I believe that everyone I encounter should have the opportunity to see Jesus. I believe this is possible because of my friend Julie. Everyone that encountered her got a glimpse of her Jesus. On Friday, Julie was completely healed and got to meet our Jesus face to face in heaven. She will be sorely missed here on earth.
I met Julie in 1997 at LABC where I started attending church when I moved to Texas to go to college. She was very kind to me. Then in Jan 1998, I was looking for a job and she was looking for someone to train to take her current job so that she could move into another job. I was that person. She helped me to get a job at the daycare where she was working. Soon, many of the ladies that worked there became my family away from my family. I met Angela there, she later became one of my roommates and was one of my bridesmaids in my wedding. I also met Daria there. Daria is still a great friend and her family is an extension of my own! I made lots of close friends while working there that are still close friends today.
Julie's husband Mark worked with the youth at LABC. I spent much of my free time helping with the youth Bible Study and with youth Discipleship groups. Our friendship grew. Then Mark took a full time position as the College Minister. David and I were in that college department but were soon married and promoted to young married Sunday School. Later Mark and Julie followed God's call and planted a new church in Arlington. Their ministry reaches far and has touched many lives.
Last year Kirstyn and Julie's daughter Addi took dance together. It was so much fun seeing Julie on a regular basis again. Julie even in these short encounters made quite an impression on my Kirstyn.
When we sat down to tell Kirstyn that Addi's mommy had gone to heaven we were unsure of the reaction we would get. After all, it wasn't that long ago that we were having a simular conversation about Bryn's mommy. Kirstyn teared up and said, I know Addi is sad. Then she stopped and said, Mommy, we were praying that Addi's mommy would feel better and that her cancer would go away so that she would not be sick anymore. Then she paused..... then an amazing amount of wisdom came out of her 6 year old body.... She said, "In Heaven she feels perfect! She's not sick anymore. I bet she gets to wear a really pretty crown!" The as she kept talking she said, "you know, Addi's mommy loved me too. She always gave me hugs." See what I mean, everyone she encountered also encountered her Jesus.
Sunday night we went to visitation. We stood in line for more than 30 minutes to sign the book and then another 30 minutes to hug Mark. Last night we attended a Celebration Service to worship Jesus and remember Julie. There had to be more than a thousand people there. She loved and touched lives. The people that spent time with her were better because of it. When we walked in, we were handed a picture of Julie and her family that simply had one verse on it. Isaiah 26:8, YES LORD, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts. I think the first time I really understood that verse was at Passion when Louie Giglio preached about how if we would just say YES LORD, then in everything we would find ourselves in HIS will. I'm pretty sure that Julie and I were sitting next to each other during that sermon. (This picture was taken at Passion!)
Like Ed said last night, Christianity is not slot machine religion, you shouldn't put a little in and hope to win the jackpot. It is a life where you believe and go ALL IN! Julie went all in and challenged those around her to do the same.... say YES, LORD.
Thank you Julie for being the ultimate realist! You were someone who believed that God really who He says He is and that the true reality of this life is to follow Him wholeheartedly!