In a time when we seem to lack “real life” heroes, I’d like to publicly proclaim a picture of a private but precious woman’s life that spoke volumes.
Florine Davis was a woman, who in the living of her life, presented a pattern of faithful walking well to such a degree her life echoes through the pages of those who knew her.
She was one of my all-time my heroes. When I think of grace, elegance, humble pride and strength, I picture this lady who could enter a room unnoticed. Yet, oddly enough, at the same time her very persona would compel you to seek out what had just made the room feel more complete.
For years, until retirement, Florine worked unassumingly as the financial secretary for the Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce. Jerry Levins, the treasurer of the Chamber, coerced her out of retirement after Katrina destroyed all the Chamber offices across the Coast in 2005. Painstakingly and without fanfare, she pieced back together the financial records for the Chamber, helping preserve the fiscal continuity that might otherwise have been lost.
Not many knew her personal life had required piecing back together through the years, as well. Her strong faith carried her through more than a person should ever have to face. That’s why when I think of her, what comes to mind is the Proverbs 31 woman. She was and is my example of “strength and dignity were her clothing.”
As I was looking at this Scripture, I caught a glimpse of a commentary by Matthew Henry and it captures well my view of this woman of dignity. The commentary read, “She is one that takes pains in her duties, and takes pleasure in them. She is careful to fill up time, that none be lost. She applies herself to the business proper for her.”
Proper for her was providing and being a strong, Godly mama to her six boys and one daughter. Solely providing for their needs and loving them with such deep understanding. She would bend with the pain and agony of losing two of her children, 16-year-old Matthew to a car accident and her young daughter Lorie to cancer, all within the same year. “But a bruised reed He will not break. He is close to the brokenhearted.” He was her strength and she lived in the depth of His strength while quietly bearing her burdens.
She was a template for us on how to face the excruciating grief of death, but remembering all the while “we do not sorrow as those who have no hope.” She faithfully worshipped at the same church as long as I can remember. Dennis Oliver remembered her as a servant who gladly gave her time as the church financial secretary. She never feared giving a proper opinion, but with a refinement of Southern woman.
The law of love and kindness was written in her heart; never did I hear her speak with bitterness or an unkind word. She had the firmness to bear up under crosses and disappointments and her children call her blessed. That’ll preach, y’all.
Florine Davis was a faithful pattern for me, teaching me to trust, obey, love and live a life well. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your world. See you in a blink.
Kandi Farris, a freelance correspondent, also is a speaker on matters of faith and values.