldn't get home; we had movie nights at her house and a host of other gatherings. She passed away a few years after I got to know her, but today is her birthday, so this seems a fitting time to honor her impact on me!
Linda was a teacher and a mom to two grown sons when I knew her. She had just moved to Chattanooga, so she and I were both enjoying getting to know the city a bit better and also enjoying setting up house. She patiently taught me to sew on an old, black, iron Singer machine that her son later gave me when she died. We made curtains and all sorts of little things. She took time out for me weekly: we shopped, we cooked, we sewed, we laughed, we watched movies,.... I was working a job at the college from which I had just graduated, and it was pretty demanding on several levels. Linda was a sounding board, a source of Christian encouragement, a nice "neutral" resource, a friend, and a surrogate mom--all at the same time. She even let me do my laundry at her house!
How did she do all of these things? By simply living her life transparently in front of me and letting me live mine alongside her. Was she perfect? No. But she was living her life as a child of God, transformed by his grace, and challenging me to do the same. She left a lasting legacy in my life. I went on to become a teacher. I have since used that sewing machine to make more curtains, to make Christmas stockings, and to make other small projects. I ended up joining the same church she attended. I have a small set of plates that she and I had both loved (her son gave me those, too), and those are a sweet reminder of this lady the Lord put in my life for a short time.
Being a Titus 2 influence on someone doesn't always mean serving in an official role as "mentor" or "teacher." Sometimes, it's simply mothering someone else where they need it--being available, offering advice that comes from an older perspective, and being honest about your own walk with Christ.
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