My sister Jodi died unexpectedly yesterday. I’m so incredibly sad, and I still can’t believe it. My heart breaks that she’s gone and that I can’t talk with her. I know she’s with Jesus—she’s happy, fulfilled, and satisfied in the Lord; and that gives me comfort. I love you, Jodi, and I look forward to seeing you again when Jesus comes back or takes me home. Rest in peace, my dear sister.
My sister was sick a lot during her life. She struggled with drug addiction. After one terrifying, almost-fatal overdose at 50 years old, she was convinced into going to Teen Challenge for drug rehab. Funny, isn’t it, a middle-aged person going to Teen Challenge?! But for Jodi, and she would tell you this, that was one of the best decisions of her life. God used that place and those people to change her. I remember one conversation in which she told me that she knew God loved her and that she was learning to obey Him. She’d call me and tell me Bible verses that meant a lot to her. She was reading the Bible like crazy! Over time, I saw my sister become the loving and kind person she was deep inside but that the drugs had overshadowed for so long.
My family, friends, and I prayed for Jodi for years—not months or a few years, but decades. Often, I’d think, and I’m so ashamed to admit this: “Why bother? She’s never going to change.”
I’m sorry I thought that and thankful that I did not stop praying, because Jodi is proof that God can change anyone. My sister praised God for helping and healing her. She wanted to tell the world about her transformation. Jodi was not a quiet person! When she believed in something and wanted something, she went for it wholeheartedly.
Jodi was a consummate Southerner, and in true southern fashion, she wouldn’t hurt a fly if she could help it. But if anyone crossed someone she loved, boy-howdy, they’d better watch out! She was fiercely loyal.
She was also generous. Even when she didn’t have the means, she found ways to show people how special they were to her. When my son was born, she didn’t have any money, but she made a pillow for him. When my daughter was born, she made a blanket for her. She consistently sent us gifts and cards for special occasions. Jodi loved her family—her husband, children, parents, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, and nephews. And I can’t adequately describe how crazy she was about her grandchildren.
If you’re in a relationship with someone who’s addicted to drugs, you know how difficult it can be. But don’t stop praying for your loved one. Never give up, because you don’t know what God is doing and when His Spirit will bring that person to his or her knees. Never ever stop praying.
Jodi was clean for 2 years before the Lord called her home. I’m so proud she was my sister!