It’s been four years since a young man came on our campus on a Sunday morning, killing two of our young girls and injuring others. Four years ago. Some days it seems like it all happened just yesterday and on others, it seems a distant memory.
So much healing and redemption has happened since that cold, snowy morning in December of 2007. We have planted churches, launched missionaries all over the globe, opened Dream Centers, and seen hundreds come to Christ. We have witnessed a church family literally rise from the ashes and emerge from the valley of the shadow of death.
Often, I go to the two rock benches in our parking lot and sit between the two towering Blue Spruce trees and read the scriptures on the memorials. It is on the very spot where the shooting occured and is now holy ground at New Life. Stephanie has inscribed on her bench verses from Psalm 30:11-12:
“You have turned my wailing into dancing; your removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever.”
On Rachel’s bench is the beautiful reminder from Philippians 4:6-7:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Both scriptures had just been written in their respective journals not long before their lives tragically ended. Most Sundays, I see their parents standing and worshipping with the rest of our New Life family. They are such an inspiration to me and to others. Their wailing has turned to dancing and they have a peace that is transcendant. I imagine Stephanie and Rachel are smiling.
We have healed but are still healing; we are broken, but getting stronger. We have a scar from a story that is tragic, but our future is super bright. God has been near to us every step of the way, nearer than any of us could have ever imagined or believed four years ago. I am thankful for hope and the keen awareness that something good, even great, awaits us in the not too distant future.
December 8, 2011 at 4:56 pm
Thank you Pastor Brady. Merry Christmas to you.
December 9, 2011 at 2:47 pm
This day, I want to honor the Works family. I am honored to know them…..they are the real deal……they in front of us have embraced the cross, and have truly forged a path that in some small way has made the valley of the shadow a journey that has been easier to follow through because of their humility, grace, love, courage, and mercy that they have displayed in front of all of us. …Be blessed David, Marie, Laurie, and Grace….My thoughts and prayers are with you as we journey ahead in confidence and with great joy as NLC.
December 10, 2011 at 6:55 pm
Just a couple weeks ago I brought a woman I had just met to church. She was at a very low point in life. I had planned to ask her to go to the altar for prayer after the sermon, but I didn’t have to. She rushed down the aisle before we were even dismissed to do so. I asked the Spirit to lead us to whom she was to receive prayer from. We went straight to David and Marie. They so gently and lovingly listened and spoke words of hope and encouragement. Although at the time my new friend did not know their story of loss, I knew that their words were not just words. They were spiritual truths that had been put to test and remained unshaken. I was so glad to have David and Marie minister to my friend. They were a genuine outpouring of God’s love to her which was what she really needed. Thank you both for your faithfulness to minister to the Body!