As I descended from the mighty Mingus Mountain, which peaks at 7,800 ft high, I traveled down the winding highway and entered the first small town in the Verde Valley of Arizona. The little house on Lisa Street caught my eye. It was cute and yellow with lots of flowers trimming the small yard. The first time I saw it, thirty years ago, I felt drawn to it like a magnet.
I became friends with the couple who lived there. Bob and Louise, in their mid-60’s, turned out to be big names in the Christian community. Bob, a retired cop, interviewed me when I volunteered to serve on the community’s Women’s Aglow board. His wife, Louise, a lover of people and a humble servant of Jesus cheered me on with her winning smile and generous heart. I especially loved the times we Aglow ladies met in her home to plan ways to reach out to the broken and hurting women who came to our monthly meetings. Louise’s love poured out in every room especially the kitchen where she drummed up all kinds of eatable goodies for us to devour with coffee or iced tea.
My favorite thing about Louise surfaced early in our long-term relationship. I learned she loved Jesus deeply and believed wholeheartedly in prayer. Every day and I mean every single day, she lovingly raised those prayer cards we collected from the ladies in our meetings and she called out their names and prayed faithfully over their requests. The woman loved to pray and each prayer time contained immeasurable love.
Fifteen years ago, I ended up in the same church she attended and, once again, noticed her love for people and willingness to serve God by praying for them. When my daughter encountered a serious complication in her first pregnancy, I told her not to panic. I instructed her to think on the positive promises from the Bible and I would visit Louise. My daughter and I agreed to speak to no one about this and give it no power. I shared only with Louise who I knew would privately pick up the battle with us. By the next doctor’s visit, all my daughter’s symptoms vanished and she received a clean medical report, no surgery needed.
Last week, Louise passed on to enter her eternal home at the age of 95. Her memorial service, one of the best I’ve attended, drew many of us to the sanctuary to remember her and share stories of her loving ways and faithfulness to God. I learned it wasn’t just me who received a card on my birthday every single year without fail!
I will miss Louise’s presence but will always cherish the presents of her mighty prayer support, her encouragement to keep loving others and, of course, her delicious cooking.