Brenda Nail DeLauder
“Hurry up! We’re going to be late!” This was one of my first memories of church. My poor Mom was always rushing around trying to get Sunday dinner started before heading out the door to Sunday School. Once we arrived at church, it was time to get to class. Mom was a teacher as far back as I can remember, teaching every age over a span of more than sixty years. She led GA’s and VBS quite often when we were young, then WMU and anything else to come along needing a teacher or leader. She has willingly served Christ.
This September 27, 2015, Mom taught her last lesson as a full-time teacher. I made sure I attended, not only to be there as support, but to have the pleasure of hearing her lead a class again. It was a wonderful lesson and I truly enjoyed it, but I couldn’t help feeling I had stepped back in time. Her calm voice brought out the points we needed to focus on, and her ability to include all who attended, taking their comments and tying them smoothly into the lesson, was the same as when I was a kid. Sitting there listening to her, I could almost hear the scrape of the wooden chairs on the hardwood floors from the classrooms of my youth. I realized again how blessed I am to have had such a tremendous teacher all my life.
Every morning during my prayer time with God, I thank Him for the privilege of calling her Mom. Because of her love of Christ, I knew Him from a very early age. Loving our Lord wasn’t just showing up for church, but it was also inviting Jesus to walk with us every day of our lives. He wasn’t only called upon for bedtime prayers, or during a storm or hardship. God was asked to be with us all of the time. I was grown before I truly became aware not every Christian understood the importance of that kind of relationship with our Lord.
When our family left the church I had grown up in, it was hard. The clapboard building had been my father’s family church for many decades. At the time I was a teenager, and it could have been easy to slip away from going to church, but Mom wasn’t about to let that happen. We visited around looking for the right one to move to and it was funny how we all knew Locust Grove Baptist (later to become First Baptist) was the right place to be. Most of the members knew us which made the transition easier, and through the years whenever I have visited, I still find their welcomes are warm.
On that same recent Sunday in September, Locust Grove First Baptist was celebrating their 190th year. Again I felt welcomed by the people during their homecoming celebration. No wonder they are still a thriving church after all these years, because they never forgot to welcome all into the house of God with smiles and joyful hearts. It was good to hear the laughter, share a memory or two, feel the joy of Christ and sing praises to His name. The meal we shared after the service certainly was a testimony from the many who “served the Lord with gladness” ... filling our tummies with their cooking talents!
As for Mom, she will continue to serve God as the Outreach Leader for her class. While her voice may not be as strong, her ability to pray and listen has not slowed down. Thankfully, she isn’t through serving her Lord. Hallelujah and praise be to God!
Congratulations, Clara Wallace Nail, on your many years of service!
Brenda Nail DeLauder is a native of Henry County. Her heart remains in her hometown.