I’m having trouble wrapping my mind around this reality, but Janice Foster is with the Lord. Don’t get me wrong: my heart is thrilled by the thought of Janice meeting Jesus face-to-face; it’s just that I can’t imagine not reading another of her prayer updates, or seeing her smiling face in one of the hallways here at First Baptist Paducah.
Since I will be on the mission field on the other side of the globe Saturday, and unable to preach Janice’s funeral sermon, I wanted to devote my blog space today to honoring this amazing lady and devoted servant of Christ. As I write, I am both brokenhearted and overjoyed at the same time. I was not ready to say goodbye. It was way, way too soon for me. Perhaps you know exactly how I feel.
A strong and godly woman is not created by a formula or by a prescription, but by a mighty working of the Holy Spirit! Such was Janice. Janice reminded me of Deborah, the godly judge of Israel (see Judges 4 and 5). Both women were strategic leaders with stellar judgment. Deborah not only prophesied God’s Word, and performed the functions of her office according to God’s Word, but she even sang God’s Word. The Bible seems to be making a point: Deborah was a conduit of God’s blessing, wherever and however she served because Deborah belonged to God.
Quite beautifully similarly, Janice belonged to God. Every member of her family knew it. Her fellow teachers, and her former students, knew it. Our entire community knew it. For Janice, her commitment to the gospel was her life. She was who she was, and who she was was in Christ.
Much like Deborah, Janice was regal, valiant, and wise. Have you ever seen anyone face such serious health challenges with as much courageous optimism? Have you ever known anyone more capable of convincing you that the glass was half-full, instead of half-empty? Have you ever been more routinely blessed by the enduring friendship of anyone more faithful than Janice?
And here’s another amazing observation about our one-of-a-kind Janice: if you wanted a truthful answer to your question, Janice was your go-to comrade. There would be no spin or fanfare, but you would get the truth. I don’t have to tell you that truth is a priceless commodity these days, and I can’t begin to verbalize to you how much I’m going to miss that breath of fresh air.
Not only that, but Janice expressed the truth in love. She was as bighearted as she was brave-hearted. I will never forget Janice and Lynn waiting and praying with me while Eileen underwent a major surgery. Whether she was arranging flowers with artistry, serving a lonely neighbor in need, or orchestrating a large-scale event with excellence, Janice loved people. In that sense, Janice not only resembled Deborah, but she resembled Christ (John 1:14). Whether Janice was on or off the tennis court, the beauty and grace of her uncommon life preached a single message: LOVE-ALL.
Janice is now with Jesus. And, like our Savior, Janice is alive and well. We will see her again soon. For the treasured gift to us that was our dear sister, Janice Housman Foster, we give God thanks and praise. Into Your trustworthy hands, O Lord, we commit her spirit.