To A Hero of Love by Savannah Leigh Simons

This is what 85 looks like.

This is what 85 looks like.

My daughter, Savannah, wrote such a wonderful tribute about my mom, her grandmother, that I thought I would share it with all of you. I grew up with mama so I know what she is like. But to hear it from my daughter, well, I guess you could say, it puts it all in perspective. I’m grateful to have grown up with an amazing mother and I’m even more grateful my kids get to encounter one of my heroes.

I hope you enjoy…and if you do, I wish you’d let her know in the comments below.

April xoxo

Here’s Savannah…

Not many people know Grandmother’s story. She was the only child of two incredible parents that loved her well and raised her in a simple, small town. She was a modest, somewhat shy girl who’s whole heart was to grow up, helping people as a nurse. She loved Jesus dearly, and made her life about Him and about others. When she got older and became that nurse, her new pastor started coming to the hospital she worked at a whole lot to visit the people in his church who were sick, and maybe for other reasons as well... She didn’t think much of it, but of course, was always kind. Well, her pastor pursued her and they ended up marrying.☺️

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Grandaddy, John Osteen, as well as grandmother pioneered Lakewood church and became an ‘Oasis of Love’ to a world that desperately needed it, and their legacy in Jesus will graciously live on.

The original Lakewood Church that started out in a feed store.

The original Lakewood Church that started out in a feed store.

It’s incredible, it’s God-inspired, and to many, it’s almost too big of a dream to dream up for themselves. But what’s amazing is that grandmother didn’t ever assume she would have the life that she did with Grandaddy and with the incredible people that loved them in their church, and around the world. She wrote in one of her books, that in the ministry she was always known as “John Osteen’s wife”, and now she is known as “Joel Osteen’s mom”... she adores both of those things. I’ve never seen someone appreciate and brag on her family the way Grandmother does about her husband and kids; but something I love that she wrote was, “I’ve always been just Dodie.” Everyone can see that her prayers are intense, the gift of healing is in her blood, the champion of a woman that she is, is astounding! Yet to her, “just Dodie.” I say all of that to say, Grandmother grew up a helper, a lover, a compassionate soul.

Her goal was Jesus, her goal was people.

The love of Christ for her and in her crafted the most stunning life that was put together just for her, by her Father. Yet, I’m reminded through Grandmother’s life that Jesus doesn’t look for fame in us. Jesus isn’t scheduling our lives based off of our money, our charm, or even our ministry abilities; but through Grandmother’s life I’ve seen that Jesus is looking for love. I believe the Lord loves Grandmother for millions of reasons, but I think what Jesus really loves about her is that she’s a river of love. She didn’t look for position, status, or a crowd to follow her. She was just Dodie. And I believe the purity of her heart attracted the fervent and promising heart of God to establish her life as a loving leader in incredible capacities through His tangible favor.


I think we have all felt like “just..*insert name” before. I know I have, even as someone apart of that very legacy. But I feel that, looking through her life, being “just us” is okay. It’s easy to look at generals of the faith and think “They are the big shots”. Each of us admire them for incredible reasons, and ultimately we do that because they have fought the good fight well.. but Grandmother’s life shows me that you don’t have to be born a big shot to be incredibly wonderful for the Kingdom. She shows me that our lives are never too simple for Jesus. We are full of capacity! Dreams are not too big for us. No matter what. It’s amazing that we can come from so many different backgrounds, simple or chaotic, we can come from different statuses, rich or poor, we can be so diverse in so many ways, yet our common denominator is still the Father. The love.

We must remember, all of these phenomenal leaders in Christ came from somewhere. But those leaders that know Jesus deeply will have every willingness to declare that their lives would still mean nothing without the salvation of Jesus. Because, at the end of the day, it is God who is our strength. It is our Lord who is rich. His gospel is famous. His Son is famous. His love is real, and His love is in us. Thats our position, to love people. David, Joseph, Dodie, were all people who the Lord elevated that seemed too simple to others, but were treasures in Heaven. Grandmother didn’t come from much, but she became much. I’m convinced though, that if she was still a nurse to this day, she would be just as full and glad. For us, whether that involves a stage and a mic, or any type of material thing that we categorize as success, or not.. if we are the pastor or the nurse, our hearts can know that the Lord is forming a beautiful legacy in each life, exactly where we are. You have a legacy to build with the Holy Spirit. Whatever role you play, Heaven will forever know your sacrifice.

Because you aren’t your abilities, you aren’t your desires, you aren’t your dreams, and you aren’t even your future, you are simply you.

And just like Grandmother, He LOVES you. You are a big shot in Heaven. Remember that! Remind yourself to let the love of Christ compel you to have two goals, love Him back, and then love people. Because He’s a good crafter. And you can trust that He will craft your life well. Not for position, not for fame, not for anything other than, ‘He works all things together for GOOD for those that love Him and are called according to His purpose.’ Never underestimate the fire in you, because Heaven doesn’t.

So the next time you doubt your capacity, or worry about what credentials would make you feel more qualified, feel free to remember the Lord in Dodie Osteen’s life. I’m sure Grandaddy is amen-ing up in Heaven😊. He came from nothing, so I think he’d get this! But thank you for the treasure of YOU. Just you. In Christ.

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& Thank you Grandmother for your continual life of LOVE and loyalty to Gods people!! You are a pioneer of a wonderful legacy!

Happy 85th birthday💛

I love you.

-Savannah Leigh