My Sister’s Journey
by Janet Schultz
“She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her”. Proverbs 3:15
I grew up in Downers Grove IL. We had a huge yard, lots of pets, even a pig, and lots of neighbor kids to play with. I shared a bedroom with my sister, Karen and of course, we had many fights over the years about really silly things that seemed important at the time. I think of those days as our building blocks to a normal and wonderful relationship.
Karen was a shy child who grew up to be a beautiful social butterfly. She was loved by everyone that knew her. She had many caring friends who let her know how blessed they were to know her. I was able to join her a few times on lunch outings and get to know her friends. Fun was what they were all about. She was the most competitive person I knew, she did not want to lose at any game. She loved horseshoes, bags, cards and most of all bowling; several times her high game was 289. She would tell you she had a perfect game until the last frame.
We both married had children then grandchildren, things were great and life was good. Her love of family was her first mission in life. She had 3 children and 9 grandchildren. She was passionate about being the best mom and grandma she could be.
When our mom was sick, we stayed with her for a few weeks and slept in our old room, still exactly the same only my sister slept in my bed because she always wanted my bed instead of hers. She had never told me that before, so it was fun to switch beds.
The day I got the call that Karen had stage 4 cancer changed everything. She started treatment had surgery and seemed to be doing well. During all this, she still went over to mom’s house and would sit with her for hours being there for her. Mom never knew how sick Karen was. Over the years I had asked my mom if she wanted to be baptized. Then one day she said yes. I asked a wonderful pastor, Pastor Paul, from the Lutheran church our family went to for many years, if he would come to the house and baptize my mom.
The really amazing thing is that my sister asked to be baptized too. On August 16th, 2007 Karen and mom were baptized by Pastor Paul. That was the day Karen started her new journey with Jesus. Pastor Paul became her pastor and she went to church every week.
In 2009 our mom died peacefully at 95.
Karen’s journey with cancer was awful and hard on her family, but my sister took it on full steam ahead, not afraid and did everything she needed to do. I will always remember sitting next to her, full of tubes, as she was peacefully sleeping with a smile on her face. Her visits from Pastor Paul gave her great strength to fight the battle and let God take her home instead of letting cancer take her from us.
I had promised her I would be there for her, so when I got the call, Ed got me on the next flight out but due to weather, everything was delayed and the stress was overwhelming me on the plane. I sat next to a lady who saw how upset I was. She put her arm around me and that was just what I needed. Can you believe her name was Karen! What comfort God puts around us and I made it home just in time to say goodbye to my sister.
She died peacefully in 2011 at 64.
Her church service was full to standing room only, Pastor Paul told us he knows she went to heaven.
Who would have thought my shy scared little sister would become my hero? She was so brave, at peace, and ready to go to her new address in heaven. Her Baptism was not too early, not too late, but just in time.
She will be remembered as my children’s favorite Aunt, for her contagious laughter, her kindness, cards everyone received from her for all occasions, her coordinated outfits, jewelry and lipstick, and most of all her love of family and God.
I was truly blessed to watch her journey, she is with God, and showed how to gracefully go thru the hardest battle anyone could face. I am honored to call her my sister and her example will live on with friends and our family.
I want to encourage you to that God loves your loved ones more than you do. Don’t give up on them – Jesus wants them to spend eternity in heaven with Him more than you do. It is why He came to this earth.
Your job is to love them, God’s job is to save them.
I am praying for you to be filled with courage and hope from my sister’s journey to faith in Jesus. You may think it is too late but God is always right on time.
Janet Schultz is an amazing woman with a gift and passion for hospitality. She loves, gives and makes making breakfast for 200 people look effortless. She always has a smile on her face and brings joy with her everywhere she goes. You will love her straightforward, matter-of-fact faith today. – Cindy Grasso