This week I lost one of my best friends.
Monday morning I woke to one of Ginger’s encouraging texts. That afternoon she slipped quietly off to heaven while she was at home. Her death came as a shock but not a total surprise. About a year and a half ago, she survived a deadly hemorrhagic stroke.
After making a miraculous recovery, Ginger invested her stroke and recovery to begin an endeavor called This is What After Looks Like, a line of clothing that opens up opportunities for people to tell their unique before-and-after redemptive stories.
Ginger served, loved, and gifted our large church with her sweet spirit for decades. During that time she influenced countless lives. I was always surprised to learn how many people in our church of over 2,000 people knew her and had been mentored and encouraged by her.
She was 100% servant, heaping love on everyone she met.
Not just people at church. People she met in the community. People she sat beside. People she met at work. People in her neighborhood. People who often went unnoticed. Anyone she happened to meet on any given day.
Most of all, her family
Ginger used every gift and talent, every job, every day of her life to show Jesus’ love to others and point to Him. She lived with a vision every minute of her life. She knew who she was and what she was here to do–to point people to Jesus in EVERY breath she drew.
Even in her worst moments as she teetered on the brink of death. As she fought back from her stroke. As she and her husband walked through personal crisis. None of it was about her–it was all about God’s bigger plan.
What if we all lived like that?
If we lived with the clarity of vision my friend Ginger possessed, the world would be changed.
More than 600 people stood in line for nearly an hour to tell family members how she had changed their lives. Most of those people hope to carry on Ginger’s legacy. More than 700 attended her funeral the next day, not simply to pay respects, but to honor the role she had played in their lives.
During her life, my friend shaped an army of people more devoted to God, more like Jesus, more able to share Christ’s love with others. It may take a thousand of us to do what she so artlessly accomplished with such grace, devotion and love.
I want to be like my friend when I grow up.
Vision-driven. Unshakeable. Grace-filled.
She showed us all how:
By understanding what humility is and living humble lives.
By trusting Jesus to be all we will ever need.
By loving people with all our heart, soul, and mind.
By loving our neighbors and even our enemies the way we want to be loved. (That encompasses everyone. Ahem.)
By being an embodiment of Jesus to everyone who encounters me.
To see more about Jon and Ginger’s testimony following her first stroke, click HERE.