Today is March 13th. It is the birthday of one of my dearest friends: Denise. It is also the birthday of her twin sister, Erlene. This year, for the first time, Erlene will be celebrating her birthday alone.
You see, Denise finished her earthly battle last year on March 24th. Denise fought the good fight. She finished the race. And in the end, cancer did NOT have the victory!
Denise and I met in college, the first week of our freshman year. We had music classes together. The teacher sat us alphabetically, which put Denise right in front of me. It served to make us partners on any music notation done on the chalkboard. It also provided a chance for me to get to know one of the most godly women I've ever known.
Denise's passion was God first, of course. But her life passion was missions. The country of Ghana, in Africa, was the place of her heart. One summer, she had the privilege of going to Ghana, and spent three months ministering to the people she had prayed for so long.
Denise was a prayer warrior, too. She was someone who stood firm in her faith, no matter what. When it was discovered that she had a brain tumor, she never wavered in her belief that God could heal her. Over the years following that first diagnosis, the tumors would come and go. Still, Denise remained strong in her trust in God.
I don't know how many lives Denise (and later, she and her husband) touched for God. As one who had the privilege of her friendship, I can say without hesitation that she touched me in so many ways. Her life challenged me.
I have no doubt that she has heard, "well done, good and faithful servant."
Thank you, Denise, for your friendship. I miss your smile. Happy birthday, dear friend.