This past August a friend of mine, Laurie, posted on her Facebook page. Well, she posts multiple times a day, EVERY day, but this one post caused my eyes to stop and focus on her words.
You see, Laurie is a great encourager to the families of the missing. She spends countless hours sharing posters and information, volunteering with various missing person organizations, and reaching out to families of the missing.
There are many who give countless hours to help families of the missing, yet I've had the pleasure and joy to meet Laurie personally and get to know her on a more personal level over the past couple years. The first and primary motivation behind Laurie's dedication, her sister, Rose Marie Gayhart, has been missing since March of 1985. Laurie has never given up on finding her sister.
Laurie shares tears with the families of the missing when media share breaking news, when anniversaries of disappearances or birthdays approach, and on the tough days that just seem to sneak up on us. Laurie is always there, she is a blessing!
In 2013, after the release of my first two books, When the Waves Subside: There is Hope and Where's Heidi? One Sister's Journey, she created a photographic collage to include Heidi in our family photo at the book release celebration. She sent a copy for our home, and my parents. A photo we both have displayed for all to see who visit our homes.
The idea to create a painting started to form. A few trips to the library and hours reading painting books and watching watercolor tutorials on youtube.com helped to take the idea God gave me and develop it into the painting you see here. Another few days were spent selecting a few Bible verses to include on the painting. The angel represents her sister looking down on her, and she is on the beach with her arms lifted to God. It is only with God's strength, love, grace, and mercy that families of the missing survive the not-knowing, investigations, media, and waiting.
I hadn't planned to share this painting but upon Laurie's request, I am. She wants others to know it's possible to survive and it is because families think of each other with the little things, like photographs, paintings, notes, text messages, phone calls, and whatever else God leads us to do. You, my readers, are another part of this encouragement parade. Thank YOU!
Since July, it's been difficult to focus on writing or keeping the goals I set for 2014 yet God used Laurie's need for encouragement to snap me back to reality and to utilize some of my creative juices, in a different way.
Thank you Laurie for all you do - these are the verses I included on the painting to encourage Laurie each day. I hope you find comfort in them too.
Do not be anxious about anything,
But in everything by prayer and petition,
With thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise,
As some understand slowness...
The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed,
A stronghold in times of trouble.
Philippians 4:6; 2 Peter 3:9a; Psalm 9:9