Thursday, February 20, 2014

In Honor of Hailey Owens....

Psalm 119:76(MSG)
Oh, love me--and right now--hold me tight--just the way You promised!

If you've been anywhere within ear shot of a media outlet over the past 36 hours, then you know about the devastating loss of a sweet young girl from our community by the name of Hailey Owens.  She was abducted from a Springfield neighborhood, less than 48 hours ago on a warm sunny afternoon as she walked care freely down her street, only to be found dead a few hours later.   (Click here to read complete story.)  Many people were desperately looking...praying...and hoping beyond all hope that she would be found unharmed.  Unfortunately, that was not the outcome.

As I sat across from my parents this morning while sipping a warm cup of coffee and visiting with them, I watched my 77 year old mother and my 80 year old father's eyes begin filling with tears.  They wanted to talk about Hailey and try to process what has happened right here in our midst.  I think they represent many of us in our town today, as we try to wrap our minds around this tragedy.

Details are flooding in listing the heroic efforts from bystanders, first responders, police and rescue personnel as they attempted to stop this heinous crime.  One gentleman near the scene, giving no thought for his own safety, jumped into his car and gave chase at a speed in excess of 55mph in a failed attempt to return this child to her home.  What a selfless act of love and bravery!    

The emotions that we are feeling over her loss are raw and uncensored.  Facebook and Twitter are lit up with a myriad of responses ranging from anger, confusion, and outrage to distraction and an overwhelming sense of grief.  Reporters, police, witnesses, and even the prosecutor himself, became choked up during their reporting of the facts surrounding the story.  The people of Springfield are mourning the death of an innocent little girl that most of us never even met, but, because her eyes are seen in our own children everyday, we can't and won't forget little Hailey's bright light.  Last night, all over Springfield, porch lights were lit in an effort to show a sea of support and loving kindness to Hailey's family.  The people here are just wanting to do let her precious family know that, while we cannot possibly understand what they are going through, we are standing with them.

This rose is for Hailey Owens' family.
The tears are flowing...
but we will keep our light bright for you
in honor your sweet baby girl.
The family described Hailey as a joyful and smiling little girl who loved to cheer people up when they were down.  She brought light and laughter to every situation.  Her life was a gift and a unique blessing to all those that knew her. 
I wish I could have met her, but sense I didn't, I will choose to see her in every little innocent life that I come in contact with in the coming months.  If I could talk to the family of little Hailey, today, I would say, "I am so sorry that you are suffering because of one person's madness.  I am sorry that we live in a sinful place that has fallen so far from what the Lord designed it to be." 

The world can be a dark place where many do not understand the sanctity of a human life nor the profound impact that their horrendous choices will have on those around them.  But, what shall we do then?  Give up?  No.  No we can't and we won't give up shining our light in a dark and terrifying world.  The light of Christ and His love is brightly burning and we must not let it go out. 

If you are in the Springfield area, there will be a candle light vigil for Hailey this Saturday evening to show our love and dedicated support to this beautiful family(Click here for details.) 

I will never understand the sinful evil actions that have led to the death of one of Your cherished kids.  I know that this was not Your perfect plan for her life.  I guess it isn't even my place to try to figure it all out.  It is my prayer today that You will hold Hailey's family tight in Your the verse above states....and give them Your promises of peace and comfort now and every single day, until they can see and hold her again.
In Jesus Name~

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