BETTY ANNE LANCE
February 17, 1935 – July 23, 2022
Delivered at her Memorial / Celebration of Life service
I can only wish that I had known Betty during her more healthy and active years. But I didn’t.
Many of you did and have shared some of those testimonies since her going Home to Heaven. And you are looping them in your memories right now as I speak.
I would like to share with you what Nancy Farley wrote on her Facebook, 7/23/2022, the day after our Lord called Betty Home to Heaven:
Yesterday we lost a friend, Betty Lance. Betty had been my neighbor for several years, but I didn’t get to know her well until we started attending the same church.
I was in several Bible studies with Betty and also in a homemakers’ group where she became the one most-called-upon to pray.
Betty prayed the sweetest, most sincere prayers I’ve ever heard. I always felt God’s presence so strongly whenever she was speaking to Him. He was there in the midst of our group.
On one occasion I had invited a visitor to our meeting, a lady who never attended church. On our way home that lady remarked about Betty’s special prayer and how it had touched her heart.
Betty had mentioned in her prayer a verse of Scripture that says, “God owns the cattle on a thousand hills.” The lady wanted to see Betty again after that, so one day we went to visit her, took her out to lunch, and came back to see all of her beautiful artwork. It was her hobby, and Betty’s house was filled with her creations.
When we left, she gave both my friend and me a beautiful wooden angel that her husband, Ted, had carved in his wood shop. Betty’s small delicate hands had painted all of the intricacies on the creature’s tiny face. The love she had put into every stroke of paint penetrated my heart as she handed it to me. She smiled and thanked us for spending the afternoon with her. However, it was her I wanted to thank. It was she who had been a blessing to us.
I will always cherish that little piece of art, knowing the couple who created it and gifted me with something that can only partially reflect how special they are to me.
Betty truly was like an angel, so much that others could see and feel that she was different. There was no pretense with her; she was genuine.
“Lord, may others see YOU in us as we go about our lives. May we demonstrate the sweetness and kindness that Betty Lance demonstrated to us, especially on that day during her prayer. Yes, Lord, you do own the cattle on a thousand hills, and I thank you that my friend Betty is there with you now. She’s home at last, looking down with You perhaps on those cattle and all of creation, your creation…your handiwork, that someone like Betty will truly appreciate.
And then, others of you have told me so many of your stories about ‘the Betty I never knew…’ Like how groups of you all used to fellowship with other area churches and conduct joint Bible studies and social events – like the Fashion Shows. And when it came your turn to present, Betty would write the scripts for skits you all would act out … she would write your lines for you and even dress you all with outfits from her abundant wardrobe of clothes she had either made herself or acquired for such occasions. Your words were: “It was hilarious! Betty was vivacious, witty, funny, a cut-up, creative in every way.” Some of you even used the word ‘corker’ to describe her. You’ve told me, “And that was a ‘Betty’ that not everybody saw and knew.”
And, every one of you has similar memories and testimonies to the Grace of God that made Betty such a messenger of God’s own Grace. I’m sorry I missed knowing that ‘Betty’!
As it was for me, I have known Betty only for the past five years we have been here at Buck Run. But she has made a lasting impression on me during that time … that I will really fully appreciate only when I am re-united with her in Heaven.
Betty’s physical stature could have been sized, I suppose, as “Petite” with a capital “P.” But if there was a size for hearts, her gracious heart and gentle spirit would have been, like, “100 XXL.”
My lasting impression I will have of her until we are re-united in Heaven is one of what I call “the sweetness of grace.” In fact, I have often thought that if there could be a pictorial illustration of 1 Peter 3.3-4, it would be the picture of Betty Lance:
“Do not let your adorning be external – the braiding of the hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear – but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.”
That’s the best way I know how to sum up Betty’s person, character, and testimony: ‘the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.’
I first met Betty in the late summer of 2017 shortly after we had come to our church. I was making some visits with Pastor York and Brandon Dodd, one of our interns at that time. Our first visit was with Ted and Betty. She was recovering from a recent injury [Ted thinks it may have been her broken ankle]. But on that first visit, I met this sweet, gracious, and quiet saint. She just smiled and spoke in quiet, gracious, and encouraging words … and she immediately won my heart.
A few months after that, I would assume teaching our Sunday School class, and Ted and Betty were members of our class. There was nothing showy, pretentious, or ostentatious about Betty. She would just sit beside Ted – probably fewer than ten feet in front of me – and smile sweetly at me as I taught the lesson. She often reminded me of what Mary may have looked like as she sat at Jesus’ feet and listened to His teaching. She was receiving the Word of Christ through me … with meekness and joy.
She lived out in her quiet ways the fruit of the Spirit in its fullness.
Betty was an encourager and a minister of the grace of Christ. She would send Debbie and me cards on every special occasion – or sometimes on no occasion … but just to tell us how much she loved us. She did the same – and more so – for many of you and numerous others who knew her longer than we have.
Only God knows how many more … but He does know!
The LORD took note and recorded every one of them:
Then those who feared the LORD spoke with one another. The LORD paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before Him of those who feared the LORD and esteemed His Name. “They shall be mine, says the LORD of hosts, in the day when I make them my special treasure…” / Malachi 3.16-17
Betty was – and is – a special ‘jewel’ and treasure to Jesus … and to all of us.
During the last two times I visited her just a day before she died from here, I tried to take what few moments I had of her weak attention to engage her eyes, and I told her: “Betty, you really have no idea what an influence and witness you have been to so many just by living Jesus through your life. Jesus will tell you when you behold Him … and see Him face to face. But hundreds of people love you and are praying for you – just because you crossed their paths and came into their lives … just because they know you and came to know who Jesus is … through you.”
And so say we all!
Heavenly Father, we are here today not just to celebrate the life of one of your sweet saints whom we love dearly – but more … to celebrate your grace that made her so.
She was surely a treasured trophy and faithful witness of your Gospel and grace.
As Paul the apostle wrote to the churches in Galatia as he recounted his own testimony of saving, transforming grace … he said, “And they glorified God because of me.” We glorify you because of Betty.
Through Betty Anne, your love toward us was perfected, completed, and delivered.
And now we’re asking you that you will be pleased to continue to perfect and complete your love to Ted and all their family through us.
May you bless them and keep them, may you make your Face to shine upon them, and be gracious to them … May you lift up the light of your Countenance upon them, and give them peace.
Through the merits and righteousness of your Son and our Savior we pray,