I’ve always been moved by stories. It’s the power of story that can inspire us, make us laugh, move us to tears, or move us to action. A few days ago, I posted a video on my Facebook page. I can’t stop thinking about the lady in this video, Eva. You can watch it before or after you read the post but you’ll find the video at the bottom.
Eva brought me to tears for several reasons. Enough so, that I’m giving her some space here to share her message. In five minutes, Eva teaches us an awful lot about how we should live, simply by telling her story.
The message of being hidden in a world that longs to be noticed? I’m guessing Eva was hidden with God for most of her life. I’m making some assumptions here but she’s someone who likely lived her life unnoticed by the world. She reminds me of my own grandmother who died at age 96, who was born not much before Eva. She also sewed, lived a simple life, and had a heart for the Lord. I can remember how the idea of the Internet went right over her head and the thought of explaining Facebook to her would be impossible.
Before social media existed, bazillions of people have lived their lives unnoticed, aside from the small circle of people around them. There was no way to shout their problems or celebrations to the rest of the world via the Internet. There was no worry for followers and likes and whether anyone was seeing them, past the people they knew. And whether people’s lives were hidden with God or not, they were still hidden from most of the world. Think about the vast amount of people who breathed their first and last breath that will never be known by any of us. Certainly those people outweigh the world by those whom we have heard of throughout history.
And it’s those hidden people, those whose stories we’ll likely never know, who most stir my heart by the way they lived their lives. It’s those regular, everyday people, who didn’t need the world to know they existed, that make me want to know them more.
And those who stayed hidden with the Lord are likely the ones who knew their purpose in life, because they knew who they were created to be and found their identity in Him and what He had called them to do.
I think that’s why this video moved me so much. I’m highlighting why this lady is my new hidden hero. Some of her words could be quoted alongside favorite authors and philosophers and heroes of our time and history. So to honor this lovely hidden Eva, I’m pulling some quotes from the video along with everything that stood out to me about her life, as she shows us how to really live.
Eva sings to God.
Eva’s story starts with the whir of the sewing machine and her aged voice filling in the blanks. While I’ll never sing a capella anyplace other than my car or when I’m 100% alone, there’s something about singing worship songs throughout the day. I love hearing my kids singing too. May His praise ever be on our lips.
When asked if she’ll live to 101 she says, “If the Lord keeps me here. Otherwise, I’ll be in Glory.”
What a beautiful thing. To recognize that our time here is in God’s hands. That He knows our days. And that when our life here has ended, those of us who know Him will be in Glory. How much more peace and joy could our lives have if we really lived in the reality of this truth? Are we willing to exchange our temporary pleasures for that which will last forever?
“That isn’t my work. The Lord gave me hands with no arthritis so I do a lot of sewing. I’ve been given a talent and I make use of it.”
Eva recognizes her work. She’s okay with not having someone else’s talents. She knows that her gift is sewing. And not only does she know her work, even at 100 years old, she recognizes that God has allowed her hands to still be able to do the work, and so she does it. She doesn’t make excuses with her age. She is still open to doing that which she is able. How many of us have a talent and we don’t use it, out of fear or laziness or wanting what someone else has instead? Perhaps if each of us recognized our work and did it, no matter how small, we’d have so many more talents being used for the glory of God.
Eva starts sewing in the morning because she loves it.
How much does this inspire me!? Not only that she gets up a few hours after I’m going to bed, but it forces me ask myself questions. What do I love to do? What has God given me? Am I using those gifts or making excuses and getting lost in distractions?
Eva learned to sew from her mother. She’s still sewing.
I am often in awe of makers. Those who sew, do wood or metal work, blow glass, create beautiful jewelry and so many other kinds of handicraft work. Much of this work is a dying art. To have learned something and to do it your life and have skills that you can pass onto others is a true gift. It inspires me to want to learn to do something with my hands and make sure my children have time and space to create.
“That’s the story of learning. If everything went perfect, you really wouldn’t learn.”
If only we all had this attitude.
“I got to thinking, what would I do for a little girl?”
How simple is that question? And yet a simple question led her to sew 180 dresses for little girls. Sometimes we complicate it, when one simple question and a prompt from the Holy Spirit can lead the way to more than we could imagine.
Talking about her husband. “He was a wonderful husband. I miss him even today. There’s something about touching someone you’re in love with. And that same kind of touch doesn’t come from anyone else.”
Think on this for a minute. She lost her husband when he was 36. She is now 100 years old. She lived most of her life without him. And yet, she still confesses how she misses him. How sweet will their reunion be?
At the same time, I can’t help but compare it to a touch from God. Because when He touches your life, when you know He’s real, when you feel His presence, there’s nothing like it and no one else can fill you in the same way.
“I don’t know when the Lord is going to call me home. So I keep going. All the time.”
I’m in awe of this woman. She does her work every day. She chooses to keep going. She chooses to do the work of her hands that she is called to. And she’ll do it until the day she’s in heaven.
She envisions the children receiving the boxes and putting the dresses on over their clothing.
Doesn’t having a vision propel us to keep going? Doesn’t that vision inspire us to not quit? Doesn’t that force us to look at others before ourselves?
Her sweet hands, aged with life, filled with love, praying over the boxes for children.
How many times do we say we’ll pray for someone and we fling out a casual prayer? And then how many times do we say we’ll pray and we don’t? There’s something powerful about seeing her hands on that box, seeing her hands that have lived a full hundred years of life, thinking about how many people she has prayed for. Thinking on all the pieces her hands have sewed because she has chosen to keep going and to use her talents as long as she is able.
“There’s going to be a lot of happiness, and I’m glad I’m a part of it.”
Couldn’t we all be part of someone else’s happiness? What can we do to put others before ourselves and celebrate something good with them?
Oh my, you lovely lady. Thank you, sweet Eva. Thank you for sharing your story and life work with us. May God bless you and the work of your hands until you see Him in Glory!