Summary: A funeral message for a church member who loved and worked with children for years at church and in a daycare she ran. May be adapted for school teacher, anyone with love for children, for a child or a child of God.
As a Child Funeral Message for Joan Cumby
Rev. Dan Mahan
Joan Cumby, the friend everyone could always count on--always there to help, always sharing a word of support, a smile, a pat, small acts of kindness. Joan Cumby loved people
But Joan Cumby especially loved children. For many years, she taught children in Sunday school and Vacation Bible School. She lovingly cared for them in her home. Joan loved children and children loved Joan. I would bring my three-year-old granddaughter Kelsey to visit Joan. Joan and Kelsey became instant buddies. Kelsey was always asking if she could go and see Joan- to see Joan’s babies and to show Joan her babies.
Joan loved dolls. She was a collector of antique dolls. My wife also collects antique dolls. I would sit and listen while they would talk about Terri Lee and Poor Pitiful Pearl. It wasn’t just Kelsey that would take her babies by to show to Joan. Joan loved roses. She loved statues and pictures of angels, which were a reminder to her of her Heavenly Father’s constant watch over her.
Prior to meeting her husband, Joan was a flight attendant for Continental Airlines. She met and had her picture taken with Groucho Marx. Wouldn’t you love to have seen that-- Groucho and Joan!!
Joan Cumby also enjoyed sports. She had to, I guess, since she would marry a man who was a professional baseball player. Jess and Joan were always watching a baseball or football game. An unusual thing about Joan’s love for sports, though. She was a woman that also loved wrestling. The last time Darlene and I visited with her, she told us about how even though she knew it was fake, she still really enjoyed watching those wrestling matches.
Joan loved her family. She loved her Jess. Whenever Joan would talk about Jess, it was always “MY Jess”. And Joan loved Toni and the boys. They were her pride and joy. Her family was important to her. One of her last concerns to me was her concern for her family.
Joan’s concern was always for others. She was the encourager. If you needed a lift or a word of support, Joan was there to give it. I would go to visit her as her pastor, to comfort her and to lift her spirits with words of hope. But I, too, would receive a lifting of spirit and those words of hope and encouragement. Joan and I would spend hours talking together. Next to my wife, she was the one I confided in the most. After her death, I was thinking about our last few visits together. I realized how much I was going to miss her friendship and miss our talks together. Often our talks would revolve around the same simple Bible truths that she loved to teach her children in SS, VBS, and in daycare--simple Bible truths she tried to convey to each of us daily in her life. And it is in those simple Bible truths that I feel we can find words of strength and hope today.
The 1st Bible truth that Joan often taught was the fact that Jesus loves you. I can imagine countless times she told the children “ I love you and Jesus loves you too.” Joan and Jess probably sang over and over again with them the words “ Jesus loves me this I know, For the Bible tells me so. Little ones to him belong, They are weak but He is strong.” Joan knew about being weak. Her body was weak with diabetes and cancer. But you know an odd thing was that when I was around Joan, I didn’t think of how weak Joan was, did you? The word “weak” never went through my mind. Instead the world “strong” would come to mind.” Joan was a strong person. Joan knew what it was to draw strength from the Lord. She knew firsthand the meaning of the words “when I am weak, He is strong.” Joan‘s words of encouragement to us today would be “remember how much I love you. and how much Jesus loves you. Find strength in Him, for when you are weak, He is strong.”
The 2nd Bible truth that Joan clung to was that fact that Jesus is a friend who is always near. Joan and the Lord were good friends. She talked with Him regularly. Whenever she would talk to me, she wouldn’t’ say “I’m going to pray to God about it” or “I have been praying about that.” Instead it was “I’ve been talking to the Lord about it,” or “I am going to talk to the Lord about it tonight” or even “He knows I will be talking to Him about that tonight.” Through her times of pain, chemo, radiation, and illness, Joan talked to her friend. She relied upon His Holy Spirit to guide and to comfort her. Today, Joan would encourage us to remember that Jesus is a friend we can turn to in times of pain and sorrow such as this. He is always near. Lean upon His spirit to comfort you.