How Barbara Bush's Faith Inspired Her Amazing Life

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A Celebration Of The Life Of The Former First Lady Barbara Bush

Barbara Bush died yesterday at age 92. As the matriarch of one of the most influential political families in modern America, she served as a distinct figure in history. She had the unique honor of being the second woman in history to be both the wife and mother of U.S. Presidents. She was known for her acerbic style and fierce attitude. Her son, former president George W. Bush, gave her the nickname “the Enforcer.” But her more lasting impression was on social service and meaningful relationship building. Much of that was linked to her faith and her battle with devastating tragedy.

Barbara Bush grew up in an Episcopalian family. Her marriage to George Bush started in high school, continued as he went to war, and lasted for 73 years. But she refused to be a background figure. During her husband’s presidency, she focused on social service and universal literacy. This was based on her love of social service. “Some people give time, some money, some their skills and connections, some literally give their life’s blood. But everyone has something to give.” Part of this had to be influenced by her faith. She stated that she prayed every night with her husband and research has shown that the more religious an individual is, the more likely they are to donate their time or money to charity.

She credited her faith in helping her cope with the death of her 8-month-old daughter, Robin, from leukemia. In fact, the entire Bush family used their belief in a higher power and Heaven to be able to help understand the tragedy of a child dying and gave the children hope about where their baby sister had gone.

But Mrs. Bush did not always have a conventional view of Christianity. One story about her was that she was arguing with her son, George W. Bush, about the need to accept Jesus Christ as your savior. Mrs. Bush believed that God would recognize those that were dedicated, even if to other faiths, and would allow them to go to Heaven. She trusted in the mighty grace of God, “you may think the president is all-powerful, but he is not. He needs a lot of guidance from the Lord.”

This faith helped her through the difficulty of her health in her later years. When asked about her health, she stated that she had no fear because of her belief in God. She even joked about her medical condition: “I have had great medical care and more operations than you would believe. I’m not sure God will recognize me; I have so many new body parts!”

This commitment to family, charity, and God has to lead to an outpouring of touching statements from both political and religious leaders.

While she was alive, Mrs. Bush tried to live by the principles that her religion dictated but did not shy away from letting people know her opinion. This representation of being female and outspoken has probably influenced first ladies about the unmitigated triumph of a woman who speaks for herself.

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