I just heard on the news that a friend of mine died as she tried to save a girl that had been swept into the water on a church trip. Some of you know that last summer I was on the facilities team at our church Church of the Open Door in Maple Grove, MN. When ever I showed up for a shift the first person that I would see was Julie. She was the receptionist at the church and always greeted everyone with the warmest and biggest smile. She was probably one of the most friendly people I have ever met in my life. She was so interested in my life always asking about Brenton and and kids and she was so open to sharing hers. I can remember feeling awkward one afternoon as everyone gathered in the receptionist area and I didn't know anyone really. She went around the group and introduced me to everyone while lavishing me with compliments and then invited me out to lunch with the group. Then she paid too! Because we shared office space we often joked about her not getting any work done because she was the stopping place for everyone to get coffee. She would spend so much of the day asking people about life and end up taking all of there personal break time at the desk talking. I told her she wasn't paid enough because she was like everyone's personal shrink. Brenton can back me up on this, he also worked there and he would joke that he had never known anyone that talked as much as she did. (All in love of course) She was so passionate about her love for Jesus and for other people. She was an extremely gifted photographer, and we talked some about her capturing some pictures of the kids sometime.
Although I didn't work full time with her, she impacted me. She challenged me to engage more with people and love their stories. She invited me to a scraping weekend this past winter that I wasn't able to go to. I wish I would have, then I could have had more time to sit, talk and get to know her better.
I know she will be greatly missed. These are the times when I have to ask God, why?
So, if I had one last chance to talk with Julie I would thank her for loving me from the moment I was hired and for welcoming me and including me into a group that had worked together a long time. Thank you for listening, talking, laughing and teaching me so much about loving people no matter their life story. You Julie are a friend that I will miss.