Sometimes I run into a long-time friend I haven’t seen for some time. What a joy it is to reconnect after a long absence. If I had my way, each week for the rest of my life I’d be sitting and drinking coffee with one of these friends, catching up, praying together, sharing in the faithfulness of God in our lives. As it is, life is so busy and full, that the moments He gives us with friends we don’t often get to see bind us together in a precious way.
Just last weekend I was manning the Home School Foundation booth at the Home Educators Association of Virginia convention in Richmond, Virginia. While there for two days I saw many homeschooling leaders and speakers, good friends I hadn’t seen for some time. One of them was my friend Debbie Strayer.
She and my Chris had been good friends for many years when Debbie was the managing editor for Homeschooling Today magazine. He had written several articles for the magazine over the years, and they shared a mutual love for Christ and encouraging homeschoolers to teach their children for God’s glory.
As we were visiting at the HEAV convention last weekend, Debbie shared how Chris was an encouragement to her. She would tell him some of the struggles she was was experiencing as a leader in the homeschool movement, and every time she did Chris would have a word to lift her spirits and point her to Christ. “Debbie, has God called you to do this?” he would ask her. “Yes, I believe He has,” Debbie would respond. “Then God will equip you to fulfill His call!”
As Debbie and I spoke to one another, we both recalled times of seeing God’s faithfulness in our lives—serving our families, watching God bring godly husbands to our daughters (we almost wrote a book together about our experiences about Him bring wonderful husbands to them), and ministering to homeschoolers. We ended our time affirming our love and appreciation for each other, hugging, and praying together for the next season God was calling us to.
Little did I know that the next season for Debbie was going to be a very short one. Last night, just one week after our visit, God suddenly called her home. She is now with the Savior she loved as much as she loved her family. While I write this through tears, I am rejoicing that she finished strong and gave God so much glory in her life.
Even still, her unexpected death jolted me. The reality that none of us knows just how many days we have left on this earth has impressed on my heart again the substantial importance of making each moment count. This means not just appreciating in your heart the family and friends God puts in your life, but telling them you care and are thankful for them. Sharing a kind or encouraging word and letting them know you love them may mean more than you can ever realize.
As Debbie shared in one of her posts for the Heart of the Matter blog last year (click HERE to read that post),
Today, or in the coming days, you will have a chance to encourage someone. It probably won’t be a big deal at the time, but someday you will have the chance to hear the impact of your heart and words. Even if it is only a smile, take the time to share what God gives you to share, because no one knows how powerfully He will use your offering…except the Lord.
Debbie did that for me last Saturday, and I pray I did that for her. How thankful I am that God gave us those precious moments together. See you soon, dear friend.
“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now. For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. For it is only right for me to feel this way about you all, because I have you in my heart…” ~Philippians 1:3-7a