She was a joy! She had a smile from ear to ear and oh how she loved Jesus. He was the reason her smile was always bigger than the state of Texas.
She stopped by the church on a Friday as I was working. She drove by just to give me a hug and tell me how sorry she was for missing my father’s funeral. I remember the day. I remember that hug.
She was on the radio that coming Sunday. I listened while I ironed my shirt for church. She shared how sure she was that heaven had cotton candy clouds. REAL clouds made of cotton candy. I laughed, “Only Julie!” I thought. I almost called to tell her that I loved her and to thank her again for stopping by the church on that Friday. I wish I would have…because by the following Friday…she was gone. I heard stories from friends on how people from all over rushed to the hospital to pray for her. In the midst of the crowded hospital waiting room that day someone spoke up as friends and family had gathered saying, “Guys, you know Julie, if she gets one glimpse of Jesus she’s not coming back to us.” He was right.
Hundreds of us gathered, not one empty seat, to celebrate her life. It was truly something to hear the stories of how God was with us in the form of this friend we called “Julie.” The day was bright and beautiful, a reflection of her, we released balloons as our final earthly good-bye. It was so much a celebration! It was the way she would have wanted it, the way she lived her life, one big “Celebration!” I was so taken in by the moments there that I forgot to grieve, the reality of earth’s loss and heaven’s gain however hit me hard on the drive home. I remember pulling over to the side of the road to let the tears flow, I cried buckets. My love ran deep for this treasured friend.
Years later her name came up in conversation. Amazing, how a comment from someone can actually take your breath away and make time stand still momentarily. “KC, recently I was able to read some of Julie’s old prayer journals” she confided, “and your name is written everywhere. She prayed for you KC. She called on God many times for you. She really loved you KC.” My heart sunk, I had no words.
That day, knowing that Julie had prayed for me and knowing who I am now and remembering who I was, reflecting on her prayers, each one had come to pass. I believe with all my heart our prayers are never wasted. They are tangible, powerful, and life giving and those prayers last longer than we do. They cover us, surround us, and continue on long after we leave this earth. I’m the minister, father, husband that I am because of “the Gift”, the precious gift of an uttered prayer on my behalf.
So Julie, I don’t believe they have blogs in Heaven but THANK YOU!! I have names in my journal who I’m speaking the Word over and crying out for them just as you did for me. I love and miss you and all these years later, I am still beyond thankful for your gift.
“The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” James 5:16