Monday, November 17, 2014

Making An Impact

I lost a dear friend this past week.  She was my mentor, friend, and a great encourager to me; she influenced my life in many ways.  She encouraged me in my faith journey and to be a better mother, wife, friend, and Christ follower. 

When I think of her, many wonderful words come to mind… kind, grateful, so very encouraging, and immensely positive.  She loved her family so much and enjoyed life to the fullest.  She was intentional in the way she lived her life – making her days count.  She said to me on many occasions that she was in Act III of her life and she wanted it to mean something.
Well, she meant a lot to me and to so many others.  I met her almost 9 years ago when I started attending the same church as her.  We met through women’s ministry and I got to know her well when the team began thinking about how to implement a women’s mentoring program.  We were having a hard time figuring out how to get it started since most of us had never had or been a mentor.  I mentioned that I had always wanted one and had even prayed for one.  She called me a few days after that conversation and said, “I think God wants me to be your mentor.  Would you like to start meeting together regularly?”   I was overjoyed and excited to begin this new adventure.   

Over a 2-3 year period, we met regularly.  She had me in her home, usually for a delicious meal.  I remember that she always had cloth napkins; it was one of her ways to make me feel extra special.  The food and hospitality were wonderful, but the most meaningful thing to me was the time we spent talking and praying.        
She made a huge impact on my life because she took in interest in my life.  She made time for me.  She was relational, she asked me questions about my life, and she prayed for me – nothing was off the table to talk about.  She was so encouraging; sometimes we laughed and sometimes we cried.  But I always left her home feeling encouraged to keep going and pursuing my faith and to keep persevering as a wife and mother.  She was so positive and I felt loved and cared for by her.

She touched my life in an amazing way and I am a much better person for having known her and having spent time with her.  She influenced me in many different ways:  She inspired me to be a better friend to others by being a better listener.   She modeled to me the kind of friend I should be.  She made me aware that I need to be intentional with my life, making my days count, using my time to be a light in this world.    
As I looked around the very full room at her memorial service, I thought about how she must have influenced each of them.  People were there to celebrate the woman she was and the very impactful life that she had lived.  I left the service thinking about my own life and about how I’m doing as a wife, mother, and friend.  Do I invite others into my home for a meal?  Do I show them love and make them feel like they are the most important person in the world at that moment?  Do I take the time to really listen to those that God puts in front of me?  Do I make time to pray with them?    

One day it will be our memorial service.  What will others say about us?  Do we live impactful lives?  Do we make our days count?  Do we seek opportunities to be a blessing to someone?  Do we obey when God asks us to serve others?
I’m so glad my sweet friend was obedient to God when He asked her to be a mentor to me.  My life will never be the same because of her influence.  My hope is that I can be that same kind of person to others that she was to me.      

Angela Sutsakhan

Proverbs 10:7 "The memory of the righteous is a blessing". 

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