Life was going so well yesterday. I was just unpacking from a retreat which had blessed me tremendously, when my phone buzzed and an email came through. It was an email that kicked me hard, telling me that one of my oldest friends is completely covered with cancer.
I was stunned…sickened…and just so sad. We have been friends for a very long time. And this beautiful woman gave me a gift that remains one of the most precious in my life. When I was in college God was stirring in my soul in powerful ways, but as yet I had no language for this experience. Her books and her life gave me the gift to wrap words around what I was experiencing. My life was truly changed by her words and her friendship. It’s been a long time. Every phone call or encounter wasn’t profound. Most were just the regular day to day kind. But one of the most incredible things about loving God is loving His friends. The ones who, 30 yrs later, are still faithfully walking the walk. We all need to know that someone has faith like that and holds onto it year after year.
Her life has not been easy. But year after year she has continued to believe; to trust in ways that have amazed me; to give of herself even when her own life was exceptionally difficult. And she has continued to believe and to share her love of a God who is all mercy, all grace and goodness, and all holy.
My heart is so sad for her suffering. But I am also praising God that this good and faithful servant is almost Home in His arms…the arms she has most longed for as long as I have known her.
Several years ago I had the privilege of walking out the last year of life with 2 young women dying of cancer. Perhaps the song I wrote for them can best offer my thoughts for my beautiful friend.
“I imagine you embracing Jesus. He is telling you, ‘Well done, my faithful child.”
And after all is said and done, you’ve run your race and won, and we will see you there in just awhile. So we pray for eyes to see, and the courage to release, all the questions and the why’s that still remain. And in time I know it’s true, we will rise again in You….and I pray that we will never be the same! Because I know you’d have so much that you could teach us…about the ways of God now that you’ve seen His face…and how the trials that you’ve endured, have worked out for your good, and how you have understood amazing grace.”
Please pray for this precious woman in her last days. And let’s ask the Lord today for a deeper gift of faith and grace to BE His presence in our worlds. I am different because of her. Let that stir me to greater love, greater faith in action, and living more intentionally for Him. Our days are short. Pray for me as I pray for you that “The ones who come behind us find us faithful.” It matters. I am a life that was changed. May the peace and the presence of Christ be with her, and with us. Let’s be on our way.