Days had been long for weeks. Pain levels growing. Exercise sadly minimal. Preparations for Christmas and family visits intense, crazy. . . beautiful and joy-filled!

Work began this week. Administrative work of ministry. Schedules. Catching up. Reconnecting with faculty and staff. Enjoying seeing children at our partner school where almost 80 adults mentor and love these precious ones who lack so very much of what the world has afforded us. Yet they are children filled with resilience, determination, courage, and hope.

The joys of the week mingle with sadness as I grieve the impending death of a dear friend and partner in ministry. Intercessor. Prayer warrior. One through whom support, encouragement, affirmation and love flowed. One whose presence brought warmth and life.

Every time I rang her apartment doorbell, she opened the door with the same words, now a treasure: come on in this house. No matter if I was late, harried, scattered, burdened or filled with a joy that mirrored hers – the warmth of her smile and heart was a balm to my soul.

I can only imagine the words of our Savior at her arrival in His eternal Kingdom, the Savior she loves and has served wholeheartedly and beautifully throughout her life. This Jesus will bid her, come into My house and into the mansion prepared for her.

What a legacy of three generations of family will continue her passion for our Lord.

What a legacy of all those with whom she shared the Gospel and loved to Jesus will multiply for generations.

What a legacy left to treasure her memory will be those of us fortunate to have been impacted by her life, witness, love, and to have called her friend. . . .

Finding a place to park on a hill overlooking Lake Waco, I stop. I remember. I weep. I pray. I praise God, giving thanks for my friend.

Gray skies seem to touch the still waters. The far coastline but faint bluish grey hues.

Silence. A quiet beauty in the stillness. Peace. Comfort. Gratitude outweighs my grief.

Holy Presence with me, calling me nearer.

A palatable yearning to make my Lord more important than all else in this world.

A desire to love more unconditionally the ones I love most, as this dear friend has loved me.

A desire to follow, speak, write, minister God’s grace, love and mercy to those God puts in my path, as my friend has always done.

But also an unrelenting knowledge that to do any of those things, there must first be confession, cleansing and drawing near to my Savior . . . every day.

A moment of respite . . . and a grateful heart.