(“Untitled Hymn” cover by Erin Sears)
Many times I would watch this woman with poor eyesight hold music up to the light so that she could make sure that she had the right piece for that particular stack. Then I would see her make certain that every slot in the choir room boxes would receive a copy of that music. Some serve until they are tired. Some serve till Jesus says, “Enough.” She was the latter –
“Come to Jesus…”
Week after week she would make her way to choir rehearsal. A friend would take her music and hand write it out on staff paper that was large enough for her to see both notes and lyrics. She was never bothered that her music was “different”. She was never troubled that someone had to help her on the stairs. She just wanted to make a joyful noise –
“Sing to Jesus…”
She mourned the loss of a loving companion and husband and thought about him years after his passing. She sheltered a pet with loving care, even protecting her on the nights the city put off their annual fireworks. When the pet passed away, part of her passed with it. Through it all, she leaned on One she knew was strong enough. She cried. She dried her tears and faithfully moved forward.
She knew what it was like to be hurt in this world – even hurt by those she trusted…even hurt by me. And yet there was more. She knew forgiveness – both how to receive and offer it. And she did so freely because she leaned completely on the One who forgave her.
“Fall on Jesus…”
“Cry to Jesus…”
Oh how she laughed on her 75th birthday! A celebration I will never forget but one that paled in her mind to the marriage reception of her daughter. Sure, she served and worshiped but she also knew how to party!!
She let a little girl do her first cartwheels in her living room.
She encouraged others to sing and sing boldly.
“Dance with Jesus…”
I hadn’t see her in years but her love for me as a pastor and brother in Christ was passed on in birthday cards and messages sent through loved ones. My love and respect for her as a servant of God lives on as well. Her final days were blessedly short and I am told her last breath was a peaceful note in this world.
“Fly to Jesus…and live.”
I hold firmly to the hope that I will see this woman of God and woman of valor once again. It is my hope. It is my prayer. In some ways now this “Untitled Hymn” has a title for me. I think I’ll call it “Jeannine’s Song.”
“Jeannine’s Song” it is.