Lessons from Loss

Peter Paul Rubens Praying HandsIt’s been just a few months since I lost my good friend and prayer warrior.

Her death left a gaping hole that has slowly started to heal.

But there’s something about a gaping hole that makes you want to ask some questions.

What was it about her that – when she left – we all felt such a loss?

Why was she the one we all turned to for comfort and prayer?

How did she get to be our prayer warrior?

The obvious answer is that she cared.

She listened. She wept. She empathized. She made us feel safe and loved.

Yet – she didn’t play God – she trusted Him. As we shared what was on our hearts – she didn’t immediately start telling us what to do or how to fix it.

(Oh how I struggle with that one! I want to fix things for people. I want to make it all better. I want to give every story a happy ending.)

But there was something even more than that –  something that went even deeper.

We could trust her.

When you shared a request, you could trust her to pray about it. She would be concerned and  check back with you for updates, letting you know she was praying.

(I can’t say that about everyone. I know that people can’t always say it about me.  How many times have I said I would pray about something – only to totally forget.)

We could trust her to treat us and our requests with respect. She didn’t dismiss our concerns or make light of our requests. If it was important to us – it was important to her.

She was such a blessing and I still miss her.

But I’m so thankful for the part she played in my life – and for the things she’s taught me.

Lessons that have continued even after she’s gone.

Lessons about praying and caring and people.

Life-changing lessons that I’m still trying to learn.

She’s Gone Home

A part of me still can’t believe she’s gone.

She was doing well and fighting this cancer – then with out warning a blood clot took her life.

Absent from the body, present with the Lord.

Her going sent a shock wave through our small church fellowship. Yesterday was a day of grief as we sat together and remembered her.

The tears flowed freely as we heard story after story of all the things she had done – all the needs she saw and quietly met. Nothing big or newsworthy – just faithfully serving – touching life after life.

She wasn’t one to be in the limelight. She wasn’t one to teach, or sing, or be on stage. She would most likely be washing dishes in the kitchen, reading to a friend in the nursing home, or hugging someone while speaking a few words of encouragement.

You see – she loved.

She loved her Lord and that love radiated from her. She wore her heart on her sleeve – and freely shared it.

She loved her husband, her daughters, and all those grandchildren – passionately.

And she loved us all – especially our children. When she heard a baby cry in church she would smile and say, “I love that sound – it means the church is growing!”

Our stories, our lives, and our needs were important to her. There wasn’t a person in the church – from the youngest to the oldest – who didn’t know this because she showed us in so many ways.

She was a prayer warrior.

She was my prayer warrior.

I would share a request. She would squeeze my hand and say “I’ll be praying.”

And she did.

She prayed me through every Christmas program, every VBS, and every little crisis that seemed overwhelming. She prayed my children through airplane flights, illness, and attitudes.

She prayed.

She would ask how things were.

When I answered, “Not so good.”

She would pat my hand and say “I’ll pray harder.”

And she did.

We had two special prayer requests that we committed to pray for together. She went home before seeing either of them answered.

I’ll keep praying for them – but on my own now.

It’s hard to believe that she will never again reach over and give my hand a squeeze or a pat and remind me that God has everything under control.

Yes, God does have everything under control.

Even though our hearts are sore with grief – we are rejoicing that right now she is sitting at the feet of Jesus – worshiping. No more pain. No more suffering.

She’s gone home.

While we will miss her sweet presence – we are so thankful for the legacy she left us.

In her own quiet, unassuming way she taught some really big lessons – how to serve faithfully, how to love extravagantly, and how to pray fervently.

As one gal said so beautifully yesterday, “She was the woman I wanted to grow up to be.”


Photo by Dr. Paul G. Tuli.