The Church building is closed today due to weather. Please email us at if you need help with anything.

Rosalynn Carter

The tributes are pouring in for First Lady Rosalynn Carter, wife of the 39th President of the United States. Born Eleanor Rosalynn Smith on August 18, 1927, in Plains, GA, she married her childhood sweetheart when she was just 18 years old. For 77 years, Rosalynn and Jimmy Carter lived together, worshipped together, and worked together. Rosalynn was never just the ‘wife of,’ living in the shadow of her famous husband. Instead, they walked side-by-side living lives of faith and service on the family peanut farm, in the Governor’s Mansion, in the White House, and finally on the international stage fighting for humanitarian concerns. On Sunday November 19th, when Rosalynn was welcomed into the Church Triumphant, Jimmy released a statement:
Rosalynn was my equal partner in everything I ever accomplished.
She gave me wise guidance and encouragement when I needed it.
As long as Rosalynn was in the world, I always knew
somebody loved and supported me.
When Rosalynn became the nation’s First Lady in 1977, Washington insiders gave her the nick-name Steel Magnolia. A devout Baptist and mother of four, she was diminutive and outwardly shy, with a soft smile and sweet southern accent. That was the “magnolia.” But she was also a force behind Jimmy Carter’s rise from peanut farmer to winner of the 1976 presidential election. That was the “steel.” First Lady Jill Biden observed, “The deep love shared between Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter is the definition of partnership, and their humble leadership is the definition of patriotism. She lived her life by her faith.”

Guided by her deeply personal faith and her commitment to service, Rosalynn Carter used her platform in profoundly meaningful ways. She advocated for elder care and for the needs of caregivers. She championed the rights of women and girls. She raised awareness about the importance of childhood vaccinations. Together, Rosalynn and Jimmy worked in partnership with Habitat for Humanity to raise awareness and resources to create affordable housing for those in need. When Jimmy Carter received the Nobel Peace Prize, he made it clear to the world that they served together as global humanitarians advocating for peace, democracy, and the eradication of disease. And quietly, on the local level, they served together in their home church- Maranatha Baptist Church. Jimmy taught Sunday School. And in 2006, Rosalynn was ordained as a Deacon in her church, recognizing her deacon’s heart that inspired a lifetime of care for ‘the least of these.’ But perhaps her most lasting legacy will be found in her work to combat the stigma faced by those struggling with mental illness.  

Those who struggle with mental illness, or who walk alongside a family member or friend with mental illness, know the isolation thrust upon them by a society that approaches mental illness with judgment rather than compassion. Imagine if you or your loved one was diagnosed with cancer. The community would rally to your side with prayers and dinners and offers to help. But if people learn that you or your loved one struggles with mental wellbeing, many wonder where you went wrong.
Shouldn’t you be able to get your ‘act together?’
Why do you make life so hard?
I can do it, why can’t you?
The unseen battle of the mind is hard to understand for those who do not know that pain. The physical imbalance of brain chemistry and the trauma experienced by some in this life, leaves those we love in need of compassion not judgment. While counselling has become a more acceptable avenue for self-care, most of us still shy away from publicly exposing our struggles. Rosalynn Carter spent a lifetime combating the stigma associated with mental illness. She was a member of the Governor's Commission to Improve Services to the Mentally and Emotionally Handicapped when her husband was Governor of Georgia. As honorary chair of the President's Commission on Mental Health during President Carter's administration, she helped bring about passage of the Mental Health Systems Act of 1980. And for the past four decades, Rosalynn has worked tirelessly through the Carter Center to improve resources to combat mental illness to allow people, once marginalized by their illness, to lead full and productive lives.

Former First Lady Michelle Obama wrote, "Rosalynn’s life is a reminder that no matter who we are, our legacies are best measured not in awards or accolades, but in the lives we touch.” As we prepare for Thanksgiving, I give thanks today for a woman of faith who spoke for those whose voice is often lost in the winds of fear and judgment. May we be instruments of God’s grace in the lives of those who suffer behind closed doors.

With you thanking God for the privilege of serving His people,
Posted in

No Comments