Many years ago, I convinced a friend of mine to attend a women’s retreat with me. It took huge amounts of effort, but Caroline finally consented. We had a great time and she was glad she came, but Caroline was still very shy. She enjoyed learning about God and all the worship experiences, but she mostly talked to me over the course of the weekend.
Saturday night, the main speaker, Juanita Kretschmar, presented a special program to help all of us ladies understand just how real God is in our lives. Sunday morning, during the final meeting, ladies were invited to share a special testimony from the evening. Caroline had shared hers with me and I urged her to go forward, but she was too shy.
I pleaded with Caroline and she finally went forward and shared what had happened to her Saturday night. Juanita had led us all in a special prayer where she encouraged us each to write a letter to God from our hearts. She would start the prayer and then each of us were to put the words in that fit our situations. Then Juanita spoke other words from up front, to help give ideas to those who were struggling. Caroline’s testimony was that every time a word came to her mind, to praise God for things he had done in her life or to tell Him this was a burden for her that she needed help with, she would later hear Juanita saying the same words up front. Caroline felt as if God were confirming that shy as she was, she was still important to Him.
After Caroline gave her testimony, Juanita shared another. After speaking at a religious retreat, she often feels like the devil comes after her saying things like, “You’re not good enough to encourage these other ladies to love God. You aren’t helping anyone get closer to God. You are a loser.” But when Caroline gave her testimony, Juanita was encouraged. She needed to hear that it had indeed made a difference. What if Caroline hadn’t gone forward? Shy or not, when God has worked in our lives, we must step forward and share!
Today, this is dedicated to Caroline, a truly beautiful woman. She bravely fought cancer, but lost yesterday. Through her long and difficult fight, she never failed to say God was with her. We saw miracles. God answered many prayers. She got to see her oldest daughter get married and a special ceremony to see her youngest graduate from high school. She was still shy, but she learned to tell about the good things God did for her and His faithfulness. You’ll be greatly missed Caroline.