Thanksgiving for the woman who taught me to pray
Monday, October 15, 2012
I heard yesterday that a woman I greatly admired and loved has gone to her Savior. Karen was the most amazing woman I think I have ever known. We went to church together - we sat in opposite pews each Sunday and I always noticed how prayerful she was. She prayed when she came into church, before communion, after communion and before leaving. (and yes, many people do, but, there are so many who do not - who come chatting away into the sanctuary not particularly noticing if anyone has their head bowed for some personal time with Christ).
When I decided to become a Stephen Minister, Karen was a Stephen leader and taught portions of the training. This is where I really came to know and love this woman. I know this sounds melodramatic but I really mean it when I say, she taught me to pray. Oh sure, Mom and Dad had me kneeling by the bed, and my Granny taught me the Lord's Prayer and the 23rd Psalm, but Karen opened up a whole new world for me. She challenged us to pray to God and don't ask for anything - just say a prayer of thanks (harder than you think). She explained the finger theory (first pray for the world, then your local area, then your friends and acquaintances, then your family and finally for yourself). She inspired me when she spoke of her husband and how they prayed together on a daily basis. She listened to me and encouraged me when I learned how to pray out loud - at any time - with anyone.
When my family was challenged by a child who was addicted to drugs and I pulled back from so many that cared about me - she challenged me and asked if I knew how much support I could receive as so many families, including her own, had faced similar challenges. She led the prayer brigade which brought my beautiful daughter healthy and whole through the rehab process. She taught me to fall on my knees and pray for strength and wisdom and patience.
She held me and prayed for me when I received discouraging news at an annual check-up. She helped me learn to live as a Breast Cancer Survivor and not to be terrified every time there was a blip in a test. Oh yes, this quiet, gentle woman with the sweetest smile, showed me what real courage is when she received the news that her breast cancer had resurfaced. She faced the fight with dignity and grace. She firmly knew that she was going to be held in Christ's loving arms and went to her death with a smile on her face to finally meet the Lord face-to-face.
We've lost an angel but God has claimed her back as his own. Rest in peace, sweet Karen. You will be missed.