I’m so glad you’re with Jesus! I’m sure your eyes are dancing in wonder as you take in the beauty of the Savior you spent your life living for.
I’ll miss you.
I’ll miss you.
You impacted my life in such a seminal way at very critical stages on my journey. I am humbled that the Lord would have allowed the path of a young, insecure twenty-year-old girl to cross paths with a stalwart of faith like you and then put it in your heart to steward me along my way – as you did for so many others.
Do you remember the first time we met? I do. I was twenty-two and invited to teach the Monday morning Bible study at your company. Seeing you seated on the front row stunned me. You didn’t send your employees to devotions. You went with them.
Taught me the importance of keeping first things first.
Do you remember when you first met my husband? I do. I was twenty-three. You looked him squarely in the eyes, asked him a few tough questions and wouldn’t let him get away from your gaze until he gave you satisfactory answers. You took his interest in me seriously.
Communicated to me the grave importance of selecting a life partner.
Do you remember my wedding dinner? I do. I was twenty-four and couldn’t believe that you would take the time out of your busy, influential career – where crowds numbering in the tens of thousands gather – to come and speak to my 200 reception guests about the commitment that marriage requires and the great pay off that it will yield.
Taught me that little things are almost always the most important things.
Do you remember when you asked me to teach your Sunday School class at Prestonwood Baptist Church? I do. I was twenty-seven and in disbelief that you’d want me to teach your beloved group, especially when you’d never had a guest speaker before. I felt ill-equipped and unprepared – no matter how much I studied. But, you gently pushed me forward into the limelight of church life, stuck a microphone in my hand and sat on the front row smiling in approval.
Showed me the importance and power of encouraging and affirming the next generation.
Do you remember when I spent a year paralyzed by fear? I do. I was thirty-two and you took my call, listened carefully to my concerns, and empathized with my anxiety. You weren’t rushed for time or pressed to move on with your day. You weren’t hurrying me to a conclusion or asking for a rain check on our conversation. Instead, you methodically asked me a series of questions that eventually unearthed the root of the issue. Then you pointed out the spiritual problem that was really behind my physical one. You led me to the Word and then to my knees and then you prayed me out of fear and commanded the fear out of me.
Showed me that one-on-one ministry should never be replaced by platforms, microphones and filled arenas.
Do you remember the last time that we spent time together? No. . . you wouldn’t. . . . but I will never forget.
It was just several months ago. Jerry and I sat down over a warm meal with you and “The Red Head” – Jean. You hugged us and smiled warmly but didn’t know our names. Your memories of us had faded into the sea of alheizmers that had robbed you of so many things. . . but not everything.
Gently, sweetly you spoke to us in jokes and riddles, making us laugh and asking us questions like someone would when meeting a brand new friend.
When you weren’t asking questions, you were repeating the same thing over and over.
The same sentence. The same point. The same story.
For 3 hours.
We were so glad you did because it’s exactly what this thirty-seven-year-old woman needed to hear. Every recapped statement was another layer of reinforcement – cementing the message into my heart.
Every sentence revealed what had been in your heart for your entire life – the deep stuff that floats to the surface when all the clutter and minutia have been cleared away. These were the things that made you who you were. These were the things that really mattered to you and brought a smile to your beautifully, weathered face.
Your wife. Your children. Your grandchildren.
These were the things you spoke about . . . over and over and over again.
You’ve taught me what it means to come to the end and look back with a grin on a life well lived.
Thank you Mr. Ziglar. You’ve taught me well.
I’ll check on “The Red Head” for you and keep your beautiful family in my prayers. They’ll miss you most of all.
And then, I’ll look forward to seeing you. . . when I get there.