I will warn you upfront that this is a very difficult post for me to write. My good friend Amy Jones is at the end of her fight against cancer. Sunday night we went to say goodbye. Life is hard.
Sitting in the waiting room, talking to Amy’s friends and family, brought back so many memories. Just about eight years ago Amy showed up at our company. All 108 petite pounds of Amy filled the room as her smile and laugh lifted everyone around her. She led us in a devotional meeting and shared how she was overcoming several tragedies in her life through God’s grace and love. We all fell in love with Amy that day.
As usual, Dad was sitting in the devotions room on the first row, taking notes. When Amy was done he hugged her and said she needed to be a speaker, and then he called Peter Lowe and got her on the Get Motivated Seminar! Amy’s first speech was on the big stage in front of thousands. We always teased Amy that she was given 22 minutes to talk about time management, and she took 38 minutes to give the talk!
Amy and Zig
Soon Amy became a fixture around our company. Christmas time with Amy is special. She starts shopping the day after Christmas for the next one, and if you are on her list it’s likely you will get not 1, not 2, not 3, but multiple gifts that are perfect for you. Best of all, each gift is a reflection of how much and how often Amy is thinking of you because they are seldom bought at the same time. That’s just Amy. Another thing that is just Amy is that somehow she finds all of the perfect gifts for less money than any single gift you find for her!
As Amy’s speaking career was growing she came on board full time at Ziglar to spearhead a new program called Ziglar VIP. Amy led this charge and overcame many challenges to make Ziglar VIP one of our most successful programs ever. Without Amy this program would not exist, and our company would look much different today. Amy was our secret weapon – “Send Amy,” we would say – you fall in love with Amy when you meet her, and through that love you have a chance to work through the objections and the needs of the client. For Amy life is about relationships, so talking to people about what you believe in is really just about loving them and understanding their needs. Amy keeps things Pure and Simple – I love that about Amy.
Amy and the Ziglar Team girls
A couple of years ago we started to reorganize the company and I created for Amy what I thought was the perfect role for her. She would continue to lead the Ziglar VIP charge, but she would be more commission-based. I was excited about my plan – I just knew Amy was about to get rich! When we met with Amy, everybody was excited about the plan – but Amy! With grace and love and after a great deal of prayer, Amy came back to me and said this was not the plan for her. Instead, she moved back into an Independent Contractor role as a speaker for us. And she started her ministry.
Amy and a couple of her friends started a ministry called the Journey of Sisters. The Sisters are a group of women who have overcome incredible tragedies of all types in their lives. Amy became the leader, organizing events at homeless shelters and battered women’s’ shelters. More importantly, Amy became the mentor and coach for the other Sisters. Now there are 14 women in the Journey of Sisters, every one of them touched by Amy.
Amy with some of the Sisters
Last year we were doing a book with Mac Anderson, the founder of Simple Truths and Successories. I mentioned to Mac that I knew this lady named Amy Jones, and she would be perfect to do a book on time management. I set up the call for Amy and Mac, smiling to myself that it was a “done deal,” because when you meet Amy you fall in love with her. That book, titled How to Do Twice as Much in Half the Time, came out six weeks ago. Little did we know how prophetic that title would be.
In March this year Amy was speaking at a Get Motivated Seminar in Lubbock, Texas. She was accidentally knocked down on stage. Several days later, her side hurting and with a fever, she went to the doctor. What she thought was a bad bruise from the fall ended up being a tumor the size of a grapefruit. Ten years to the day that her dad died from kidney cancer, Amy was diagnosed with a very rare and aggressive Stage 4 kidney cancer.
As I sat in the waiting room Sunday night reflecting on all of this, Amy continued to fill the room with her love and grace. The doctors had given her an incredible amount of pain killers and stimulants so that she would be able to say goodbye. For well over an hour, Amy spoke God’s love into the lives of the 14 Sisters as they gathered around her bed. She told each one of them the strengths that they possessed and she gave each one of them a charge that was unique to them to carry forward the ministry.
Then it was our turn to see Amy. She told us how much she loved us, and she told Dad what an impact he had on her. We held hands and talked. I teased her, as is my custom, and said “Amy, 12 disciples was good enough for Jesus, but you needed 14!” She smiled. Somehow, on this incredibly hard day, on this incredibly tough journey, Amy filled everyone with hope and love. Nothing about the goodbye was about Amy, Amy made it about everyone else. Her peace was perfect and her words were pure.
One of the most difficult things for me these last few months has been how “unfair” this has been. Amy is good, pure, sweet, even fragile in all of the right ways. She is someone you want to protect, someone you want to take the place for. She reminds you of Christ, who paid the ultimate price for all of us — pure, innocent, and loving. On the way out of her room her mother told me, “After everyone leaves tonight they are going to increase her pain medication so that she will no longer suffer. This will allow her to sleep, and when she wakes up, she will be with Jesus.”
I realized then that I had not been standing at the bedside of a fragile girl; I had been standing at the foot of a giant.
Amy = Hope
Update June 19 – Amy went to Heaven this morning. She will be with her earthly father and her Heavenly Father on Father’s day. Please continue to pray for her mother. For additional updates go here.