Around 4:15 PM today, Judy Smith went to glory.
My words will never do justice to express how much I love this dear saint and her family, but I will try.
Judy is the wife of Scott Smith who has now served Lander University as the BCM Director and Campus Minister for 30 years.
The first time I really got to know Judy was years ago. I was a high school student on a mission trip in Ocean City, MD. She was in Greenwood, SC. We were gathering together for lunch when our pastors were talking in the corner with concerned expressions. Before we blessed the meal, Steve told us that Judy and her daughter, Cherry, had been in a horrific accident pulling out of their neighborhood and Judy was not supposed to make it.
We prayed for a miracle. We begged God to spare her.
And he did.
She shocked the medical community and the entire city by pulling through impossible odds.
Getting to Know Mrs. Judy
In those weeks after the wreck, I got to know her without ever meeting her. I was mesmerized with the way people described this selfless, humble, compassionate woman of God. I never heard anyone say a bad word about her. I never saw anyone reaching to say something nice about her. It was simple. If you asked anyone about Judy Smith, glowing expressions emerged on faces and countless stories were told about this incredible lady.
I didn’t know her personally, but her reputation made me look up to this dear lady more than words can say.
She lived approximately 18 years longer than doctors ever expected. Physically, she was never the same after the accident. Her body was injured significantly, her immune system lowered to an ever-dangerous level, and yet her spirit never wavered.
She would never walk the same again, but she never missed a beat on the path of following Jesus.
Years later, I got to know this woman who I had known through others.
Turns out, the legend was true. Maybe the stories were actually understated. She is one of the dearest saints I ever had the privilege of meeting in my life. As I grew closer with the family and began to do ministry with Lander BCM, I gained an incredible friend.
Due to her accident, she would endure through years of ups and downs with her health. I have been beside her hospital bed numerous times over the years when they thought her life was ending. Her body, aged by the trauma, could catch a simple cold and be near death.
I remember the times I knelt by her bedside intending to minister to the family only to be interrupted by Judy asking how my family was doing and how she could pray for them. Hooked up to more wires than I could count, she wanted to help me.
Judy was the most reliable prayer warrior I have ever known.
Many times in my life when I would go through difficult times, I would seek her out to ask for her prayer support. I rarely ask for prayer from anyone, but I would come looking for Mrs. Judy. I knew she would pray for me. I received cards telling me of how God had granted her this gift of prayer ministry. There is no telling how many of us she has prayed for over the years. No sickness could keep her from the ministry.
As Christ Loved the Church
And how can I begin to measure their ministry together? While Scott took care of her and the children and so many of us who needed him, I never heard him complain. In recent years, I have asked Scott over lunch how he was doing and almost fishing for a complaint in order to see how I could help, and yet he has never offered one.
He has counted it a joy to love Mrs. Judy. He still thinks he is out of his league in his marriage. Personally, I think they both did pretty well.
While Scott jokes of his status as one of the oldest collegiate ministers in the country, I don’t know one that has had a greater impact.
No minister, regardless of how young, hip, and cutting-edge he might could be could ever hold a candle to the consistent, reliable dedication of how he has loved his wife in front of thousands of college students over the years.
In fact, the Bible offers it as the illustration to explain how Jesus loves us. Look at the way husbands love their wives and give themselves up for their wives (Eph. 5:25).
Can you imagine how many students have watched how Scott would help Mrs. Judy around so selflessly and willingly? Without complaint, he joyfully served his bride. Each morning, he would rise early to get her ready and rub lotion on her dry feet which brought so much comfort to her. He counted it as a joy to bring her comfort and relief.
I often talk with many college ladies who are in relationship drama and I say, “You want to find a man like Scott Smith. Someone who will love you and serve you no matter what happens to you. Would the guy you are currently dating love you the same way as Scott as loved his wife?”
He has raised the bar in so many eyes.
And Judy has too. I can’t think of a more supportive, endearing, beautiful woman of God than Mrs. Judy. Scott didn’t need to complain concerning his life over the years. His life has been great. He has had the gift of being married to one of the greatest ladies God has ever graced this earth with.
Their ministry together has shown Christ. You want to know how Jesus has loved us? Look at the way they have loved each other. Look no further.
I recently had Scott come and share with my small group. After interviewing him, my guys were blown away and left that day desiring to be a better follower of Jesus and a better husband to their wives. I have had wives personally tell me thank you because that 90 minutes forever changed their homes.
Many of you know the hobby that Scott has had for years concerning sweepstakes. He has a system of turning in so many sweepstakes submissions and has won numerous things over the years.
One day in his office, I was looking through some of his keepsakes and saw where Mrs. Judy was featured in a magazine before the wreck. Scott had won some type of special makeover that Judy got instead of him (of course I would have loved to seen the pictures if Scott would have personally received a makeover ;)).
As I was asking Mrs. Judy about the experience sometime after, she told me how she didn’t like to look at that picture because of how much she has changed since then. She seemed embarrassed with me as we sat together on the BCM couch.
My response to her that day is the one that I leave you with:
“Mrs. Judy, I think you are more beautiful today than you have ever been before. You are an amazing, resilient, strong, beautiful woman of God and all who know you are honored to have been graced by your presence.”
Thank you, Jesus, for the 18 years we didn’t have to experience, but we are forever changed because of them.
Mrs. Judy, enjoy your rest. Enjoy your Savior whom you have loved so well for so long in front of us. While heaven has many surprises yet for me to discover, I have one thing I count as reliable – the echoes can be heard down here for us who remain on earth as Jesus stated to you: “Well done, my good and faithful servant, enter into your Master’s joy” (Matt. 25:21).
Here are the details for the services:
The Visitation for Mrs. Judy will be on Tuesday, June 24th from 1:00-3:00PM at the Connecting Place at South Main Street Baptist Church and the Celebration Service will follow in the sanctuary at 3:00PM. If you would like to send cards, the address is 404 Belle Meade Road Greenwood, SC 29649. In lieu of flowers, there will be a donation set up soon in her honor and I will give details when available.
Thanks for your thoughts and prayers! I know the Smith’s appreciate everything! Feel free to share this with others.
[blockquote cite=”Psalm 116:15″ type=”left, center, right”]Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.[/blockquote]