But it didn't end there. When it was time for the girls from that class to move on to the 4 year old class, she wasn't ready to let us go. She was a single mom with one son and she always dreamed of having a daughter. So we became her girls for a few nights each year when she would have us over for slumber parties. We grew up and some of us even moved on to other churches but for many years we still gathered together to play beauty shop, eat pizza, watch silly movies and feel loved by our Miss Suzie.
I found out yesterday that she worked extra jobs to make those parties special for us. I also found out that almost until her death, she volunteered at an elementary school. A mom from the school shared that Miss Suzie started each year making handmade Valentines in September so that by February, all 800 children in that school would at least have one little paper reminder that they were loved. For some of them, maybe it was the only time each year they saw those words. Person after person shared stories of how she showed God's love by her humor and compassion.
We live in a world where everyone complains that they don't have enough time. We are limited by a finite number of days and there are a lot of responsibilities on each of our plates that drain our time away. But we all have a choice with what we do with the days we are given. Are we loving with every chance we get? Are we investing in kids? Are we serving the world around us the way Jesus is calling all of us to?
I'm going to be spending some time in prayer asking God how I can honor Miss Suzie's memory and carry on her work of loving others. She was one of those giants in the faith whose very presence declared the name of Jesus. We should all press on to leave such a legacy of love.
This was the last verse she posted on Facebook. May we all be able to say the same.