Today I attended Laurie Strand's funeral. She was only 54. She is now liberated from her body weak and destroyed by cancer. This deadly disease took her youth, her beauty, but not her spirit. Her love of Jesus held her steadfast. She wrote a blog and shared with all the world how Jesus was ministering to her and her family. Laurie was transparent and so authentic. She reached street people , teens, and hurting folks with her love. She reached out and accepted them where they were and told them her story of how Jesus had restored her , loved her, guided her, and healed her. Laurie's testimony reflected her honesty and humility. She could share so openly.
Evidence of that sharing of love was demonstrated by the many people who attended her celebration of life service. The Church at the Crossing was filled. Laurie loved people and people loved Laurie. Her children testified to how much she loved praising the Lord. They presented songs of praise and Elizabeth did a stirring praise dance dedicated to her mom and Jesus. Jon read his letter to his mom , and I am sure it challenged every mom in the audience. Laurie left her children a legacy of love of the Lord. She encouraged them and taught them to praise. In her last days, they sat around her bedside singing praise to comfort her. Her husband, Greg would read scripture and praise with them. Her last days were a practice of the presence of God. He provided the truth of peace to them. He comoforted them in the midst of tragedy and loss.
It was a precious ceremony that lasted about two hours. Grievers were invited to take communion and pray at the altar. It was a most honorable celebration and farewell. I hurt that these young men and women would no longer have Laurie in their lives to encourage them and guide them. My heart ached for Greg who had to give up his soul mate much too early. He was grief stricken yet rejoiced in his hope that Laurie was dancing with Jesus and someday he would be there with them. Greg had been a most effective youth pastor. Many who attended were young adults that he had influenced greatly.
As I sat there, I wondered why Laurie had to die so early. She had such an effective ministry here on earth. She had touched so many including her family. She had been a wife who continually loved and was devoted to her husband. She reached people that were lost in despair and troubled. I have no answer, but I do have an understanding that she is absent from her body and is with the Lord. I do know that her legacy was teaching her kids to have a personal relationship with Jesus. I do know that she did hear from the Lord and followed His direction. I felt a peace , a knowing, an assurance that she was in heaven with her Father. So, my unaswered questions are not as important as those things of which I am sure. I am sure that my Father lives. I am sure that Jesus died for our sins. I am sure that Jesus rose from the dead and sits on the right side of the Father. I am sure that those who believe in Jesus will be united with Him and the love ones that followed him in this lifetime. I am sure that this life is but a chapter of our everlasting life. I am sure that the spirit leaves the body at death and returns to its creator. These things I know.