Sunday, January 11, 2015

Testimony Written for my Dear Friend Lydia's Funeral

God gave me the incredible privilege of sharing the following at my dear friend Lydia's memorial service on Wednesday November 26th, 2014. The photos I've added for this blog post but what is written is what I had shared:

many past and present Bible study sisters came to celebrate Lydia's life
So loving and kind of Lydia to ask that in lieu of flowers, all donations be given to Hands On Street Ministries.
The children made a beautiful sign for the celebration.

Such a fun day with Lydia at Hands On having sweet young girls paint our nails for us :)
It was a day Lydia thoroughly enjoyed coming here to Hands on with me :)

After we were finished at Hands On, she came to serve at the Inner City BBQ with me ♥ Precious day!!

The first time I met Lydia was in the foyer of the church when they started attending Cornerstone in 2006. They had recently moved into the city from the country and were looking for a church nearby. She had told me a while back of how she loved hearing the words from my mouth that day, “Would you like to come to our ladies Bible study?” Oh Yes she would!! :) From that day on we began a beautiful Bible study journey and the first indepth Bible study we took together was More of Christ. 

More of Christ in December 2006
Sara Creighton was with us from
England taking this study with us too

March 2013, 7 years later, I had an amazing opportunity to visit Sara in England and she brought these photos out for me to see. Celebrating the time she was with us. She remember Lydia so well and loved her dearly too. God is so good!! ♥

After we had taken Believing God in the fall/winter of 2007, she came to me and said “Lisa, I’d like to get baptized!” Whoohoo!! I went to my pastor and told him “Pastor Russ, Lydia wants to get baptized!!” He looked at me and said, “and when are you going to do that Lisa?” But, but....”I’m not a pastor!” He said, “Show me in the Bible where it says you have to be an ordained pastor to baptize’ve been more of a pastor to her than I have been.” So in April 2008, God gave me the honor of baptizing this dear sister in the Lord, in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit! What joy that brought to us!! :) 

We journeyed through amazing Bible studies together! It was such a delight to watch her grow and flourish and blossom in her walk with God! She LOVED Bible study! After each study I’d invite the women to write a short paragraph as a testimony to what the Bible study meant to them. Lydia was always faithful at writing something. This week I’ve read over these paragraphs and there was a recurring theme in each one...she loved being in Bible study, she loved learning more from God’s word, she loved Jesus more and more, and she loved being with her Bible study sisters each week, it was a highlight of her week. Jesus the One and Only had been one of her favorite studies, which doesn’t surprise me. In that testimony she had written:

How I loved this study about Jesus, the One and Only!
If there is a person to name who we can truly call the greatest it is without a doubt Jesus... Everything he did or say in his life as a teacher was significant, nothing was in vain. He dealt with each person, whether it was a disciple, a teacher, a tax collector, a prostitute or a child in a special, personal way. He was kind and patient with everyone, except with the Pharisees he was less kind. 
Jesus is still the same today and will be tomorrow. How patient is he with all of us and treats each of us in a unique way. 
The way Beth Moore talks about Jesus could make me jealous, but there is no reason, because this same Jesus is mine and everybody else's as well. It takes a lifetime to study Jesus and at the end we will meet Him, how beautiful!
I can only recommend this study to every woman, it brings us joy and closer to our Saviour.”

After each study she would tell me, “Thank you Lisa for leading us in Bible study. I can’t wait until the next one!” She had such passion, such joy, such a hunger and thirst to know more about Jesus and about the Bible.

Loved by God study by Liz Curtis Higgs Spring 2010

Living Beyond Yourself study by Beth Moore in the Fall 2008
The Patriarchs Bible study by Beth Moore Fall of 2013

True Woman study by Mary Kasian in Spring 2013

To Live is Christ Bible study by Beth Moore in Fall of 2011

Beloved Disciple Bible study by Beth Moore in Spring 2012

November 2013 when Sheila Poorman came to share her testimony with us

Ladies bus tour group who went to the Beth Moore Conference in Calgary in June 2012 - so glad Lydia was with us! ♥

the whole bus tour to Beth Moore Conference in Calgary gang - it was such a wonderfully blessed weekend!

Lydia painted me this beautiful photo to remind me
of the Bible study of the Tabernacle that we did
in Fall of 2012 - I will always treasure it! ♥
The photo on the right shows her sitting in her home studio

a group of us ladies from the Bible study in 2008 went to serve at Food for the Hungry on a Friday morning

Celebrating Lydia's birthday in December 2011 - it was a lovely surprise :)
at first we didn't think Lydia
would be able to join us on
our bus tour to see Beth
Moore in Calgary after she
got diagnosed with cancer
but God had different plans
and He brought her ♥

A woman in study had made pink heart cookies for one of
the days and brought them for a snack while we were studying
the Tabernacle in A Woman's Heart - God's Dwelling Place

She loved Jesus, and on Nov 6th when I was visiting her in Pallative care, she was not responsive, I had whispered in her ear that it was okay if she wanted to leave us to go run with Jesus. When I mentioned the name of Jesus, her eyes popped wide open! A true testimony of how she loved him so!  When I had gone to see her on the 12th of November, it was the last time she had spoken some words to me. We had visited a bit and I read her some Scripture. I could tell she was getting tired so I knew I’d have to leave soon. As I looked out her window, I was reminded of how many times she’s prayed for me, she was my prayer warrior, my biggest cheerleader. J I knew she was often praying for me on Thursdays here from her bed as I led some of the inner city ladies in Bible study each Thursday, she had a direct view to their apartment building I led the study in. A couple of times she had prayed with me before I left her room as I often visited her on Thursdays before I went to the study. As I was taking a picture of the skyline of the city, my phone alerted me to a message that it just received. As I read those messages, tears and fear and dread started to take over me, consume me, they were messages that did not bring you joy. I gathered myself together and turned to say goodbye to her. As I hugged her, she took hold of my hand and held it firmly and said, “Are you going to see the Bible study sisters?” Yes I will tomorrow, I told her. “You tell them, you tell them, it’s a scary world out there and to keep their focus on Jesus! Focus on Jesus!!” She said these last words to me with such a fervency and I knew that through my dear friend Lydia, God was telling me the same thing. Don’t let the fear and dread take over me now, focus on Jesus and peace would come. Those were the last words I heard Lydia speak to me. Precious words, an important message to bring to the Bible study sisters.
I had seen her again after that but she was unresponsive then as well.

some of the ladies in the 4 weekly Bible study groups who all prayed for Lydia weekly, surrounded by many sisters

view out of Lydia's window, she faithfully
prayed for me and for the inner
city study I led a couple blocks from her
1st and last study of Children of the Day Lydia came to in
my home. She's sitting on the couch by the window on the left
pic I took on a Sunday in Oct of Noah kissing Lydia

being silly with our glasses :)

reading Scripture to Lydia was my favorite thing to do ♥

all ready to go have a visit with Chelsea,
a young girl Lydia has been praying for for
the past year
powerful devotional on love and trusting
God in all circumstances that He had
for us to read specifically on this day
meeting for the first time face to face, Lydia prayed
for Chelsea for a year and now God had them meet ♥

the night she said her last words to me
"Are you going to see the Bible study
sisters? You tell them! You tell them!
It's a scary world out there and to keep
their focus on Jesus! Focus on Jesus!"
Incredibly powerful words ♥

I loved going into Lydia's room and seeing her Bible open
on her lap and from where she prayed for the inner city ladies

Inner city Bible study ladies group always thankful for the snacks the other Bible study women prepared
but most importantly they were thankful for the prayers of the women and for Lydia's prayers too ♥

Lydia loved talking about what she was reading in the Bible and she often prayed for me ♥

Last Thursday, on November 20th, I was serving at the Bridge on 20th with a group of ladies after the inner city Bible study. I hadn’t made it to the hospital to see Lydia before the study but I knew in my heart that I needed to go see her after I was finished at the Bridge. I’m usually there until 8:30 pm but that evening, I felt an urgency to leave early to go to see her. After we finished cleaning up the meal, I didn’t stay for the Bible study portion and left shortly after 7 to go to the hospital. I arrived at 7:30 pm. I sat by her bed with the Bible open on my lap, ready to read some Scripture to her again. Her daughter Sarah came and sat beside me, Steve and Kristen came in as well. We talked for a bit and then I asked her if I could read the same passage of Scripture from Psalm 18 that God had me read at my dad’s beside 5 years ago when he passed away unexpectedly. It begins with “I love you, Lord; you are my strength.” Then goes on to describe what God is and how he saves us from our enemies.  It also describes how the ropes of death entangle, the grave wrapping its ropes around and death laying a trap. But then the Psalmist says “In my distress I called out to the Lord, yes I prayed to my God for help and my cry reached his ears...the earth quaked, the foundations shook, He opened the heavens and He came down, mounted on a mighty cherubim, the Lord thundered from heaven, the voice of the Most High resounded, lightning flashed...He reached down from heaven and rescued me; he drew me out of the deep water, he rescued me.”

What powerful words to read and Sarah and I quietly talked about them, imagining what it would look like in the spiritual realm. Earlier that day, at Bible study in the morning that Sarah and I were at together, we had all been instructed to write a message on our hands...’For not all have faith, but the Lord is faithful!’ We looked down at our hands together and repeated ‘the Lord is faithful, the Lord is faithful!’ He WILL take Lydia home in His perfect timing. :) I asked Sarah if she’d like to sing a song “sure she said, but I can’t sing very good.” :) ...haha...that’s ok. Let’s sing! So Sarah, Kristen and I sang the chorus of ‘How great is our God’ a couple of times. “How great is our God, sing with me how great is our God and all the earth will see, how great is our God!”  I noticed Lydia’s eyes open a bit as we sang, I felt a shift in my spirit and I knew we needed to sing some more. Sarah mentioned that one of Lydia’s favorite songs was ‘In Christ Alone’ but none of us knew all the words so Sarah looked it up on youtube on her cell phone. We played the first one that came up with lyrics and sang along to it. I took Lydia’s hand and as we were singing her eyes opened wide! There was no other change in her body, just her eyes, unblinking, wide open. The words were powerful and we kept singing. “No power in hell, no scheme of man, can ever pluck me from His hand, til He returns or calls me home, here in the power of Christ I stand.” And as we came to the end of the song, we noticed her rhythmic breathing was changing. I asked Sarah to turn the song back a bit so we could keep singing cause we knew something was happening. The next time we sang “no power in hell, no scheme of man, (I changed the words here) can ever pluck YOU from his hand Lydia! Til He returns or calls YOU home, here in the power of Christ YOU stand!!! YOU STAND LYDIA!! O THANK YOU JESUS” by now her breathing had completely stopped and I noticed a single tear sit had escaped her eye. It was 8:20 pm and there was such a peace in the room, such a godly relief, a godly release, the heaviness of death had lifted and we knew without a doubt, God had taken Lydia home in HIS perfect timing. It wasn’t our timing or her timing, it was God’s timing. In September, Lydia had walked into my home for the first day of the Bible study we just completed called ‘Children of the Day’, a study on the Book of Thessalonians. We were having our last study at Cornerstone the next morning....the first study she walked into my home, and the last study at Cornerstone she had walked into heaven. Wow!  That night, God chose to have us there with her in that beautiful glorious moment to sing her into His Presence through her favorite His perfect timing.
As the others began cleaning up the room and making phone calls to family while we waited for the funeral director to come, I sat there by her bedside soaking in everything that had just happened. Larissa had joined us and was helping as well. Steve interrupted my thoughts and asked me if I’d like to take some Swiss Chocolate home with me...I laughed! Yes I would! It was orange! :) I love orange and Lydia knew I loved orange and she often blessed me with orange gifts or would wear an orange shirt or scarf when she knew she’d be with me. She always made me smile! And now it felt like she was blessing me one last time, from heaven, with one last orange gift...a Swiss chocolate bar in orange wrapping. How amazing our God is! What a testimony He had given Lydia and what a legacy of a strong faith in Jesus she leaves with us today. Jesus! There is no other name. We don’t grieve today as those who have no hope, we grieve as those who have GREAT HOPE and if you’ve put your belief and trust in Jesus today, if you’ve accepted Him as your Savior, you WILL see Him face to face one day together with Lydia.

November 20th, the last day of the Thursday Bible study video, stating out loud what we had written on our hands
"Not all have faith, BUT the Lord IS faithful!!"

the women I served at the Bridge on 20th on the night of November 20th

the Friday morning group making their statement on November 21st for Lydia "Not all have faith, but the Lord IS faithful!"

Remember it ladies....not all have faith, but the Lord IS faithful....we loved Lydia and the Lord was faithful in taking her home and out of her suffering ♥

words from the song "In Christ Alone" that Sarah, Kristen and I were singing the night Lydia passed away

words/video from In Christ Alone

Steve gave me one of Lydia's Swiss Chocolate bars from her stash in her hospital room :)

such a great reminder from the Bible study - Not all have faith, BUT the Lord IS faithful! ♥

words that were written on the tile on the ceiling in the hallway when we left the hospital for the last time on November 20th

a picture Sarah took of her son walking down the road...truly a reminder of Children of the Day - too precious! ♥

Lydia had requested long ago that we sing this song at her funeral, In Christ Alone, won’t you stand with me as we sing it together, the song we sang for her in the hospital, having this beautiful new meaning to these amazing words!

A couple other testimonies Lydia had written for the Breaking Free and Loved by God studies:

Breaking Free – spring 2009
"I am so glad I took the study this winter. God has a timing for what and when we should do it. It was the hardest study for me so far, probably because I had to dig into my past and take things out I thought I long had forgotten about them. It was all worth it. God's grace can bring beauty out of ugly. I want to break free. I want the peace in my life that only comes from God, peace and joy. I also enjoyed to be with all the ladies who are so wonderful and I wish everyone of them the breaking free of the slavery of satan's lies." - Lydia Eymann

Loved by God – 2010

I've read the story of this family before, but somehow they never appeared to me the same way as they do now after studying this chapter. Isaac, Jacob, Rachel etc. seemed to me as "good" people because God has chosen them. But now I come to think, they were not as good as I thought . They were just ordinary folks with selfish ambitions, crafty and deceiving. The part that surprised me, is how little Jacob had to do with God, even after he had the encounter with God at the stairway of heaven. And still, God loved him, protected him and kept his promises to bless him greatly and give him and all his descendants the land he was lying on at the moment. It gives me great hope to see that the Lord is with us and cares so much, even if we fail. In the last part of the study I could identify myself more with Leah than with Rachel. To see how much God loved her and saw that she suffered, gives me great comfort. God blessed this woman, and God blesses still all the women who are looking to Him for comfort, guidance, help and love. We can always trust in His promises. God's timing is perfect, because it is His timing, not ours. Liz Curtis Higgs has a wonderful way to tell the biblical truth and I'm glad I was there to learn. As always I enjoyed the fellowship with all the ladies. Thank you Lisa for leading this study, God bless you♥ - Lydia Eymann

Here are photos from when Lars brought her for a precious day at Memorial Lake July 2013

1st time Lydia ever drove a golf cart and she had a blast :)

Lydia drove a 4 wheeler quad for the first time on this day! She had a blast and of course Lars loved going up the gravel hill :)

she loved the cross overlooking the valley and the lake and picking/eating the wild blueberries from the trees :)

so precious to have a surprise visit from Lydia and her precious sister from Australia ♥

wonderful to visit with our friend Colleen Loewen and Lydia and her sister ♥

therapeutic visit for Lydia....she loved my little Gracie ♥

the Pay It Forward Splurge ladies group had a wonderful couple of years together and here we went to a live theatre at the Barn Playhouse near Osler together...wonderful precious memories we have!

it was very common to have lunch after Bible study together with the Bible study sisters. On this day Lydia also spent the day with me and we ended the day watching a movie together and Gracie couldn't get enough of her :)

in the Revelation study Winter/Spring of 2014....and going for lunch with the Bible study sisters afterwards :)

enjoying supper at the Barn Playhouse with the Pay it Forward Splurge sisters ♥

Lydia serving with us at the inner city BBQ on a summer evening in 2013

she loved serving here with us today and meeting the people

gotta put on some lipstuff on the lips before taking a picture ya know!! :)
great pic of precious sisters in Christ - Kim, Donna, Kathryn, Sue and Lydia

having lunch at Parables after Bible study on Friday of our favorite lunch places :)

a precious pic I took of Lydia and John in October 2011 ♥

at our Pay It Forward Splurge Christmas party December 2013 at Norma's home