It is so hard to say goodbye to such a sweet, selfless friend like Colleen.
Colleen was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and lived only a few short months. I first got to know her when I began to teach the 3-year-old Sunday School class. Colleen helped with the 2's right across the hall from my class. She was incredibly gentle with those little ones. For about 14 years, she helped Joel and Linda Goering with that class. I went from teaching to the nursery director but each Sunday I saw Colleen and talked a little. I remember when she finally stepped down from helping. It was such a sad day for me.
Besides loving on little children, she also helped in the jail ministry our church has, visiting women who had such a rough life. Encouraging them. Pointing them to Jesus. She would offer to help in the church office, answering phones and greeting people when the office needed someone extra to come in. She led women's Bible studies also. And sent many, many cards of encouragement. And baked cookies for others. Always with a smile! And a kind heart.
When I heard about the cancer, I went over to give her a hug, to give words of comfort, but instead she was more concerned about me and the recent death of my brother. She was like that - always more interested in other's lives.
I have been reading "The Magnificent Obsession" by Anne Graham Lotz and a section I just read was on choosing to exercize our new nature.
"Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry......put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of the Creator."
"How do we put to death our old nature? One choice at a time, dozens of times a day, every day for the rest of your life"...a choice to rudely tell off a slow checkout clerk or responding to her in kindness; pulling up to the bumper of the car in front of me or letting in someone trying to merge; telling a child to quit bothering you or giving them a tablet of paper and pen and suggest she work quietly while you are busy working on something; sulking and throwing out your husbands cold dinner because he's late and yelling at him when he gets home, or choosing to greet him warmly, reheat the food and ask nicely about the delay.
Colleen put to death that old nature. She was clothed with that new nature! She exemplified Jesus in her life! What a role model to me!