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I’d like to pause for a moment and grieve the loss of my dear friend and great inspiration, Lauren Beyenhoff, who lost her fight with Cystic Fibrosis last November and went to be with the Lord she believed so fervently in. Lauren defied medical odds by decades by LIVING her life. She played the French Horn and not the cello, as her parents just insisted when she was ten and choosing an instrument that she was going to use her lungs, and in so doing, she told me once that she believed they added not only years to her life, but the chance to influence other young people who had CF and were also fighting for every breath. Not only that, but she was in band the rest of her life, and in band, apparently it is common practice to learn and tell “band” jokes. These have to be the very worst of the horrible jokes not even remotely funny to those who did not grow up marching in formation, wearing sweaty uniforms with fuzzy, tall hats and playing instruments with other “band geeks” she happily called her friends from junior high to high school and even college and beyond. It was the telling of band jokes that turned the head of another girl’s date one night and where Lauren met Brad, whom she married and shared several happy, joy-filled years. It was Brad who completed Lauren’s dreams, her hopes for a full and “normal” life in spite of the CF. It was Brad she adored and worried about when her time came to leave this earth.

Brad has written a beautiful tribute to Lauren in his blog, which you can reach via hers for another months or so at PoolsofGrace.com He speaks there of a friend of Lauren’s that is a regular at the Mt. Hermon Christian Writer’s Conference where I met Lauren the first year she and I both attended and were first and fast friends. They have begun a scholarship there named after Lauren and in her honor. She was working on a book for Brad and for young women hoping that someday their Prince will come along too. Of course, at the heart of this, Lauren always knew that her TRUE Prince, and mine, and yours, had already come and chosen each of us, and carried a cross he did not deserve, suffered shame and humiliation we can’t begin to imagine and he did nothing to deserve, but chose to carry it in our place. He came and died so that we might live, if only we believe in him. But Lauren’s book was a collection of letters to her someday husband. She did get to share those real-life letters with Brad and it is my hope, in these times of promiscuity run rampant and addictions on the rise, that young Christian women will have the chance to read Lauren’s deep and meaningful promises to the man she knew God would bring to her. I hope that book will reach publication yet, and Lauren will still have the chance to spread her pools of grace to young women just now beginning to think about their futures and how they want to live their lives. If only they could see the courage this young woman lived each hour of each day embracing. If I could find the words to describe her passion for her beliefs and her amazing brain and ability to organize and encourage without QUITE overwhelming those of us she loved. She just knew how we could take a small idea and make it enormous. She pushed me whenever we were together. She forced me to dig deeper, to work harder, to write more, and above all, to seek God’s direction and guidance in every step I took.

I am blessed to have known Lauren Beyenhoff. I will miss her and await the day I get to join her in paradise and challenge her to a footrace. That is something Lauren and I could never do together, was run. She couldn’t breathe well enough and I could barely move my knees when she met me. I am walking much better these days, but won’t be running anytime soon. So, the first thing I want to do after I hug her and laugh and cry is to take her on a nice, long run. Until then, Godspeed Lauren. Breathe deeply every moment you are there praising God, singing and playing for them all on your French Horn made of solid gold wearing your crown with many jewels.

In His GRASP for real now!!!

Judith