“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”-Hebrews 12:1-2
A dear, dear friend of mine, Carol, joined this great cloud of witnesses on March 19th. Carol was a quadriplegic and our friendship began when she hired me to be her personal caregiver. Over the last 7 years, conversations,visits, and most importantly, our hope and faith in God deepened our connection. At her recent memorial service, I was struck by the legacy she left behind—a legacy of faith, hope, and love.
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” –1 Corinthians 13:13
Carol’s faith was unshakeable. At the tender age of 18 her life was changed by a devastating spinal cord injury, and though she never married or had children she had many who drew near. She changed lives due to the way she followed Jesus under trying circumstances. She never turned her back on Him.
Before her accident, Carol was quite the athlete. She played both basketball and volleyball in high school and loved long runs around her home town. For anyone, quadriplegia would have felt like torture, but particularly so for such an active young woman. Many would have lost hope and succumbed to bitterness and resentment, but Carol spent 41 years in a wheelchair and still shined.
Carol demonstrated a joyful attitude and lived with a fervent hope in Jesus, and she went to him in prayer constantly. She was a cheerful soul who loved the balmy days of summer and cherished spending time in her yard amidst her vibrant flowers. I recall many an afternoon spent on her back patio sharing lives, watching hummingbirds swarm the feeder, and discussing the things of God. A true prayer warrior, Carol frequently asked me for prayer for herself, dear friends, and family. I asked for prayer as well, knowing she would be sure to pray for me.
I will especially miss how Carol loved those around her, myself included. She shared the love of Jesus with everyone she came in contact with, especially the many women who became her caregivers over the years. She loved big, and I always left her house feeling the warmth of her love.
At the memorial service, a short video clip was played in which my friend shared her testimony of unending faith and hope in God which had been undeterred by her trying circumstances. It will always be treasured in my memories. She truly lived her faith out loud, leaving behind a worthwhile and lasting legacy—a life devoted to Christ.
Sarah Clews is a wife, mother of two little girls, and prolific reader. She received her BS from Corban University in English and still loves writing. She helps her husband run their martial arts school, and in her free time, enjoys sewing, experimenting with makeup, and reading blogs.