I’ve been pretty blessed in my life. Blessings can come in the form of things we would not associate with “good” feelings and they can come in the form of things we would. But, both are blessings. One way I have been blessed has been through people. People have been intentionally put in and along my path. Sometimes they have been smack in the middle of the road, so as to almost hit them in order to hear them, see them or feel their comforting touch. Others have been along the paths edge so I wouldn’t go off too far or slide into the ditch. Intentionally put- there are no coincidences.
I’ve also had the privilege for many experiences where the lies and untruths placed on me or that I accepted as true, could be stripped away so that I may totally understand and see who I really am. That has been a life long journey that seems to pick up steam as I get older. Stripping something away is never a “good” feeling. Sometimes these lies and untruths have been with me for so long that they have almost melded into the very core of me. That kind of stripping away is more of a ripping apart. Think of trying to remove a tumor…difficult and painful. Yet, when that process is done, we are much better for it, much healthier, much more aware of the blessing within the pain.
One of those experiences I was privileged to be apart of five years or so ago. And one of those people I have been blessed with in my life was standing there in the middle of the road. Brenda was a leadership partner for a program I was a part of. Her role in this program was to really be a vessel for the God to speak into my life. The two years I was in the program were two of the darkest times of my life. This dark time had nothing to do with the program, it was simply a season I was in. A desert season I would call it. A desert season is a time when you feel as though you are wandering around, no direction, no nourishment. It’s when you are unclear as to where to go and how to get there. God isn’t speaking and therefore feel as though you are in a desert. Those times can be blessings though painful.
I was in one of those deserts. No direction, not sure how to get there, and very, very unsure of who I was. This is where the Enliven, Bring Freedom, Equip part of me came from…out of this desert. Brenda was there to not only provide direction, but was there to remove untruths that people had placed on me. Untruths and lies that I had accepted about who I really was…and was to become. I believe God is sovereign. That means that whatever His purpose and will is for this world will happen no matter whether I agree to be a part of it or not. So, I can’t say no matter what, without Brenda’s voice, without her standing in the middle of the road, that I wouldn’t be who I am today. But, I’m fairly confident I wouldn’t be the person, man, husband, brother, leader I would be, without her.
A few long days ago she succumbed to a disease that had been plaguing her the past 18 months. She passed on into eternity with her family at her side. The blog posts I’ve read from her husband, sons and daughters and comments I’ve read on Facebook, show me that she left and incredible legacy- an incredibly large imprint on this earth. I was part of that and there are thousands of others that were as well.
Her husband talks about how in Celtic theology there are places in this world where the “air is thin.” It’s a place so sacred, it’s a little closer to Heaven than other places. In the last post, I mentioned about engaging with people….humanizing them, honoring them simply by your presence. When you were around Brenda, you were in the presence of someone who constantly was in one of those thin places-she was one of those thin places. It’s something I have come to strive and desire to be. Engaging with people, being present, simply being you around them and giving freedom for them to be them around you. This is creating places where the air is a little thinner. She will be remembered as modeling this to me.
One simple note of encouragement as way of honoring her-allow yourself the blessing of becoming who you really are. Painful as it may be, leave a legacy of allowing untruths to be removed, becoming who you really are and sharing that story with others. Leaving a legacy of vulnerability and honesty.
In the words of one of Brenda’s close friends, she is “too well loved to be forgotten.” May we live in such a way that it be said of us all.