Each Moment Has Purpose: Celebrating International Women's Day

On Sandra Waters’ refrigerator there’s a handmade card with a photo that smiles back at her every time she looks at it.

It’s a picture of her and her friend Carolyn Suyderhoud, and it says, “Ain’t we a pair? Good friends since 1993! Hope it never ends.”

But it ended much sooner than anyone could’ve imagined, at least the chapter here on earth. Suyderhoud passed away suddenly and unexpectedly in 2015.

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“Carolyn — or ‘Caroline in the morning,’ as we called her — was a brilliant gem,” Sandra said.

For 22 years, Carolyn, Sandra, and their husbands — both named Richard — shared in friendship and ministry together at Cedar Grove Baptist Church in Warsaw, Missouri. Over many a plate of Mexican food, the group listened to Carolyn share her heart for people — especially children and the terminally ill.

“She had a quiet disposition, yet her dedicated, selfless, and humble service spoke louder than words could ever express,” Sandra said. “Although she is now with the Lord, the lives she touched through the work she did lives on.”

Carolyn had a doctorate in biblical theology, and she felt like her theology had practical application.

“She was passionate about studying the Bible and learning more herself so she could share it,” Sandra said. “She studied tirelessly and used her knowledge to share Christ’s love with other people. She was a giver — very compassionate, very caring and giving.”

Carolyn was a chaplain for a local hospice and volunteered as a grief counselor. She also served on the boards of the Missouri Baptist Children’s Home and LIGHT Ministries, which provided maternity care and adoption services for young mothers.

It’s a legacy worth honoring, Sandra said. That’s why she’s wearing her “For Such a Time as This” T-shirt in Carolyn’s honor on International Women’s Day on March 8.

“I can’t think of a better person to honor with that shirt than her,” she said. “Her actions spoke volumes. It is an honor and a privilege to wear it in her memory.”

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That’s why Sandra kept the card on her refrigerator, too — to remind her of her friend and the way she lived as though every minute of her life had a divine purpose.

“Those beautiful handmade cards were a part of who she was and how she loved people. She loved making cards like that,” Sandra said. “She made them for friends and family members at birthdays, Christmas, all the holidays.”

She also made them for hospice patients and for the women at the Cedar Grove Ladies Outreach Group, a ministry she helped start in 1992 to find ways to assist people in need.

“Carolyn was a wonderful role model who reflected the light of Jesus wherever she went,” Sandra said. “She was motivated and determined to get the job done.”

And after Carolyn passed away, her husband found a whole stack of handmade cards in her craft room ready to be delivered to hospice patients.

“It’s one way her ministry lives on, in the cards that so many people still keep,” Sandra said. “She loved and served the Lord with gladness. I’m better because I knew her.”

Sandra is wearing a “For Such a Time as This” T-shirt made by the Begin Anew refugee artisan group. The $2,585 raised from these T-shirts supports women receiving job and life-skills training at Christian Women’s Job Corps sites through the Dove Endowment for CWJC.

Partner with us to support women as they work towards a better future in Christ by making a gift to the Dove Endowment for CWJC. The Dove Endowment supports Christian Women’s Job Corps by providing scholarships to participants, program development grants for sites, and a grant for Dove Award recipient.

Written by Grace Thornton.