Loss is never easy. When people leave our lives, whether through moving or loss of relationship, it’s tough to process.
When someone leaves because of death, the grief takes a new twist. The reality of not seeing that person again in this life speaks with a finality that hurts deeply. Things left unsaid, gestures left undone can’t be resolved here. Grief is the result of when we’re forced to give back that which we were never meant to keep in this world.
Which is why I have such gratitude for the knowledge and hope of seeing friends again who knew Jesus.
My friend, Michelle, has been struggling with cancer for years. A disease that is so debilitating and uncaring, it stripped her of many of her abilities to do for herself and to cope with the busy life she’d maintained for years.
But it couldn’t detract from who she really was. A woman after God’s own heart.
I got to know her when she began working with my kids when they were in high school. Leading them in Bible studies. Being a listening ear when they couldn’t–wouldn’t–talk to Mom. Encouraging them in truth. Tender in her exhortations. Always pointing them back to the gospel.
She encouraged my heart continually. My parenting, my writing, my relationships. She was a woman of great discernment who could see past the exterior and value what was truly inside.
I’ll miss her smile. She led with it. It was that smile that spoke loudly of how glad she was just being with whoever was in her presence. She enjoyed life and people.
She enjoyed Jesus most of all.
I’m not deifying her. Not only would that be wrong, but she’d laugh at someone thinking she ever thought herself as all that. She had her limitations. As we all do.
She had a gentle, compassionate way about her that helped those who knew her to feel loved and valued. She celebrated uniqueness and individuality. She cherished people for who they were. Authenticity meant something to her. She valued it. Lived it. Expected it from others.
Though never given the gift of biological motherhood, she cared for, nurtured and loved scores of students as if they were her own children. They knew they’d hear truth from her, but they never questioned whether or not they’d be accepted. Michelle had a way of extending grace to others that made her a beautiful reflection of Jesus.
Michelle, you are and will be greatly missed. I celebrate with you your wholeness and joy in the arms of our Savior. Cancer was not the villain. It was merely the means that God used to bring you home. A rough yet glorious journey, and an unbelievable destination.
Thank you for impacting my life and the lives of those I love. Thank you for giving of yourself so selflessly that I could see the light of glory in your face. Thank you for being Jesus with skin on for so many people.
I can imagine the angels rejoicing as you arrived.
You know how to party, girl.