9.20.13—While in town for a visit a few years ago, I was introduced to Mrs. Doris Kelley at a luncheon. Though I had lived in New Orleans in years prior and dearly loved my time there, at that point God had me serving in ministry in another part of the country and I had no foreseeable plans of returning to the Big Easy. Little did I know that a year later I would be back in town for another visit, only this time to interview for the Ph.D. program at NOBTS and to begin making plans to return to this great city.
During this second visit I once again had the privilege of being a part of a lunch party where Mrs. Kelley was present. I remember slowly walking along side of her down a hallway and saying, “I don’t know if you remember me, Mrs. Kelley, but my name is Courtney Veasey.” Without hesitation she replied, “Of course I remember you, I have prayed for you every morning at 6 A.M. since the time I met you, that you would move back to New Orleans!” I was stunned. I asked, “Well, why would you pray that?” She said, “When I met you at that lunch I was impressed to pray for you every day…I think you are good for this city and this city is good for you!”
Over this past year I have spent many afternoons visiting with and learning from this special lady who held such favor and counsel with her Lord. And what can I say about her? Aside from being one of Jesus’ obvious favorites, she was an avid encourager through her words, her prayers, and her pen. Probably many of you reading this have received a hand-written card or letter from Mrs. Doris which she was so famous for sending at any and every occasion. Her sheer faithfulness and love for God made me sit up and pay attention to her life and the impact it could have on mine. In an age and culture that overly values and caters to youth, Mrs. Doris (and her partner in crime Mrs. Joyce) never allowed herself to become obsolete but instead lived in such a way that commanded a hearing and great respect. But may I not make too many remarks without just saying, that this precious woman was simply a delightful human being.
In this entry I have spoken in the past tense about Mrs. Kelley, because last week, at the age of ninety-one, she stepped out of this earthly life and into glory with her Savior. There has never been any question around NOBTS as to who was being referenced when the phrase “Mom Kelley” was spoken. To Dr. Chuck and Dr. Rhonda, she was Mom. To her grandchildren, she was Mammaw. To those in her church and living community, she was advocate and friend. To those at the seminary, whether they knew her or not, she was prayer warrior on their behalf. And for me, because somehow God saw fit that I should know her a little more personally, she was and is a tremendous legacy of the faith.
Just this past Sunday evening I was speaking with Mom Kelley on the phone, and at the end of our conversation, instead of her usual “I love you,” she said, “Don’t forget me.” I laughed and said, “Of course I won’t forget you, that’s why I called!” She said once more, “Okay, just don’t forget me.” So here’s to Mom Kelley and a life well lived. May we not only remember her in the days and years to come, but also seek to live as ones so faithful to Christ and the gospel as she.
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith…” -2 Tim. 4:7