Wednesday, June 27, 2012

She Left a Legacy

In 1999, I had just moved back to my hometown and was figuring out my life. What was my purpose? Where was I going to work? What the heck am I suppose to be doing? I had been attending my home church since 1997 and then periodically when I would visit home, until moving back. So, that would be where I would go on the weekends.

As the weeks went by, I got settled into a job and began to explore different ways to get more involved at my church. My faith was still rocky but I knew God was real and was learning a lot. One of the first ministries I got involved with was the children's ministries.

I still remember meeting her for the first time.

She scared me.

But not in a way that made me want to run away. I knew she meant business but, for whatever reason, I wanted to stay and talk to her forever. She asked me two questions and decided that I would be perfect for volunteering in the preschool sunday school room. Yay!

I use to feel like she was never around. She'd stop and say hi on Saturday night but wouldn't really stay to chat long. Now, I realize it was because she had the utmost confidence in me. She knew I was doing okay and that made all the difference. She made me feel like all my ideas were the perfect idea and always encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone.

At the time... it wasn't all fun but now, looking back, it's what made all the difference. (I say it again because it is true.)  I remember she would put me in charge on Saturday and Sunday nights. When I needed a job after I went back to school, she hired me right away. Even thought others had been working longer than me, she treated me like I had all the seniority.

In 2005 I left for Guatemala. While I was there she would send me an occasional email asking how she could pray for me. There weren't many of them but she was a very busy lady who took on way too many tasks so I know that was huge for her to remember to email little ole me. In 2006, upon my return, I became her intern for almost two years.

She shared her story with me about how she came to Christ. She shared with me about her first mission trip and how she always says a prayer on the plane before take off. We went on a mission trip to Mexico together and she was so generous with everything. You could tell that everything she had in her possession was not hers. She treated it like it was a blessing from God for her to give away.

I love this lady. She influenced many. Mine isn't the only story like this. So many have similar stories about how Shirley encouraged, pushed, and loved on them. It's a beautiful thing.

Last night around 6:30 p.m., after dealing with surgeries and pain and infection, she finally went home. With no more pain. No more sorrow. No more weeping. No suffering. I'm sure she ran, like a little girl, into the arms of Jesus. I know there is a celebration happening right now.

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Courtesy of CTK Bellingham



7 comments:

Rose said...

how blessed you were to know her :)

soapHOUSEmama said...

what a wonderful post and tribute!

JanCT said...

Melissa, I was blessed to read about Shirley. Hope you're doing well. Blessings.

Mary Jo Rhoda said...

She sounds like an amazing woman!

I'm just a simple gal said...

This is so very real and touching! Thanks for sharing this!! She sounds like a blessing!

Connie Mercer said...

Beautiful tribute Mel!!!

JD said...

Well, said, Melissa! Thank you for sharing the memory and the sentiments. We were all a little bit "scared" of her because she was so driven to do it right and do it for God and for others.

She has left a huge hole--but God can fill it. We will see who he will raise up to take her place in this world. It may take several someones!!

J.D.