Ali died this past Saturday after an eight-year battle with cancer. She left behind a husband and three daughters. Ali was an amazing mom. She was always looking out for her daughters, wanting them to do what was right.
Her husband Dave was, and is, an amazing example of a Biblical husband - a leader in his family yet a sacrificial servant to all. I have known Dave for 40 years and I have never known him not to be anything but a devoted husband and father.
I first met Ali when she came to see just what kind leaders her youngest daughter Sky had in the youth group she was attending. Not enough parents care that deeply. We must have passed muster because Sky kept coming and Ali and I became good friends. But then came the cancer diagnosis and our relationship changed. It grew stronger.
Ali and I had many amazing conversations, usually lasting an hour or two. She'd talk about her daughters, her husband, the treatments she was receiving. Hmm, you know, I think Ali's doctors feared her. I think that was because she knew more about her treatments, what was right and what was wrong, than her doctors did. That's not saying they knew nothing. It's saying Ali knew a lot!
Our favorite topic though had to have been Jesus. We talked about Him a lot. Now I find myself a little envious of my friend because she has gotten to see Him face-to-face. I can only imagine.
I have prayed with many people in my life. Ali was both the toughest one to pray with and the most enjoyable at the same time. We would pray for each other and for our families. It was always a special time, but the time we prayed after she told me she wasn't going to pursue any more chemo or radiation treatments was probably . . . the best of times and the worst of times.
I have never prayed more deeply or more intentionally with anyone. There is something powerful in holding a friends hands and praying for them, knowing they are going to be dying. Even now, the tears are blurring these words I am typing.
Those who knew Ali were blessed by her. I am grateful and blessed to be called her friend, as are many others, and I am excited for the day when I will get to see her again.
A few weeks before Ali died she sent me a text. She told me that she had had a dream about an angel paying her a visit. "It was so real!" she told me. I believe it seemed real to her . . . because it was.
As we walk through this life God places a wide variety of people in our lives. Each one is placed there for a reason . . a purpose. I believe Ali was placed in my life to deepen my faith and relationship with Jesus. Our friendship is an example of how ALL friendships should end. Never.
"5 For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. 2 We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing. 3 For we will put on heavenly bodies; we will not be spirits without bodies. 4 While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life. 5 God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee he has given us his Holy Spirit.
I love you Ali. Can't wait to see you again, my friend. I don't know whether or not there are any hummingbirds in heaven but I'm sure there is at least one now. LOL! Miss you girl.
I Can Only Imagine - MercyMe
Cinderella - Stephen Curtis Chapman