Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Church, Funerals, and Testimonies

Sunday was truly an enjoyable day. We had a great first service with a fellowship of 30 people. We'll be meeting again in a few weeks, and I'm already looking forward to it.

After our worship service and wonderful time of sharing lunch and fellowship, we went home for a few minutes, and then we got ready to leave for a baby shower in Alabama. We were able to see our friends from the church we just left, and it was so nice to see everyone.

We'll be seeing them all again today, but unfortunately, it won't be in celebration of a new life. Our dear friend, Brenda, passed away on Monday after struggling through all sorts of issues since last September. After surgery to remove a mass that turned out to be cancerous, she had kidney failure and was later determined to have multiple myeloma. She was a sweet lady with a dry sense of humor. Even during her sickness, whenever I saw her, that humor was still shining through. I have some distinct memories of her that I'm sure I'll always remember. Before I found out that I was going to be having our third child, she came to me one Sunday morning and told me she had dreamed that I was going to have a baby. Just a few short weeks later, she was one of the first people I told when I was able to tell her that her dream had come true. Another time, she gave me a picture of a girl from a magazine, and she told me that this was what Cari was going to look like when she gets older. I still have it somewhere as I see it from time to time when I'm going through pictures, and I held on to it just to see. We still have a few more years before I will know the outcome on that one. Another time, I spoke at one of our women's Bible studies on healthy eating. Her dry sense of humor really came out during that time as at that point in her life she just didn't think she would want to change any of her current habits, but she did show her support for me by bringing me organic food coupons! She often complained about having "granddogs" and how she wanted a "grandchild." Thankfully, her grandson is now a little over a year old, so she was able to meet him and enjoy him for a time.

Brad will be doing the service today, and I know it's going to be hard. Please be in prayer for him and especially her husband and her daughter and son-in-law. Both of her parents are still living also, so I know they need your prayers, too.

I know you've probably seen that poem about how on a tombstone, it's not the numbers that count but the dash in the middle. The question is asked, "what are you doing with your dash?" Two men in a local community recently passed away, and I believe these men made the most of their "dash." They both attended the same church where a friend of ours attended for many years when he was growing up.

Big John was the name of one of the men. I knew him before he got saved, and later when I saw him in church one day, I was amazed at the difference. This man had a tremendous testimony, and 20+ years later, he was still sharing it. They said the line at the funeral home for him went out the door, down the street, and around the building. Sounds like he left an awesome testimony.

The other man's name was Clarence, and he passed away a week before. I think he may have been the happiest man I've ever seen in my life. My dad made the comment the other day that you knew when Clarence was in church. I replied, "you knew when Clarence was in Wal-Mart!" The same friend that went to church with these two men said about Clarence, "I've never seen anybody who wanted to go to heaven as much as Clarence did."

I was immediately hit with conviction like a ton of bricks falling on my heart. Would anyone ever say that about me? My conviction tells the answer on that one. Sounds like Clarence read and understood Colossians 3:2 "Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth." What a testimony........

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