The world lost a wonderful woman this week but Heaven gained one.
Last November some of you may remember that I lost my beloved Pastor and wrote 2 posts about it--One Life Can Make a Huge Difference and A Legacy. I came to the church he pastored at the time Northside Calvary Memorial Church when I was 13 yrs. old. Thats when I met my Pastor and his wife and many other special people. My family and I got very involved in this small church and in many ways it became my extended family. In fact most of my extended family lived far away and we even spent many holidays with people from our church.
There were several couples that my parents were friends with that all had kids similar ages. Many, many sundays my parents would stay after church for an hour or more talking and doing things around the church and so us kids bonded and/or found things to do or trouble to get into :-). Marikka and Bill were one of those couples. We would spend Fourth of July at their house and if we weren't out of town they would spend Thanksgiving with us.
My memories of Marikka are of a very kind, gracious and honest woman who had a great sense of humor. She was one of my mom's closest friends and very special to me. Probably the most meaningful memory of her that I have to share is how she reached out to me during one of the hardest times of my life. When I was 17 a very close friend of mine committed suicide. It was extremely painful and very traumatic for me. When you lose a loved one people don't know what to do or say and so sometimes they understandably don't do or say anything. You walk around with this gaping emotional wound and feel that so many don't understand.
But Marikka reached out and shared a personal story with me. It meant so much that she understood and cared and wrote a special letter to me. In fact I still have the wonderful letter that she wrote to me 18 yrs. ago. I dug it out and tears just streamed down my face as I read it. Please indulge me as I share some of what she wrote:
"Please, Dionne, don't let this crush you and destroy your joy in the Lord! Make it a reason to even more share with anyone you meet the gospel of our Lord and the new life we can have in HIm when we accept Him as Lord of our life! Make this a stepping stone for greater service for Him because one never knows how much someone we meet will need Him in their lives! There are many terribly hurting people around us like your friend; good at hiding their desperation and anguish! Rely on the guidance of the Holy Spirit to show you the needs of people around you and to share with them about the Lord. You will experience much heartbreak yet also much joy as you grow and mature in the Lord. Through our darkest days we learn to trust Him more and more for everything and He is always faithful. In time He will turn your sorrow into joy again and by His power make you even more sensitive to the needs of people all around you. He truly is "A shelter in a time of storms"! Bring all your sorrow, confusion, pain before Him in prayer, trusting Him to ease the pain and He answers prayers!!! Matthew 11:28--Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest."
As I reflect on that letter 18 years later I see everything she said in this letter came true. God used that tragedy in my life to enable me to empathize with others. And He was and is my shelter in time of storms and even though I couldn't imagine it at the time He did indeed turn my sorrow into joy.
Marikka will be greatly missed by all those that loved her but she is now in Heaven where she is free from pain and rejoicing with our Dear Lord and talking to my Pastor.
Linda's Post on Marikka