Two posts ago, I talked about my friend, Jenny, joining Jesus in heaven. Yesterday, I gave a five minute talk about her at her memorial. Working on the talk made me think about what I would want said about me at my memorial. I think that’s a good exercise in asking the Lord to show us what our priorities are and what is coming across to others. Here’s what I said about Jenny. Maybe it will be fodder for you to ask yourself those questions.
Memorial of Jennifer Powell Jacobus (1954-2010)
It’s a joy to reflect on Jenny’s life through the lens of the four years I knew her. I’m grateful to the Lord for giving me the privilege of knowing her. I appreciated three main qualities in Jenny that inspired, encouraged, and humbled me. Hebrews 10:24 says, “let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds.” Jenny did that through her big heart, her wide vision, and her great passion.
Jenny’s big heart revealed her love and care for others. I was impacted by Jenny’s love for her family and even though I’ve only met most of you recently, I love you because of hearing of Jenny’s love for you.
Jenny’s love was a Jesus kind of love—it was love in action. When Tammy, who is the daughter of a friend of ours, was getting re-established in a new home, Jenny took the initiative to drive Tammy to thrift stores, helping her to find bargains. And Jenny knew where to find the bargains! Jenny was instrumental in collecting things for Tammy from all our friends and gave Tammy one of her own beautiful area rugs.. Jenny helped Tammy develop beauty in her new home. Jenny’s big heart was practical and active.
Besides Jenny’s big heart, she also had wide vision. One day Jenny and I were driving down Hwy 111 and Jenny saw a building for sale. She said, “FCA should buy that building.” (NOTE: Jenny and her husband, Marty, serve with Fellowship of Christian Athletes.)
I was blown away with her vision. I saw it so often as she dreamed big. I’m a status quo person and I really needed to hear Jenny’s wide vision. She inspired me to dream big; to ask God for things that would show His generosity and power.
Yes, Jenny had a big heart and wide vision, and she also had great passion for God.
I remember the day when my husband, Larry, returned from a men’s Bible Study and said, “I met a great Christian guy named Marty. I’d like to have him and his wife over for dinner.” When Marty and Jenny came over, I was immediately impressed with their love for God and their ministry. When I heard that Jenny had come to California even though she had no family living here, I was really impressed.
I mentioned to her that I would be having a women’s mini-retreat at my house the next week. There was a spot open, would she be interested? I really didn’t think she would be open to the idea since she’d only just met me. But she wanted all God would give her so she committed to coming. And that’s where our friendship began.
After that, the 7 women who attended the mini-retreat began a small group we called “Soul Sisters.” We met every month and began opening our hearts to each other in deep ways. I loved and appreciated Jenny’s passion for growing closer to God. She wanted God to speak to her, to lead her, and to use her. In fact, Jenny would want this very gathering to point to Jesus, not to herself.
As our friendship grew and as we would meet for coffee one-on-one, I so appreciated Jenny’s ability to speak the truth with love. As I would share a struggle, Jenny would listen carefully. And then she had a wonderful way of responding when some perception of mine was off track. She would give a little “hmmmm.” And then ask a perceptive question to help me think correctly. She gently exhorted me to godliness.
And she also prayed. She remembered my prayer requests and would follow up later, asking for an update. I knew she had prayed. She made me feel loved and cared for. That was how her powerful passion for God to be glorified, was lived out.
I’m really going to miss Jenny as my friend, encourager and inspiration. I don’t understand God’s plan but I trust Him. Though Jenny’s life seemed short to us, she was powerfully used by God. And I’ll always be grateful for her impact in my life.