I’ve begun this post in my mind about a hundred times over the past week. But I have struggled to sit and type it out, to put words to my thoughts. I am still processing the fact that my godly, encouraging, inspiring mother-in-law is no longer on this earth. Judy was just 67.

We went to Dave’s parents’ house in New York last week. Dave’s parents have lived in the same home for over two decades. Dave and I held hands for the first time in their den. Emma took her first steps in their living room. When we returned from living in Spain, we stopped there first. Just this summer, my girls spent a week there. Judy still hadn’t told us about her cancer. As a friend said, “What a precious gift she gave to your kids.” They were able to enjoy being there with her and Richard, not feeling sorry for her or thinking, ‘This may be the last time I see her…’ They just enjoyed being together.

At Judy’s funeral, person after person shared about ways she ministered to them – praying for them, caring for them, investing in them, pointing them to Christ. She wasn’t showy, she didn’t seek attention, didn’t do things to get noticed or praised. She simply served in so many ways. Ways that even her kids didn’t know about. She served Christ wholeheartedly. And even when she was facing the end of this life, having believed God would heal her and having been disappointed that he chose not to remove her cancer, she never let go of her wholehearted love for her Savior. And, as so many have said, she was healed – wholly, completely, and eternally. Not what she expected. But I’m sure, if she could speak to us now, so much better than she ever imagined.

The legacy Judy left is in the family that comes together to celebrate her life, to tell her stories. It is in the people she led to Christ, the women she mentored, the children she has raised. No one spoke about how much money she made. No one talked about what degrees she had. No one shared which beauty products she used. None of  that matters in the face of eternity. It doesn’t matter when evaluating true worth. Judy died rich in what really mattered – rich in faith, rich in purpose, rich in family.

Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
 “Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”
 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

Proverbs 31:28-30

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