This beautiful young lady is Lauren Crook. If you've followed this blog for awhile, you've read about her before. She lives with her parents and sister in Benton, Arkansas, and is now receiving home hospice care after battling cancer for five years. This picture was taken in her senior year of high school, just before she was diagnosed for the first time.
Her testimony is amazing, and is so very similar to Hannah's. As a matter of fact, if she and Hannah had ever met, I'm sure they would have been fast friends. Their gentle natures are a great deal alike, they shared a life-long desire to go to Ouachita Baptist University (Lauren did attend there between cancer battles), and they each have an outgoing younger sister who adores them. But the thing that really binds them together is their desire to serve God and to bring Him glory through some incredibly difficult storms.
With her permission, I'd like to share with you an excerpt from an email update Lauren's mom , Lisa, recently sent out...
"I would like to share something that Lauren has felt and believed through this struggle over the last 5 years. Most of you know Lauren has always kept a journal of her daily thought. She showed us her journal about a year after she was diagnosed with cancer. She had written in it that she had been praying for God to give her testimony, because she felt she did not have one to share. Lauren felt that by growing up in a Christian Home and attending a Christian School that she just really did not have something to share with the lost. Boy, did she get one! She told Lance and me that one thing she wanted to see out of this experience with cancer, would be for lives to be changed and people to come and know the Lord. There are many family and friends that Lauren had told us she was concerned about their salvation and praying for them. Now, for the ones of you that do not know the Lord as your personal Savior, please do not think there is not a God in all of this who does not care. God has never left her or our side. The Bible says the just and unjust will all suffer. That means none of us are immune from suffering. Being a Christian does not mean you will not suffer or you will stop sinning....I am just a sinner saved by God’s wonderful grace. Salvation gives you eternal life with Christ Jesus. You see, Lauren wanted a testimony that she could share with the lost and lead them to the Lord. She wanted to see souls saved. I am not telling you anything she not has not told Lance, Paul, Leah, Heather, friends, or church groups. With Lauren not being in her right mind and able to share this, I want to share her message that she has shared with us. What ever happens in Lauren’s life, God had a reason. He in control! This is one of the hardest updates I have written. We want to share Lauren’s testimony and her story, of what she wants told to all. Please feel free to share with others. This is Lauren’s wish and what she would want to share with everyone hearing her story."
Why does God allow beautiful, intelligent, Christian young women get cancer? I don't have an answer for that on this side of Heaven. But I take comfort in knowing that He doesn't let their suffering go to waste...that He uses it for His glory, and that there are souls saved because of it. It's one of those awesome mysteries of God.
I am grateful that I can have a small part in sharing Lauren's story. Countless lives have already been touched by her testimony, and I pray that many more will find eternal life after hearing of her mighty faith and the faith of her family. She is truly a hero, and an example to us all. Please keep Lauren, her mom and dad (Lance & Lisa), her sister (Leah), and her fiance' (Paul) in your prayers.
Revelation 21:1 says, "He who was seated on the throne said, 'I am making everything new.'" How I look forward to that day!!