Thursday, December 7, 2017

The Best Gift Ever

Today we celebrated the life of our sweet Lois who went to be with Jesus last month.  Several people shared stories of praying with Lois and listening to her pray for others.  She was seriously the best prayer warrior/interceder that I've ever known and left some Goliath-sized shoes to fill.

But, as I reflect on Lois, I am reminded of many other things.

I met Lois when we worked together in childcare at our church.  From day one, she loved my Caroline. She was in the room next to where Lois and I worked together and the ladies in there had problems with her, because she cried a lot.  After them coming to get me one day, Lois told me, "Bring that baby in here--don't take her over there again.  I've got this."  And she did.

A few years later, I started working full time at the church and needed to find childcare for Caroline.  I tried a couple of different places and had this crazy thought that I should ask Lois.  So I did.  And she said, "YES."  We weren't able to pay her much, but I really think she would have done it for free.  She and Caroline adored each other.

They had lots of adventures.  Lois took her to the park and to feed the ducks.  She bought a pool for her backyard and she and Caroline spent a lot of time out there in the garden and sandbox and back porch.  She turned one of her bedrooms into "Caroline's room" and filled it with books and toys and a play kitchen. 

And she taught my daughter to be creative.  They baked all kinds of desserts in the kitchen--kolaches and rolls and cupcakes and cookies.  They made fairies out of flowers from her garden and fairy houses out of  egg cartons and paper towel holders.  They painted and colored and watched videos of "Hermie"  and played with her cats--Tigger and Missy. 

One of my favorite memories was of her talking about a day our church sent everyone to buy food for the local food pantries.  She told me that she used her "babysitting money" to go to Costco and was able to buy several items to donate.  As she said this, she laughed and clapped her hands.  I remember being struck by how utterly joyful she was about being able to give. 

We still have the dresses and poodle skirt and pillowcase that Lois made for Caroline.  We found one of the dresses a few years ago and took a picture of Caroline wearing it like a halter top to show Lois.  We have a few pics of the gorgeous gingerbread houses and little chocolate mice she made and great memories of the kolaches she use to "pay" Brian with when he came over to fix things around her house.

When we remodeled the church and created a servant cafe for our kids ministry volunteers many years ago, I asked her if she would make kolaches to feed our leaders while they were serving.  Every Tuesday, she came up to the church and with one other volunteer, made kolaches for hundreds of leaders who devoured them every Sunday morning.  We would have to hide some so that those serving during the 2nd service could have some.  I think those were the years we had the highest attendance numbers and I KNOW it was because Lois prayed over those kolaches as she made them and for the leaders who ate them.   

I've asked people to pray for me any times over the years and most of them probably did.  But when I asked Lois to pray for something specific, she would remind me that she always prayed for me and my family and would add this to the list of things she prayed for us.  And the tone in which she said it, let me know that she believed her prayers would be answered. 

And while I selfishly grieve that she's not here to pray for my girl, I take comfort in knowing that she is in her true home now.  I can see her now, grinning from ear to ear, and not leaving Jesus' side.  Brian asked today if we thought she had whipped all the angels in shape by now and Caroline and I laughed.  Truth is, she probably did that before her first day there had ended.

One of the best gifts anyone can give a mom is to love her kids.  Lois did that for me and I will forever be grateful for that.  I can't wait to hug her neck again.