Again I must apologize for not having posted in a very long time. As before it has been a matter of priorities, where we each place our hearts in the day to day circumstances of life. It’s not that I don’t think my followers important, I do, but there are things in life, people and events, that must take precedence, even over this. Having said that, I can explain that for the past twenty months we have been ministering to a dear friend whom we consider family, as she and her family have struggled with brain cancer. Last week, our beloved Lisa went home to be with the Lord. It is difficult to express our feelings right now and impossible to sum up her life in a few words, but here are my thoughts:
First I want to offer my deepest condolences to Tim, Lindsey, Timmy, Andrea, Theresa and the rest of the family. I want you to know that I sincerely feel your loss and pain and, In that pain I offer a warning about the spirit of grief whose desire is to destroy your relationship with God, by dragging you back to the pit of grief and holding you there until you give in to it and give up on life. Don’t go there. Pick up the pieces of your life, with your loving memories of Lisa and walk away from the circumstance of her death. Move forward with her legacy and with your own, show the world that Lasko Strong means strong of faith in the resurrection of Christ and His promise that, “If you obey my commands, you will never experience death;” that is, to pass from this life to the next in an instant.
To defeat the spirit of grief, we need a new paradigm, an attitude that Lisa would encourage. Ellen G. White described it well when she wrote thus,
“Praise the Lord, even when you fall into darkness. Praise him even in temptation. “Rejoice in the Lord always,” says the apostle; “and again I say rejoice.” Will that bring darkness and gloom into your families? No, indeed; it will bring a sunbeam. It will be the gathering of rays of eternal light from the throne of glory, and scattering them around you. Let me exhort you to engage in this work, scatter this light and life around you, not only in your own path, but in the paths of others with whom you associate. Let it be your object to make those around you better; to elevate them; to point them to Heaven and glory and lead them to seek, above all earthly things, the eternal substance, the immortal inheritance, and the riches which are imperishable.”
I assure you that, today, Lisa has gotten what she deserves. Today she knows the joy of Heaven, in part because Lisa was all about determination.
Nancy and I call Tim and Lisa our kids, them among many others who are here today. Together, we were the ROCK class. We met each Sunday for Bible study and the only way up to our classroom was a steep, exterior stairway, twenty six of them in fact, steel, like the stairs of a fire escape. Lisa was very pregnant with Lindsey at the time she first started coming, and I remember being concerned about her making that climb in the summer heat. Concerned that it would be too much for her, concerned that if she made it to the top that Sunday, she would never be back, but I didn’t know Lisa very well, did I? My concerns were unfounded, because Lisa was determined that she and Tim would have a church family and a relationship with the Lord before they started their own family. Because of her determination, she reached the top of those stairs each Sunday for many years to follow and, when she arrived, it was with that beautiful smile of hers, a smile that exudes the joy that fills her heart even now.
Lisa was a person filled with Joy. If some considered her a Pollyanna, then we need more Pollyannas in this present darkness. More families like hers, who model the love of Christ in their daily lives. More joy to push the darkness away. It may seem that her joy has been taken from us, but I implore you, even in the midst of your pain to look to the Holy Spirit and find her there, Lisa and her joy, made bigger than ever by the most powerful force in all the universe, that is, God’s eternal love for those who will love Him back.
That Love has been modeled to all of us, over the past twenty months, by Lisa’s beautiful family. Modeled by a husband and children and an extended network of friends who have cared for Lisa with a devotion that can only be born of the love of God, a model of The Body of Christ in action, for all to see. I truly feel that in future editions of the dictionary, beside the word, “Devotion,” there should be a picture of Lisa, Tim and their children.
Know this, and write it on your hearts, we will see her again in a place where every tear will be wiped away by the hand of a loving God. Lisa has finished her climb to the top of the stairs. She arrived with her trademark smile and her joy in the Lord. Her reward was waiting for her there the moment she arrived, along with the words, “well done my good and faithful servant.”
We love you Lisa. We give thanks for the model of your joy, devotion and determination.