If you’ve missed any part of this series, click on any post directly below.
Part Two-My Storms in a nutshell
Part Four-More Depression
Part Five-Even More Depression
Part Six-Guest Post, Dan Blanchard
Part Seven-The Last Depression Post
Part Eight-Death of a Child
Part Nine-Death of a Child
Part Ten-Guest Post, Holly Good
Part Eleven-Death of a Child
Part Twelve-Death of a Child
Part Thirteen, Death of a Child
Part Fourteen, Death of a Child
Part Fifteen, Death of a Child
Part Sixteen, Conclusion
Back in January, I won the blog giveaway of a lifetime, thanks to Paula at Wrinkled Shirts. While most of us in blog land are giving away books, cd’s or a hand-crafted something-something (aka, an object under $20), Paula pulled out all the stops and gave away a plane ticket to the Girls Night Out in Houston hosted by Proverbs 31 Ministries.
Without recounting what was, bar none, the highlight of my year thus far, I will merely direct you here if you want to relive the glorious girly fun with me (my apologies to the male readers..I promise this is NOT a girly post, just stick with me).
On that glorious, girly (sorry), highlight-of-my-year-thus-far-blog-giveaway-of-a-lifetime (gasp for air), I had the distinct privilege of having breakfast with Holly Good.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Holly, she is the legendary best friend, running partner and ministry assistant to Lysa Terkeurst of Proverbs 31 Ministries.
Everyone wants a best friend like Holly, and I’ll tell you why: In a land where one is only known by her blog title (Hi, nice to meet you, I’m “God Speaks Today”), Holly looked me in the eye and called me Sandy Cooper.
Sandy Cooper, y’all!
Dude, she used my first AND my last name the first time I met her– without me saying it! I was smitten. I have friends who have known me for years who still call me by the wrong name. Not my new friend Holly. No sirreeee. She remembered me from an e-mail or something, and she called me by name. Holly was impressive indeed. I wanted her to be my friend, too.
One of her many friend-like duties for Lysa (in addition to getting up at 0’dark-thirty to go running every day!) is to guest post on Lysa’s blog every now and again (appropriately dubbed “Holly-Days”). I’ve always loved Holly’s blog entries, so I took the opportunity to invite Holly to guest post on God Speaks Today. And to my sheer delight, she accepted my humble invitation!
Not only did Holly submit to me a blog post that FAR exceeded my expectations, but she shared something in this post that she has never before articulated in writing. So, I guess you could call this post,
A HOLLY GOOD EXCLUSIVE.
Without further delay, I want to hand the keyboard over to my new friend, Holly, and publicly thank her for this amazing, moving and heart-wrenching piece for our series, God Speaks Through the Storm.
Please leave Holly an encouraging comment and let her know how this post touched you.
And this hereby concludes the longest post-introduction in blog history.
Sweet Sandy asked me to write a storm story. And to tell how God spoke through my storm.
As I sought time with the Lord, asking Him to reveal to me which storm I should share, I felt Him leading me to my very first storm. A storm filled with heartache, death, mystery, fear and freedom. It’s a storm that took me years to piece together.
And many more years to realize the beauty born from it.
School was out for the summer. I had just finished the 8th grade and could hardly wait to go to the beach with my family. I can remember the harried havoc as if it was yesterday – snack food, suitcases, and beach necessities were strewn all throughout our kitchen. We were excitedly packing that evening, getting ready for the next morning’s early departure for Ocean City, New Jersey.
My memory also perfectly recalls the knock on the door that would define the next 12 years of my life.
It was my friends’ dad who lived down the street. “Have you seen Evie today? Do you know where she might be?” he asked with hope. “She never came home tonight.”
I had not seen her that day. Nor would I ever again.
A neighbor man of mine had asked my girlfriend Evie to clean his house. As it turns out, he had other plans in mind for her that day.
Shortly after she arrived at his home, he forced her into his car, restrained her hands, gagged her and drove to a densely wooded area several miles away. Over an undisclosed period of time he beat her, raped her and shoved her long white tube sock down her throat. And then he left her for dead.
It took the authorities a little more than 6 months to find her body and solve what had come to be a nation-wide mystery.
During the many months they searched for her remains, and worked to piece this unspeakable event together, I became consumed with fear. I promised myself that I would never be at home alone again. And for the most part I stuck to that vow for many years.
I eventually found freedom from this fear. It was not an instantaneous healing. It was a gradual process that came to fruition as I grew in my faith. Christ intervened, and I gradually let go. I am no longer consumed by the details of her death or the remnants of my fear.
Years later the Lord quietly revealed a most special memory of Evie that I had long forgotten. We were having a sleepover one evening. As we were lying in my bed laughing, talking, and dreaming as girlfriends will do, she very nonchalantly asked me if I wanted to be sure to get into Heaven. Of course I wanted to be sure. I knew that Heaven was a wonderful place. I waited in eager anticipation for her next words.
“Ask Jesus into your heart,” she pronounced. “That’s it? Just ask Him into my heart?” I quipped. “Well yes. There’s more, but that’s the start…” she said.
And that precious little Evie prayed with me right there in the wee hours of the night, helping me to ask Jesus into my heart.
One young God honoring friend.
One unutterable death.
At least one life saved…
…this was the beauty that He faithfully revealed to me years after my storm.
“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
2 Corinthians 4:18 (NIV)
Thanks again, Holly, for sharing your story here. I’m sincerely honored to know you.
Coming up on God Speaks Today: Fitness Friday: Sandy’s 10 Commandments for Healthy Living (or something else if I can’t think of 10 things)