Exert from my book “Warm Hugs for Dark Nights”
(written by Granddaughter, Denise Bradberry and read at her funeral)
Feb 5th, 2000
It’s always been hard for me to see God working in my life during my daily struggles- But when I look back I can see how He’s been there every step of the way providing for my needs. Some I didn’t even realize I had-But He did. Guess that’s why the Bible emphasizes so strongly to have faith, and trust in God. He knows our needs and promises to provide for them. Even before we are aware of our need He is already preparing to provide for us.
The life of Ola Bell Wright Mansfield is a perfect example of this.
Several decades ago a couple with 4 children lived just north of Dresden, TN. With the youngest child still just a baby, the mother grew sick with cancer. I’m sure “Ruby”- being the Christian woman that she was, spent much of her last few months praying for the well-being of her dear children. After she died I can only imagine the pain felt by her widowed husband and the 4 children for the next 5 years.
But God had not forgotten them.
“In all things God works for good of those who love him.” Romans 8:28
God never takes away except to turn something into an even bigger blessing. We must be brave enough and determined enough to wait, because it often takes God time to turn a painful situation into good. We can tolerate our pain and not resent it because a blessing is coming. And Oh, what a blessing she was!
Ola Bell Wright, born July 6th, 1908 to a large, close-knit family. Her parents had a total of 10 children. 2 died as babies. Ola was among the oldest and so it only came natural to care for those younger. Times were hard. Ola spent much of her time working in the fields. She was a country girl who knew how to plant, work and harvest crops to feed such a large family. Somewhere along the way Ola’s dreams of a family of her own got lost as she concentrated on the needs of those dear to her. When her mother, “Big Mammie” grew ill, Ola took care of her. Her father, siblings, neighbors and friends could always depend on Ola. She had a large heart full of compassion.
Ola reached her late 40’s still not married, much less have any children of her own……… And Oh, how she loved children!!! Did she ever wonder why? Why had she lived so long without her “own little brood?” We, who knew her in her latter days, knew why.
Ola Wright married my Grandfather, Frank Mansfield Sept 1st, 1957 (She was 49 years old!) and stepped into a ready made family. And what a scraggly bunch they were! Sadie, 7 Frankie, 13, Robert, 21, a newlywed himself, & Ann, 26, also married. Instant wife, mother, mother-in-law… Who could fill such a position? She did – and with grand style! 42 ½ years later …..
“And her children rise up and call her blessed!”
4 children, 11 grandchildren, nearly 2 dozen Great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, grand-nephews!
She gave us such precious memories:
• Her Sunday dinners with ALL of her family gathered around.
• Kool-Aid Popsicle’s
• At work in her garden, Bonnet on of course!
• Her Yeast Rolls! Jam Cake. Chocolate oatmeal cookies.
• Stewed potatoes and cornbread
• Her Keen use of a switch.
• Dipping snuff
• (my favorite) making hot cocoa from cocoa, milk and sugar for a 4 yr old Granddaughter she nicknamed “Korky”.
• Her always saying “save it”.
• Always proud of other’s accomplishments and always telling them so!
• Her Quilting
Her caring for Granddaddy after his stroke. She really loved that man.
The children grew up, Granddaddy passed away. Eventually her health began to fail, so 15 years ago she moved to the Nursing Home. It was hard to leave her home and make yet another new family. But she did, again, in grand style by covering her room door with pictures of her loved ones. She had made many friends at the Weakley County Nursing home. I can honestly say I’ve never known her to have a conflict with anyone. She was always loving and caring to all around her.
Looking back I can see how God knew the needs of 4 children, He remembered a dying mother’s prayers, He provided for the needs of 3 generations with One special Lady who trusted in Him!
Each of us are created by God and placed on this earth for a reason. He has a specific plan in mind for each life he draws breath into. Sometimes we muddle it up and don’t reach the potential God desires for us. Granny Ola didn’t do that. I think we can all see clearly the specific plan God had for her. And she did him proud!!!
I believe there were several at the Gates of Heaven to Welcome her home the day she died; Her parents, Brothers, Sisters, Husband, And a Lady named “Ruby” who waited eagerly to thank the Angel who cared for her children when she no longer could.
Although I’m sad Granny Ola’s gone, I feel so blessed; to realize that between her and God- the family from which I came, not only survived, but was nurtured by a virtuous example. Regrets? We all feel them, it’s only natural. But she knew how we all felt about her. She knew she was dearly loved. And we all knew how much she loved us! It was time for her to go. Her work here was done. She deserved to pass on so Our Lord could hold her in his arms and say, “Welcome child, job well done.”
Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.
Those who walk uprightly enter into peace,
They find rest as they lie in death.
Jesus answered him,
“I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”
Aunt Ola, Sis, Momma, Granny Ola, …is now in paradise. Granny Ola with her family