Once upon a time there was a confused little college girl who was struggling to figure out life. One day her friend asked her to cover a babysitting shift. The girl agreed, and waited to be picked up at her dorm. A snarky young youth minister named Lloyd drove her to his nearby home where he introduced her to his perky little wife, Twila, and their energetic and wide-eyed daughters Angie and Megan.
Over the months and years, the girl played games, watched television shows, did homework, and ate snacks with the young girls while their parents went to Bible studies, led youth events, taught classes, and handled other responsibilities.
While Lloyd had a very busy position at the church, Twila, in addition to supporting him and caring for the girls, was a hospice nurse. She went to homes and cared for many who were packing their bags. She prayed with them and even waved goodbye as many went to meet Jesus.
The girl watched Lloyd and Twila serve everyone around them, claiming no fame for themselves, but always doing what was best for others. (It’s true, I’m not just saying that.) In fact, when the girl was in need of a place to stay, not once, but twice, Lloyd and Twila moved Angie and Megan into one bedroom so that the girl could have the other. They allowed the girl to ‘cook’ (lots of oopses along the way), ‘clean’, and transport the girls in exchange for room and board.
Many years later, when the girl was grown with children of her own, and living far away in another state, Lloyd and Twila moved with their granddaughters just a literal stone’s throw away. Again the girl was touched by the servant hearts of Lloyd and Twila who, even though they were busy, were never too busy to give a hug, sincere eye contact, and a listening ear.
Even when Twila got breast cancer, she still seemed to give more to those who were caring for her than they could give to her. The girl watched her minister to other women who thought they were bringing meals and cards to encourage Twila. Even when she was loaded with chemo, Twila beamed at everyone who came into her view. She remembered faces and names, and prayed for others continually.
Later, as they once again moved far away, the girl watched Twila tolerate cancer for many, many years. She also watched Lloyd, in his matter-of-fact way, care for Twila and love her through that long battle. She admired Angela and Megan as they grew into adulthood watching their mother fight and learning how to love like she did. She marveled at the granddaughters who had front row seats for such models of love and faithfulness.
Then, one day, at just the right time, the family noticed that Twila’s bags were packed. They gathered around her, called out to legions of friends far and wide to pray, and waved goodbye as she went to meet Jesus.
The girl watched from afar, thanked God for touching her life with these people , and wept.
[she] fought the good fight, [she] finished the race,
[she] kept the faith…
2 Tim 4:7