Saturday, January 21, 2012

My Mentor, My Friend

I can’t really remember when I first met Sandy Wezowicz. I was in high school when she was attending the same church my father attended, a church he probably attended sporadically at that time, but one whose members rallied around him when he was in crisis, and who led him to Christ. Three years later, at age 19, I also came to believe that God was real and that I could have a relationship with Him.

In the months before my conversion, my parents took me to Full Gospel Businessmen and Women Aglow meetings where people gave their stories (“testimonies”) of how they came to recognize that God was a living God who sent his Son to live with us, and die for us. As a lover of stories, the fact that these people were talking about miracles and matter-of-factly about Jesus as if He was living and breathing, gripped me. As a child, I had prayed to God and loved the Old Testament stories I learned at my dad’s church. But now, God’s love and forgiveness made everything real and different for me, including my life goals.

Sandy Wezowicz was a young leader in the local chapter of Aglow. My mom was a member (and still is) and introduced me again to Sandy and several other women who would become influential in my growth and nurture as a young Christian. But Sandy stood out to me. I was a sophomore in college, she was a former elementary school teacher, married and the mother of a young child--one would think I really did not have much in common with her. But she always spoke with me as if I mattered. She was smart, funny, self-deprecating, and was so open about her deep love for God. I was more closed off in my talking about my faith, but she was a great model and teacher for me in the ensuing years in helping me grow in study of the Bible, prayer and expressing my love for God in worship.

Sandy took me where I was at, and her influence remains today. She understood my stress in college. She was the person I called when I was having a crisis with being overworked in college and wanting to drop an honors course. When I had to write a profile of a person of faith for a class in religion, I chose her. She gently challenged me about a relationship I was in with a man who did not share my faith--she cared enough about my future to risk our friendship. Sandy believed in me probably before I believed in myself--she mentored me in leadership roles in Aglow and encouraged me when I became a mother. She and her husband Rick were actively supportive of my husband’s decision to enter seminary and become a pastor.

Sandy is “real.” She is unpretentious, and we don’t agree on everything (how boring would that be!). She is also a busy person--she has a national position in Aglow, she travels frequently and is a devoted grandmother to five grandchildren. Yet when I am with her, I feel like the only person in the room, and I am sure others feel the same way. This is a woman who is a spiritual mother to many. She exudes Christ’s affection and joy, and I know I would not be the same person without her early and continuing influence.


Linda Maynard said...

This is touching and again reiterates, for me, just how much influence, we can have on another person.
I am in a church right now, where there are many young women...single and mothers as well...that I long to encourage in the faith and speak into their lives.
I remember, a while back, when I was attending this church but only "on the fringes"...I was driving to church and said something like
" Lord, I just don't know where I belong( in a church)" I was kind of low.
A young woman stopped me, before the service that day, and said " I just want you to know how much I appreciate you. The young women in this church need your wisdom and experience. We need mature women"

"OK LORD!...You gave me my answer!" *smile*

Also, I noted that, you were challenged, by Sandy, about the relationship you were in. That speaks to me,in that sometimes it is hard to speak the truth, but the risk is worth it.
Good blog, Kerry

Joyce Lighari said...

Nice tribute to Sandy

Theresa Foley said...

Sandy Wezowicz shared the gospel with me shortly after I graduated from high school in 1981. Thank you, Sandy, for your obedience to the Lord. The last time I saw Sandy was at my dad's funeral a few years ago. Sandy will always hold a special place in my heart.

Kerry Luddy said...

Treefoley, thank you for sharing Sandy's impact on your life. She has such a gift for sharing the Gospel.
Linda, we are so often unaware of how we are impacting people; I love when God reveals how he has been working through us--that is a treasure to cherish!