Summary: Funeral service for a young woman who died unexpectedly. She had been very involved in the church earlier in her life but had drifted from the church as of late.

Valencia Nicholson Simmons

In the year of 1959 , America and Russia had its eyes focused toward the heavens in that the Russians had launched Sputnik into space two years earlier and the Americans were far behind in the space race. Meanwhile in heaven, God was looking down, and though the race for space was important to many, it was not all consuming for God. You see God was busy concentrating on sending a gift down to earth.

Every now and then God decides to add a little something extra special to the family of humanity and wraps it up in a little package that we know as a little girl. This little girl was called Valencia Simmons and on May 28th, 1959, the world received her through the lives of Lloyd and Bernice Simmons. Little did they know what bundle of imagination they were holding in their arms.

Valencia entered this world and became , a daughter, a sister, a mother, an aunt, a cousin, a friend, an entertainer, a computer programmer, a neighborhood mom, a co worker, a poet, a tap dancer, and a child of God. She has made the journey from the heavens to the earth and back to the heavens once again.

It’s never easy saying goodbye to someone we love and care about. No doubt for you as a family, this is a double blow having lost your father, husband and grandfather at the start of this year. But God shares in your suffering and grief in that the Lord knows the loss that you feel. Jesus Himself cried with Mary and Martha in the loss of their brother.

But at the same time God gives a special hope in moments like these for God is our refuge and our strength, a very present help in time of trouble. Jesus also said, “let not your heart be troubled, for you believe in God, then believe also in me.”

Some ask “if God is loving, why is there death.” I see it as, because God is loving there is death. Can you imagine what a burden it would be to have to live life forever in the way we know it here on earth?

What it would be like to forever have pain in our bodies, unforgiveness in our hearts, and bitterness in our soul, or to be stuck at the bottom of poverty forever. God has seen all the evil, and the madness, and the pain that goes on in the world, and God has determined that at some point this must stop. That point is death.

We want to think that all of us are entitled to a certain number of days, weeks, months and years. We all expect to die of old age. We expect children to bury their parents and not the other way around. This makes Valencia’s death even more difficult to bear. But there is no such entitlement to a specific number of days found in the Bible. The Bible encourages us in Psalm 90:12 (NIV) Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. The message of the Bible is that death is always close at hand, walking by us like a constant companion.

Some of us are alive today, simply because of God’s grace and God’s mercy. We know we were in some situations, some accidents, some places, and we were doing some things that should have taken us out of this world, but God had other plans for our lives. God is the only reason we are still alive to tell about what almost happened.

Did you know that the Bible teaches that while you were in your mother’s womb, God had something special in mind for you? Did you know that most of us, never get around to discovering just how precious we are in the eyes of God? We’re not precious because we’re so good. We’re precious because of what God knows that He can make of us. For all of us were made in the image of God. But not all of us discover the benefits that come from being made in God’s image.

When God sent Valencia into the world, He sent the world a gift. Valencia had an imagination that could envelope you in the stories that she could tell. As a child, her imagination led her into all kinds of trouble. She and David her brother were the ones who got the most whippings, usually stemming out of some creative plan of Valencia.

Valencia was a born leader. She was very bright and intelligent. Like many leaders, she had her own way of getting things done. Whereas some would call it determination, her father called it belligerent. She would have been a wealthy woman if she had $10 for ever time he called her belligerent as she was growing up. She was the kind of person who you had to prove something to for her to accept it.

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