This blog post will develop with time. I want you to hear about another amazing friend of mine who died this year on 17th April after an amazing battle with cancer. I want to tell you all about her, and share what she did for her friends.
Fiona MacKinnon passed away peacefully at home this morning at 1.30am. Now at rest.
It’s nearly 9 years since I lost a great friend. We had so little time together but we had tears and laughter. I’d like to share the booklet that I made after her funeral and I hope some of you find it useful.
[JANET’S BEAUTIFUL WITNESS]
A Beautiful Life led following her Creator. Let us all gain something from her witness and make her legacy count. Extracts from “Her Wonderful Celebration” and other things there wasn’t time to include.
11 For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Why This Memorial Booklet?
This post is not meant to be macabre. It was collated because many of you couldn’t make the funeral, some of her friends don’t have Facebook, and some only know part of some of her stories. This booklet could be massive including everything about her life, but it is drawn from material that I have access too, so might be a little biased and quite brief. You can always add your own comments in the comment box below as you fill fit.
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Janet’s Order of Service
25th October 2012
Janet Anne Robertson
(1962 – 2012)
ST. ANDREW’S PARISH CHURCH, MOFFAT
Janet’s Wonderful Celebration
“For surely I know the plans I have for you says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm you a future with hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
Janet is buried in Moffat Cemetery near the centre bush and bench.
Janet’s Early Life -Taken from material collated by John Macleod
Janet was the daughter of Gordon and Elizabeth Robertson, born in Hamilton January 1962. Whilst Alan was the eldest of the family, she was the oldest of the girls, sisters Rona and Sylvia being born after her. Elizabeth, her Mum, talks about watching her going off to St. John’s Primary School in Hamilton, a Mary Poppins figure running down the road. Full of vitality. She was always a keen and conscientious pupil both in the Primary & subsequently in Hamilton Grammar. In 1980 she was Dux of the School, the highest academic award. In the same year, her fellow pupils elected her Deputy Head Girl so she possessed that rare combination of talents, outstanding academic ability (for she also won a scholarship to Glasgow University) and popularity amongst her peers and I’ve no doubt that that was because of who she was, rather than any political skill at drumming up support.
Her exulting in the life she had was reflected so often in what she did. She used to play netball and hockey at school, she broke the school record in the long jump, she won the Junior Sports Prize, she ran for the County – & Lanarkshire is a big, populous county so she must have been good. She used to ski and as well, she was a dinghy and an off shore sailor.
Yet despite this list of accomplishments, to meet her was to know the natural modesty, unforced and easy, that was part of her character.
She studied medicine at Glasgow and in doing so, she followed something of a family tradition – her grandfather, who came from New Zealand, was a doctor, as were four of her uncles. Interestingly enough, that same grandfather had also been a missionary in India, where Gordon, her dad, was born, and so that strand of her life which reflected her desire to serve God, also ran in the family. Her desire to study medicine and become a doctor arose not just from family tradition, but from her own strong interest in people and her desire to help them, to serve others.
Janet’s training for General Practice was served out as a junior hospital doctor in the Royal Alexandra in Paisley, in Monklands, in Nuneaton where she did obstetrics and in New Zealand where she did Paediatrics. After a year in a General Practice in Stewarton, she did some locum work in Falkirk, Fort William and other places and in 2000 she joined the Medical Practice here in Moffat in partnership with her brother in law, Richard Crosby, and with Rory & Shona Gillies.
During these years she did other things too. Between her 2nd & 3rd years at university, she spent two months in a hospital in Kathmandu, treating people with leprosy. Three or four days ago, Sylvia, wife of my brother Norman, was going through some old Guild Minutes for St. Andrew’s Church in Hamilton & she came across the following entry dated 9th January 1986:
“The speaker was Dr. Janet Robertson, who looked too young to be a doctor, and she gave us a good insight into leprosy. She has spent some time in Nepal working there in the hospital and villages.”
And the entry went on:
“ She comes from a long line of doctors and she visited a hospital near Kathmandu where her grandfather had worked for 5 years and is still remembered; in fact, (it concluded) had he not returned to Hamilton to practice, we would not be listening to his granddaughter!”
Over time, she developed a strong connection with Malawi through working with the Scottish Bible Society and the Malawi Bible Society in charitable work and the distribution of materials. In addition, under the auspices of the Edinburgh Medical Missionary Society she did several sponsored bicycle rides in Malawi, raising £1,000 each time to assist with fund raising for a local hospital. In between times she did voluntary work in Glasgow as a Doctor with Interserve Scotland, the Christian Mission Agency.
The range of Janet’s activities was wide, but wherever she went, whatever she did, she made friends. And she always had time for her friends, virtually at any time of the day – or night – she might knock at the door “just passing through, thought I’d call by to see how you are…” —-she was a kindly and generous friend and as many of you will be able to vouch, in her relationships she always put the other person first, never herself. That was true for the children in her life as well, for her nieces, Anna and Mhairi, and her nephew Robbie, as well as the children of friends, to all of whom she was Auntie Janet. To her other talents, add this one, her ability to play with the children & bake cakes with them & join in their fun.; to be one with them.
A prayer we discovered and shared often
O High King of heaven,
Have mercy on our Land.
Revive your Church;
Send the Holy Spirit for the sake of the children.
May your kingdom come to our nation.
In Jesus’ mighty name.
Some important verses for Janet
Psalm 139: 1-10
For the director of music. Of David.
1 You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
5 You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
Psalm 103 11-14
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth
so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
13 As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
14 for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.
A psalm of David.
1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end.
Open up before God, keep nothing back; he’ll do whatever needs to be done: He’ll validate your life in the clear light of day and stamp you with approval at high noon.
For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.
2 Peter 3:18
But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.  Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
“Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven.
“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this:
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.  Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil.
He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me
Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight.
the Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God ; trust also in me.
The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”
(NIV) Psalm 55:22
Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.
(NIV) Psalm 56:3-4
When I am afraid, I will trust in you.  In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
Psalm 18:1,3-4,6,16,20 The Message
I love you, God—you make me strong. God is bedrock under my feet, the castle in which I live, my rescuing knight. My God—the high crag where I run for dear life, hiding behind the boulders, safe in the granite hideout. 3 I sing to God , the Praise-Lofty, and find myself safe and saved. 4 The hangman’s noose was tight at my throat; devil waters rushed over me. Hell’s ropes cinched me tight; death traps barred every exit. 6 A hostile world! I call to God , I cry to God to help me. From his palace he hears my call; my cry brings me right into his presence— a private audience! 16 But me he caught—reached all the way from sky to sea; he pulled me out of that ocean of hate, that enemy chaos, the void in which I was drowning. They hit me when I was down, but God stuck by me. He stood me up on a wide-open field; I stood there saved—surprised to be loved! 20 God made my life complete when I placed all the pieces before him. When I got my act together, he gave me a fresh start. Now I’m alert to God ‘s ways; I don’t take God for granted. Every day I review the ways he works; I try not to miss a trick. I feel put back together, and I’m watching my step. God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes.
Colossians 1:3-5 (NIV)
We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints— 5 the faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven and that you have already heard about in the word of truth, the gospel
The Geese Story
This story started as someone had given Janet a Celtic Goose card like the one above with a lovely verse marked on it.
HONK SOMEONE TODAY AND GIVE THEM WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT
“Look at the birds. They don’t need to plant or harvest or put food in barns because your heavenly Father feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than they are.” (Matthew 6:26)
Next autumn, when you see geese heading south for the winter, flying along in “V” formation, you might consider what science has discovered as to why they fly that way. As each bird flaps its wings, it creates an uplift for the bird immediately following. By flying in “V” formation, the whole flock adds at least 71 percent greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own.
In a church people who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going more quickly and easily because they are traveling on the thrust of one another.
When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to go it alone – and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird in front.
If we have as much sense as a goose, we will stay in formation with those people who are headed in the same direction as we are.
When the lead goose gets tired, it rotates back in the formation and another goose takes its place and flies point.
No church community should have only a few people doing all the work. It is sensible to take turns doing demanding jobs, whether with people or with geese flying south.
Geese honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.
In a church we should continually encourage one another rather than criticize and tear down.
Finally and this is most important – when a goose gets sick or is wounded and falls out of formation, two other geese fall out with that goose and follow it down to lend help and protection. They stay with the fallen goose until it is able to fly or until it dies, and only then do they launch out on their own, or with another formation to catch up with their group.
In a church we should surround the sick and wounded with love and care until they rebound and can in return do the same for others.
So honk …
words of encouragement to everyone you know to show that you are looking out for your neighbour.
The Kingfisher Story
Janet had been kept all up to date about our exciting plans to buy a boat. Over the summer 2011 we set off for a three week boating experience to move the boat so it could be brought to Scotland. Tom, then aged 12 was desperate to see a kingfisher and I prayed that he would. What was strange was the sense that I was given this prayer by God and felt confident that we would see this kingfisher. For three weeks we watched carefully and missed one and had a possible further sighting. Still I had no doubt that we would see one. It was in Scotland on the Union canal that we finally got to see one, but an extraordinary experience too. It was a privilege to share the moment with Janet, who was standing at the bow of the boat like some figurehead. The kingfisher flew passed and we quickly called Tom who was not watching. The kingfisher, a renowned shy bird turned and flew back pausing level with the boat as if to say “See aren’t I brilliant, God made me beautiful so you can enjoy God’s creation”
The Butterfly Women
Someone shared a dream with Janet about women who pursued intimacy with The Lord, like butterflies, taking time to be in the garden with God and leaving there refreshed and willing to do whatever the Lord asked them – wherever that might take them. The impact of these women’s lives on those around them was transformational. Janet felt that having time to just sit in the ‘garden’ with the Lord was something vitally needed to both refresh individuals and also to bless the heart of our heavenly Father. The first Butterfly Gathering took place in Richmond Park in London on Thursday 11 October and Janet had originally planned to be there but was too ill to travel, so, while we met in London and others met in Durban, South Africa, Janet spent time in the garden with the Lord in the Alexandra Unit. Other gatherings of Butterfly women are continuing and we will continue to pursue intimacy with The Lord and have our oil lamps full until He comes back or He takes us home and we will definitely be dancing with Janet.
The Rowan Tree
Janet saw a beautiful Rowan Tree when her dad was ill. It was laden with berries and she felt that this showed the promises of God that he promised to provide good things. Several times during her illness she got comfort from seeing Rowan trees laden in the same way. We planted a Rowan outside her new house, (although the deer seem to like it). Maybe you might want to plant one for her too. Janet was to name her new house, currently Hirstinlaw, ROWANBRAE
The sheep was a theme for us during the deterioration indicated by her scan results. There was a sense that we can do nothing and that we are to rely on God.
12 ‘What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? 13 And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off.
John 10 11
11 ‘I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
Something Janet and I were investigating together. We read and shared several passages in this way.
For 2000 years men and women from within the Christian traditions have experimented with different forms of meditation. Lectio Divina or ‘Sacred Reading’ is one form of meditation.
Nearly 2000 years ago people would retreat to lonely places to escape the stresses of daily life, from this Lectio Divina or ‘Sacred Reading’ was born. People have meditated this way ever since. Lectio Divina involved slowly reading a chosen text from the Bible and allowing the words to speak in new ways. There are four parts to a Lectio Divina exercise.
Reading (lectio) – Slowly begin reading a biblical passage as if it were a long awaited love letter addressed to you. Approach it reverentially and expectantly, in a way that savours each word and phrase. Read the passage until you hear a word or phrase that touches you, resonates, attracts or even disturbs you.
Reflecting (meditatio) – Ponder this word or phrase for a few minutes. Let it sink in slowly and deeply until you are resting in it. Listen for what the word or phrase is saying to you at this moment in your life, what it may be offering to you, what it may be demanding of you.
Expressing (oratio) – If you are a praying person, when you are ready, openly and honestly express to God the prayers that arise spontaneously within you from your experience of this word or phrase. These may be prayers of thanksgiving, petition, intercession, lament, or praise. If prayer is not part of your journey you could write down the thoughts that have come your way.
Resting (contemplatio) – Allow yourself to simply rest silently for a time in the stillness of your heart remaining open to the quiet fullness of God’s love and peace. This is like the silence of communion between the mother holding her sleeping infant child or between lovers whose communication with each other passes beyond words.
These four movements of Lectio Divina may not always follow a linear progression. Allow yourself freedom. The aim is to move into the depths of silence and stillness where we can hear the Word spoken to us in love and respond to this Word with our love and our life. This is a gentle invitation into a movement from silence into the Word and back into silence, dwelling there in the presence of God.
This is a form of meditation developed in the 16th century by the founder of the Jesuits, Ignatius of Loyola; Ignatian meditation makes creative use of our imagination through ‘visualization’. The practitioner is encouraged to imagine him or herself in a given situation – ‘as if you are there’. To ask yourself
What can I hear?
What can I see?
What can I smell?
What can I touch?
What can I taste?
Thoughts of a Friend (Jennie Hargreaves)
“Look at the birds. They don’t need to plant or harvest or put food in barns because your heavenly Father feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than they are.” (Matthew 6:26)
I can’t think of anyone here today who has not come with a sense of privilege at knowing Janet. So why was she such a privilege to know, I mean she was legendary for turning up for a cuppa unannounced, at all hours, something you’d usually consider an intrusion. I know each one of you had plenty of laughs – I laughed too and I’ve read your comments on FB. Janet was a privilege to know because of her beauty, not the beauty portrayed in the media, but the God given beauty of a life led doing what it was designed to do; serve its creator, trusting God and living in His goodness.
I can’t honestly say how we become friend. We had been in the same town for years. Suddenly we found that God put us together, to supporting each other in a time of need for each of us. Just after we met Janet went off to NZ. She came back having discovered a new lump, investigations showed the prognosis wasn’t good. Good, that is in our eyes; but what do we know? ….it is His plan that is important and God was in control.
You’ve heard the Chinese have “the year of the …” Janet has had her phases too, we’ve had the time of the geese, shooting stars, butterflies, kingfishers, sheep and Rowan trees. I’m sure many of you are part of these stories and I would love to recall them sometime but each one showed Janet the presence of God and how He was with her each step of her journey.
Janet came one to our house group Sunday morning with a real inner peace and tranquillity I never seen nor realised anyone could possess. On enquiry she’d received new test results that weren’t positive. Her comment which she has reiterated is “God is in control, he knows the plans and they were to be good. We felt the real sense of being sheep and we were to totally trust the shepherd who had our best interests as His priority.
When she found the going hard, God always sent her something to remind her of His power and protection. One tough day she’d asked for a sign to know God was in control. She stepped out of Auchnaccarry to view a shooting star; giving her back her inner peace and real faith.
What Janet wanted me to get across today is that God is the Great Provider. He doesn’t provide everything we want but everything we need: friendships to sustain and support us and promises from the Bible that are as relevant today as they were when they were written. God surrounds us with warmth and love and when things look bad from our perspective, His greater plan is being borne out, and it is better than anything we can imagine.
When I think of Janet I hope that I can be a little like her and have what she had, and we can. Her beauty came from re-radiating God’s love, unconditionally to those around her. As Christian we should be a beautiful people reflecting God’s love in our lives. Other people should see it, like you did in Janet. She took seriously the responsibility to reach out to others; building friendships that sustain others. Each of us has our own journey but we can see from Janet’s life that it should be a positive experience and when we are down we are never alone. We have nothing to fear, we don’t understand, just as Janet didn’t but when we have fully surrendered our life to God it will be just as He planned. When we do we will have that amazing peace which is such a witness to those around us.
If we are not a born again Christians who know Jesus is our Saviour, then we can have that life. It is not something that is only given to some people. It is offered to everyone and it is free. It is a life of peace and rest, a life knowing that death is not the end, but the beginning. What comes after is for eternity and Janet is now enjoying it. She herself described it saying; “I am going home, to the best place ever, which will just be so cool!”. As Janet said, Jesus has taken down the barrier that is death and walks us to the other side. How do we get what Janet had? All we have to do is pray for forgiveness and ask Jesus to be a part of our life and ask Him to be accompany us on our journey. Then we can have the beauty like Janet. And she really wanted you all to have that peace and fulfilment, more than you will ever know. During her illness one thing she felt strongly about sharing with everyone as a message from God; “You are passionately loved by the God of the Universe” She wanted you to know and feel that.
Janet wants to say this: Originally I was diagnosed with breast cancer ten years ago. Within five days of finding a small inconspicuous lump I met a lady, a stranger to me, at a friend’s party who felt God speaking to her about me as soon as I walked into the room. After speaking for a few minutes and not knowing anything about me she gave me some verses which have been a great source of inspiration and comfort to me in the days that have gone by. She quoted Jeremiah 29:11 which was For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope’ which is one of my favourite verses.
She then went on to Psalm 139 which is my favourites Psalm and then Psalm 103:5 which says. For he satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagles, and happened to be a verse I had written a few days previously on a birthday card albeit belatedly to another friend. So it all felt very much a God thing. She went on to tell me that God had a great adventure for me and was very positive and encouraging. At a time like this when I was unsure what the future held for me this was a great comfort and reassurance to me of my time being in God’s hands and of his love and provision for me, for this time and the days ahead
Ten years have gone by since them when I have seen Gods goodness to me in innumerable ways in wonderful provision so often and in hard times too. With lots of prayer for healing and then the disappointment of physical healing not becoming a reality in my life but the realisation that total healing will happen when I am in the presence of God and that being with Jesus in Heaven will bring freedom and completeness.
I am dictating this lying in a bed in the wonderful Alexandra unit where the care and provision for me is outstanding and the love surrounding me here exceptional.
When I was in Toronto years ago within a few months of my diagnosis, I had gone for prayer, one of the ladies who prayed with me said she saw me as if I was swimming across a lake and wondering if I would ever get to the other side as it was a tough swim but Jesus and his disciples were in a boat beside me cheering me on. She also said God would give me sustenance on the way and I was to keep feeding on Him and His Word. She assured me that I would get to the other side and there would be great rejoicing on the other shore. By the time you hear this I will be there and I am just sorry that you won’t be able to see this great rejoicing for yourselves, however I do think that I’ll be able to see what is happening here and although not with you in body will be with you in spirit free from pain, be able to breathe properly only own and able to sing and dance and laugh to my heart’s content. I’d like to thank you all so much for coming and may you all know God’s richest blessing on your lives both today and in the days ahead.
God bless you and thank you for being my friends and for all the support you have given me in the days gone by and for being with me on my journey
Janet (NB That lady was Libby Hammond “Libby of the Verses”.)
Extract of the Eulogy by John Macleod
You have the advantage of me. You all know Janet and, I daresay, have done so for many years – as family, all her life, of course, as friends and acquaintances for longer or shorter, depending on the circumstances. I met Janet for the first time a week ago last Monday, when I went in to visit her in the Alexandra Unit of the Royal Infirmary in Dumfries. I knew of her condition but somehow I did not expect to see her sitting up in bed, smiling, with her I-pad on her lap, in touch with the world. Or perhaps the world was in touch with her, because at the last count a few days ago there were 77 postings on her Facebook page. So I pulled up a chair, sat, and she told me about herself, about how she felt about her circumstances, and about what was going to happen to her, about her own funeral service.
There was an absolute clarity in her mind that her death was to be a moment of great rejoicing and happiness, because she was going home to be with her Lord Jesus & he was waiting to accompany her across the boundary between life in this world and life in the world to come. Death for her was to be the greatest adventure of her life because she was going to a place incomparably better and more beautiful than that which we who are left behind now inhabit. “My life is not being cut short”, she said, “it has just run its course and is now coming to its natural end.” She told me the story about the lady she met 10 years ago when she discovered that she had cancer, about the quotation from Jeremiah 29:11 which is on the cover of the Order of Service, about how God had a plan for her then and still had a plan for her “now”. And she told me that God has a plan for me too, that our meeting in that way in the hospital was not coincidence or chance, but it was part of God’s will – he brought me to her so that I could do something for her, and here I am today.
And she did something for me too. When I got home, I told my wife about meeting Janet, about the power and intensity of her faith in God – “It’s a gift, she said, that meeting with Janet is a gift from God to you. “ Well I think she was right, it was just that. And that’s a thought, isn’t it, that the meetings which we’ve all had with Janet have been gifts – her presence in the lives of all of us has been something special, remarkable, – a gift from God to each one of us, which none of us will ever forget. She glowed with spiritual energy and graciousness and love, love for people as well as life.
The range of Janet’s activities was wide, but wherever she went, whatever she did, she made friends. And she always had time for her friends, virtually at any time of the day – or night – she might knock at the door “just passing through, thought I’d call by to see how you are…” —-she was a kindly and generous friend and as many of you will be able to vouch, in her relationships she always put the other person first, never herself. That was true for the children in her life as well, for her nieces, Anna and Marie, and her nephew Robbie, as well as the children of friends, to all of whom she was Auntie Janet. To her other talents, add this one, her ability to play with the children & bake cakes with them & join in their fun. To be one with them.
For all of us, the time of the death of a loved one is always a difficult time, it moves us to think about the one who has gone, the things unsaid and undone, perhaps the things that were said too, sometimes in haste, the relationship we had with the deceased. So it is a time to forgive and be forgiven, for Janet and for those of us who are Christians, there is the sure and certain hope of the forgiveness of our sins and of our salvation to eternal life through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is the great hope and the great promise which is offered to all mankind and which gave Janet the confidence to say at the end, This is to be a day of celebration!
But it is also a day of grief and of broken hearts and of mourning. Your presence here today, as well as doing honour to the memory of Janet, also does honour to Janet’s family here, her Mum Elizabeth, brother Alan, sister Rona, sister Sylvia, brother in law Richard, nieces Anna, Marie & nephew Robbie. All of whom have borne themselves with great dignity through this difficult time. Your presence here supports them and gives them comfort & I ask you to keep them in your prayers and thoughts today and in the days to come.
Remember Janet, remember Janet well. Talk about her, share your stories of her, don’t be afraid to do so, talk about her life, and her wonderful faith, because she was a rare person on the earth, the unfailing giver of so much love and the entirely modest, unassuming, recipient of so much love. May she rest in peace and rise in glory in the presence of her beloved Lord Jesus.
A Message from Heaven
Janet’s legacy is great. This touched me when it arrived in my inbox from UCB just before the funeral.
23 Oct 2012
A Memo from Heaven Conquer evil by doing good. Romans 12:21 It’s easy to forget why God saved you, what He’s called you to do, and how you’re supposed to live. So here’s a memo from heaven: ‘Don’t just pretend that you love others: really love them. Hate what is wrong. Stand on the side of good. Love each other with brotherly affection and take delight in honouring each other. Never be lazy in your work but serve the Lord enthusiastically. Be glad for all God is planning for you. Be patient in trouble and prayerful always. When God’s children are in need, you be the one to help them out. If someone mistreats you, pray that God will bless him. When others are happy, be happy with them. If they are sad, share their sorrow. Work happily together. Don’t try to act big. Don’t try to get into the good graces of important people, but enjoy the company of ordinary folks. And don’t think you know it all! Never pay back evil for evil. Do things in such a way that everyone will see you are honest clear through. Don’t quarrel with anyone. Be at peace with everyone, just as much as possible, never avenge yourselves. Leave that to God, for He has said that He will repay those who deserve it. Instead, feed your enemy if he is hungry. If he is thirsty give him something to drink and you will be heaping coals of fire on his head. In other words, he will feel ashamed of himself for what he has done to you. Don’t let evil get the upper hand but conquer evil by doing good’ (v. 9-21 TLB).
…and so it continues
I asked God to show the children and I that Janet was OK up there. Remember all those phases she went through, sheep, butterflies, kingfishers, Rowans . The Rowan outside Janet’s house was covered in copper leaves, like the colour of her hair. When I got back a butterfly landed on my shoulder in the bedroom- at this time of year! The sheep had got out up by the Greenhill Stairs Road, we saw 1 king fisher on the way to Glasgow and a Deer quietly trying to hide in the bushes, today we have seen 4 kingfishers (I was greedy and even said “Please can I see one sitting on a branch- that was granted too), a fox, 2 deer curled up enjoying the peace. We go to bed too early but just check I am sure a shooting star will fall quite soon. I was reminded of all these verses from those things
Genesis 1: 20-21
1 As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.
20 Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
20 And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.” 21 So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
1 Praise the Lord, my soul. Lord my God, you are very great; you are clothed with splendor and majesty. 2 The Lord wraps himself in light as with a garment; he stretches out the heavens like a tent 3 and lays the beams of his upper chambers on their waters.He makes the clouds his chariot and rides on the wings of the wind.4 He makes winds his messengers, flames of fire his servants.
5 He set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved. 6 You covered it with the watery depths as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains. 7 But at your rebuke the waters fled, at the sound of your thunder they took to flight; 8 they flowed over the mountains, they went down into the valleys, to the place you assigned for them. 9 You set a boundary they cannot cross; never again will they cover the earth.
10 He makes springs pour water into the ravines; it flows between the mountains.
11 They give water to all the beasts of the field; the wild donkeys quench their thirst.
12 The birds of the sky nest by the waters; they sing among the branches.
13 He waters the mountains from his upper chambers; the land is satisfied by the fruit of his work.
14 He makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for people to cultivate— bringing forth food from the earth: 15 wine that gladdens human hearts, oil to make their faces shine, and bread that sustains their hearts. 16 The trees of the Lord are well watered, the cedars of Lebanon that he planted. 17 There the birds make their nests; the stork has its home in the junipers. 18 The high mountains belong to the wild goats; the crags are a refuge for the hyrax.
Lying in hospice bit of hospital, tired today, but comfortable. Very much a sense of Gods hand on my life for good thro all this and of Him taking me forward into a better future , where I can breathe easily and will be able to sing and dance and laugh to my hearts content . Very aware of gods goodness and provision for me in all that has gone by and will continue with me until I reach the other side where there will be a wonderful celebration and party and I will meet Jesus my saviour and god my heavenly father, where I will experience god s total healing and I will be truly whole. Love Janet
Morning Janet, your unbelievable- Still sending postcards from your travels on this adventure too. These ones can’t be put up on kitchen walls though. I’ve been recalling some of our adventures- Abernethy, blue skies and perfect snow, burnt pumpkin soup, teeth grinding and ‘pointy’ elbows, your friend the moon, scary lipstick and power dressing. Thanks for the memories. Holding you in my thoughts and prayers as you prepare for this next adventure to be embraced by our loving God.
Janet Robertson 27 October
Thank you to all Janet’s friends for prayers, texts and messages, letters and cards . The funeral celebration was wonderful – and many people said uplifting which is what Janet wanted it to be. They have also asked for this page to be kept open to keep the contact.
Amongst the many touching messages Rev David Mackay wrote
Janet was someone whose faith shone from her smile and reflected the warmth of her heart.
Pam Charleston Janet’s funeral was a beautiful celebration of her life but I still miss her so very much. Luv Pam. xx 29 October at 01:13
Judith Trewposted to Janet Robertson 27 October
Just been notified that ‘Janet is now friends with..’ Isn’t it a real tribute to her that even now, she is still bringing people together, people who will always treasure their time with her, and have fun sharing their memories of her… still she is working away at us!!
Karen Pa and so I’m now a facebook friend of yours, Judith, whch is lovely 27 October at 22:44
Anita Tallulah Bennie
Today was at the funeral of my sister Judith’s best friend Janet. It would be incorrect to say that I enjoyed it, as the death of someone special is a time for grief, mourning and reflection, but there was in the celebration of Janet’s life something very comforting, overwhelmingly joyous and incredibly affirming of the beauty of life. Janet was, and is, one of the most loving, giving, joyful people I have ever met. She glowed with life, and radiated love – for people and for life. The minister spoke of how every meeting with Janet was a gift from God, and I know this to be true. To open the door when she visited (usually unannounced and always as the kettle boiled) was to open the door to a sunlit, warm spring day, and she always left you feeling happy and peaceful. I shall never forget her ready smiles, giggle or laugh, her delight in the shooting stars, butterflies and other wonders of creation, her ability to find friends in the most unusual pf places, her taste for adventure, and the importance of “The God Stuff”. Janet had a true servant’s heart. She put others first and made them feel special; she was one of the most intelligent, talented and gifted people I have ever met, but was also the most unaffectedly modest and humble woman. Janet was and is beautiful. She will be greatly missed, but never ever forgotten. God Bless, Janet. xx
Robbie Crosby posted toJanet Robertson 24 October
Last post – funeral tomorrow (thursday 25 oct )at 12.30pm at st Andrews Moffat then moffat cemetery
Janets prayer written before she died
Should you hear that I am no longer here
Don’t be sad
I am just a bit further down the road out into the sunshine with Jesus
Free from pain, free from distress
Free from care and worry
Dancing, singing and laughing
Rejoicing as I go
Janet A Robertson 27 jan 1962- 18 oct 2012
Janet now “singing, dancing and laughing to her heart’s content” The Lord has blessed you and us and privilege to know you “passing through”
Ruth Duncan What a party in heaven, but what sadness in our hearts. Janet, you touched so many with your infectious joy. Happy that you are with your Heavenly Father but we will feel the loss keenly. Much love to your family and friends.
A privilege to have had you in my life. Can’t remember you without the smile , will miss you so much . God bless .
Janet’s nephew finding comfort from sleeping with Janet’s ice axe beside his bed! May God provide an “ice axe” for all Janet’s many friends to give them comfort and hope.
Pam Charleston I pray that the Lord will bring comfort and a peace that passess all understanding to all Janet’s family and friends at this very sad time. I miss Janet so much, a life time for her was no time at all. I count my Blessings for all our years of true friendship, love and caring for each other. God took His Angel home and who am I to question that ? Its just so hard to imaging life without her. I just miss her so very much. Miss you Janet. Luv you loads, miss you forever. Pam. xxxx
Patricia Mayuni Janet my friend, My husbands friend, My childrens friend, my housekeepers friend. When in our house Janet made friends with everyone of us. she ate our food loved it, she didnt mind where we made her sleep she never lost her smile. When I visit Scotland Janet looked after me and my friends with that motherly love and care, making sure I and my friends are warm enough, making sure we know where to get some good Items, fetching me from the train station late at nite. There so muchto remember this sweet lady! I wish I was there to say good bye sweet Janet! See you at his feet!
Karen Pa finding her facebook page a comfort at the moment so thankyou for updating it xx
20 October at 22:18 ·
Patricia Mayuni I thank God my friend Liveness Banda will represent us at the funeral on Thursday. Condolences to the Robertsons may the good Lord comfort you all!
Colossians 1:9-14 (NIV)
For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. 10 And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins
David Mackay wrote “Janet was someone whose faith shone from her smile reflecting the warmth of her heart.”
Goodbye Janet and thank you for allowing us to be part of your journey.