About a month ago we heard that a woman from our church, Sandy W., had breast cancer. This was a shock- she had two girls E's age, she was young, it couldn't be... yet it was. She started chemo shortly after, and we got a request at Women's Bible Study on a Wednesday morning a week and a half ago to pray- she had gone into the hospital, sick with an infection brought on by a weakened immune system. And then later, all that day and into the next, emails increasing in urgency as the news became more grim- "only surgery can save her", "it's minute by minute", "chances of survival unlikely". The shock and grief overwhelmed all who knew her, and many who didn't. The thought of this young mother being taken so suddenly from her family was unbelievable, yet true. Two days after being taken into the hospital for the infection, Sandy went home to be with Jesus. Everyone was reeling with the news, heartbroken for Dave and the girls, for ourselves. To have lost such a sweet, sincere, devoted friend.
Yesterday was the memorial service, and it was a beautiful celebration of her life, her faith and the reason we can hope- in the One who broke Death's power. The Gospel was proclaimed in that service- in her husband's words as he told of how the Lord has been working in his heart in the time since Sandy died, in the pastor's words as he talked on the passage in Mark where Jesus calmed the storm, and in her friends' words as they gave remembrances of her life and how she quietly lived out her faith in being a wife, mother, daughter and friend. She poured herself into her family and friendships, pursuing relationships, and loving those people well.
It was a challenge to me- to make the most of each day as God brings people into my life. Starting with my family- to love my husband and children, and for me that means supporting Ed in his job, listening to his worries, bearing his burdens with him, creating a home that welcomes him when he returns each night, encouraging him in his faith; spending time playing with the kids, reading to them, doing crafts, listening to them, praying for their hearts. To love my mom, sisters and brother, and friends- reach out to them, call, be invested in their lives, and above all, pray for them. This is only possible if Jesus is my #1 relationship. I need to spend time each day with Him, to make that a priority, and only then can I live out my life as an offering to him. It is something I have known, but Sandy's service reminded me of how the Lord has called me to live, and the importance of what he has called me to do and who he wants me to be. Sandy used the gifts the Lord gave her to bless others, and honor Him. By God's grace, I can do the same.