From Sarah Schreurs Green
My best memories of Mom from my childhood all surrounded our time at Silver Lake. Mom loved to have fun, so her and Dad organized a few epic 50s/60s parties. Mom would dress up and always looked amazing. She would get her pointer fingers out and was ready to dance. She would remind us of the dance parties her own mom and dad would throw in their basement when she was growing up, so I think that’s part of why she loved hosting parties herself.
Our time at Silver Lake also included paddle boat rides, walks around the lake, meals around the table, laying out together to get a tan, having people over, and going to church anytime the doors were open.
But I didn’t really get to know her until I was an adult. What’s interesting is that even though we lived apart and even across the country from each other, God was still taking us on our own personal journeys that complemented each other.
Mom’s dance parties eventually gave way to hosting conferences, small groups, and outreaches. At two of those conferences, in my much younger and braver days, I got to dance.
When Patrick and I moved to Iowa from Pennsylvania with our two oldest boys, Mom and Dad became a rock for us. We went through a very tough time with some people, and they had our back like never before. They became a safe place for us and our relationship deepened.
Then, when Mom’s health began to decline she slowed down her busy schedule and we all took more time to be together. Every family gathering mattered even more. Every moment became more special.
She may have slowed down, but her prayers didn’t. I’m not sure if it’s possible, but she may have even stepped them up. Her time with God was so evident, especially towards the end. It seemed like she was in constant communion with Him.
Her battle was increasing, and the pain was hard to stay ahead of. When she had moments of more intense pain, she would put her hands over her side that hurt, then lift both of her hands to God.
One moment I will never forget was when Dad, our friend Brittany and I were praying over her, she saw something right before her. She said it was an invitation. That caught my attention!
She paused to catch her breath and said that it was beautiful and “simple” just like her. It was written in gold and blood. Now if I were her, I might have automatically taken that invitation for myself, but she made sure to say that this was for “everyone.” Even as an invitation from heaven materialized before her, she did not think of herself, but everyone else.
In Revelation 19:9 it says, “Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb.”
I believe God was offering her this invitation, but she would want you to know that it is literally for each of you too.
One more thing she said about this specific invitation was that it was not yet creased. It was as if He was preparing it for her, but she still had a little more time. That was six weeks ago.
I truly believe heaven gained a saint and she is a part of the great cloud of witnesses, but really I am so honored and thankful that to me, she was “Mom.”
From Patrick Green
Our lives are beautiful stories…even with the ebb and flow, the joy and pain. They’re beautiful. We don’t know how many chapters our sum will compose, or what the substance of each next chapter may hold. But every so often we meet others along the way and an incredible moment occurs when two separate stories write themselves into each other’s pages, forming a new, emergent story.
I remember that moment with my mother-in-law, Linda Jean Schreurs.
The first thing I really remember her telling me in person was at my graduation from college, long before I would marry her daughter. She looked me up and down and said, “Patrick…” and here there was a pregnant pause, as if an admission was about to be made. She continued: “…You clean up well.” I laughed under my breath. You see, that simple small statement was really the beginning of her story and my story coming together. It was warranted, after I didn’t make a very good showing during the first few occasions we’d met. But her statement provided me a small measure of hope that I might somehow attain to winning her daughter over—with parental blessing—at some point in the future. Yes, it was a milestone in my book.
From those days nearly 20 years ago, until a little over one month ago—September 28th of this year—Mom’s story would become inextricably interconnected with mine. And words fail, as often they do, to capture how very thankful I am for so very much, thankful that Linda was my Iowa Mother. I miss you, Mom! We all do….
Linda was, while with us, a strong woman. Yes, some of us saw that directly in the final months. Her focus that never gave up, even with pain too much to bare. Her always patient perspective. Her faith in the unseen and the possible. Her ability to overlook any inability I had. Her seemingly unending prayers for all of us, when it was she who was suffering so acutely. Her slow, steady raising of hands in prayer—surely an act of such strength that it was etched into my memory—even when breathing was tenuous, and words hard to get out. Her love that was stronger than death.
And, looking back over the years, her strength was evident in, really, everything she did. The way she focused her attention on ministering to anyone who needed more of God. The many hours of calls with people all over the state of Iowa and beyond, filled with prayers and love. The many words she poured out into manuscripts, so we all could understand God’s vantage point just a little clearer. The way she told anyone who would listen about the beauty of intimacy with the Father. Even her voice—her actual speech—grew fiercely strong whenever she felt the Lord impress a message upon her heart and mind; words never simply left her mouth but seemed to find their source much deeper in her being, in the depths of her heart. The tone would fill with passion, and with a desperation for more of God. It stirred those who heard it, convicted the hearts of others, and brought the fear of the Lord.
We were privileged to see Mom’s strength first hand, those moments when Mom would get a glimpse of glory, and let it overflow. In 2008, Sarah and I, along with our two oldest sons Soren and Ezra, left our home in the suburbs of Philadelphia to come live in Iowa. This was an act of obedience to God on our part, and God was surely with us. And, through no divine accident, we came to live with Linda and Mike for much of the next 4 years.
Now, many people might think that living with your in-laws is a pretty insane thing to do. And had it not been clearly shown to us that our destiny lay in that decision, I would have to agree. It’s during this unusual living situation when I remember so many moments with Mom. She was always bustling around through the various living spaces in the house, always on a mission, and with never enough time to get it all finished. We all lived together, and in some cases ministered together. God knew exactly what we all needed. By the time we moved into our own home, I no longer called them “Linda” and “Pop” but Mom and Dad. Mom and Dad. We became close. It was a transformative time.
It’s hard to put the best stories down. Even while reading the final pages that give way to the final paragraphs and—eventually—the final word. Mom’s story took a turn that none of us expected. We weren’t really prepared. Maybe we could have been more so, but we kept hoping for another chapter, another glimpse into the heart and mind of the protagonist.
When it was time to say goodbye, we did so reluctantly. But the truth is that we will see her again, that it really is not goodbye. And beyond this, we will never stop rereading and retelling the storied life of Linda Jean Schreurs, my Mom, beloved wife of Dad, Michael Robert Schreurs, beloved mother to my wife Sarah and her sisters, Celine and Claire and their families, beloved grandma / mom-mom to her many grandchildren, beloved friend, mentor, marriage counselor, intercessor, and on and on, and beloved daughter of the most-high God.
Mom: we love you. We continue to find moments when it seems unreal that you are not with us still. We continue to miss you and look forward to seeing your smile in person again. Until then, we will hold you close, as God hold us all still closer.
From Claire Clarke
As a child, my mom always described me as a “spirited”. I was always busy, always getting into something. That didn’t change much as I grew older. I was testing my parents at every turn. But even in the midst of difficult and challenging moments – never once did I call into question my mom’s unconditional love for me. She prayed. And she loved. And she prayed some more. And at the end of the day, I always knew she was right there, ready to hold me in her arms and wipe my tears, regardless of my mistakes or missteps. I didn’t realize it until I was older the power of that mother’s unconditional, unwavering, enduring love.
When my mom was diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer a little over four years ago, we were all in a state of disbelief. But my mom picked right up, determined what the next steps were, and went after it full force. And man, she was a fighter. She never lost her faith. She never felt sorry for herself. She never complained. She was full of courage and grace – fighting with everything she had to stay with us for as long as she could. And she did just that. The doctors would say she was a miracle. And that couldn’t be more true.
I have memories upon memories about my mom, but my favorite recent one was about 10 months after her diagnosis, we fulfilled her dream to take a girls trip to one of her most favorite spots – Carmel CA. Leaving the kids and husbands behind, we jetted off for a long weekend – the first time we had ever taken a trip together, in our adult lives anyway. We landed and headed straight for the beach. My mom likes to “take in the scenery” while she drives. Which is both endearing and terrifying at the same time. Long story short, she popped a tire on the rental and was quickly retired to a passenger. The rest of the weekend was filled with laughter, incredible food, sandy toes and memories that I hold so, so dear.
My mom had faith that was stronger than anything I have ever seen. It was so apparent in every movement, every word, every breath. She loved God. And to be honest, I didn’t fully realize how she had affected so many people so strongly and so positively until this week. But I was lucky enough to know her just as mom. She chose me to be her daughter, and for that, I am forever blessed.
Our family would like to thank each and every one of you for all of the love, prayers and encouragement you have shown my mom and the rest of our family over the last four years. Reading all of your beautiful messages and memories about my mom has really been the main thing keeping us all going. We need to do right by my radiant, incredible mother.
On the last night of my mom’s life, she woke up and looked in my eyes and just said “Claire Bear.” And I hugged her, and she said “I could hold you forever. I love you so, so much.” I believe she will do just that. Holding me forever, walking beside me, supporting me from above. You are so deeply missed, mom. I love you.
From Bryn Clarke
Ten years ago I was welcomed into Mike and Linda's home during a very special time, as they prepared to celebrate family and faith during the Christmas holiday of 2007. Any weariness I may have felt from the long drive out from Colorado didn't last long thanks to Linda's incredible hospitality, and any wariness I may have felt about meeting my future in-laws disappeared soon after, as Mike and Linda both met me with a warm embrace.
I'm Bryn Clarke, my wife is Mike and Linda's third and youngest daughter, Claire, and I have had the privilege of knowing Linda as far more than only my mother-in-law. Linda was a woman of unmatched faith and conviction, assured in her beliefs, and committed to share the word of her relationship with God with her family, friends, and anyone else who would hear her out.
As I sat with Linda over a glass of wine at the kitchen table, she asked me quietly... "tell me about your spirituality". I was determined to make a great first impression, and I was sure I had this one in the bag. I proudly responded that I'm a confirmed Anglican, and grew up in a Christian family and school. I quickly realized that I'd missed the mark. Linda was asking about my personal relationship with God, my spiritual well-being. Over the last decade I've learned so much from Linda, and from Mike, about the importance of spirituality and come to learn so much more about my own relationship with God. Thank you Linda for those lessons, which have made me a better son-in-law, husband, father, and friend than I could have ever realized when I met you. We love you, and God speed.