Beauty After the Storm
Holly Good She Speaks! Graduate

"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)

My first personal "storm" occurred when I was 14 years old. It was 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 evening which would define the next 12 years of my life.

It was my friends' dad who lived down the street. "Did you see 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 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 performed unspeakable acts and then he left her for dead.

It took the authorities 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, and worked to piece it all 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.

Eventually I found freedom from this fear. 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.

Several years ago 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 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.

Dear Lord, thank You for the life You have given me. I praise You for the ways You have spoken to me through Your Word, through prayer, and through other people. Thank You for healing me and delivering me from my fear. Help me to focus on You today and not become distracted by anything that is not of You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do You Know Him?

Traveling Together: Thoughts on Women, Friendship and the Journey of Faith by Karla Worley

Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner: The Transforming Power of God's Story by Wendy Blight

To read more about how God delivered Holly from these fears, see her post on Lysa TerKeurst’s blog

Application Steps:

What is God revealing to you about a storm you are experiencing right now?

What storm from your past can you pray for clarity in a lesson that you never learned?

Reflections:
Who can you thank for sharing their faith with you?

Who can you share your faith with?

Power Verses:
1 Corinthians 1:18, "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." (NIV)

John 17:26, "I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them." (NIV)

© 2009 by Holly Good. All rights reserved.

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7 Comments:

Blogger Renae said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Renae said...

I wanted to revise my first comment. I am new to the blogger world! Thank you for sharing your story. At the tender age of 14 had a storm that changed my whole life.
My best friends Mom was shot before our eyes but her husband (after many years of abuse).
He shot her in the car through my window. My angel was with me but we did witness my second Mom losing her right arm.
It was horrible time but God turned beauty into ashes.
Thanks for sharing your story. This devotion is one of my treasures.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I went to a conference where they talked about forgiveness and releasing the ones you are angry with. I walked out because I was most angry with God Himself for allowing the unspeakable to happen to me at an early age. He grabbed my heart that night and said He weeps with me. It is for this that Jesus came and died. He did not come to take sin out of the world but to free us from it's bondage - here and eternally - whether they were by us or imposed on us. We are in this world but are no longer of this world - our joy, peace and freedom is from above, "in spite of..."! God really loves us beyond our understanding.

Blogger Maressa said...

I wanted to just give God some glory after reading today's devo.

For me, this was an answer to a prayer that I just prayed this morning on my way to work.
My "storm"as a single parent, has me,at times, in tears wondering when it will be over. Then through honest and specific prayer, my requests were made known.

To jump online with my coffee right now and see the verse of "unseen" then read through and see the "power verse" tells me this: God wants me to live and to remember that I am taken care of, I'm saved, His promises of that husband one day, or provision, will never fail me. BUTTTTT...I must remember to live daily telling others about His love, sacrifice and that special gift that has been given. Not sit here wondering about what is "unseen".

Thank you for your Ministry....daily I am blessed!.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am in tears, have had many storms in my life but GOD has brought comfort to me in them all, I have turned my back on GOD many times only to turn back to HIM again. I realize everything I have been through is not for me but for me to tell others about the goodness of GOD and how able HE is to take good care of you in the midst of whatever you may be going through. Thank you!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I loveeeeeeeee this devotion site!
With all of my heart! I am so spiritual that I listen for the Lord's voice in everything that I see, or hear or read.
The fact that that beautiful little girl completed her assignment by telling you about Jesus, and leading you to Christ. I do hate that good people and christians have to suffer such horrible deaths but..... The Lord was still glorified in the situation. At that young age the Lord had sent you an angel to tell you about him, and she left and went home.
The Lord is so awesome in every way! He loves us so, and sometimes we don't understand the storms and things that we have to endure, but one thing that I have realized is that when we are praying for things, and our situations, we don't know how the Lord is going to work it out. It seems hard at that time and sometimes so unbearable, but we have to remember as you have said that we must look at things that are unseen, because the Lord is unseen in the body but in the spirit he is present, that's why we have to worship him in spirit and in truth. He's working it out in the spirit rim. All things work together for the good of those who loves the Lord who are called according to his purpose, and he'll never leave us nor forsake us. We must believe that HE is a rewarder of those who DILIGENTLY seeks him.
Believe! I love you all and pray that the Lord will bless and strengthen you in all of your weaknesses. That we will walk into the purpose and destiny that the Lord has called us into. In Jesus Name, Amen

Blogger Marilyn said...

I am so sorry that your friend, Evie, had to suffer so terribly. I have to believe that the angels ministered to her as she lay there alone dying. I ask God why? Evil is in this world but He was with Evie during that horrible time and now she is with Him forevermore. I am glad that God uses evil and the effects from it to produce good. Only He can do that. I praise GOD for the blessing and comfort that those who read this will receive. God is good all the time.

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