After a very hot but successful weekend in Roanoke, Virginia I was looking forward to sharing a positive and comical post tonight. Instead I found a heartbreaking e-mail in my inbox from Cindy McCraw, another parent of child with a rare gentic disorder.
Lauren had been in Ben's school class this year which allowed Joan and Cindy to bond as special needs mothers but also as disability advocates. Ever since we've gotten to know them they have been a beacon of strength, courage, comfort, and peace in our lives. A few years ago they went a step further than most of us and created a non-profit corporation to raise funds for research and medical support of Sanfilippo Syndrome.
Their efforts have been incredible to say the least. Fund raisers include a paintball competition, a 5K run, golf tournaments, and a silent auction dinner/banquet for which I was privileged to donate artwork. For the last two years, as I drove home from shows south of home, I was welcomed back to Greenville County by Lauren's beautiful face on a billboard just outside the county line.
We knew that she had been very sick over the winter but were very encouraged by the fact that she had attended school occasionally near the end of the year. Her passing has literally brought us to our knees once again. And even with the knowledge that she has finally been made perfect by arriving at her final destiny we are sad for a family that already misses their little girl.
I would ask that if you can afford it please contribute something to Lauren's Hope Foundation. Any amount is appreciated. And please stop by Cindy's blog and leave a comment for her, particularly those parents who have been walking the path that Andy and Cindy have just now embarked.
Lauren's Hope Revealed
Hello Friends and Family,
I wanted to take a moment to write our amazing supporters and extend my gratitude to all of you for your years of faithful support to our family. This email can also serve as a notification to those who may not have heard of Lauren’s recent illness resulting in her death on June 7, 2008.
Schedule of services:
Tuesday, June 10th 1-3 pm Receiving of Friends at Simpsonville First Baptist Church
Tuesday, June 10th 3pm Memorial/Celebration Service at Simpsonville First Baptist
Grave-side Service immediately following at Cannon Memorial park in Fountain Inn.
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to Lauren’s Hope Foundation, P.O. Box 80081, Simpsonville, SC 29680
Andy and I will celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary on Thursday, June 12th. This is by far the hardest experience of our married life. Right now, there is no doubt that God’s grace is sustaining us, but I am sure the coming days will bring much grief. The only request of our family is that you pray for healing not only for our immediate family, but for this community as well…especially the children.
I have heard in the last 24 hours the careful attention that many of you as parents have used in telling your children of the news. It is very difficult to describe to them why this would happen. My suggestion to you as we have discussed with our boys is that Lauren fulfilled the purpose in which He created her. For some reason, God chose that His purposes for Lauren’s life only required 10 years on this earth to be accomplished, but what impact those 10 displayed! Please hear these words, God has a sovereign plan for each life He creates, yours and your children’s included. We MUST trust His timing and His sovereignty. He will reveal all of the “why” details to us when it is our turn to see Him. God has GRACEFULLY revealed to Andy and I many of these “why” questions over the course of Lauren’s illness. All of these questions result in the same answer: It is all accomplishing GLORY for God in eternity. We all cannot look at a situation like this with human eyes, it can only clearly be seen through God’s eternal eyes.
When we chose to name this foundation, “Lauren’s Hope”, careful thought was expressed through the word “hope”. We wanted people to see that all of us have hope to face whatever circumstance when we trust in Christ as our Savior and Lord. Christ has REVEALED this hope to Lauren! She can clearly see that His ways are higher than our ways, and she is REJOICING in the fruits of her labor! Romans 8:18 “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the GLORY that will be revealed in us.” This verse has been posted over Lauren’s bed for years to serve as a reminder that her suffering would PALE in comparison to the amazing gifts that God was storing for her in eternity. The primary gift being eternal souls that were reached and brought into heaven with her because of her faithfulness to Him, and her spirit reflecting God’s love to others.
Even though we are all sad and we are going to miss her desperately, let’s REJOICE with her in knowing that he is revealing those gifts to her as we speak.
God’s Grace to you and your family,
With all our love and gratitude, Cindy McCraw, Andy, Cayden, Braylen, and Kyron.
Lauren's Hope Foundation
PO Box 80081
Simpsonville, SC 29680