First I want to say thank you to everyone for their prayers. I know that Karlena’s family appreciates them and it is an honor to share her with you here. As it stands there will be a memorial service and funeral this Thursday and Friday in Colorado and then a funeral here in Sioux Falls next Friday. I was hoping to go to Colorado myself….I promised Karlena that I would be there for her funeral if at all possible. But since yesterday morning I haven’t been able to eat anything and keep it down. I am not sure if I am fighting the stomach flu or if it is just stress. Either way I am concerned enough about my ability to travel and the stress it could put on my pregnancy that I have made the hard decision this morning that I can’t go.
I am devastated….but trying to focus on the fact that I will be able to celebrate her life here next week.
Yesterday I was going through some of the e-mails I had saved that she and I had sent back and forth and I found one that I was hoping to share at her memorial service. Since I won’t be able to be there in person I thought that I would share it here instead.
I sent this e-mail after I visited her in March of this year. I brought Elijah with me this trip so that she could see how much he had changed and we had a wonderful long weekend together.
Hey! How have things been since I left? I have been a little down I think! I don’t know, feeling like we just didn’t have enough time….I am also feeling bad because I feel like I should have helped you write out your faith story for church. I should have offered while I was there and I am sorry that I didn’t. Did you get that completed? Nick and I were talking on the way home from a meeting last night and I was telling him about how you were asked to be a prayer leader for this campaign at your church and how someone on Sunday gave you this slip of paper asking you to pray from 7-7:30pm that night.
In all honesty – had that been me I would have prayed….eventually….but I probably wouldn’t have done it when I was “supposed” to. I would have found a reason…dinner, tv, a movie…something and would have made a choice to put off my commitment. But you didn’t. You remembered – you made sure that you went when you needed to and you excused yourself to a place where you could pray and not be disturbed. That whole thing has stayed with me this week.
That whole situation is an example of what I so appreciate about who you are in my life. That example of faith. And I told Nick that I think that scares me….knowing that I won’t always have that example in my life - in a tangible way….you know? I said that I didn’t know if I would ever be ready to lose that.
And he thought about it and then said something very insightful to me…”It isn’t that you aren’t ready to lose Karlena’s example, it maybe is that you aren’t ready to be the example on your own.”
And I thought about that and he was speaking truth to me at that moment and I could feel it! He is right. It is so much easier to be inspired by who you are, then to work to be someone that inspires. Because to me it seems like “work”. And I don’t think that it is for you. It just seems from my perspective that you are in that place where loving and trusting God in a big way isn’t “work” to you. It is just who you are.
Anyways….I felt like I needed to share that with you. And maybe that isn’t how you see yourself…..but it is the view from here. Thank you again for loving me and accepting me where I am and for continuing to inspire me to better faith and bigger faith in God.
I miss you!
Today I feel that challenge – it isn’t a burden – but a challenge. Carry on that legacy of faith that Karlena had that inspired so many. If you have been touched my Karlena’s example are you ready to pick up where she left off? Instead of looking for someone to inspire you…being the one that inspires? I know that by my own abilities I am not capable of the task. But I am certain that God equips each of us with what we need to be His example….I just have to be willing to allow him to do the “work”.
Today my heart is willing….will you stand with me willing to be the light that Karlena was?