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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Jennifer...A Life That Gave Eternity a Reality


In 1989 I was 9 months pregnant with my firstborn, Alyssa. On December 17th I was sitting in the back of the Sunday school class when a young lady stood up in front of everyone crying. She told of a young couple who had been in a car crash Saturday night. The girl asked us to pray for the families of the victims. The young woman had been killed and her boyfriend was in a coma.


So, collectively as a class we prayed for the teenagers and their families. After class, my friend Beth came and hugged me and with tears in her eyes asked me, "You were close friends with Jennifer weren't you?"
"Jennifer who?" I asked her.
"Workman. She was the girl we just prayed for that was killed last night".


I had missed hearing the name of the couple we had prayed for and so I had no idea I was praying for my BFF from junior high and her parents, Bob and Carol.
I remember feeling instantly sick and breaking out in tears as Beth held me.
At that time cell phones were scarce, so I found a land line and called home.
I could barely tell my Mom, but when I finally could, she cried along with me.


On the morning of Saturday, December 16th Jennifer had driven to her childhood home. Her parents have the neatest house and I have many memories stored in my heart from spending nights with Jen.


It was her Mom's 40th birthday that day and Jennifer went to her parents' home. She had told her Mom that she needed to bake goodies for her boyfriend Dana's office Christmas party. Little did Carol know the treats they would make together were actually for her own birthday party. Jennifer had organized a surprise party to take place that evening.


As planned, her Dad took her Mom out for dinner while their house filled up with people Jen knew loved her Mom. A night of laughter, food and great fellowship surrounded the Workman family as they celebrated.


Around 9:45 Jennifer and her boyfriend Dana decided it was time to head back to town to study for the finals they would be taking in college the following week. Jen said her goodbyes to her family and the friends still there and she walked out of her home for what would be the last time.


Less than 2 miles from where Jennifer grew up she would die when her car was hit by a drunk driver.
Instantly Jennifer's life on earth would end.
At just 18 years old.
A week before Christmas.
On her Mom's birthday.
So young.
So beautiful.
So gone.
Such a senseless death caused by a man thinking he needed a few more drinks. When the bartender wouldn't serve him because he had left his license at home, he left his friends at the bar to drive home and get it. Already drunk and behind the wheel of a truck. Mark as we would learn is his name, never made it back to the bar and Jennifer didn't make it home to study with Dana. With just a scratch on his head, he eventually went to trial and served less than a year for ending my friends' precious life. A life worth so much that no amount of time behind bars could equal her value. After 2 weeks in a coma, her boyfriend Dana eventually recovered.

This past December marked 20 years since Jennifer's life ended and April 6th she would have turned 39.
Over the last twenty years I have kept in contact with her parents, wanting them to know I think of her often and will never forget her. She was not only beautiful, but she was funny, caring and so loving. And she loves Jesus.


I have sat many times across a table from Carol while we shared stories, tears and memories of her girl. We have wondered out loud what Jennifer would've been when she grew up, how many grandchildren she would have given them and who she would have married. And we have talked about how Carol has coped through the years of missing her daughter and the only way she has been able to survive this all is because of...

JESUS

Bob and Carol never took their eyes off of Jesus.
When they had to pick out a coffin for her...Jesus.
The first time they stared down at her lifeless body...Jesus.
When they opened the Christmas presents from her a week later...Jesus.
When they picked out her headstone...Jesus.
When they realized it's been 20 years without hearing her laugh...

JESUS



Although their faith was shaken to the core, it never wavered.
They know the Way, the Truth and Who is the Life and they know Jennifer is with Jesus today.


Jennifer is a loss that cut into the hearts of many, but knowing she is with our Savior is what gave us hope. Hope to see her again. Hope on those days Carol's reality was so dark.
He is the One she called out to, cried to and clung to.
God is who her Dad Bob called upon in the middle of the night, father to Father.
He is Who saw and sees them through their days.


That cold December night the driver of the truck caused a crash that took the life of a young lady who had much promise, but his selfish choice didn't take the Promise out of the girl.
When Jesus tells us that He will never leave us, He meant it.
Jennifer died having accepted Jesus in her life as a young girl and because of that choice, she slipped right into the arms of her awaiting Savior.


I have no idea where you are with Jesus Christ.
Perhaps you've had Him in your life since you were a young girl, but you feel distant from Him or maybe you don't know a thing about Him.
If you fit into one of those categories, then read on.

I believe if I could have Jennifer be a guest blogger that this is what she would say:


Jesus Christ is the best choice I ever made.
There is nobody like Him.
There is nothing on earth that could give you the satisfaction that only He can.
The thing with Jesus is that He really loves me and you.
Just look at the way He died.
The cross is so much more than a pendant hanging on a chain around your neck; it's His gift to us.
He gave His life so that we could live.
My life on earth was great, but it does not compare with eternal life with my King.
I love praising Him. I wish you could see His reaction when you pray and when you take the time to praise Him. It's so amazing.
The days you think you are worthless, you should open your Bible to Psalm 45:11...the king is enthralled by your beauty...He adores you enough to have endured the cross.
For 20 years I've had access to being able to fall at His feet.
You have the same access. Fall before Him and just worship Him.
Surrender your life to Him because believe me you do not go unnoticed by Him.
In Jeremiah 29 verse 13 He tells us that you will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart and in verse 14 He starts the verse with I will be found by you.
Find Him my friend, for He is the only thing worth seeking.
Trust me in this, I know.
I love what was written in the 84th psalm...
Better is one day in your courts then a thousand elsewhere.

Twenty years ago when I left my parents home, I had no idea I'd meet my Savior just 2 miles down a gravel road.
I hope if your life ends today you have chosen Jesus.
Bottom line is that you will spend your eternity somewhere.
And I can testify that one day with my Savior is better than a thousand somewhere else...even earth.

I am with Jesus...are you?

Love,
Jen



I'm glad Jen knows Jesus.
I'm glad Bob and Carol know Jesus.
Twenty years ago they were put on a path of the unknown.
Every parents' worst nightmare came true for them.
And I must say having watched them walk this path for the last 20 years I have seen much leaning on Jesus.
Their marriage stayed in tact while statistics show when faced with the death of a child, most marriages crumble.
Their love for Jesus grew while some turn their backs on Him out of anger.
During the hardest time of their lives they kept their eyes on Jesus.
And this childhood friend of their daughter noticed every time He was chosen by them.



Missing Jennifer Lee Workman is an understatement, but the knowledge that she chose Jesus while alive on earth makes her death different.

16 comments:

Laura said...

She is so beautiful, Lelia. How God must weep at the choices His children make sometimes! I'm so sorry for the loss of your friends. I'm so glad she knew Jesus.

Such a heartfelt tribute.

Many blessings.

Paula said...

Lelia, you are a precious gem! This post is so touching.

Stacy said...

What a beautiful tribute to your friend and most importantly, to Jesus. I lost my from church nursery-to-the-age-of-16 BFF in the summer of '87. She and I were both 16...know how hard a moment like that is and remain amazed at the lives that God allows one to touch through their lives and deaths. Appreciate your heartfelt words and love ya much!

Tami Boesiger said...

Lelia, this is a beautiful tribute to your friend and to our faithful God.

Sita said...

Oh Lelia, what a beautiful young woman. What a blessing that your lives intersected in such an eternal way. May God pour extra comfort and grace over those who still bear that loss. Wonderful tribute, my friend.
Love, Sita

Wander said...

Such a precious testimony to the power of Jesus and His love! Your sweet friend must be proud to know those she loved and left behind are keeping her beautiful memory alive.
God always has a plan....and we can rest assured that His ways are best.

Your post reminds me....to trust Him with every little detail. Even if it hurts.

Lea said...

What a beautiful tribute to your friend Lelia. This touches my heart in more ways than you can even imagine.
Love Lea

AnooCre8ion said...

What a beautiful tribute to your friend Jennifer. It is such a blessing you were able to share in her short but wonderful life. thank God for the hope we have in Him so you know you will see her again.

blessings,
Vickie

covnitkepr1 said...

Such a senseless waste of vibrant youth. So sorry for your loss. So glad that she knew Jesus.

valerie said...

Thanks for sharing this very moving story Lelia.
She sounds like an amazing young lady.
The peace that God alone can give is truly amazing.
Her parents' testimony to others during this time is remarkable.

Recently the 20 year old niece of a lady I work with was killed in a car accident. She had been married less than a year, was about to graduate from nursing school and was a very sweet, Christian girl.

Her father led one of his son's friends to the Lord shortly after the accident. The funeral was huge. The last report I heard was that 67 people had accepted Christ as their Savior after her death.

We just never know what God has planned for our lives. Just like this friend of yours. Each day is such a special gift.

I think it's just precious that her mom has the memories of her birthday that day and how special her daughter was. She is just beautiful!

Thanks again for sharing.

Love to you and your family,
Valerie

Pamela (His maidservant) said...

Thinking about you today my friend. Rest in His powerful presence. I know He is with you as you remember.

Blessings.

Believing Him~Pamela

Susan said...

Lelia,

I'm in tears, how deeply touching. What a beautiful tribute to such a BEAUTIFUL young lady.

My mom choose Jesus too when her 18year old son was murdered.

I remembered telling him good-bye after his last football game.

He had 3 full scholarships for football, dreaming of going pro one day.

Another thing my mom did, was taught us what true forgiveness looked like when she said to forgive that guy, her son was with Jesus.

Whew...

Thank GOD for the hope, for the promises we have. God is good, He is faithful, He is there, always.

Love you, and thanks for sharing this with us.

(I know it means the WORLD to your friend's mom you still call and check up on them!)

You are one amazing person. I'm so grateful to know you~

Jennifer said...

Wow, what an amazing story and powerful testimony. I am so sorry for your loss. She is beautiful.

Andrea said...

I, too am missing my sister, Dayna who was tragically killed April 14, 1989 by a senseless act of a teenager! Over 20 years have past and she is still never more than a thought away. GOD continues to use her story as I speak to teenagers (every opportunity I get).
Blessings, hugs, prayers, and tears,
andrea

Cindy (Letters From Midlife) said...

What a sweet tribute to your friend. I'd love to peek in on your reunion with her in heaven some day!

Paula (SweetPea) said...

Very sweet, Lelia.