This past weekend I received an email from this special lady pictured with me in the photo. Her name is Linda Dillow. The email is the forward she has written for the book, Lovely Traces of Hope.
Linda has been my mentor in life, marriage, and worship most of my adult life, though we have only met a dozen times or so. I received her first book as a wedding present in 1979. I have read all of her books since. (I’ll list my favorites at the end of this post.)
It has seemed that just when I needed to take a next step, she was putting out the next book. When I was invited to lead a worship team to Ukraine, she was the speaker at that same conference. No, we didn’t plan it. When Rennie and I were on sabbatical, she invited us to stay in their home for 10 days while they were away.
For whatever reason God chose to place her in my life over and over again, I am eternally grateful. She led me in a journey of contentment, worship, marriage, sex even. She encouraged me to find contentment in my life and see my words, attitudes, work, and my waiting -even my pain – as an act of worship. She led me in worship, not in songs of worship, but in worship of two hearts bowed at the sofa, remembering who God is, recalling what he has done and praising him from the core of our beings. She invited me to see that my marriage was a reflection to my world of God’s love for us. She challenged me to want more for my relationship with Ren.
Linda is one of my heroes! No, this is not hero worship. This is gratitude. I trust her. I know she is a woman who pursues God and points others to him, because I have seen her do it. Not to one or two women, but to thousands, perhaps more. Not for a short time, but for her lifetime. I know. I’ve been watching her for 37 years now. Linda is the real deal. She is a woman of influence!
That is why I am humbled and grateful that she has written this forward for the book. I could make you wait to read it in the book, but I just had to share it. Take a peek. Here’s what a woman you can trust has to say.
FORWARD for Lovely Traces of Hope.
What does a mom do when her beautiful, vibrant fifteen year old daughter is suddenly, harshly, instantly gone? Grieve? Of course. Go on a long journey of seeking God and healing? Yes. Kathy did these things but also did something very unusual.
After Leisha died, she opened her daughter’s journal and found Leisha’s “book.” If she flipped Leisha’s journal over and upside down and opened the cover, Kathy found her daughter had started to write her own story. She even included the title page.
So Kathy began writing to finish Leisha’s story.
The Burrus family: mom, dad and three girls came to have a vacation in our basement in Colorado Springs in 2002. It was a special time to get to know Kathy, Rennie and their three lovely daughters, Caitlin, Brielle and Leisha. A few short years later, Leisha was singing in heaven and Kathy was finishing her story. As I read Lovely Traces of Hope, I smiled, I cried and I wrote these words to Kathy about the book she and Leisha had written.
Thank you for walking through the dark tunnel to His Light
Thank you for writing so honestly and vulnerably for me and others about grief and pain and how to walk….believing that there is HIS Light somewhere ahead
Thank you for “taking your clothes off” and being real
Thank you for revealing the beauty of walking the Christ walk
Why do I think you should read this book? Let me use Leisha’s name to tell you.
Both Leisha and Kathy have much to share about building your legacy. Kathy says, “When we intentionally NOTICE what really is happening, it gives us an opportunity to reflect on what we are learning from it. More importantly we see what God has been doing. We NOTICE His fingerprints, HIS HAND on our everyday, ordinary lives.” That is especially true when we reckon with the painful areas that may leave us paralyzed in some way. Many times just “noticing” allows us to reframe the events and their effects on our future.
As a mom, Kathy gave me hope, showed me how to face problems with teens, how to reach inside myself and be willing to look honestly at “me.” We all face loss. Loss is not the defining moment of our lives, it is how we respond to loss that matters. Kathy helped me see in a new way that healing is a progression.
Not many fifteen year olds think about being an influence—they are too busy thinking about boys, clothes or the Friday night party. Leisha wanted to be MAD (Make a Difference)! At her tender age, she thought about being an influence and leaving a legacy. Teens need to read this book!
Kathy is honest. Listen to her sincere words. I hesitate to write these next pages. Offering them here is a risk. What will you think of me if I tell of the places in our lives we didn’t have it all together? What if I take off the mask enough for you to see me as I really am?
Leisha and Kathy’s book points you to the Lord God Almighty. In pain. In grief. When life is a dark tunnel, Kathy discovered that God is still Light. She says, I had to learn to NOTICE God showing up differently.
This book is an advance. It takes you forward in your thinking, in your faith, in your personal journey toward the legacy you are creating. Books have been written on grief. Kathy achingly walks you through how she processed her grief. Books have been written on how to help your teen and whole family walk through trials, Kathy shows you how her family did it.
Leisha and Kathy’s combined story is for every mom, every teen….really for everyone. I highly recommend Lovely Traces of Hope to you. I promise you it will lead you to hope as it did me!
Calm My Anxious Heart
Satisfy My Thirsty Soul
What’s It Like to Be Married to Me?
Surprised by the Healer
Want to get updates or join the launch team for Lovely Traces of Hope? click here!