Many many years ago, when I was a young bride in my first year of marriage, I was asked to join a Bible study with some other wives from Young Life who lived somewhat near San Jose.
Of course, I said yes.
Who wouldn't when your husband's boss' wife was leading the study?
That actually turned out to be one of the most critical turning points in my life. What a privilege it was to sit under the teaching and leading of Recie Raley.
That year Recie turned 50 and I actually said to Scud, "someday I want to be just like Recie, encouraging others".
What I didn't know then was the LASTING IMPACT Recie would have on my life from that point on.
One day I was fortunate to meet with her at her house as she was about to teach me about gardening. But the lesson I learned wasn't about planting flowers or strawberries, which was a Recie phenonemon in and of itself, but it was a lesson about gardening in my spiritual life.
I will never ever forget Recie's words to me.
"Missy, ask God to give you a love for His Word".
Recie told me to pray this over and over. Not necessarily everyday but to keep praying it until I knew it was true; I knew that I had a love for the word of God. She told me that growing in love with His Word would cause me to grow more in love with Him, and then I would flourish and re-produce a crop that God would use.
Unfortunately for those of us gals who were in that study, Tom and Recie were called to Dallas after four years and I was no longer able to hear the wisdom of Recie.
Fortunately for us, Tom and Rece's son Scott and his wife Sue lived in San Jose, so they came to visit frequently. Each visit, Scud and I had the privilege of sharing a meal with them. And the older I was, the more I realized what a tremendous gift the LORD bestowed on Scud and I with the friendship of the Raley's.
It was probably about ten years of praying this prayer to love the Word of God, that I realized I did! My days weren't complete without being in the Word. I felt and knew something was missing. I remember calling Recie and telling her that it finally happened and she told me, "It probably happened before this, its just that now you are fully aware". Again, wise words from one of the two mentors of my life.
For the next 20-25 years I would read through the Word of God each year. And I wonder why I was always amazed that each year, I thought to myself, "have I read this before?".
Which is why the Bible is new and fresh each day. I can always get new insights, new thoughts, new promises, new commands to obey. It has never gotten old for me.
And I have Recie to thank for this.
About 10-12 years ago, Recie began to exhibit signs of Alzheimer's. This resulted in her and Tom selling their home and re-locating to a retirement community.
Seven years ago after a Young Life All Staff Conference, Tom took a fall, which resulted in him having strokes and the LORD calling him home. I remember at that staff conference having sometime with the Raley's and Recie actually remembered me and asked about our kids by name, and Tom told me, "this doesn't happen much anymore."
Sometime after Tom's homegoing, Recie was re-located to Virginia to be near her daughter Lisa. Although, through the years Recie didn't know her family anymore, she would still quote Scripture. God's Word still was alive and vital in her mind. What a testimony to me.
Yesterday on March 25, God called Recie home.
Without a doubt, I know the LORD said to her:
" Well done Good and Faithful Servant. Enter into the joy of your Master". With a keen mind again and an ever present, ever faithful love for her Savior.
In six months time, I have lost the two women whose lives influenced me more than any other. But oh the lessons, they ingrained in my life. Recie helped me discover the joy and love of the Word of God, and June helped me know the privilege of prayer.
Blessed is what I am.
I hope now Rece, that I am like you. That I can encourage other younger women to grow in love with Jesus and His Word.
You taught me well.
Thank you isn't near enough of what I want to convey.
But I look forward to spending eternity with Jesus and you and the others I love and have lost for awhile.