Heart Choices: The Impact of a Life ~ Remembering Georgia -->

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The Impact of a Life ~ Remembering Georgia

It's with much sadness that I write this post about my friend. Georgia had been sick for some time and on Wednesday she died.

Although I will miss her, it's comforting to know that she's no longer in pain and can breathe easy. And I am so grateful for the impact that Georgia had on my life.

Sometimes people don't realize that a seemingly small act can have a ripple effect. This is what happened with Georgia.

I met Georgia about 16 years ago while I was working as a nurse in a cardiology practice. We bonded quickly as we discovered that we were both born with the same congenital heart defect. The difference was that mine was discovered when I was a child. Open heart surgery was performed to correct the defect early enough before any irreversible changes occurred within my heart. I was able to lead a normal active lifestyle.

But Georgia wasn't so fortunate. Her heart problem wasn't identified until after she was an adult and so the changes in her heart were much more challenging. She had surgery but the results weren't as good as had been hoped. She was evaluated at several medical centers and given experimental medications but eventually had to realistically acknowledge that her time was limited along with her activities.

I owe Georgia a debt of gratitude. She knew that I had begun to read my Bible and encouraged me to begin to attend Bible Study Fellowship. I had never even heard of this worldwide organization but Georgia thought this was the training that I needed to learn. She kept talking about homiletics and at that time, I didn't understand what she was talking about. But the very first time I attended, Georgia was sitting right beside me. And I was hooked. I had been so hungry to learn and this was just what I needed. Georgia was so right!

I think about all of the blessings I would have missed if Georgia hadn't taken the time to reach out and invite me to BSF.

I had the wonderful opportunity to become a children's leader for almost 8 years. Since I was unable to have children of my own, this was very special for me. The first time I told the children the Bible story, they ran up and gave me a big group hug. I remember feeling God's love like never before as I felt Him whisper that He never forgot my desire for children. And what better privilege than sharing God's Word with the little ones? It brings tears to my eyes when I think about that.

I met so many of my lifelong friends at BSF. If you click on the link to BSF, there's a short video in the lower left corner titled "Experience a class". The teaching leader of that men's class is my friend Todd and he is my good friend Jamie's husband.

Although this family has since moved to San Antonio, we continue to remain good friends. I initially met them through their daughter Ellie, when I was her BSF children's leader. She was only two years old when she was in my class. Ellie is now 10 years old and very smart and mature. And she still attends BSF in Texas.

I think of my special group of 12 women. For several years now, we get together once a month for lunch, laughter and prayer. I met each one of these women in BSF. All of us at one point were in leadership. And a few continue to serve as teaching leaders or discussion leaders. These women are friends for life. We hold each other up when we're going through the challenges of life and we laugh through good times. Through it all, we pray for one another. And because of Georgia, I had the opportunity to be mentored by Susie, a woman I greatly admire.

If you ever feel like you can't make a difference ... remember Georgia. Here was a woman who had previously taught Bible studies but had to adapt to a more sedentary life. But in the midst of her challenging circumstances, she chose to be content. And I believe she was greatly used of God. Georgia was a prayer warrior for so many people. She and her prayer partner Lori continued to meet on a weekly basis.

Psalm 116:15 says "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints."

Georgia, I'm so glad to have the assurance that you're being welcomed into our Lord's arms. And one day I will see you again. Thank you for the gift of your precious friendship.

Debbie Petras
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  1. Oh Debbie I am sorry this happened right around Christmas, but WHAT a Christmas Georgia is having. When I lost my two mentors it was like taking a piece of my heart out (forever). Not a day goes by that I don't miss their wisdom and guidance in my life.

    Sending you a hug.

  2. Debbie,

    I echo Laurel's sentiments. I am sorry for your loss but can't help but think of Georgia's homecoming and the Christmas she is having.

    I wish you the merriest Christmas, my sweet friend.

    God bless you!

  3. I am sorry for your loss, Georgia was special. She is with the Father and free from illness, that is such an awesome promise and reality. I am so glad you belong to such a wonderful fellowship of friends. Have a Merry Christmas Debbie, I love ya!

  4. I'm sorry for your loss but am glad you are comforted she is in Heaven. God bless you.

  5. What an inspiring testimony. Thank you for sharing it. It is amazing how God brings people into our lives just when we need them.
    Have a wonderful Christmas.

  6. My thoughts are with you.

    God jul

  7. So sorry about your dear friend. She obviously impacted your life in profound ways. How wonderful.

    Peace and comfort to you this Christmas, even in the midst of grief.


  8. I had heard you talk about Georgia. You told me that Georgia had told you about BSF and invited you to join. After you told me about BSF, I joined and invited my sister Barbara to join. Both of us have finished the seven years. It was because of Georgia's invitaion to you, that all of us got involved. She impacted many lives.


  9. Hi Debbie. I'm sorry to hear about your friend Georgia. I'm with Debra -- Imagine her FIRST Christmas in heaven! She is whole, strong, full of everlasting life!

    I have never gone to BSF though I have heard about it for years. My schedule never allowed me to make the commitment required. I'm so glad Georgia reached out to you and now you'll reach many others. God is so good.

    God bless you and Merry Christmas.

  10. Wow, Debbie. What a wonderful tribute to Georgia. I have participated in BSF twice and know what a difference it made in my life. But I'm struck by the way Georgia influenced your life, really inspiring.

  11. Thank you for all your kind words. I think there's a lesson to be learned from Georgia.

    Bloom where God plants you. It doesn't matter if you're not in a highly visible position. Live each moment in obedience and He will use you for His purposes. I know that He used Georgia in my life and I'm so thankful.

  12. Wow! Thanks a lot for the very inspiring story:) Georgia may have gone but she surely have built a great foundation unto your heart in a very simple and yet immeasurable way:)
    have a blessed Christmas and keep on sharing wonderful posts... God Bless you & your family!

  13. Many times you have shared with me about Georgia - I was so glad to see her pic. in your post. What a beautiful tribute to this remarkable woman. You surely were blessed to have known her, but I just have to believe that if she had the opportunity to respond, she would tell us that she too was blessed, to have known you.


I love to read your comments! I know you have something to share so join in the conversation. And thank you for taking the time.

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