Yes, this might be another tear-jerking post, so consider yourself warned. But I could not let today go by without remembering Beverlee Kirkland. It was a year ago today that this dear friend and mentor passed away. What a woman of grace she was! She continues to be someone I remember and whose presence in my life I miss. She prayed regularly with me and for me, even while suffering from complications related to diabetes that left her home-bound and often hospitalized during the two years I knew her. A year later when I find myself in a similar place of being confined to home while on bed rest, she continues to be an example to me of faithful, selfless love even in the midst of suffering and physical limitations.
So in honor and memory of Bev, here are a few things she’s left behind as a legacy for me personally (and I would imagine for many more as well):
(1) Self-less love and concern for others while undergoing intense suffering. Whenever I would visit her, whether at home or in the hospital, she always began our conversations by asking me how I was doing. She would follow-up with specific things I had asked her to pray about and was always others-centered.
(2) The importance of putting on your makeup even when you’re sick. Laugh if you may, but this reflected her grace and style. She was a classy woman always, and she’d have her makeup on even when in the hospital. So during my brief stint in the hospital a few weeks ago, I remembered this and put on my makeup and my pearl earrings as a tribute to Bev.
(3) How a cup of tea leads to rich conversation. Whenever we met at her home, we would first fix a pot of hot British tea. And somehow, that just set the tone for a more thoughtful and rich discussion. She was quite the hospitality queen, and I frequently ask myself, “What would Bev do?” when I’m preparing to have guests over. It’s really the little details that can make a big difference.
(4) The privilege of prayer. In her last months when she was feeling so weak and ill, she still prayed for me and many others. When her eyesight kept her from reading, she could still keep praying – and she did. She showed me what a privilege prayer is, and the real ministry it is to the church. She helped to build our church through her prayers, even when she couldn’t physically be involved.
(5) How Jesus bestows dignity and beauty to suffering. She is one of the most beautiful women I have ever known, and this is because of the Christ-like beauty that shone through her even more so as she suffered. Christ was her strength, to her last day, and her suffering was made beautiful because of Christ’s radiance shining through her. There’s a picture and an obituary at this site (scroll down).
I know that she is Home with Jesus now, and that gives those of us left behind great comfort and hope. Yet we still miss her. And I hope that one day I will leave a similar legacy. She is now in the company of one of the witnesses urging us on to run with perseverance this race marked out for us by our King, fixing our eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:1-3).
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