BY LOGAN MCCOURTNEY –
At the right place at the right time. This phrase may be said about a football player who was in a good position to make a play, a baseball fan who caught their first foul ball, or a recent college graduate who stumbled upon a good job. So much of life is being in the right place during the right time and this sentiment is true of Lennie Edwards’ life. For Lennie, God has directed the course of her life, providing the right people in her life, at the right time, and placing her in the places she was needed the most.
Lennie grew up in Oklahoma, where at an early age she and her younger sister went to live with her grandparents. “My grandparents were so good to us. They were there for us when we needed them and my parents couldn’t take care of us at the time,” smiles Lennie. Later, Lennie and her sister moved to California to live with their dad. Her time in California grew her love for the beach and the west coast. “It was a good time, we loved the life we had. I just loved the beach, it was perfect.”
After being married for ten years and having four kids, her marriage came to an end, but little did Lennie know how the details were working out. “Obviously, having four kids and needing to downsize, I started looking for a home. I found a house and the owner was BJ Edwards, a wonderful Christian man,” remembers Lennie. While living there, Lennie would see BJ around and he was always sharing his faith with her. “Looking back, not only did God provide a house for me and my kids when we needed one, but he put us there so that BJ could share the Lord with me and I would be eventually saved,” recalls Lennie smiling. Sometimes life unfolds in such a way that not even Hollywood could write a script like it. “As I got to know BJ, he cared about me and my kids and three and a half years later, we were married. He was the best man I have ever known and I am so thankful to see how even in a dark place, God could lead me to a place of hope and joy.”
Even before the couple married BJ, was a layman preacher, traveling up and down southern California sharing the good news of Jesus. While he never received any formal training, BJ had a heart for people that was contagious and he wanted people to know the Lord. This same excitement would spill over into Lennie’s life. “Before I was married to BJ, I never knew that God’s word was so applicable to every part of life. BJ taught it in such a way that you knew it was for your life.” The couple and their four youngest kids left California in 1975 to come to Arkansas so that BJ could do evangelism. Before the transition, Lennie and BJ read a book called “In His Steps”, a book that asked the question, “What would Jesus do?” The book really changed the Edwards’ life, “When we committed to ask ‘What would Jesus do?’ and then try to live our lives that way, it was challenging, but God also blessed our lives greatly as we stepped out on faith and moved to Arkansas,” recalls Lennie.
While the family lived in Arkansas, BJ and Lennie served in several different ministry capacities. BJ served as pastor of several small churches, trying to help them grow and he also served as a camp director. “BJ was serving in many different ways and I was staying home raising kids, it was such a fun time. We were enjoying the blessings that were ours in Christ.” After serving in Arkansas for a year, the family moved to Dallas, TX where BJ served as the Associate Pastor at Lakewood Baptist Church. Often, the blessings of life aren’t fully realized or enjoyed until they are no longer there. Ten years ago, BJ passed away, a man that was considered in every way a blessing to those he was around. “Although I miss BJ, his witness to others and me has stood out since his passing. He impressed on me a love for the word of God and I can honestly say that it has been a joy to ‘taste and see that the Lord is good.’” September 2 would have been 50 years for the couple.
The mark of a true legacy is not what you leave behind, but what continues even after you are gone. During the many years of their marriage, Lennie saw BJ’s faithfulness to serve others and teach others the Bible and now Lennie is walking the same path of service that BJ had for so many years. Lennie attends church faithfully at First Baptist Mena and is active in many ways, including teaching a couple of different Bible studies. “I teach two Bible studies and I just absolutely love it, I can see what BJ loved so much. God’s word has become so real to me and this has been the highlight of my life. I just want to see it become real in other people’s lives.”
Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, “There is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” Lennie’s life is proof that there is always a season and the seasons change, but God’s faithfulness doesn’t change. “If there is one thing I could impress upon anyone is that I can look back at every season of my life and see God working. If I could sum up my life all I could say is ‘Great is Thy Faithfulness.’”