Tuesday, November 3, 2009

In Honor

Job stood up and tore his robe in grief. Then he shaved his head and fell to the ground to worship. He said,"I came naked from my mother's womb,And I will be naked when I leave.The Lord givesand the Lord takes away.Praise the name of the Lord!"In all this, Job did not sin by blaming God.
-Job 1:20-22

I have taken part in an event, a passing, over the last couple of days that gives me pause, a reason for reflection. Today, we buried one of ours, a fellow soldier. She was faithful to her duty and never shirked it, even when it caused her pain. She was always cheerful, with a smile and a warm hug to give, encouraging her fellow officers, her fellow humans. She was courageous, valiant and hopeful through her disease and suffering. She leaves behind a mark, an imprint on our hearts, a line in the sand of time.
Leslie was not only a fine police officer and valued friend, she was my sister in Christ. I think I will miss her most for that. She was the first to come to me after my divorce, with kindness in her eyes, and tell me she was praying for me. She encouraged me as I began to reach out in my faith, prayed for me as I launched a men's group for police officers in my home. Less than a week before she died, I went to visit Leslie, to say my goodbye. I knew she was in bad shape and had not been given long to live. Her condition, both physical and mental, was shockingly bad for someone who had always been so vibrant and healthy. She was heavily medicated, due to the pain. And yet, the first thing she did was smile from ear to ear and said, "Gimme a hug." She smiled again as we embraced and asked me how my men's group was going. I was astounded...she was dying and wanted to know how God was working in my life. Before I left her that Wednesday, I held her hand as we prayed together and cried together. I thanked God for who she was and how she had lived her life.
I have been honored in my life to have known several women who lived out their faith with more than just words. Three immediately come to mind; my mother, my sister and Leslie. My sister I lost six and a half years ago. Despite that pain, He showed me His faithfulness through the faithfulness of my sister..and He continues to show me that. Watching how Leslie lived her life was and is humbling. I have never known that type of courage, that kind of faithfulness through that kind of agony. She never wavered in her steadfast hope in Christ and she lived in such a way that others could see Jesus. Here's where it gets a little murky for me cause I don't get it. I don't understand why people like my sister and Leslie have to die at young ages. I do, however, know the Guy who has the answers.
Talking with some of the guys yesterday, one of them said, "She was the real deal." Think about that for a moment. I know I did.Isn't it time that we were all the "real deal"? I'm not talking about perfection. I'm talking about pointing others to Christ with the way we live our lives. Leslie wasn't perfect, I'm not perfect, you're not perfect. But, we gotta try, right? I honor Leslie because she was the real deal. I wanna be the real deal; I want my life to point others to Christ.
When I left Leslie's home last week, I hugged her for what I knew would be the last time here on earth. When I stood up to leave, she smiled at me and said, "I'll see you later." His kingdom work on earth lost a great leader and tender warrior this week. The King welcomed her home this week, saying, "Well done my daughter. Rest now."Leslie, I'll see you later...

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