My beautiful friend had a stroke this summer.
I have always known her as a formidable figure, tall and statuesque. Always well dressed and with a mind like a steel trap, she had been the centerpiece of her neighborhood’s social life. She saw everything as a reason to gather people together and celebrate, like her annual excuse to hold a Kentucky Derby party. Wear your hats, watch the race, and sip mint juleps. Doesn’t that sound like fun?
Her neighborhood misses her terribly.
Besides her incredible ability to unite people, the most brilliant thing about my friend is that she decided about 7 years ago that she didn’t know the Bible. She suddenly had a sense of urgency about knowing the Word, so she joined a Bible study at church and I had the privilege of being her Bible study “table leader.”
For years, she and I met around the pages of our Bibles. In typical fashion, my friend brought along some other ladies as well, and a core group stayed together. I am so glad I kept signing up to be a table leader, sometimes particularly for her because she always asked if I was leading again. For years, she also initiated lunch dates to talk about spiritual matters that were on her mind at that particular time. I am so glad I accepted every invitation.
Our relationship had Jesus in it.
I watched her grow in her relationship with God as she paid attention to whether she and God were doing well. She settled some matters with her faith and kept making decisions to stay in community with Christ followers. When people in her neighborhood needed her, my friend was at their side driving them to doctor appointments and telling them to make sure they “got right with God.”
Then one day her brain didn’t work.
I am so glad that while her mind was sharp as a tack, she set her mind on things that mattered, not things on earth. She lived out Colossians 3:2-4 so well: Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your a life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
And now she is with Jesus.
After five weeks of living in a body greatly damaged by a stroke, my friend met Jesus in person on Friday, July 28. An Old Testament passage that was read at the funeral are words she can now say along with Job: “Oh, that my words could be recorded. Oh, that they could be inscribed on a monument, carved with an iron chisel and filled with lead, engraved forever in the rock. “But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and he will stand upon the earth at last. And after my body has decayed, yet in my body I will see God! I will see him for myself. Yes, I will see him with my own eyes. I am overwhelmed at the thought! (Job 19:23-27)
Time is short
Her stroke has been a reminder to me that all we have is today, and the well-being of our soul is what is most important for each of us. I am all the more committed to making sure that as long as my body is well enough, I am going to stay focused on doing all I can to grow and mature the Kingdom and to keep loving people as best as I know how, pointing each to eternity.
In all of our relationships, there is time to have fun. Attend social events filled with laughter, take trips, and even take it easy just talking about the weather. But let’s never stop making room to gently point people to Jesus with our lives, words and time.
The Kentucky Derby will now remind me of my friend. I will pause and thank God that our lives intercepted. The greater joy, however, is knowing we will be together for eternity. In just a little while we will be together forever. And the Bible she said she didn’t know?
The Bible makes complete sense to her now.
Picture Explanation: I mentioned in the opening paragraph that my friend could be formidable. She spoke her mind. I thought these scenes from Yosemite were good for this blog. The enormity of these rock faces are formidable, but also breathtakingly beautiful.
Speaking of loving people with eternity in mind: If you are interested in being contacted to participate in a One Gritty Blink Bible study, click on the Oaks Ministries link below and send me an email so I can place you on a list to be contacted as online and face-to-face studies are planned. Let’s not just focus on things in this short life, but also what counts for eternity!
Note: No part of my posts are derived from A.I. Thoughts and writing stem from my mind and heart as I process life week-by-week and continue to grow in my understanding of God and how to apply His wisdom to the world around me.
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