With a wife and eight children to care for, the present held
more than enough to occupy his mind. Despite her huge capaccity for
kindness the generosity, his wife Mairie often found it difficult
to cope when stress or trouble made it difficult. Unlike
Jimmy, the young mother took a more pessimistic view of
circumstances, leaving her husband to shoulder much of the
strain when things went wrong.
Affectionately, Jimmy recalls how his 'wee woman
preferred to pull the bedclothes over her head and wait for
the problems to disappear! However,Jimmy had his own particular
weakness and by his own defination had become 'half a pint
away from alcoholism'. Whatever their ups and downs, the
couple enjoyed the blessing of a close, loving relationship.
Unlike her husband, Mairie had no interest in any
entertainment thatrevolved around the drinking culture of
Northern Ireland. For the mother of eight, the domestic realm
presented suffient doses orf drama! with no obvious vice, her
life didn't appear to need any drastic reformation. Yet when
Mairie and her friend decided to go along to hear Pastor
McConnell preach the gospel, Jimmy had no idea how much his
'wee woman' would change.
With the sermon over, Jim McConnell ended the evening
with a familiar but solemn invitation. Looking around the silent
congregation, he waited patiently for another soul to come
forward and grasp the opportunity for salvation. Mairie was
among those who responded to the call. she may have being
small in stature, but from the moment she accepted Christ,
Mairie Moore became a mighty woman of God.
Although he didn't know it at the time, his wife was about
to teach Jimmy a lessonthat would not only give sustenance for
life but strength in the face of death. Jimmy reflects: " Mairie's
life revolved around me, the kids and our home. She had no
bad habits. From the moment she was saved, it was easy to tell
she had met the Lord. I could also tell she wanted e to know
Him too! She wanted our lives to be in harmony and united
in Christ but, at the time, it was the last thing I wanted!"
Ever since 'the wee woman' became a christian, Jimmy
Moore received an intensive course of bible therapy. Everyday,
without fail, she appied the gospel message, hoping it would
penetrate her husband's barrier of disterested apathy.
Eventually, in a bid to please her and maybe earn a little respite,
Jimmy agreed to tag along to Sunday sevice at her
But whatever peace Jimmy ha in mind, he hadn't
bargained for the spiritual turmoil that Pastor McConnell's
message ignited in his heart. By the time the sermon ended,
the father of eight was in no doubt about his position before God.
Troubled by alien and unfortable feelings, Jimmy
decided there was only one thing to do, he would never set foot
in the place again. All he had to do was come up with a suitable
excuse for Mairie!
By the following Sunday, Jimmy still hadn't found a good
enough reason to miss church. As the minutes ticked away, his
stress levels rose. Agitated and restless, he tried another ploy
that he felt sure would work. Chuckling, he remembers how in
desperation he tried to provoke an arument: "when mairie
served dinner, I grumbled and moaned about hard potatoes,
hoping she would retaliate and the argument would get me out
of going to church!" But his wife knew Jimmy Jimmy better than he
thought. Instead of harsh words, she sympathised with his
plight and merely offered to exchange plates. Uncomfortable,
but resigned to the ssituation, Jimmy got his coat and
accompanied Mairie to hear the words that would revolutionise
Whatever resolve Jimmy maintained throughout the
praise and worship, it bega to waver as james McConnell
preached abut God's love for mankind. As the evening drew to
a close, Mairie's husband was once agian incomplete turmoil.
Standinding on the brink of eternity, he didn't know which way to
Suddenly the pastor pointed into the crowd and shouted
Jeus loves you!'> then with a careful aim, he fixed his next
missile directly at Jimmy Moore's heart. Pastor McConnell
looked directly at me and said "Jesus wants you". It was an
incredible moment." Finally, the message struck home. Jimmy
knew what he had to do. Like his wife, he had been won for
Christ and raising his hand in acknowledgement of his descision,
Jimmy Moore embraced salvation.
Like many others, the Snday joy at finding Christ was
eclipsed by Monday's fear of confessing Him. After a lifetime of
working in a male-dominated emviroment, he knew what to
expect from the attitude of his cooeagues and didn't relish the
prospect of certain ridicule. Even his boyhood talent for
calligraphy seemed at odds with the macho image and never
seemed an appropriate subject of conversation.
Jimmy was convnced that news of his faith would pose an
even greater threat to their idea of masculiinity. But when the
tea lady, a woman from a Roman Catholic faith, joked
about his weekend entertainment, jimmy was presnted with
the ideal opportunity to reveal his new life and status in Christ.
Taking a deep brerath, Jimmy plunged into story of how,
instead of an evening at the pub, he'd been to church and found
Christ. Whatever he exected, amused disbelief was the only
result. as a new believer, confessing Christ required courage,
but when it came to bravery, it was his 'wee woman'who
taught Jimmy most.
Asthe couple continued to worship together,
their rellationship developed an unexpected dimension. United
by Christ, they fostered as even closer, indestructible bond
of love and trust. Their marriagehad always been strong but,
as Christians, they began to appreciate the value of such a
blessing. Instead of separate interest, husband and wife shared
a new life that revolved around worship andlearning more about God.
Just asMairie had been instrumenal in bringing her
husband to hear the gospel, Jimmy also played a role in pointing
another soul to Christ. However,instead of quiet determined
pleading, Jimmy wrapped the message in song! He goes on: "I
woke up one morning with apopular tune, and 'and I love you so'
whizzing round in my head. Slowly, I started to replace the
lyrics with my own".
By the time he got to work, Jimmy wasd still humming but
as he looked out over Divis mountain, he noticed something
that added a note of praise to his tune. "I saw three huge masts
that, against the darkness of the morning sky, looked a lonely
sight. The outline reminded me of Calvary and before, I
realised what was happening. I was singing about the nail
prints in His hands, thorns upon His brow, the wound upon
His side, put there by you and me."
At the end of theday, one of Jimmy's workmates sidled
over and revealed that the tune was his brother's favorite but
he'd never heard the same lyrics. Then, glancing round to
ensure that he wasn't overheard, he confessed his secret. He wrote
Sim months later, a woman at church presented Jimmy with
an envelope containing a surprise gift. Perplexed, he'd opened the
package to find a booklet containing his colleague's poems, one
of which had been crafted around Jimmy's impromptu and
unusual lyrics. With amazement still evident in his voice,
Jimmy explains: "I'd left work six months earlier and was
totally surprised as well as delighted by my friend's gift. One
of the poems was about me and the song I sang that dull and
dreary day. Immediately, I asked the sister for the guy's
address and then I sat down and wrote a few lines." A few
weeks later Jimmy received another envelop. It too contained
a booklet but, to Jimmy's delight, instead of a collection of
poems, he was reading his friends testimony.
Over the years, like all couples, Jimmy and Mairie had
known their share of trouble. Family life had brought the usual
portion of happiness as well as tragedy. Jimmy, the stronger of
the two,, had borne much burden while his wife relied on
him for strength.
However, the news tha Mairie was suffering from caancer of
the throat. was a painful shock for them both. But if husband
and wife shared the heartache of her diagnossis, they
participated equally in the enormous joy at her healing. For ten
wonderful years, they enjoyed the blessing of both health and
haappiness. When symptoms returned, neither knew what lay
Jimmy's meeting with Mairie's consultant must have
seemed like a repeat of some old movie. the hospital
surroundings, office chairs, and even the diagnosis all looked
familiar. the only jarring note was the expresson of
hopelessness on the doctor's face. This time, there was no
remedy or treatment on offer. It didn't matter how sympathetic
his words, the specialist was saying that Mairies cancer was
terminal and Jimmy received the message loud and clear. His
'wee woman' was going to die. Fear and pain mingled as Jimmy
struggled to compose his feelings. He knew hathis wife had
asked for honesty and the medical profession and that the
doctor was on his way to break the news.
Struggling to regain composure, he made his way toward
the room where his wife now nursed the awful knowledge.
Jimmy's heart broke, both for himself as well as their family. At
that moment his concern was for Mairie, who had never handled
any crsis well. However, just before entering the room, the
consultant approached and asked for a quick work word. Jimmy
dreaded to hear of his wife's panic and fear but hte reaction the
Doctor described was not what either man expected.
Jimmy goes on: "Tye doctor was shaking his head in
amazement and told me that he had never witnessed such
bravery in the face of death. he told me how, when learning of
such advanced cancer, even big men had to be sedated. He just
couldn't fathom Mairie's calm reaction." Even today Jimmy
finds it difficult to relate the scenethat met his as he
entered the room.
"There sitting in a huge chair was my 'wee woman". A
young nurse had her head in Mairie's lap and my wife was
comforting her. It should have been the other way round!
When she saw me, the young woman got up and left and I
crossed to my wife and took the nurse's place."
As time passed, Mairie's condition deteriorated and it
became clear that, instead of healing, God had decided to take
her home to heaven. In the intervening time, husband and wife
shared many precious moments as they strolled through the
memories of a lifetime, sifting, smiling andsometimes laughing
at various events that had woven the fabric of all their
Eventually, as the disease advanced and her time on earth earth
grew short, Mairie slipped into a coma. Still Jimmy continued
to sit by her bed and talk. He reminded her of the beautiful
place she was going to live, the sight her eyes would see, and
and the sounds that she would hear. Most of all, Jimmy talked about the
Lord who was waiting to greet her.
In the remaining moments of their time together, Mairie
and Jimmy shared one more smile before she left: "I kept telling
Mairie to squeeze my hand when she heard me. I talked to her
about many lovely things but, when I asked if she knew what
would happen when we met up again, I know for sure she heard
me! Raising her eyebrows, Mairie let me know she was
laughing when I joked that we'd have a row!" The affectionate
tease, no doubt, tugged at Jimmy's heartstrings, neverthe less,
the good-natured happiness that had characterised their \lifetime, endured right to the end.
Only those who have lost a love one can apprciate the
lonely, grief-filled hours that followin the wake of death.
Jimmy was devastated. Yet the grieving widower was to
discover an unexpected source of encouragement. Throughout
her illness, Mairie had endured many nights when the pian denied
her the comfort of sleep. It was during these dark hours that
Mairie Moore penned what she described as 'Love Letters to the
As Jimmy read the lines, he was privileged to trace his
wife's jounry toward a deep and intimate knowledge of the
Lord. In her final months, the bond between Mairie and her
Saviour had developed to such a degree that her heart was
drawn from this earth toward eternity. When Jimmy showed
his treasure to Pastor McConnell, he immediately recognised
the blessing it would bringto others. The words the Mairie had
witten to her Lord were eventually published and have blessed
many, both spiritually as well as practically.
Jimmy alos found a measure of consolation from an
unexpected source. The talent for calligraphy that at one one time
challenged his macho image has become a service for God. With
loving precision, he inscribes scriptural verses and dedication
in Bibles or cards for whoever requires his skill.
When Pastor McConnell led a tiny, middle aged house wife
to Christ, he may not have known how far the ripples would
reach. But from experience he knew that, when moulded by
God, Mairie Moore would never be the same. Her ministry,
conceived and born through long hours of suffering, not only
brought comfort to her immediate family, but reached people
who lived futher than Mairie had ever travelled.
Forty eight years of marriage may have taught Jimmy
Moore a lot about the "wee woman" in his life, but it was her
death that showed him most about the powerful and faithful
nature of God.
Taken from the book" Is there another one" Whitewell 50 years Jubilee"
by Lorraine Wylie. By permission.