Thursday, September 27, 2018

Life Changing Relationships: A Tribute to a Friend

Relationships are the conduit God uses to bring change in our lives. Through the course of life, we are all bound to meet people along the way that impact us deeply. Friends that leave an indelible mark  upon us forever. God has shown His grace to me by allowing one of those friends to be Sandy Badgett. I've had the privilege to know this special woman for 14 years, she has invested in me as a friend and mentor.  My heart has been heavy since hearing she passed away this past Sunday. She was gifted with words, and always had the right thing to say to encourage you no matter the life situation you were facing. Now as I look back, I realize to an even greater degree the gift she gave me. It was truly remarkable the way she would draw on her vast wisdom. And that only came from walking with Jesus for many years, and through learning from the joys, trials, and sorrows of life. She was truly a woman of God. Whether she was speaking to me about being a wife, a mother, or someone in ministry; she always encouraged, and always pointed me to Jesus. 

My heart has been searching for peace and comfort knowing Sandy is no longer with us. After hearing of her diagnosis of brain cancer in February, I thought there must be a mistake. The results had to be wrong. Sandy has impacted so many children and women for the gospel, through many years of faithful service to the Lord and doing life with others. While out on a brisk morning run, I pleaded with the Lord to deliver her from this cancer. We still needed her here. She made such an impact on the world. She made such an impact on me. I thought surely the Lord would deliver her from this diagnosis and bring glory to His name. While I don't understand why the Lord called her home, I stand in confidence that God is sovereign and He is on His throne and reigns over all things. Nothing happens outside of His permission. His plans are greater than our plans. Understanding His sovereignty brings peace and confidence. Knowing Him allows me to rest even when I question. Yet, the Lord did deliver her from her illness, on a beautiful blue sky day in September (Sandy loved blue sky days). It wasn't in the way I was hoping, but perfectly according to His will and plan. She is in the presence of her Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ and she is more alive today than ever before. Great glory is being brought to His name through the many lives she impacted and touched, through the stories being told, and the lives she molded. Now, I pray that all the people she impacted and ministered will be compelled to pay it forward. 

How do we carry on her legacy? To encourage others. To have gospel conversations. To invest in another spiritually. To simply give time to another. Ultimately, to use relationships for God's glory and our good.

Sandy was known for her beautiful handwritten notes. I am so thankful to have received many of them, always full of wisdom, truth, and encouragement. In one such card, a powerful declaration of truth has brought me great peace, comfort, and encouragement in my time of grief. She said, 
"May we each continue to walk this earth remembering to Bring Glory, Build Relationships, and Be Thankful. All the Glory goes to God. It is not about me, it is all about Him."

As I read this note, I could hear her voice. As if saying, "Kate, press on and allow this manner of living to be your theme until we meet again."

As I close, I am reminded that God really does use relationships as the conduit to bring change into our lives. I am a better person, wife, mom, friend, and follower of Christ because of my friendship with Sandy.

What relationships are you investing in?