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  • Sonya Leigh Anderson

Remembering Diane

Photo by Sixteen Miles Out on Unsplash

Has anyone told you God loves you today?

I listened to my friend, Diane, ask this question, just like she’d always done. This time we were walking the halls of Johanna Shores Memory Care, where she was an Alzheimers resident. Every once in a while I’d remind her, “I’m Sonya, your neighbor from Orchid Street in Andover. We’ve been in Bible study together.” And she’d seem to remember.

There was one tiniest woman, she must have been 100 years old, walking those halls with us that day. When Diane asked her question…Has anyone told you…this sweet little lady started singing a song in her whispered voice—

“I come to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses…”

That was my last precious day with Diane. Over two years ago, though I’ve thought of her often since. And this past weekend, early Saturday morning, my friend left this life to spend forever with Jesus.

I just love Jesus, and I’m sticking with Him!

That’s another thing Diane used to say. Which is one of the reasons I thought of her as my Faith Role Model. Back when I was on staff at my church in Andover, and we’d been twice to California for Sticky Faith cohorts, learning about kids and how they need five faithful adults to model faith. And I remember wondering who I’d pick as my own faithful five. Diane quickly coming to mind.

We lived as neighbors for close to twenty years, and close to a dozen summers we studied the Bible together. Diane was as faithful a Catholic as I’ve ever known, and wholly devoted to loving Jesus.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart

and lean not on your own understanding;

in all your ways acknowledge him,

and he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:5-6

How many times have I heard Diane recite this proverb, in answer to a question, or in the way of giving advice? She seemed to believe it, and lived it, too. Stories of her kids and grandkids, and her husband, even, and no matter what came up, her answer was prayer. Trust in the Lord…

Every time I pray for a pregnant mama I think of Diane’s repeated petition for a “happy, holy, healthy baby.”

One summer Laurie led all of us Bible study ladies through the StrengthsFinder assessment. When Diane got her “top 5” she seemed particularly offended. “What is this WOO?” Winning Others Over—and while the rest of us agreed this was 100% God’s design in our friend, she’d thought it seemed haughty somehow, and wasn’t at all sure she should like it.

WOO indeed, and still winning them over with the love of Jesus at Memory Care.

I can’t begin to tell you how many times I've heard stories of Diane walking right up to random strangers, reminding them of God’s love, and not once did it seem forced or awkward. It was a sincere gift delivered time and again on God’s behalf from the lips of my faithful friend.

Someone, years ago, gave Diane her own study Bible. I think it might have been a priest. I really ought to know the story, because she repeated it so many times. I can still see how she cradled her Bible when she told it, and reminded us again of her love for this Book.

Diane is with Jesus now—but of course, she was already with Him all along. Sticking with Him every day of this earthly life. And even when her memory faded, Jesus didn’t.

Has anyone told you He loves you today?

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