Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What will your life story be?

Some reading this may know that our sweet Pastor's wife, Freda Crawford passed away and it has been a rough time for our church family. Ms. Freda was an incredible woman who inspired all of us to be strong in our faith and to dare to accomplish the dreams God has laid on our hearts. She and Pastor Gary had such as sweet Godly marriage that was an example of how God intended a husband and wife to love each other and to minister to others through their marriage. God only knows the number of people who have been reached because of Pastor Gary & Ms. Freda's obedience to follow His plan for their lives and marriage. It is like a ripple effect that never ends. They made the choice to start the journey of life together with God directing their path and as they helped encourage each other to grow to grow in their own faith many were touched and then those they had ministered too turn and reached others and so on.

The funeral was on Saturday and it was just an absolutely beautiful celebration of her life and of God's love for us. It was heart wrenching to hear Pastor Gary share his love letter he wrote her only a few days before she passed away and to see her beautiful grandchildren share via video how they miss her and want her back. We have prayed for Ms. Freda through her illness and now we pray each day for the family as they heal and learn how to live without her. Sammy has actually learned to say "Feeda" when we pray b/c we have been praying so much. ha! I just wish there was more we could do to ease their hurt. As I sat there on my pew during her funeral and watched the amazing video that was created to honor her and then read her "life story" in the program, I learned so much more about her than I already knew. You see, Ms. Freda was the true embodiment of a Proverbs 31 woman. She loved her Jesus with all her heart and her goal in life was to allow herself to be used by Him. She was a remarkable wife, mother, friend, & teacher and what was mentioned over and over was how she was the verse Philippians 4:13 in action "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me". She did not let ANYTHING stand in her way of reaching her goals and dreams for herself and her family. She literally was His hands and feet here and let Jesus love people through her. She had encouraged me a few times when she happened upon a battle of the wills moment between me & Sammy and assured me being a young mom can be hard but it does get easier and as hard as it is to discipline now it will "stick" and work to shape his character later. At one point she even had a great talk with me about the challenges of completing a PhD while having a family and being involved in ministry. I thought of how supportive she had been of our work in Guatemala and how I had learned from her writings on her blog and then I was amazed at how I was STILL learning from her even now that she is with Jesus! Yes that is right, the video of her & Pastor Gary speaking on marriage that was played at her funeral was full of wisdom, I wish I could have taken notes on some of the great points she made.

I have thought a lot since then about her life story and the legacy she left and I can say without a doubt, I want to be like Ms. Freda when I grow up. I want to leave a legacy of love, faith, and service to others above my own comforts. I want this world to be a better place because I was here and most of all, my deepest desire is for many to come to know my sweet Jesus personally as I allow Him to use me and touch people through me. What will your life story be? Are you doing all you can at at this moment in your life, regardless or your past & your age to do all you can do to leave a legacy here on earth? It is important that we realize and see the opportunities we have in the every day to encourage and love others. I think it is easy to put a goal of "I want to do __________one day" or "I want to eventually be strong and bold in my faith" or "I want to be more involved in __________" and then go on with life thinking that we are working toward these goals but yet not really move much in those directions. Intangible goals such as these seem so far off in the distance and involve many baby steps to get there so it is easy to lose sight of them and get lost in the everyday. If you are not already, I urge you to take those baby steps each day and begin working today to improve whatever aspect of "you" you've been waiting on. Ms. Freda was quoted with saying " we do the best we can with who we are at a given time". I am convinced the most important things in life are relationships, that's what its all about. We need to make the most of TODAY as we are never promised another tomorrow and we need to love others well. For some, this may be the only way they see and feel Jesus.

"And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love" 1 Corinthians 13:13

Click here to read about Ms. Freda