Eloise Stone with her husband and five children.
Today I bury my Grandma, Edna Eloise Stone. She would have soon turned 97. She lived a long and fruitful life, had 5 children, 13 grandchildren, 22 great grandchildren, hundreds of spiritual children and thousands of people who were touched by her life. She was strong to the end, and died peacefully in her sleep. In other words, there is nothing I can complain about. Who could write a better script?
Edna means “pleasant.” In many ways that describes Grandma perfectly. All ninety pounds of her. She was kind, soft-spoken, thoughtful, and cheerful. She quietly and faithfully supported her husband, a gregarious and boisterous coal-miner-turned-Pentecostal-preacher, and his work as they pastored in southwest Virginia for over four decades. She was proper to the hilt, and balanced his sometimes boorish ways. She was indeed pleasant. She was known for it.
However, she was not known by Edna. She went by her middle name, Eloise, which means “famous in battle.” What some people never saw about her was that in many ways it was her, as much or even more than my Grandpa, that was the strong one in the family. She was a fighter. All ninety pounds of her. She fought her share of battles in life, but in my family there is one story in particular that brought her fame. This is the story that made her famous in battle:
Eloise nearly collapsed at the front door. She was relieved to have gotten her husband and boys out the door, but overwhelmed by the exhaustion in her body. As her family walked to church she could only crawl back to bed. It now seemed that this strange illness would last forever.
It had only been a few weeks earlier that she was standing in front of a congregation testifying that God had miraculously healed her in a revival service. Before her healing she had battled for months. Despite the myriad of tests and consultations that several different physicians had tried on her no one had any answers. But God, the Great Physician, had healed her in an instant. The whole congregation had celebrated with her. But now, just a few weeks later, she could barely even get out of bed.
As she pulled herself back into bed she felt shame, embarrassment, confusion and condemnation. She thought she had been presumptuous in testifying that she had been healed, and felt like an outright liar because of it. As the condemnation escalated in her mind her room grew cold and dark. She did not recognize the strange presence in the room when she first heard the voice.
“You’re not healed,” the voice smugly chastised.
She could not refute it. Everything appeared to confirm the undeniable fact that she was still not healed from the mysterious illness that had been plaguing her. The moment she acknowledged that she heard the voice again.
“Not only are you not healed. You’re not filled with the Holy Ghost.” This was a strong accusation. Every Pentecostal at that time either had a testimony of being “saved, sanctified and filled with the Holy Ghost,” or they were working on it. But as she thought about it for a minute she realized that she had not used her prayer language in quite some time.
“Wow. I guess that’s right,” she was surprised to realize.
“You’re not filled with the Holy Ghost because you’ve lost your sanctification,” the voice responded.
This was a tough pill to swallow. She had been Pentecostal for quite awhile, but before that she was a God-fearing Methodist. Sanctification ran deep in her. The more she thought about it she began to realize that she had been a little short with her husband, even snapped a few times at the children. She was shocked at the revelation, but had to admit that she had lost her sanctification. This realization had become almost more than she could bear. The room grew darker and heavier. It was getting difficult to breathe. She was choked by shame.
“You lost your sanctification because you’re no longer saved. God doesn’t even love you anymore,” the voice offered. And it was at that moment that something snapped in her mind.
“Wait a minute,” she sat up and exclaimed. “I know that God loves me. And if God loves me that means He saved me.” Something seemed to break in the atmosphere. She could feel strength in her body that she had not felt in weeks.
“And if I’m still saved,” she continued, “then I’m still sanctified. And if you lied about my that you lied about the Holy Ghost too! I AM still filled with the Holy Ghost!” With every sentence her voice got louder and her body rose further.
“And if I’m still filled with the Holy Ghost that means you’re lying about my healing. I rebuke you in the name of Jesus Christ! I am healed!”
And at that she jumped out of bed and began dancing around the room, speaking in a strange and heavenly language.
I imagine her like a brave Lakota warrior after a coup. Tribal. Powerful. Mystical. I can see her dance in slow motion. Her eyes are closed. Her head is swaying. Her chant is guttural. I am mesmerized by the scene. I am captivated by its primal nature. The Spirit seems so other-worldly, yet terrifyingly near. My spirit aches to be enraptured with her. But I can only watch in awe as the tiny warrior dances around the fire of God.
She is Eloise, famous in battle. Today we put her tiny body in the ground, but her fighting spirit lives on.
She sounds like a very beautiful lady Johathan, thank you for blessing us with a small portion of what must have been a wonderful woman. God bless, I will keep you and your family in my prayers and I have faith that God will joyfully welcome Eloise.
i enjoyed this
I am sorry for your loss. May the Lord grant you and your family peace during this time. And may He bless you for the wonderful way you honored your Grandma with these words.
Good Morning Jonathan. I am extremely sorry for your loss. I do pray peace for you and your family during this time. This was a truly wonderful post about her.
My condolences to you and your family. Wow, your grandmother sounded like an amazing woman full of the power of God and authority. With even not knowing her, I’m grateful for her because it’s people like her who have paved the way for us today.
You painted a painted a stunning picture with your words. I could see Grandma dancing.
She is going to be a great warrior in heaven too.
My condolences on your loss.
This is so powerful! She is with The Maker now, dancing away.
Wonderful, and touching tribute, Jonathan. I wish I had known her.
What a wonderful way to be remembered!
I can’t wait to meet Ms Eloise one day and have her share her stories and battles and victories. May you be comforted today my brother by the Holy Spirit. May the peace of God rest on you and your family. Sorrow endures for the night but joy comes in the morning. It won’t be long now til we are all together and you will see her again. Until then, continue to work and be worthy as she would desire. A special blessing to you today. Shalom
So sorry for your loss and praying that God fills you with many wonderful memories of times together with your Grandmother. It seems to me just from reading your blog posts that she has left a remarkable legacy.
My prayers are with you. Grandmothers are special people. I’ve always known that but when I became one myself in December 2011, the thought of my responsibilities to this new little person just grips my heart. I want to show my granddaughter how much God loves her and introduce her to Jesus. Eloise sounds like a great woman. You are her legacy. Carry that legacy proudly. (I bet she was so pround of you!) Sandy
Sorry to hear of your loss, but so glad to hear she left a legacy. Isn’t it great to know the separation is only temporary and her legacy will live on for many years. Great Post!
My condolences Jonathan. What an amazing spirit and trust in the Lord. Her’s is the clearest most honest statement of faith I’ve heard yet.
“I know that God loves me. And if God loves me that means He saved me.”
Thank you for a moving post.
Touched and inspired by the story, Jonathan. Standing with you in the Spirit, brother. May mercy speak in the silence, as He already seems to be whispering love to you and yours.
Reblogged this on Missionwriter and commented:
This pleasant woman famous in battle has inspired me from beyond the grave. That is the testimony of our storm front of witnesses to the Resurrection. I am humbled and honored by these women of God in my life, and ask you to say a prayer for her family who is grieving and rejoicing as she marches to glory with her Beloved.
So moving and beautiful, a perfect picture of the grandma we knew and loved, though a different side of her. I love this story. I was just reading it last week in her book. I always love to hear you speak, and today was no different.
Powerful! Sorry for your loss, but thrilled at heavens gain!!
Thinking of you during this time. Know you are missing her so much. I’m thankful you have lots of memories. It is so special that you named your first chld Eloise. Such a namesake! Love and prayers, HT and Bob.
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