Our lives are forever changed because of Linda Oltman

Linda at St. Helens (2)Today we are celebrating our sister Linda who arrived in heaven yesterday and found the answer to her lifelong prayer, “Be Thou My Vision.” We’re certain our Savior gathered her into his loving embrace and invited her to work and play in His Gardens of Glory.

Her artistic insights help us to see…

Linda’s amazing skill as an artist drew on the vitality and beauty of every part of God’s creation, but then went on to add her own soulful, unique interpretation as a Chief Steward of Creation. Perhaps one of the most glorious examples of this in our memory is a Cross Mosaic created out of broken pieces of pottery and glass for the family of New Hope Church.

We had been invited to pick out a piece of beautiful glassware or pottery we wished to represent our lives. Then we were asked to break those pieces to show how our lives have been broken in this sinful world. As we watched that pile of brokenness grow, we wondered what was to be done with it.

Linda's Cross (2)At that point two leading men of the church, Michael Stubblefield and Linda’s husband John, brought in two large rough timbers and laid them on the floor of the church – in the shape of a cross. Our “brokenness” was poured out on that cross to represent what happened to Jesus Himself when He died for us and opened the doorway to God’s redemption of our lives. Afterward, Linda graciously took the timbers and the broken pieces of glass and pottery and promised to create something that would represent how we find life in the death of Christ.

What she came up with is stunning!

The artwork she produced with the help for husband John is a beautiful mosaic in which every life that had been broken was somehow represented. The mosaic is on plexiglass with a light behind it, showing that God’s light can take the brokenness of our lives and shine His light through it and make it beautiful. In between the broken pieces she included bead work with the words of the scriptures that speak of Christ’s love for us – how woven into every part of our broken lives there is an amazing, beautifully good purpose created out of everything he allows to happen as we follow him.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALinda’s inquiring mind helps us to never be satisfied with simplistic answers…

Linda might have been a philosopher ─ a philosopher who found color in a black and white world and couldn’t help but wonder how it got there. As teachers of God’s word, we were stretched time and time again to think beyond the clichés of the Christian world by her thirst for clarity and understanding.

She would ask difficult questions and keep asking those questions until we had exhausted our searching and finally had to rest in mere glimpses into the glories God was seeking to share with us.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt was not uncommon for us to be studying to preach or teach and ask the question of what we were preparing, “Would this make sense to Linda?” We still wonder as we teach, “What question will Linda ask of what we have to say?” 0h, for more like her that push us to search for the truth in everything! Oh, for more like Linda who invite us to live unafraid of questions.

Linda’s kind and generous heart is a guiding light for our journey…

Linda at St. Helens (4)When there was a problem, a need, or even just a task to accomplish, Linda was first in line to help. She helped paint several rooms in our house, even though she felt pain as she worked. Our dining room table often held sewing projects where she helped work out patterns as well as helping with the final results. Our front yard contains rocks she painted, intricate rock animals peeking out from under our porch.

Linda's fruitThe people of our church benefited from her green thumb as she shared her plants and extra produce. She read of the First Fruits offerings in the Old Testament and faithfully dropped off the first of the harvest of her garden and orchard at our home each year. She spent countless hours setting up for special events at church, for sharing her beautiful yard for a women’s tea or entertaining friends.

But one of the things Linda excelled at most of all was prayer. She knew how to hold people up before God and ask Him to step into their lives with His power and strength. It was so inspiring to pray with her, for as she poured her heart out to the God she loved, she drew those who heard her closer to God’s throne as well.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHow she loved her family and how she enjoyed her grandchildren! Julia was privileged to be part of outings for tea parties or shopping trips to Eugene with she and her granddaughters. She was always thinking of ways to influence them toward Jesus and encourage them in using their gifts and talents in creative ways.

Linda was one of those unsung heroes of the faith, a person who loved God and lived out their faith without hypocrisy or pride. She was one of the most real people we’ve ever known.

Linda at St. HelensWith all our love and many prayers,

Dave and Julia Ewert | March 2, 2019

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BE THOU MY VISION (Slane) 

“Be Thou my vision / O Lord of my heart / Naught be all else to me / Save that Thou art / Thou my best thought / By day or by night / Waking or sleeping / Thy presence my light

“Be Thou my wisdom / Be Thou my true Word / I ever with Thee / And Thou with me Lord / Thou my great Father / I Thy true son / Thou in me dwelling / And I with Thee one

“Be Thou my shield / And my sword for the fight / Be Thou my dignity / Be Thou my might / Thou my soul’s shelter / And Thou my high tow’r / Raise Thou me heav’nward / O pow’r of my pow’r

“Riches I heed not / Nor man’s empty praise / Thou mine inheritance / Now and always / Thou and Thou only / Be first in my heart / High King of heaven / My treasure Thou art

John & Linda at Andrew's graduation (2).jpg“High King of heaven / When vict’ry is won / May I reach heaven’s joys / O bright heaven’s Sun / Heart of my own heart / Whatever befall / Still be my vision / O Ruler of all”

Eleanor Henrietta Hull | Mary Elizabeth Byrne © Public Domain

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Whom have I in heaven but YouAnd besides You, I desire nothing on earth. My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Psalm 73:25-26 NASB

3 comments

  1. Well spoken words are like apples of gold! You have captured the essence of Linda and her love for the Father and His world well!

    Like

  2. Absolutely true! I will miss Linda very much. Thank you so much for so eloquently describing our friend, Julia and Dave. We are so blessed to have known her and our God through Linda’s love.

    Like

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