I have a friend named Jackie. Jackie and I have gone to church together for many years, but it was only in the last four years that I really got to know her. It’s funny how God works sometimes. I had signed up to volunteer in the Wednesday night preschool class at my church. It was a time of transition and change at my church and more help was needed. I really felt the Lord direct me to that particular age group. I could have selected second grade or another group of girls to work with, but I strongly discerned preschool was where I was to go. I find humor in this because I thought God was directing me to preschool because they need a lot of supervision and preschool is usually one of the hardest age groups to find volunteers for (because they are so busy). That’s what I thought anyway. Though it’s true, it is a hard group to find volunteers for and they do need much supervision, that isn’t the real reason God wanted me there…it was Jackie.
In this season I got to know Jackie on a deeper level. I had always had a fond appreciation for how Jackie glowed when she worshipped God. It was so beautiful to me, but what I saw as I grew closer to her was that her spirit glowed all the time, not just during worship. We’d meet every week to teach and watch those little ones, but we’d also have some of the most incredible fellowship, conversations and prayers together. We would share of different experiences we had in life and how God really used it to grow us, bless us, protect us. It was very common for the both of us to get a bit teary eyed as we would recap God’s grace and goodness. I remember when she told me the whole story of her becoming a Christian and all the mess God rescued her from. The beauty in which she shared her story amazed me…truly beautiful…gorgeous even. On many occasions I would leave Wednesday night church and spend the entire drive home praying and weeping and thanking God that I knew Jackie and had those times with her. My appreciation for her was immeasurable. It’s not every day you have that kind of edifying and mutually encouraging fellowship…she was such a blessing. Her heart was so genuine, so pure, so loving…she looked like Jesus to me. I’d get home and my husband would wonder why I was crying and ask what was wrong. I’d say, “Oh, nothing, I just love Jackie.” I know it seems silly, but I am a very sentimental person and I have a deep passion for people. Jackie was not just a sister, she was truly a kindred spirit soul sister. I felt tremendous unity of spirit with her…that was special.
Today I said goodbye to Jackie as I went to celebrate her life and burial amongst her family and friends. It was bitter sweet. I rejoiced for her, for she suffered no more and was no doubt dancing and worshipping in heaven. I felt compassion for her family who grieved for her. Their tears and cries of love made my heart ache. But once again, Jackie found a way to bless me. So many times she and I would pray for her family, people I hadn’t met before. Today I got to meet a few of them and catch up with others I hadn’t seen in a long while….family. God’s family.
Thank you, Jackie, you may be gone for now, but I will see you again. I will never grow weary of bragging on you and how you blessed me with your pure and sweet love for Christ. I carry a piece of you with me always. ~Nicole