about 2 1/2 years ago, a sweet friend from church was out with her 6 month old baby and 2 year old. the weather was cold and wet and she slipped, it seemed, and fell onto the wet floor of the gas station. she couldn't get up and help was called. what the tests and scans revealed was a fractured vertebrae, not from the fall, rather the fracture caused the fall. further more, the fracture was caused by a tumor. thus began the battle of her life that showed the world the heart of a true saint.
early in her illness, after back surgery to shore up and brace her vertebrae, she was unable to lift her baby in and out of her crib. help was rallied. i was one who had an assigned afternoon to come into their home and help with the baby and household chores. so i had the privilege of visiting with anita and loving on her girls for a time. she was so open about her fears of leaving her babies too soon. but her faith was a rock, believing that God had a plan and that he would provide for all of their needs. she knew God could and would heal her if that was His will. she must have sat down to write her 'thank you' notes the moment my car left their driveway because the very next day it would arrive in the mail, full of encouragement, gratitude, and blessing. and i found that although i was serving her, it turned out that i was the one who was blessed each time. and despite her own health challenges, she kept busy ministering to others every chance she got by helping in sunday school, serving in the nursery, organizing and speaking at our churches MOPS group, singing a sweet duet with her emily at a mother daughter banquet, bringing a covered dish to a funeral luncheon, and with anyone who would marvel at her attitude during her trials she would share her faith and the hope that only God can give.
from an earthly perspective we say that she "lost the battle with cancer" but from a spiritual perspective i'd say she has won. she has won hearts to the Lord; inspired and strengthened the faith of countless people who have brushed shoulders with her; she has challenged doctors and nurses and caregivers with her unwavering courage and faith; and amazed all with the miracles that indeed happened along the way during her treatment. she has won the crown of life that God has promised to those that love Him and have persevered under trial (james 1:12).
we fervently prayed that she would be healed on this earth, but God chose to heal her in heaven.
this afternoon i will go to anita's visitation and tomorrow the funeral. i will not say "good bye" but rather "see you later" to my friend. i am certain that i am better for having known her. will you join me in praying for brian, her husband and the rest of her grieving family?
everyday gift: the privilege of having known anita, a faithful servant of Jesus.