Thursday, August 25, 2011

If I Had One Wish...


I first met Lisa at stake girls camp two years ago.  I watched her as she associated with the girls and the other stake leaders.  She was energetic and fun-loving. I liked her instantly.  Six months later, she was called as our stake YW president.  I learned that in addition to her outgoing nature, she had an incredible testimony of the gospel.  She was a champion for modesty and I so envied her way of letting the girls know what was right.  She didn't hold anything back, she never held her tongue because she was worried how they would react.  But, she spoke to them with such love, that I'm sure none of them had bad feelings toward her.
Last fall, Lisa was diagnosed with cancer.  I watched her as she continued to minister to the young women in our stake.  She came to our ward and taught them. She spoke in stake conference.  And then, just one month ago, she came to girls camp- with hats to cover her head, an IV to keep her nourished and a blanket to keep her warm.  She sat, usually at the edge of the group, ever watchful of her charges.  Her sweet husband followed her around, carrying her chair and making sure she was as comfortable as her frail body could be.
I think of all the lessons she taught the young women in the short time she served them.
She taught them that we all have trials, but that doesn't give us an excuse from our callings and responsibilities.  She taught them that we can do hard things.  She (and her husband) gave them a great example of a loving marriage, showing that we stick together, no matter what. She let them know that she loved them-enough to spend some of her very last days with them.
The most inspiring moment at camp for me was when Pres. S. spoke to us.  He told us that Lisa should be home, should be in the hospital, but that she was there, literally sacrificing her life for the gospel.
Yesterday was Lisa's funeral.  I didn't know her well, but through the beautiful talks given by her sister and daughter, I learned that she was even more amazing than I'd imagined.
She was a great mom. She was epitome of the word 'nurturer'.  As they spoke, I thought of how we've been encouraged to minister to one another. Lisa did this her whole life. It seems, she took care of everyone around her.
Lisa and I have a couple things in common.  We both have 7 children and we were both 40 when we had our last child. That's where the similarities end.  I listened in awe at the kind of mother she was.  She left such a great legacy for her children and so many wonderful memories.  I wondered what memories my kids would have of me. Pres. S- the same one who spoke at camp- spoke at the funeral.  He talked about her good qualities and said that if we're feeling we should change and try to live more like she did, to remember those feelings and act on them. Yep, he was talking to me.
I don't like funerals. They're sad and I always cry, then I get a headache from trying to hold back the tears.  But, I left yesterday's service feeling uplifted and inspired.  I left with a determination to become more like Lisa.  One scripture kept coming  to mind when thinking of her-
Alma 5:15-16,19
"Do ye exercise faith in the redemption of him who created you?  Do you look forward with a eye of faith, and view this mortal body raised in immortality and this corruption raised in incorruption to stand before God to be judged according to the deeds which have been done in the mortal body?
I say unto you, can yo imagine to yourselves that ye hear the voice of the Lord, saying unto you, in that day: Come unto me ye blessed, for behold your works have been works of righteousness upon the face of the earth?
I say unto you, can ye look up to God at that day with a pure heart and clean hands?  I say unto you, can you look up, having the image of God engraven upon your countenances?"

If I had one wish, it would be to live like Lisa did and then, be able to take that step beyond the veil as she did- ready to meet my Savior, knowing I served Him to the end, standing as Lisa did,  with His image on my countenance.

3 comments:

  1. Julie, I think one of my wishes would be to be able to express myself the way you do!
    Thanks for writing this -- I agree with you on all counts.

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  2. It's hard to see suffering, it's inspiring to see those who suffer continuing to live life. Today I spent the morning with a terminally ill person. It makes me sad to know that this person struggles with the idea that God loves her. She could find such comfort there, gain strength. I'm grateful for what I know.

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