It has been a sad past few weeks. My mother-in-law, Carol Battles, passed quite suddenly last month. She had been quite healthy in her 69 years. From what I understand of what happened to her, she had a blood clot in her leg causing her some pain (she did not know it was a blood clot causing the pain). She went to the doctor several days in a row because she thought it was sciatica or something of that sort causing her pain. Nobody knew she had a blood clot before it caused irreversible damage. On that fourth or fifth day of serious pain, her husband Tim insisted she allow him to take her to the ER. He said he would call 911 for an ambulance if she didn’t go. By the time she was admitted she was having some irregular heart beats. They admitted her to the cardiac floor. At 4 am that next morning (after being admitted just a few hours earlier) she had a massive stroke or brain hemorrhage. It was apparently caused by a blood clot that was in her leg and traveled to her brain. It caused such damage that her brain could no longer function at any level. She passed on August 28th. Her organs were donated for the benefit of others. God bless her decision to share her life and organs with others. That decision had been made by Carol, earlier in her life.
We were so shocked by her death. It is a tragic loss. She was the matriarch of our Battles family. She was an inspiration of spiritual dedication to Jesus Christ and serving others, as Jesus has called us to do. She lived 69 years. She was a faithful Wife to her Husband Tim, loving Mother to her 3 children (Justin, Kelley, and Michelle), and doting Grandmother to her 8 Grandchildren: Barron, Brielle, Alexander, Charles (my 4 children with Justin), Hayden, Chandler (Kelley and Amber’s kids), Miles, and Stone (Michelle and Therian’s kids). Her legacy goes far beyond her offspring. She was a true servant of the Lord. She was the hands and feet of Jesus every week in the volunteer activities she did in her community and the mission trips she did abroad.
I respect my Mother-In-Law and love her very much. Often, daughter-in-laws will complain about their husband’s Mother to their friends. I did not. Not because I had to hold my tongue, but because she was a fabulous mother-in-law. She did not criticize me. She did not mother my children. She did not give little jabs. She was loving, kind, and helpful. As far as Mother-in-laws go, I hit the lottery. I am sad that she is no longer with us. I am sad that I can no longer call her for decorating advice or just to chat. I am sad that we won’t see her at the holidays or on family vacations. However, I do feel blessed that I had her as my Mother-in-law for almost 6 years.
After she passed, I knew that I wanted to share on this forum the legacy that she left behind, as she truly was a remarkable, Godly woman. After hearing the tribute spoken by Carol’s friend, Marsha Crowe, at Johnson Ferry Baptist Church in Marietta, GA, I asked Marsha if I could share her words here. Marsha eloquently summarized Carol’s life’s work and legacy. I don’t think I could have said it better myself, so I am thankful for Marsha’s words. Thank you Marsha for speaking at Carol’s memorial service this past Sunday. Marsha brought tears of sadness to my eyes, as well as tears of pride, joy, and happiness in hearing another person speak of Carol with such well deserved respect.
Here are Marsha Crowe’s words she spoke at Carol’s Memorial service on September 5, 2015 at Johnson Ferry Baptist Church.
“Tim, Michelle, Justin and Kelly, thank you so much for inviting me to celebrate Carol’s life and offer words of appreciation for her ministry that literally reaches around the world.
I first met Carol in 2004 when she traveled with a team of women to Thailand. The team met several times in preparation for that mission trip and one of those meetings was held in the home of Tim and Carol. It did not take long to see that they were a team. While Carol was involved in our planning prep, Tim was busy preparing a delicious meal for us. Many of you have experienced the hospitality of Tim and Carol as they continued to open up their home to other ministry groups. Carol and Tim were truly a generous team.
During the initial trip in 2004 we worked in the slums of Bangkok. I can clearly remember our team of 20 women pulling 50 pound suitcases through those slums to reach the central area where we were to do ministry to slum dwellers. It became obvious on that trip that Carol had a passion for sharing the gospel and great compassion for ministering to the underserved.
That same passion was demonstrated on the many subsequent trips that Carol participated in.
Carol lived out the familiar words of Jesus found in the Great Commission, Matthew 28:19.
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded.”
Carol did GO to many nations to share the gospel. She exemplified a missional life traveling to Poland, Bulgaria, Africa, Russia, Hong Kong, Ukraine, Nicaragua and China. She had a servant’s heart and was never shy when it came to telling others about Jesus.
I think her global impact was expressed well in an email that Solomon Gacece,
who is a ministry partner of JF in Kenya wrote to Tim.
“We remember Carol vividly- how we used to meet in the USA and prepare for Africa Missionary trips. We remember how she helped us in the implementation of those plans as she came to Africa with various JF teams. We remember how she loved serving the Lord and how she displayed special love for the children.
The Tumaini children’s home will always cherish her several visits with wonderful gifts and Bible lessons.
We will miss her zeal in serving the Lord together with our Kenya Teams in Sports Ministry, Children’s Ministry and Women’s Empowerment Programs.”
These words from Solomon speak of a kingdom legacy in just one of the countries where Carol served. I am sure there are other countries where her passion for sharing the gospel left an impact for eternity.
Carol always said the first mission trip gives you the real understanding of our responsibility to take the gospel message to the uttermost parts of the world.
She was intentional about encouraging others to be obedient to take that first trip. The Battles family desire to continue to encourage others to take that first trip so they are establishing a scholarship fund, to be managed by Global Missions, which will pay half the expenses for those who need financial help to go on their FIRST mission trip. This kind of generosity was a part of Carol’s heart. When she traveled on trips with WM she would always ask me to let her know if a member of the team was struggling with the cost of the trip. Then
She would offer to pay their cost anonymously. This fund will provide a way for that desire to help other first time mission trip women to go.
About a year ago, Tim and Carol sold their home here in East Cobb and moved to Ft. Myers, Fl. For retirement.
Her family shared that during the past year Carol served locally at the Emergency Food Bank there in Ft. Myers. As part of her work there she would interview those coming in need of food for themselves and their families. Recognizing they needed both food for their bodies and also food for their hungry souls, she intentionally took every opportunity to share the gospel and led several to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
It was through her work at the food bank and through her international mission work that Carol gained an awareness that hunger was literally stealing lives.
The Lord began to create a passion in her to help end world hunger.
Her dream and passion to help end world hunger will continue through Green Heart Ministries. Green Heart’s vision is to see community development in Kenya and other countries on the African continent. This goal would be achieved by agricultural training that will assist impoverished people to transform their lives through sustainable work and food solutions, education, access to healthcare, clean water and a place of worship.
All of this is the legacy of One Woman.
One woman who stepped out in obedience to take that first mission trip.
One woman who discovered a passion to share the gospel.
A woman who understood the command to feed my sheep.
A woman who live a missional life.
A woman who understood and obeyed the great commission.
Most of all it is the legacy of a woman who loved Jesus.
Carol will be missed but her legacy will live on around the world. “