In my last post I shared about a time of rejoicing for me and my family as I completed my degree. While we celebrated and rejoiced during that season it also came with some loss and heartache.
For me it has been a deep sense of loss that has shaped a belief of mine even more, that is, sadness and joy can exist at the same time. I will never understand it but I do know that it can exist together. Last summer I attended four funerals. Three of which were within a week and a half of each other.
One funeral was of my dear friend, Amelia. She truly was one of my best friends and encouraged me greatly throughout our friendship. She requested that I speak at her funeral. Since I have written about her over the years and asked my readers to pray for her, I thought I would share what I said at her funeral. Please pray for her family and friends who are also feeling that same sense of deep (or even deeper) loss. Pray for the other families as well who lost loved ones last year.
Good afternoon, family and friends,
Amelia asked me to share today and as I began preparing I struggled to encapsulate all that I felt I should say and felt I needed to say. We are all here because of our love for Amelia. She and I became friends through social media. I reached out to her because I saw she had the same disability as my brother. That started the bond of friendship.
I thought I would share what I call noteworthy things about Amelia.
She loved Jesus.
She loved her family (dogs included!).
She loved her friends.
When she ended a conversation over the phone or in person she would ask, “how can I specifically pray for you?”. This is something that made a deep impact in my own life.
She prayed. Intentionally. Fervently. She prayed.
She loved writing and reading. We always shared what we were reading and why. She also wanted to know what I was reading in the Bible (which kept me accountable in many ways).
She loved cheesy Hallmark movies. We had so many conversations about the story lines, and the actors.
She had a keen sense of humor and kept it until the end.
She championed her family and friends, encouraging them through difficult times and rejoicing with them in the joyous times.
She deeply loved everyone in her life.
I took some time to look over her Facebook page and saw what others (family and friends) said about her. More noteworthy things:
She had joy no matter the challenges she faced.
She was not defined by her disability or circumstances.
She was strong and dedicated
She pointed me and everyone else to Jesus.
She embraced me for who I was and where I was at.
Her life greatly impacted mine.
She was always smiling.
She prayed for me.
Another friend mentioned her desire to be a missionary. I remember having many conversations about ministry and missions and what that would/could look like. She wanted to be a missionary and she wanted her life to matter. She wasn’t going to wallow in her circumstances. The friend recounted this from her blog:
“Lord if I were healthy, I would be serving you in Africa or somewhere overseas. If I could, and if I were healthy just think of all the ministries I would be involved with. Then the Lord hit me with this response: “Amelia, you said you would be willing to go anywhere and do anything for me, so how about living fully right where you are? This is where I want you and am using you for my glory. This is your ministry. I am using you more here than I would be using you in Africa. Because you were not meant for Africa – you were meant for here. This is your Africa.”
Everyone here and those who are not able to be here are a product of her Africa. Her ministry. Where God intended her to be.
Three things to leave you with:
First, a quote from one of Amelia’s heroes of the faith, Joni Eareckson Tada, “Sometimes God allows what He hates to accomplish what He loves.” God was able to accomplish much through Amelia’s life.
Second, 1 Thessalonians 5:16 says, “Rejoice Evermore.” – Rejoice always, Amelia did, and she would want you to live your life rejoicing in all things.
Third, Love Jesus and love others. Amelia certainly did this well.
Disclaimer: I wrote this post last summer. I’ve been *sitting* on it for a while. Grief is a tricky thing and at the time I wrote this I didn’t feel I could publish it.
It hurt. I cried too much. I missed my friend. I still do.