I would venture to say that we all have people in our lives that inspire us. Their light shines brightly guiding us along on our spiritual journey. They encourage us to have hope in our daily trials. This story is about one of the people in my life that has inspired me. She has a beautiful way about her that connects with other people. She has suffered many hardships in her life and perhaps that contributes to her charm.
She lost two children, one shortly after birth, and another as a toddler. Her husband, a childhood sweetheart, suffered a heart attack and died on the table at the hospital. He had a near death experience. He saw himself go out of his body into a grey, foggy, disoriented place. He felt a heavy loss, empty and scared. He later refers to this place as being purgatory. He heard a voice that spoke to him that said, you are here for three reasons, cigarettes, coffee and pride and then he woke up. A few months later he went into the hospital for a catheterization and died again on the table. This time he saw a light and this light brought him before God. He didn’t have to say a thing; because God knew everything he ever did in his life. He said he didn’t have to ask any questions, for he felt that he knew all the answers. He then found himself in nature with a beautiful sky and mountains reciting psalm 23. When he got to the verse of, “though I walk through the valley of death I will fear no evil,” he woke up and a doctor was calling his name asking permission to finish the procedure. The doctor was wearing a medallion necklace with the face of Jesus on it and this brought him peace to respond “yes”.
This heavenly experience and new lease on life, inspired him to give his testimony to area churches during the charismatic renewal and he touched many, many, people through his witness bringing them closer to their faith. Unfortunately, he soon lost his way and fell into sexual addiction, lies and deception and ended his 37 year marriage. His wife, left in shame, disbelief and immense pain, was left to face the faith community that he let down along with herself.
Her story, reminds me of a story I heard recently, in the ocean starfish get whipped and bruised by the storms of the sea and cling to the rocks for safety. They sometimes get tossed about to the point of losing a limb, if they stay in their life source (the ocean) it will grow back and they are healed. This is how I see my inspirational friend. She clings so hard to her faith, which is her rock and life source, she weathers the storms, and is eventually healed from her wounds. I often wondered why, she never misses out on an opportunity to touch another’s soul, guiding them through their pain. She tells me that she has promised God, that she would make up for every soul that her ex-husband lost through his sinful fall and that where he fell weak, she would stand strong. She is another example for me, of how God has brought good out of a bad situation.
She tirelessly gives of herself, sharing her witness of God’s healing hand in her life. She witnesses at doctor’s offices, prayer groups, and youth groups, at her job, neighborhood parties, etc. I have seen her bring the most hurting people into the light of Christ. I often think these hurtful situations that happen to us motivate us. They are like fuel to the fire that burns within us, burning us hotter to shine brighter than we did before. May her story be a reminder to us, to never, let the hardships of life, dim the light of Christ that shines within each of us, lighting the way for others. “Those who are wise will shine as bright as the sky, and those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars forever.” ~ Daniel 12:3