Today, the church building was being readied for a funeral tomorrow. One of our dear members passed away this weekend after fighting a year-long battle with cancer. The visitation will be at the funeral home tonight, and then the funeral and graveside services will be tomorrow. Cherished friends have been helping with as many arrangements as possible so that the family does not have to do it. She, herself, had made several plans regarding her own funeral, etc.
Many would say that the cancer won. I don't believe it. Yes, the cancer caused more complications than her body could fight, but her soul has had ultimate victory. She is now home, with her Father in heaven. I have no doubt about that! We knew each other for only a short time, and I wish I had had the opportunity to know her better. She was always so encouraging and loving to me and my family, even if it was mainly through social media posts and comments. Although I am sad for the loss here on earth for her family and our community, I am looking forward to hearing even more about how she has impacted others' lives.
I would like to share a quick memory of my own of Cheryl.
I started working at the church Preschool (Infant to Pre-Kindergarten) last August. I was mainly going to be an assistant to the Pre-K teacher. I have 14 years of teaching teenagers at public schools, and several more years of teaching Sunday School classes of all ages. I also have four young children myself. But, I was still not prepared to take on NAP time with 19 four- and five-year olds!
My goal was to get all of the children quiet and sleeping in just a few minutes. Most of my charges found their mats with their own blankets, but not all of them were willing to lay down. I had watched how the other teachers were able to get the kids to go to sleep, so I tried some of those tactics too. After 10 minutes or so, Cheryl walked by the room. She could see that I was struggling with getting all of them to quiet down. She really saved me! Cheryl had known most of these kids since they were infants, and she knew their tricks. Together, we were able to get the room quiet and sleeping. I was so thankful for her help! If she had not been there for me, we would probably have had a awful afternoon with a bunch of cranky preschoolers.
We were able to have a heart-to-heart conversation about what she was about to face, the fight for her life. She was scared, but also hopeful. She trusted everything to the Lord. Although she was no longer going to be able to work at the Preschool because of her medical treatments, she was going to still love everyone there. I gave her a big hug, and we prayed together. I was not able to hug her much after that once her treatments started, but I am so thankful to have had that moment in the school. Cheryl comforted the room and helped me do my job, and I was able to, in turn, help her. I am so blessed to have been able to know someone who "walked the walk."
Romans 8:35-39 English Standard Version (ESV)
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.