“But My servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit and has followed Me fully…” (Numbers 14:24).
My friend Jane died this week, succumbing to cancer. She was quite a woman. In fact, she was a woman of God. Like Caleb, Janie possessed a “different spirit.” In other words, she stood out from the crowd due to the strength of her character and the passion of her faith.
I met Janie when I arrived at Bryan College in August of 1988. She was the wife of the dean of students–a man who would befriend me and keep his eye on me during my first year in Dayton. While I appreciated Paul’s ministry to me, I marveled at his wife. Janie was one of the most encouraging people I had ever met. I struggle to remember a time when I interacted with her when she did not say something to build me up. In every conversation, my friend–with genuine love in her eyes–said something nice, teaching me by both example and words that people matter. Her faith in Jesus–even in her suffering–poured over into the lives of others.
Beloved, these words of praise are not the empty platitudes often heard in funeral homes. You know what I mean. The dearly departed are almost deified. Sometimes the contrast between memory and reality is stark!
Well–Janie was indeed “the real deal.” Because of her different spirit, she made a real difference. And that is what I want people to say about me when I am gone. I may not be Jane. But I can bless others through my words. I can be on a mission to encourage.
If you knew Janie, join with me today in being a bit more like her! Perhaps that’s the best way to remember her–by “paying it forward”!
Below is part of Janie’s obit. You will get a flavor of her life and clearly see that her life was anything but hers!
EVENSVILLE Jane Ann Brown Ardelean went home to be with her Lord and Savior on Sunday, July 2, 2012. Jane was born in Oliver Springs, Tenn., on Dec. 18, 1935 to Martin Ernest Brown and Mabel Jackson Brown. She grew up in Pontiac, Mich., and graduated from Eastern Michigan University and earned a Masters from Tennessee Tech. In January, 1957, she married Paul Harold Ardelean and they moved to Hawaii for two years before returning to Michigan.In 1968, they moved to Brazil where they were missionaries with Wycliffe Bible Translators and then with the American School of Brasilia. Jane was a school teacher and spent the last 14 years of her career at Rhea Central Elementary School and Dayton City School. Jane served as a deaconess at Grace Bible Church in Dayton, Tenn., and was also involved with Moms for Moms and on the board of Rhea County Academy.