I debated about doing this post for most of the day for fear of not doing it justice. I have a desire to pay tribute to a very special person. She passed away late last week.
First of all very few times in life do people really influence us. One person who influenced me greatly was a preacher. My family had attended the church only a few times. I was pregnant with my first child and financially we were struggling. This preacher saw us in Wal-Mart, came to us, gave us a hug, and handed us a $100 bill! He told us that God told him we needed it, and honestly we did. Since that time we have tried to be more receptive to God's call for giving.
Then there is this special lady that I want to talk about, her name - Naomi Sharp. I wish that I had a picture to show. I will try with words. Imagine a woman of short stature about 5 feet tall, probably 100 lbs or less, with a thick head of black hair, and 73 years old. She was a regular attendee of Lakeview Baptist Church. Recently on a routine doctors visit they had her do a chest x-ray because it had been 5 years since her last one. On the x-ray they discovered spots on her lungs. After further tests they discovered spots in other places. Next of course was a biopsy that confirmed that she had cancer. Naomi decided to do treatments.
On Wednesdays, she, myself, and another lady worked in the nursery. After her news we all had a conversation and I told her that God could still heal her, she told me that either way she would be okay and God could heal her if he wanted to.
I had only had the pleasure of knowing this Godly woman for a little over a year but I have been so privileged to know her. She had the most positive attitude of anyone I had ever met. She suffered tragic losses of loved ones in a very short time frame, from her husband, to her son, and then her grandson. She told me this story of loss on our first night in the nursery together. She got a little teary eyed but she didn't let it keep her down.
She was also loosing her eye sight due to macular degeneration. But unlike most people who would have used this as an excuse to keep from helping in the church she found ways she could help. She was a second adult on the church van, she volunteered in the nursery, when they had a yard sale she bagged clothes. She was always finding ways to get involved and do.
I will fondly remember her as getting down in the floor of the nursery with the children and crawling under cribs to dig out toys, yes even at 73 years old! I will really miss this lady. She was a Christian that I aspire to be more like. She had a knack for going up and hugging strangers like she had known them all her life. She told a story about doing this in Shoney's. She saw an elderly couple come in and she got up from her table and went up and hugged the husband, then she caught a look at the wife's face which showed a little bit of surprise, and said, "I better hug her too!" Her dinner companions asked, "Did you know those people?" She told them, "No, he just looked like he needed a hug." This was Naomi's way. She loved everybody the way Christ loves us.
She also had a whole lot of spirit. She wasn't about to let anyone run over you or anyone else. She was always sticking up for people. She stood up for what she believed in, with a kind heart and fiery spirit she was a joy to have around at all times.
As the preacher and his kindness influenced me to give more freely may Naomi's example influence me to be more positive in this life, knowing that God is always in control.
I will miss her deeply. I know that I am not the only one. Her funeral was packed and running over with the people who knew Naomi and loved her. I know she is in a better place and the angels are rejoicing because Naomi Sharp has come home.