***(Read to the end for a Give-Away!!!)***

To celebrate the release of dear writer friend Lori Roeleveld’s new release,  Graceful Influence–Making a Lasting Impact through Lessons from Women of the Bible (Our Daily Bread Publications), I’m sharing about one beautiful Graceful Influence in my life. Though I’ve been blessed to have many (my momma Mary being at the top!), this woman has influenced me also over the years, and I’m very grateful.

Allow me to introduce you to Lucy, my Angel Mama!


I like to say we met on a wing and a prayer.

Unlike the implication of this old adage, however, our friendship was blessed from the beginning.

More than three and a half decades my senior, this angel on earth was our pastor’s wife, but I didn’t first meet her in church. My initial encounter with Lucy Neeley Adams was via an article she’d written for our local newspaper, and I loved her from the start.

Lucy Neely Adams with dear husband of more than six decades, Woody Adams. Theirs is a true love story!

Lucy contributed regularly to our small-town paper. Her column, 52 Hymn Stories, was also the title of the book she’d authored (Abingdon Press, 2010)—a compilation of fifty-two hymns and the stories behind them.

The first time I read her column was near Easter 2005. She’d written about her older sister Margaret, sharing about her sudden passing many years before.

She also wrote about how she found comfort in the lyrics of C. Austin Miles’ hymn In the Garden, offering a bit of the story behind this song.

Not long after, we met face to face at church and were fast friends. While I’d love to say I’m special, Lucy has a way of making everyone feel cherished. With her southern drawl, she’ll proclaim as she envelops you in her embrace–

“Well, Sugar—I just love ya to pieces.”

One common interest between us, however—that which drew us closer, gave our friendship real purpose—was our passion for sharing God’s messages through written word. It was this kindred desire that gave us the courage to attend our first writers’ conference in 2005 just outside Asheville, NC.

After those few days learning and growing in our craft, as well as sharing late night whispers in our dorm room, we dreamed of starting a Christian writers’ group in our community

Our God-birthed dream became a reality in His perfect timing, and our writers’ fellowship began meeting monthly not long after. Although it started small, with only a handful of people, it grew over time.

Today, there are a dozen or more in attendance some months, and we’ve been blessed to have special guest speakers over the years—Cec Murphey, Cindy Sproles, and Andrea Merrell, to name a few.

Several years ago, Lucy moved to Tennessee to be closer to family. I miss her dearly but am thankful for her detailed emails and our occasional phone conversations.

She continues to be such an inspiration in my life, as she’s been an inspiration to many over more than eight decades. Her encouragement has given me confidence as a writer, and I currently contribute to the same small-town newspaper where we first met.

Woody and Lucy with our daughter Allie when she was only 3, back in 2013.

My correspondences with Lucy still begin, as they’ve always begun–

Dear Angel Mama.

After all, that’s what this wonderful woman of God is to me. She’s prayed me through the loss of a daughter, the ill-health of my husband, and through other seasons of sadness.

Yes, Lucy and I met on a wing and a prayer, and I’m thankful I’ll have eternity with her in the presence of the One she loves most.

I can hear her now, on that day when she meets Him face to face—

“Well, I’ve just loved ya to pieces!”

Then she’ll break into song, likely with autoharp upon her lap. At the top of her lungs, she’ll sing His praise—What a Friend we have in Jesus….

Indeed, He’s dearer to me today, too—largely because of my friend Lucy…

My sweet Angel Mama.

Dear Father, thank you for Lucy’s godly influence in my life and in the lives of many. Please continue to bless her and use her for as many days as she remains on this earth. And thank you, Father, for the promise of Heaven–where we can spend eternity right where we want to be… In Jesus’s presence. Amen.

***So, who’s been a Graceful Influence in your life? I’d love to hear. For those who comment, you’ll have a chance to win dear friend (and another Graceful Influence in my life) Lori Roeleveld’s new release Graceful Influence. I’ll draw one name from those who participate next Wednesday, March 12th.***