The following tribute to the widow of Dr. L. Nelson Bell, executive editor ofCHRISTIANITY TODAY, was written at our request by her son, Dr. Clayton Bell, minister of the Highland Park Presbyterian Church, Dallas:

King Lemuel was right: the children of a virtuous woman do rise up and call her blessed! And my sisters and I have every reason to rise and bestow double blessing and thanks upon our mother’s memory.

In a day when many marriages wither before they ever take root, she left us a heritage of staying married to the same man for fifty-six years, making of the marriage not an endurance contest but a romantic partnership. In a society where the family is being weakened by non-family entertainment, women’s liberation, and a multitude of other social and philosophical pressures, she left us an example of homemaking, often under unbelievably difficult odds, that will provide inspiration and guidance for years to come.

Mother was a “helpmeet” in every sense of that word. Throughout Dad’s life as a surgeon, missionary, journalist, and “churchman,” she stood behind him providing the support he needed. He was the head of the home, but she was the heart. Whether it was in the coal fields of West Virginia—with crates for furniture, or under attack by bandits in China, or amid the ecclesiastical pressures of a divided denomination, Mother made the home for Dad and us children. She often served as his nurse in the hospital, his secretary in his journalistic endeavors. She was the sounding board for his editorials, and often his conscience in his schedules, too.

C. S. Lewis, illustrating how it is possible for two to “be one flesh,” refers to the lock and key as one mechanism, the violin and bow as one instrument. Mother was the key that unlocked Dad’s creativity, and the bow that brought forth the music of his soul.

The home she made was a haven into which the family could retreat, and where it could refuel for the journey of life. We got more than delicious food at the table around which we all gathered with regularity, often with guests. Our spirits grew and our souls were fed as we experienced the fellowship of parents who enjoyed each other and their children. No wonder that the children enjoyed their parents.

Ours has been a “goodly heritage.” We had a mother who possessed a great faith, who expressed a great love, and who moved forward to a certain hope. She worked hard and loved faithfully. She was a great helper and companion for a man who deserved all she had to give.

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