She had an easy laugh, contagious vision, and incredible giftings. Wherever she went, she looked for, created, and took advantage of opportunities to share the Gospel with the lost, disciple the believer, and bless those around her. Every activity in her life was centered around one thing: loving Jesus and helping others love Him more. Today my beloved pastor’s wife met Jesus face to face, and my heart is heavy and crushed as I think of the gaping hole her absence creates, yet I celebrate the fruitfulness and beautiful legacy she leaves behind.
While we were awkward, yet hungry-for-God teenagers, she took me and several of my friends under her wing and did weekly Bible studies with us. She taught us that true beauty was found on the inside – in the unique ways God made us; that He fashioned us and knew us and chose us and loved us. She helped us understand our value as daughters of the King. She taught us how to study the Bible, share the Gospel, and choose the best that God had for us.
On the many missions trips I went on with her, I got to experience her wonderful personality day after day and glean many ministry insights from her. One year, there was a young teenage girl on the trip who wasn’t keeping up with her personal hygiene. It got to the awkward point of someone needing to tell this girl to go take a shower. Lisa had the perfect mix of motherly kindness and sense of humor towards the girl we were all getting rather repulsed by, and somehow, without making fun of her, lightheartedly commanded the girl to bathe. The only way I can think of to describe how she dealt with that situation was to delight in the girl’s quirkiness, love her, and speak the truth to her with loving humor. I’ll never forget that.
She delighted in many things: her daughter and granddaughter, her sons, her husband. She delighted in her girlfriends. She delighted in anything with a beautiful, flowery, Victorian style, yet could often be seen rocking a leather jacket and wearing lots of black. She delighted in Irish goths, new believers, and seasoned saints. Her absolute greatest delights were worshiping God, studying His word, and teaching it day in and day out.
She delighted in details: every women’s event was chock full of detail after detail to create memorable, tangible reminders of whatever Biblical truths the event was focusing on. Her philosophy was to keep the details top secret until the event, so that the women would feel like each event was “Christmas morning,” she once told me. She delighted in shopping, and used that to encourage women to follow God: I remember one year, when the theme of the retreat was the Parables. There was a scavenger-hunt type game at each table, each with a different corresponding parable we were to “unlock”, and gifts that then corresponded to the parables. We all laughed when our table full of young single girls got patchwork potholders, which represented the “new wine in old wineskin” parable Jesus told. But even that minute detail has stuck with me through the years. (Mind you, she didn’t shop for individual gifts for just a few tables, but enough for the tables of literally hundreds of women at the retreat. She also surrounded herself with delightful friends who helped fulfil her visions.)
She delighted in truth, and safeguarded sound doctrine in every area of the church. She was faithful to teach the women at the church the whole council of the word of God, often delving into deep issues such as spiritual gifts, eschatology, and apologetics, so that the women of the church wouldn’t be ignorant of such things. She wasn’t afraid to speak the truth, but always did so in love.
She delighted in the hope of heaven. Her email address was “eyezonskys” in daily anticipation of meeting her Lord. One whole retreat she planned was themed around heaven. I vividly remember her paralleling how Jesus longs to meet us and embrace us, as his daughters who have been long absent, with her longing and desire to see her daughter after she had studied abroad for a semester. She teared up (which didn’t happen often) as she said, “I missed her so much while she was gone, and just wanted to hug her and smell her. That’s the kind of longing Jesus has for us.”
I could go on with story after story of the trips, events, parties at her house, and conversations I had with her that helped shape me into the woman I am today. I long for Lisa’s presence here on earth. I ache for her family, my dear friends. She leaves a legacy that will continue to bear fruit for generations to come, but we wish desperately she was here to continue blessing us and pointing us to Jesus, delighting in her grandchildren and delighting with us in daily life. She is not dead, however, but more alive than she’s ever been before. Her life’s longing to see her Savior is now satisfied, as she vivaciously enters into Jesus’ embrace and delights in His perfect, peaceful, joy-filled presence, joining the saints around the throne in worship and adoration for her King.