So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind. I know you’re already doing this; just keep on doing it.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 (MSG)


A dear friend committed suicide a few days ago. It was both sudden and completely unexpected. To know this women was to know loveliness, great talent, graciousness, kindness, caring, trustworthiness, gentleness, and a servant’s heart. The news of her passing from this life to the next was a shock for all.

As I sat in the memorial service, watching her family, noting the number of women present to honor her, I wondered, and not for the first time, why? How did this happen? What did we all miss? No one seemed to know of the pain she carried and the desperation she felt. She was always the one with the lovely smile. But as one person observed, the smile didn’t go past her eyes.

Women in the church often gather for fellowship, Bible Study, lunches, and special events. But is this enough to really KNOW someone? Masks go up because of shame or guilt and feeling like we need to have it all together. Becoming vulnerable and admitting need doesn’t happen often or easily.

If we learn anything from this tragedy, I hope we find ways to get past the mask and have true intimacy between friends and in small groups. We see more millennial women working, not having time or interest in the typical women’s gatherings. Many would rather go to the large meetings like the Belong Tour or the If Gathering. Yet, they still yearn for one-on-one mentoring. Our ladies gatherings must be purposeful. Bigger, better, grander is not the goal but rather, loving acceptance as we share Jesus together.

Society has become very isolating with social media often becoming the source for “friends.” I love social media but it will never be able to replace a conversation over a latte, hunched over the table so no one else can hear. It can’t replace that hug as you leave and offer a true smile on your face of acceptance and encouragement. If you feel a nudge to call a friend, do it. If you need a friend, reach out. It may be scary but the blessings for both of you will be worth it.

So, we have lost a lovely saint to the arms of Jesus. We sang a chorus in church today and I kept thinking of her:

This world is not my home
I’m here for a moment
It’s all I’ve ever known
But this world is not my home

The fight is not my own
These burdens aren’t my future
The empty tomb has shown
I am bound for glory

The saving work is done
Death is not my ending
My God has overcome
I am bound for glory

All my pain, hurt and shame
Gone when Jesus calls my name
Endless joy endless praise
All when Jesus calls my name.

I am free because I’m bound
I am bound for heavens gate
Where my feet will stand on holy ground
I am bound for glory

She’s free! Glory hallelujah! We’ll see you soon.