My friend Lynne Drake died yesterday.
You may or may not have known her. I did. And it was an honour.
She was a slightly eclectic old woman. Ha Ha. She would laugh at that. And then argue that it wasn’t slightly.
But there was much depth to this often misjudged and misplaced Warrior Princess.
I suggest I may have the honour of conducting her funeral. But I want to talk about her to a wider audience.
She was so passionate to preach the gospel. She spent all her spare money travelling to remote places, like Malawi, to tell people she loved about a God she loved more. And when she came home she longed to go again. Seriously always lamenting that she didn’t have more money to travel.
When I was a single, 21yr old awkward, wanna be preacher, being the business manager of Lighthouse Christian Centre in 1990, Lynne somehow decided that I was worth investing into. When on the rare occasion I would preach at the Lighthouse….Lynne would offer to take me out for a coffee and help my preaching….I must have been so bad….but she saw something in me and wanted to help me find my preaching feet. I always took her up on the offer. She was so gracious. I have to say…..her belief in me and encouragement was like super oxygen to me and my ministry. I do what I do today because of Lynne.
And as time passed I saw things slowly change. I went from being the student to peer. Ministry Peer. We were both in ministry together…..and I had the opportunity to encourage her in her ministry. And if I can be super honest…. few championed her. And I loved that I did. And as I think of her now…..I love that I was I super encourager to her. I have no regrets. She knew what I thought of her.
However, she was often misjudged and misplaced. She was a strong, opinionated woman that made many uncomfortable because she challenged some church norms. Thanks Lynne for being you.
And then there was her hubby Mal…..crazy truck driver who used to drive the Lighthouse Christian Centre Tent Crusade Truck. A complete Aussie tough guy….but you could always see his love for his wife Lynne. They were an amazing team. And the words ‘weird and eclectic’ come to mind again….but this unusual team worked. And it worked for a long time. I am not sure how long Lynne and Mal were married for, but it was ‘until death do us part’. Mal died of cancer about 15 years ago. I walked with Lynne as she grieved. I walked with Lynne as she stoically carried on. I loved that I just walked with Lynne. She was a close friend.
Lynne, due to you always being upbeat and your positive faith expectation…..I never got to say good bye. The last time we talked, you were talking about a positive hope and something about the Docs and going back onto treatment. I was driving on the M1 on the Gold Coast driving under the Hope Island Exit Bridge….It’s so vivid.
So here is my good bye…
Lynne, you believed in me as an awkward 21-year-old preacher who was trying to find his ministry gift. You were one of the first who thought I was worth investing in. I loved the coffees in the weird Rose Café in the even weirder Piccadilly Centre, just a close walk from the Lighthouse Christian Centre. I loved your constructive feedback. I so respected your comments. And then I changed my preaching accordingly. Now I preach around the world…..And in no small part, it’s because of your coaching and mentoring. I am who I am in ministry because you believed in me.
Thank you Lynne.
So this is goodbye….but only for a season. I have every confidence that yesterday you heard the most amazing words…..Well done good and faithful servant.
And you made me cry…..few do that.