Greater love has no one than this.
Greater love has no one than this.
Written by Mandy Harvey | 2.7.2019
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13
This past Monday marked the one year anniversary of the passing of one of the most precious souls I have had the privilege of knowing. I met Emily Hall at church over a decade ago. We sang together on the worship team, but she quickly became so much more to me and to my family. It wasn’t until I began to explore the gaping hole left in my heart after her passing, though, did I see just how much she gave.
When I look back over the course of this past decade in pictures, she is present, usually serving in some capacity. As I reflected on all the ways specifically, I saw how often she stepped in and offered to come to take care of my young kids because she saw that I needed some help or that my husband and I needed some time. She was there packing boxes when we moved.
When I began my homeschool journey with my kids, she offered to organize my homeschool room because, well, she saw that I needed help (I can still feel the awe I felt that day when she pulled out her own label maker…who has one of those?). She was so incredibly organized. She knew my schedule better than I did…she knew everyone’s schedule. She was intuitive emotionally as well.
One of the most precious pictures of the two of us I have is from a women’s retreat. She saw me wrestling with something and came and sat with me and began to pray for me. I didn’t ask. I never asked. I never had to. She just saw needs and selflessly entered in.
She was also just my friend. She was usually always up for a night in with our crazy family, even if all we could offer was frozen pizza and a movie we had all seen a hundred times. She felt like family. And she loved music. As I said we met on the worship team and one of our favorite past times, especially with my musicican husband, was impromptu worship. If we sat there long enough, on more than one occasion we found a way to work in a Tom Petty song or two.
As I write all of this, I know that I am just one voice of many. The ways she saw and served my family and me was the way she saw others and served them. It was just who she was. It was the heart of Jesus in her. Laying down your life for your friends doesn’t always mean dying. It means living for others. Emily had no husband or children of her own to serve. She could’ve done anything she wanted with her time and her resources. But over and over I witnessed and was the recipient of her selfless acts of friendship and love.
When I thought about the life she lived, what I realized that her greatest gift was love. Love does not think about itself first. Love hopes. Love sees what is best about others. Love gives when there is no guarantee of getting in return. She did all of this with no need of praise, recognition, or guarantee of repayment. In a time in the church when you hear a lot about discipleship and being a disciple and reaching a broken world, I feel Emily embodied this description Jesus gave of what His disciples truly looked like.
The night before Jesus died, he spent his last precious hours with his friends and He said to them, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35
I miss Emily. I miss her quiet, presentness. I miss her love. But she is with the One whom her soul loves. She worships face to face. And more than honoring her with these words, I want to honor her by the way I love others. I can think of no greater legacy to leave than that of loving like Jesus. I am thankful to have known you, Em. See you later friend.
If you would like to make a gift to Coram Deo Academy in honor of Miss Emily Hall, please use this link.