Today I received a letter from the Executors who have been called to action by the passing of Elizabeth Shaxted, a friend of mine of just over forty-four years standing. We first met when I lived in the flat below hers in Bath, back at the end of 1964, and became good friends very easily, despite the age difference, although that seems to be of less and less relevance the older you get.
I remember going to see her after a gap of about two years, only to discover that she had become a Christian in the meantime. At that stage of my life, which was around the beginning of September 1969, I had not yet handed my life over to Christ. In fact, it would be true to say that it was the farthest thing from my mind! I had been unwell and away from work for almost a year, and I had been invited to stay with a friend of mine who lived about fifteen minutes away from Elizabeth, so it was not long before I went along to refresh our friendship and catch up over a cup of tea.
Despite all my efforts to the contrary, I ended up taking Elizabeth and a couple more of her friends to a meeting at The Friend's Meeting house, where I heard the evangelist Peter Scothern address the congregation. It was at that meeting that I handed my life over to Jesus Christ, and I have never regretted it for a moment. That was September 9th 1969, and for the past thirty-nine years I have walked with Jesus as my guide. And what a wonderful walk that it has been. I hope that it will continue for many years to come!
Throughout the years, no matter where I was in the world, Elizabeth kept in touch with me, and, of special and privileged importance, she prayed regularly for me. From those far-off days in 1969 when she first prayed for my salvation and was instrumental in leading me to the Lord Jesus, she held me in prayer. Now that's what I call friendship!
She passed to be with her Lord on Good Friday, 21st March, and though her passing creates a sense of sadness in me, the sense of her going to be with the Lord to whom she has lived so faithfully for so long is far greater, and so I am joyful for her as well.
Proud of her Welsh roots, and often a little flamboyant in her manner, Elizabeth made my life brighter for having known her. The picture at the top of this post is a tribute to her memory.