Tell Her Story

Every New Year’s Eve I ask God what His plans are for me in the coming New Year.  December 31, 2015, God’s Spirit spoke to me, “Tell her story.”  I thought I knew exactly what God was saying to me.  When Sommer was around 10-years-old I witnessed some young girls excluding her at a church event.  My heart just broke.  No mama bear wants to see her cub being snubbed,  but it does happen. It is simply part of growing up in a fallen world.

I tried to use situations like this one as a learning lesson.  For me and for our daughters. The thing about Sommer is that she didn’t catch on.  She was not competitive, not athletic, not a show-off and certainly not mean. She was just the opposite she included everyone and if she saw someone at the back of the room she would go stand by them to show she cared. I would not allow our daughters to tease, pick on or exclude one another.  I did not allow squabbles over anything.  I would sit them down and tell them, with hands on my hips and say, “One day your daddy and I are not going to be here we will be with Jesus and Y’all will only have is each other. Now hug and let’s move on.”

I have heard many stories of sisters not liking each other and about physical fights. They carried that hurt into adulthood.  I did not want that for our daughters.  As the fictional character, Barney Fife would say “You gotta nip it, nip it, nip it in the bud.” And that’s exactly what I did. Did they quarrel? Of course, they did and do. If you were to ask them today they will tell you the same story about mom and dad being with Jesus and they would only have each other.

After returning home from the church event I sent the three of them to the showers and I went into my prayer closet.  And cried out to God! “Why her God why my baby?” Later that night I woke up from a deep sleep and grabbed my writing journal and the pencil did all the work.  I wrote a story about a little girl who did not belong and she very much wanted to.

The New Years prayer for 2016 was simply “to tell her story.” I told my husband and we thought that 2016 was the year we should publish the story I wrote a decade earlier.  I started looking for an illustrator and found a delightful young woman who personally knew our Sommer. I truly thought that publishing her story as a children’s book was what God was alluding to when He whispered: “Tell Her Story.” NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, did I think her death at the tender age of 22 was a story I needed to tell.

I was wrong. This is God’s story about Sommer Raye:

Sommer was a junior at Texas State studying History. She was going to start ASL summer of 2017. She wanted to work at the colonial museum in Williamsburg, VA. She wanted to connect with deaf tourists.  Her weaknesses were watching the Kirdashinions and chocolate preferably at the same time.  She didn’t party.  She didn’t drink. She didn’t date around. She was happiest being home with her family.  She made handmade gifts for people every Christmas or other special events. Six hours before she became unconscious she was kissing me goodnight and reminding me she would be in class and not to expect her home until after 3:30 Monday afternoon. Sommer loved and loved to be loved.

I have told that story over 100 times in 2017, our first year without her.  But God took me to Dallas to a hotel where I told a young woman about Sommer and The Samaritan woman at the well and how Jesus knew all about her past/present and future.  Jesus loved the Samaritan woman and He loves Christyl, who accepted Christ right there on the job poolside of The Four Seasons. Fetching drinks for thirsty people.  How beautiful is that? Sommer did not die in vain.  She left a story to be shared and that story changed at least one young woman’s life.  Welcome to the family Christyl

We all have a platform.  We all have a story to tell.  If you are a believer and follower of Jesus you have many stories to share.  It’s called The Gospel. Pass it on and watch souls soar.

For His glory!

Many Blessings,




Just One Word

The night before our daughter’s ceremony we had out of town friends over to the house.  I can’t remember if we ate anything or not.  I was walking in a fog.  Four girlfriends gathered with me in Sommer’s room.  We told stories about her. They commented on her style of decorating she chose in her room.  We cried.  At least I did and they allowed me to do that.

One sweet friend was there when Sommer was born.  One was a God-mother. One came to the rescue by picking up Grammie from the airport and check out baby Sommer.  Two came from California and one from Nebraska.  My girlfriend lifeline was in that room December 9th, 2016. That may sound like a long time ago but trust me when I tell you it’s still too fresh and my emotions are quite raw.

We were in her room for a long while and we decided it was time to join my other guests who traveled to see us. I stood up from lounging on my daughter’s bed. Her pillows still smelled like her shampoo.

I may not remember this exactly but I’ll share how I remember the next part.  We stood together and held hands to pray.  Cathy said in a quiet voice “Heidi, pick a word you can hold onto.”  I nodded and bowed my head to pray and it was quiet.  She repeated to me, “Heidi pick a word.”  I said I would and bowed my head again.  She leaned in and said it again, ‘Heidi, pick a word.”

I looked at her face and the light bulb in my head went “BING!” Cathy meant to pick a word from the bible that would help me in my sorrow and she wanted to know what it was before we prayed.  I don’t know if it was my grief that made the neurons, not fire or menopause because both are happening at the same time.

“Oh, you mean now,” I said.  We all laughed at my brain freeze.  Immediately I said “restoreth.” Then we prayed.

“He restores my soul,” Psalm 23:2 I love that Psalm, unfortunately, it gets used at funerals and not for our everyday walk with the Lord. But David lived it out. He personalized it.

“He is my Sheppard.”

“He leads me.”

“He prepares a table before me.”

“My cup runs over.”

“He restores my soul.”

David is not on his deathbed.  He lives his life actively seeking and praising his father in heaven.  That is so beautiful to me. And the icing on the cake is:

“I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever!”

When I say “our Sommer” I am referring to all the peo[;e who knew her and loved and accepted her for her beautiful, childlike spirit.

That is exactly how we need to approach God. With childlike faith.  He does not want our flattering prayers.  He does not want us to pray as if we are in Seminary class.  He wants us to talk to Him.  Make our requests and believe He will do a mighty work.  Jesus was a simple man. The majestic Son of God who humbled himself to be born in a stable with the shadow of the cross guiding Him. Yes, I said guiding Him.  He became flesh and blood to release us from the bondage of sin and to defy death.

Because of this beautiful picture we see we all are sinners, not degrees of sin but SINNERS!

His deepest sorrow was when He cried out,” My God, why have you forsaken me?” The wondrous truth is: He was God-forsaken so that we could become God-forgiven.

Our Sommer was just like that. God-forgiven.

Are you? Think about it.  It’s a simple thought.  He loves us in spite of ourselves.

Many Blessings,





No Rules Allowed

The first rule about grief is…there are no rules.

No right or wrong.

No steps.

No stairs.

It just is.

It can be like a hurricane.  First, you get some rain. Then the winds pick up.  The oceans crash onto the beaches.  Then it rains sideways.  The winds pick up into triple digits. The shoreline disappears and then it may become eerily quiet.  That’s the eye of the storm.  And then the sky opens up and rain buckets down.  Houses fall apart some wash out into the sea.

When Harvey hit the Texas coast between Port Aransas and Port O’Connor, Texas as a Category 4 with winds gusting at 130 mph. Havey is the first Category 4 hurricane to make landfall in the U.S. since Hurricane Charley in 2004.

We live about 3 hours north of there and we had wind gusts above 65mph.  Havey took down a 15-year-old Oak tree standing in our front yard.  I cried.  We planted 3 trees for 3 girls.  Sommer named her tree.  I name the house plants and yes I talk to them and they answer back.  When I water them they perk-up.  That speaks to me.

Grief has knocked me down like a set of waves that just keep rolling me over, filling my swimsuit with lots of sand. Yes, I have experience that and it is scary.

Sometimes my grief is scary.  It hits me out of the of the blue.  I can be in the grocery store or be getting gas. Even during my quiet time.  Reading God’s comforting promises moves me to tears. I can go a week and not cry, then Bam, I cry for hours days and nights.

I am not crazy but grief is crazy at times.

The facade of grief may be indifference, preoccupation, anger, cheerfulness or any variety of emotions.  But if we try to understand it, we may learn how to cope wit it.’

Billy Graham

Nailed it, Mr. Graham!

A few weeks before Sommer died she was having hot cocoa with her friend Renee’. Sommer told her friend “You know, God may never bring me a husband but that is okay with me because I am falling so deeply in love with Jesus like He is my first love.”

The day of her ceremony of celebration and remembrance I dressed as “The mother of the bride.”  It was a dress Sommer picked out a month before she died and told me I needed to wear it for our thirtieth wedding anniversary the following year.  She loved that dress.  I had told her the dress cost more than my wedding gown. I bought it the night before she died online. I felt like the mother of the bride on that day. Happy she was with her bride-groom and devastated she would not be coming back from a honeymoon.

But, you see she is in Paradise the best honeymoon spot for her.  She finished strong. And I must wait my turn.  I will see her one day soon, God willing the Lord will come again sooner than later.

Blessings on your day.


Getting to Know You

Hello and welcome to Live Life with Hope.

My name is Heidi and I live in Texas with my husband and two of our three daughters.

I am a Christian and my relationship with my Savior, Jesus, is more important to me than any human relationship I may have. My name is written in The Book of Life.  I am washed clean by the blood of the Lamb.  His blood is the ink used to write my name. It is the same blood that was used the day our Sommer prayed and asked Jesus to forgive her sins.  The same blood used to write my husband’s name and our other two daughter’s names. It’s the same blood “ink” that has or will record your name in The Bood of Life. I hope your name is there because one day we will meet in Paradise.

A month after our eldest daughter, Sommer, died of unknown causes I started to write devotionals and send them to about five friends.  My friend Anne said she enjoyed opening her email and finding something from me.  It was her devotional for the day.

I kept that going for a couple of months and then I found myself crying and crying as I wrote and I became overwhelmed with grief. I took time off from writing with the hope my grief would just go away.  That never happened. Why? Because grief is grief and we all experience it in this broken world at some point in our lives.  My grief is MY grief and I want you to know that we all grief as differently as the sound of our laughter. It’s okay to grieve. In fact, it’s important.  After all, Jesus wept.

He wept over Jerusalem and the death of His friend Lazarus. Jesus wept. So must we.

It’s not a sign of weakness it’s a sign of meekness. Being meek is to be humble and when we are humble we are vulnerable. I don’t know about you but when I am vulnerable I become more dependent on God.

Meekness starts when we put our trust in God.  Then, because we trust Him, we commit to Him every aspect of our daily lives to Him.

I hand over my grief, my anxieties, my frustrations, my plans, my relationships, my marriage and my health to my Heavenly Father and He guides me through each day.  Even the days I cry for hours.  You see, nothing is too big for God to handle.

I have hope because I have Jesus.  When people first hear that our daughter just died they ask me how do I get out of bed every day?  I say, “It’s because of Jesus.”

You see, I am blessed knowing that Sommer is with Jesus.  No doubt about it.  I know many people don’t have that blessed assurance.  If you are one who has no hope then I invite you to come along as I walk through my grief and share my hope.  Which is greater, faith, hope or love?  God’s word tells us love is greater and I agree.  However, when I have hope my faith becomes stronger and love becomes my guide.

“For God so loved the world He gave His Only begotten Son….” John 3:16


Thanks for stopping by.  We’ll chat soon.

Blessings on your day!