Rosalynn Carter

In the summer of 1992 Dorothy and I attended the inaugural CBF General Assembly in Atlanta. It is always an amazing experience to gather with thousands of Baptists for two or three days of worship, workshops and conversations. It is like going to a giant family reunion, only without relatives. It was good to see so many of our friends in ministry from our seminary days and to hear the reports of the mission efforts at home and globally. At one point former President and Mrs. Jimmy Carter brought greetings to the assembly, for the Carter Center is in Atlanta. His famous smile lit up the convention center. It was announced that later President Carter would be signing copies of his newest book. Dorothy and I decided to purchase his book and get in line to meet him. 

The book is called, Turning Point: A Candidate, a State, and a Nation Come of Age. It tells the beginnings of how the peanut farmer got into local politics, which led to the governor’s mansion and then the White House.  The line we were in seemed to move easily and suddenly we were there. He looked up and smiled at us, we introduced ourselves and said a few words of gratitude, and were quickly ushered away. We wandered back to the exhibit halls and went into the large ballroom that had been converted into a Christian bookstore and gift shop. There were very few people in the bookstore. I went to the books, Dorothy to the gift area. At one point I looked up and realized Rosalynn Carter and another lady, probably secret service, were coming into the area.  I was still holding the newly-signed book, and I hesitantly approached her, asking if I might have her autograph also. She shook my hand and in her soft-spoken and gracious voice she said, of course. I quickly found Dorothy and showed her my treasure and took her to see where Mrs. Carter was looking over the books. 

With the passing of Rosalynn Carter this past weekend, I reflected on that memory and pulled out the book signed by both a president and his first lady. He was a Baptist Sunday School teacher, and she was the quiet helper behind the scenes. She advocated for mental health services and was ever faithful to the end. 

Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today.  Live out your faith. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.

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