Remembering Evelyn Mathews

In memory of my husband’s Memaw:

 Eveylyn Ruth Mathews

A Woman after God’s Own Heart

Psalm 23


The Lord is Evelyn’s Shepherd. She has all that she needs. Evelyn learned the contentment of her Savior and Redeemer as her last words were spoken, “I’m satisfied.”

God made her lie down in green pastures. Evelyn came into this world on September 11, 1920. She is the daughter of Helen and Coleman Penland and sister to Kathleen Kohler. Her peaceful stream was her home in Buncombe County where she resided with her husband, Howard Roy Mathews for over 59 years.

The Lord led her beside still, restful, quiet waters. She lived a simple, consistent and content life raising four surviving daughters, Carolyn Mathews, Janice Brown, Linda Cantrell and Barbara Johnston.

God restored her soul. Evelyn’s heart brimmed with the things she loved most: God, the Bible, family, poetry, Jeopardy, J & S, shopping, quilting, reading, church and hymnals.

Evelyn’s Heavenly Father guided her in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. She honored His name in her home church, the Asheville Wesleyan, for sixty plus years. Her loving hands would never clutch dishonest money, no matter what amount. No—tremendous effort went to return a nickel to a grocery store miles away. Loyal to God, she and Carolyn would save their last penny for her grandchildren to attend summer Christian camps.

Though she walked in the shadow of death, she feared no evil. Carolyn, Janice, Linda and Barbara surrounded her bed side and comforted her with hymns, prayers and affectionate words. The peace of God that transcends all understanding hovered over the woman they called, “Mom.” Clasping her hands, their eyes witnessed Jesus restore her soul in His Holy presence.

Evelyn was not afraid. The Shepherd’s crook surrounded her daughters, grandsons, granddaughters, doctors and nurses. God’s rod and staff comforted her. Evelyn’s coherent ears heard the good-byes as a surreal, peaceful company encircled her. Jesus whispered, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” And peace remains on her beautiful face today.

God prepared a table before Evelyn on March 17, 2011, in the presence of her enemies.

God anointed her head with oil—her cup overflowed leaving sixteen grandchildren who adores her. Evelyn’s arms cradled her twenty-third great grandchild (our daughter, Caroline) in May, 2010.

Surely goodness, mercy and unfailing love will pursue Evelyn all the days of her life.

Her life was praiseworthy and her legacy tells it all. She expressed God’s greatest command: Love God and love others as yourself. She obeyed His commandment to the fullest, giving her very last cent to her favorite non-profit, the Asheville Crisis Pregnancy Center. The values she instilled in her children and grandchildren and great grandchildren continue throughout her four generations.

Evelyn now dwells in the house of the Lord forever. She is in a place called home, God’s house, for the rest of her life.

Memaw was a living example of the Proverbs 31 woman. Her memorial was a celebration of testimonies from children, grandchildren and great children. God gave her the reward and praise she deserved in public (Proverbs 31:31, CEV).

How are you and I building our legacy as we prepare for the city gate?

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