One of the best family cheerleaders I have ever known has gone home take her place in the stands to praise her Father in heaven this morning. Mom told me a few hours ago that her really good friend from the town I grew up in "lost" her long battle to cancer this morning. I say lost, because I can't think of a more appropriate word - because really Vicki showed so much courage and so much resolve to praise God through it all that she couldn't have lost anything. Her faith was definitely refined through all of this and she shared it openly. Her years of battle reminds me of that famous quote of missionary Jim Elliot, "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."
What I will remember the most about Vicki is how she screamed the loudest at all her kids' ball games, faithfully attending each and everyone no matter how far she had to drive. I remember her service in the church - she was at everything doing what she could to help and laughing and smiling through it all. She made some of the best homemade beef and noodles and if you saw them at the church potlucks, no matter how full your plate was you had to make room for a scoop. We were neighbors for the last few years that we lived in West Salem, IL and during the school year she picked me up to take me to school along with her kids and she often picked us up to take us home as well. And during the summer time I was often down the street in her backyard enjoying her swimming pool.
She was the biggest champion for her kids - their biggest cheerleader, even now as they raise their own families. She will be missed very much by everyone who knew her.
She read my blog from time to time and she once took an event from our day-to-day craziness and wrote a wonderful devotion from it. So I will end with her own words for you. This was the post of mine she that she had read....and here is her much "broader picture" perspective.
Dirty, Yucky, Mud!
A friend of mine has 3 little boys and they were playing out in the backyard one day after we had had several days of heavy rain. The boys were having a big ole time, digging a hole and playing in the mud. Mom was busy with baby sister, so she didn't realize what a muddy mess they were becoming. When it came time to come in the house, the older boys knew to take off their clothes but the little one didn't understand why he couldn't come in as he was. I seen a picture of him and he was in no shape to walk in that house. You should have seen him, he was mud from the top of his head down to the bottom of his shoes. His clothes were just a dirty, yucky, muddy mess! Not fit to come into a dry, clean house. I made the comment to her that it was a good thing that God made little boys and girls so washable. She agreed and said they would have been ruined a long time ago, if He hadn't made them so washable. That got me to thinking; God not only made us washable physically (on the outside), but spiritually (on the inside), where we need it the most. He gave us Christ Jesus to wash us clean on the inside. We can be white as snow when we accept Him as our Savior. All the filthy, dirty, yucky mud that is inside our hearts can be washed clean and new again. We are not fit to walk into our Father's presence until we let Christ wash us clean. If we don't accept Christ and let Him into our hearts, we will be ruined and unfit for the Kingdom of Heaven. Thank you Father for making us waterproof and sin proof. We have soap to wash our outsides and Jesus to cleanse our insides. Praise and glory go to You, our King!
Psalm 51:7 Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. NLT
In one of the pictures of this little boy he was using his arms and hands to try and cover up all this mud, as if he was ashamed. He couldn't cover the mud up, no more than we can cover or hide our sin and shame. He needs soap for the mud and we need Christ to cover our sins.
Psalm 51:9-12 Don't keep looking at my sins. Remove the stain of my guilt. Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a right spirit within me. Do not banish me from your presence, and don't take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me again the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you. NLT