For several years, Debbie tested our children at the close of our homeschooling year.  We’d pack books and a cooler full of sandwiches, granola bars and bottled water, and travel thirty miles north  for the better part of a day.

Debbie had been a homeschooling mama herself, and had a wealth of experience and knowledge to share.  She spent over an hour with each child, asking questions and getting a feeling for strengths and weaknesses.  Then she would meet one-on-one with me and share the test results.

We learned a bit about one another during these sessions……and we agreed on much regarding God and homeschooling and protecting our children from a public school system that has a clear agenda against Christianity.  We disagreed on some methods and curricula.  She didn’t care for anything from the North…..and me?  Well, that was home.  Go Patriots and Red Sox and Bruins!

After a few years of dialoguing we just knew each other better.  Debbie really wanted me to hear her heart.

“Kristin, your children are leaders.  Leaders.  Keep working hard.  Pour into them.  I know it is tiring, but well done. Stay the course.”

I nodded, tearing up and then a bit embarrassed by this.  And then,

“How is life treating you as a pastor’s wife?”

I looked up, quiet….unsure.

“Remember, I’ve been there too.”  She touched my shoulder, lightly.

So we spoke of things that few others could truly understand.  She had been there.  She KNEW.  And her advice was biblical and healing.   That moment was good.

I paid her for the testing time and thanked her once again.

And then.

She grabbed me and hugged me close and prayed.  For my children, for our ministry, and mainly for discernment for me in the coming months.

We walked into the other room, and I gathered up the children and backpacks and coolers.

“See you next year!” we both laughed and waved good-bye.

A week later she died, suddenly.

It has been nearly six years, but I often remember her prayer, so intentional and focused and meaningful.  She didn’t have to do that for me.  But she did.

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