Wow....I have done a terrible job of keeping the blog updated this month. May is just an incredibly busy month for people in the "school business." I've been working more than usual to get all of my students post-tested, annual review conferences held, etc., and then we've been busy every evening with some kind of school event...academic banquets, athletic banquets, choir concerts, band concerts, graduation...the list goes on and on.
Let me catch you up on the highlights of the past week or so....
Last Saturday, I had the privilege of speaking to the ladies of Dallas Avenue Baptist Church of Mena. They held a tea in one of the ladies' homes, and it was such a wonderful blessing to be able to share my testimony with them. Sharing with ladies' groups like this is one of my greatest joys, and I would love to do it more often.
Following the high of speaking on Saturday afternoon, we hit a bit of a low for the rest of the weekend, as some events occurred that made us realize that maybe we, as a family, were not quite as far along on the road of grief as we thought. We spent some time regrouping and talking about some things that we needed to talk about, and our little family of three has drawn even closer than we were before.
Thursday evening, the ladies' ministry at our church held the Rainbow of Promises dinner, a fundraiser for the Anchor of Hope Cancer Ministry, and its Relay for Life team. It was a very successful event, raising over $1,500 for this ministry, and it was truly a blessing to all who attended. I especially enjoyed the special music, which was brought to us by a pastor who is a survivor of head and neck cancer. When he was diagnosed back in the mid-80's, he was told he would quite possibly never speak again, let alone sing. Well, he's been preaching ever since, and has a beautiful singing voice. I really enjoyed hearing his story and listening to him sing.
This past Saturday, we spent the day with Brad's family in Briggsville. We visited Hannah's grave while we were there. I had not been there since October 22nd, which was her 19th birthday. I felt that familiar antipathy that I always feel when I'm there. I always hope that's going to be gone when I visit that spot, but not yet. Not yet. The highlight of Bethany's day was getting to meet Buck & Bella, twin fawns that have been adopted by Brad's cousins. Buck was a little shy, but as you can see, Bella took a liking to Bethany.
Yesterday morning at church, the service included a very moving tribute to Navy SEAL Adam Brown, the son of our good friends, Larry & Janice Brown. Adam gave his life in service to our country in Afghanistan back in March of 2010. Adam was the commander of SEAL Team Six. Yes, that SEAL Team Six, the team that took out Osama bin Laden on May 1st. I must say that Memorial Day has taken on a completely new meaning for me since I've gotten to know this family so well. I feel privileged to call them my friends, and I am so grateful for their sacrifice, and for the sacrifices that so many others have made for our freedom.
The highlight of the week ahead will be Relay for Life on Friday night. At the Rainbow of Promises dinner the other night, the emcee asked everyone who had ever been touched by cancer in any way to stand. Almost every single person in the room stood up. Until cancer rudely invaded the life of our family, I had no idea how prevalent it was. I'm going to close this post with excerpts from an email written by Lisa Crook, mother of Lauren, who has been battling cancer on and off for years now. Unless God chooses to intervene, Lauren will be joining Hannah in Heaven before too much longer. I believe the testimony of this young lady will bless you as it does me...
"All of Lauren's senses remain altered and are gone to some degree, but she is still able to communicate with us and listen to movies or songs on occasion. What truly amazes me, sometimes she does not recognize us, but she is always able to praise and thank the Lord. We pray with her at night and when she prays (days that are good and she can talk) she just thanks the Lord for all that He does for her and how much she loves Him. Her faith and love for the Lord never wavers. She is so inspirational to me. It is just so touching to listen to her talk about the Lord. Also, I will ask her about when she was saved and once again, she tells you of that day. Even though she might not know us, she knows the Lord is there with her. That is very comforting to Lance and I. She knows the Lord is with her no matter how difficult it might be.
Please remember, as a teenage girl, Lauren prayed for a testimony and for God to use her in a mighty way. She was willing to suffer for His cause. Lauren’s words, not ours. Our prayer is that those who do not know Christ as their personal Savior, will come to know Him before it is too late. Lauren wanted to tell the world about Christ and see souls saved. I can think back through the years of Lauren telling us how she wanted to work and serve the Lord prior to cancer. Well, it might not be the way she planned and God’s plans are different from ours, but Lauren told us, she wanted everyone to see what mighty things God has done for her through her battle with cancer. Whatever the outcome, God is in control. Nothing happens outside of His will.
Lauren is no saint, she is a sinner like all of us, but she had a desire to serve the Lord in a mighty way. I hate to say this, but I don’t believe I could pray the prayer Lauren prayed. But, I can share her testimony with others and that her testimony carries on. We ask that you share with others what God has done for Lauren and us. Please keep her in prayer and us too."