Today seems like the perfect day to write this tribute to Steph. It has been six months today already, since we lost her. I say lost because that's how it feels. To lose something is to no longer have it in your possession and we don't have her with us anymore. She is in a better place. Those words are so contrite, but they are real and true. She is in heaven. What better place could there be? She received eternal life, because she first believed in Him. As in 1 Timothy 1:16, where the Lord is extending grace to Paul, But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display His unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on Him and receive eternal life.
Before she found the Lord and had the best Savior any of us could every hope for, she first found my brother, Rick. He was her savior. He believed in her. He did his best to show her that she was worth loving. Much in the same way the David speaks of in Psalm 139:14, "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." Everything you've made God is good, and that must include me, her, everyone....
Steph loved animals, of all kinds. But, especially dogs, cats, their pet guinea pig, Lil' Fella, and the wild bunnies that would make nests and visit in her yard. A memory that makes me laugh is one of her visiting our donkeys. She and I were so into our conversation that neither of us noticed that Lulu had the whole bottom corner of Steph's shirt in her mouth, attempting to eat it. She didn't get mad, she laughed, that sweet, infectious laugh that none of us will ever forget because it lit up the room in that special way.
She was a do-er. If there was a task needing to be done, she was there. If it was to give an ear and listen she was there. No matter how easy or hard of a task, she was there. And she was there for me during one of the darkest times of my life. She was there to put an arm around me when I cried and to laugh and encourage me when I felt at the end of my rope. Hebrews 10:25; "Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another -- and all the more as you see the Day approaching."
It is interesting to think back and remember some of the other times she was a do-er. Like when I needed to paint a new-to-me-house. She went every step of the way with me to pick out colors, buy paint, and then get the job done. She followed that with helping us move all our belongings and then clean out the old place for the new tenant coming in. Steph never hesitated when the hard jobs needed to be done.
One of her biggest undertakings was in Sept 2010. My parents were flooded out of their home. It was a scary situation to say the least. In the after-math, the bottom 2-3 feet of their home was destroyed. It took days of ripping and tearing to get all the yuck out. She was there for every bit of it, even to the extent of having to borrow a car to get there when her own car broke down. She went home every day, back aching, but it didn't stop her from going back the next day.
In 2011 she stepped up to the plate and created beautiful flower arrangements for all the tables at my daughter's wedding.
As I sit here writing and looking around my house. I see signs of her everywhere. She's tucked in my heart, but she's also present via all the little things she gave me. Gifts that she picked out because they reminded her of me. I will treasure each one of them forever. They mean so much more to me now that she's gone. Not that I didn't appreciate them before. It's what I have left of her besides my memories so, they are extra special to me.
My wall plaques with scripture and sweet sayings.
My butterfly jar....tap it and the butterfly flutters.
My country charm sign...which she gave to me long before we had chickens.
And the precious to me shadow box with items from my wedding day.....
We nearly shared a birthday, she and I. May 31st was her day, June 1st was my day. Every year from the get-go we shared a birthday party. 2014 will be the first year we won't be doing that. What I will be doing this year is thanking the Good Lord for another year of life. And while she is no longer here to live hers, I am going to do my best to live mine in a way that I know would make her proud.
Stephanie was one of the strongest, most determined people I've ever known. I am proud to have known her and proud to have been able to call her my sister. My sister in Christ, and my sister by choice....
In Loving Memory.....