I don't actually remember when I first met Lori. One day, she and Ben just showed up at our church. And they wanted to be our friends, so Mark and I started hanging out with them, sharing our stories and doing life together. Little did I know what a blessing I would receive in Lori.
I used to walk by Lori's workplace on the way home from my work. If I had time, I stopped in to see Lori, though she never demanded it of me. She always greeted me with her famous smile, a hug, even a kiss on the cheek. She introduced me to those she worked with and soon I saw what a fan-club Lori had. I watched her share Jesus in such a natural way by simply loving others.
Sometimes, we ate our lunches together and prayed. We shared about our week, our children, our plans. I always felt like she cared just as much about me and my life as I did about hers. She never complained, but spoke freely of how God was her sustainer during her times of illness and her hope for life eternal. She smiled and laughed and I always felt better after being with her.
Because of Lori, my life is richer today. She showed me how to simply be more pleasant, more friendly, more positive and non-demanding, to love others and greet them cheerfully, to rejoice in suffering. Lori taught me what a friend should be like because she was one to me.
When we told Ben and Lori that we were praying about moving away to join a new ministry, Lori gave me the greatest gift any friend can give. She graciously let me go. And now it is my turn to release what I have received, to let her go into the loving, caring hands of her Savior and Lord. And while it hurts to do so and I will miss her terribly, she gave me the gift of true friendship, and that will suffice until I see her again in glory.
Prayer: I miss Lori, Father. Her smile and cheerful words and questions and stories about her life and kids. Thank you, Lord, for the connection we had, for the easy friendship and laughter we shared, for our wonderful spouses and beautiful children. You have blessed us each by knowing the other. Thank you that she was so gracious when you called me away from her. Thank you that she prayed for our ministry and gave of her own precious supply so that we can live and work in Texas. Thank you, Lord, for Lori's undemanding friendship, her love for You and the joy she and Ben have brought into our lives. Take care of her Lord as she now lives free and whole in your presence.