Sarabeth Rose Hammond, a Treasure

This is a hard post. I’m sure I’ll not get through it without crying but you won’t be able to see me, so that’s kind of immaterial. And the most important part of this story is IT IS NOT ABOUT ME. Please. Lord, Jesus, don’t let an inch of ugly ass pride set in. For this story is all about you. And about Sarabeth.

Last Wednesday evening or Thursday morning there was a picture on my FaceBook feed of a young woman who had gone missing. I stared at the picture. I stared at the name. I knew the girl, I knew the name. I remembered her name because I have another young friend who is also named Sarabeth and I had mentioned that to her when we met. Which was where? I could not place the girl, nor her face. I just knew that we had had something special.

I couldn’t get the image of Sarabeth out of my head. I read everything I could about her over the next day or so. And then early the next morning I read that she was a Lyme Disease advocate. That very moment everything clicked.

I write this post because I have to, my brain won’t settle and my heart is fighting the Peace that is beyond circumstance, that is beyond understanding. I’m writing for Sarabeth, for those who loved her, but mostly for the ONE who loved her and loves her still. I am writing this as a love song to Jesus.

We do a healing and prayer tent at a music festival here in Floyd VA. Last summer was our fifth year. When we started all I knew was we were supposed to make it pretty and inviting. I didn’t know what we would do there, who would come, if anyone would come. When we applied as vendors in the juried Healing Arts part of the festival I wasn’t even sure what to say we were planning on doing, because I just didn’t know myself. As I finally explained to our dear HA coordinator, “I don’t know. We are followers of Jesus. I just know that he said we are supposed to do it. I guess you could say we simply are called to pray for people. For physical healing, for spiritual healing, for emotional healing. And to love on them. Anyway they may need.” Somehow with that vague answer we were accepted and have been privileged to do HomeBase (the name of our ministry) for the past five years.

Some day soon I’ll tell you other stories about HomeBase. About the wonderful people we have met and the family that God has created because we have the privilege to minister together, being absolutely clueless about what will happen next.

This past summer our first “customer” on the Wednesday before things get swinging was a beautiful young woman who wandered into the half set up tent and wondered aloud what the heck we do there. As I went through my rote, “I’m not really sure. It always looks different. Mostly we pray for people for stuff they need.”

She told me that she had chronic Lyme’s and that she was there to work in the non-profit section as a Lyme’s Disease advocate. We talked a bit. I told her my neighbor is a doctor who specializes in Lyme’s. We decided together to pray that God would heal her, get her through the festival, help her impact others. That prayer quickly began to morph. Not on my own volition. It was a day ordained, a day to unashamedly share the gospel, a day a young girl asked Jesus to be her Savior.

Here’s where I interject something that the Lord has been putting on my heart. I spend 37 years believing and hoping that many paths led to salvation. I lived life my way, I dragged God along as I deemed fit and when I most needed him. What I’ve been processing the last few days is that there is one way to God. I know that in my being, but I’ve not known how to articulate it without seeming judgmental, without sounding like I’ve got this and you don’t. What has become so very apparent when I’ve thought about this blog is although the way through Jesus is called the narrow path, it really is the easy path. He has done all the work. I don’t have to get my shit together, I don’t have to be holier than thou; I don’t have to have the “work” completed. He has long ago done all the work. He has prepared the way. He has made the yoke easy. He has hung on the cross.

Sarabeth got all this that Wednesday at FloydFest. She opened her heart and her hands (I held them open and He filled them with His Spirit) and she made a decision for Jesus. She chose eternal life. She chose abundant life. She chose joy.

I have been just undone thinking what He planned back in July, knowing what would happen in December. Earlier this week Sarabeth died on the side of the mountain where I live, barely two miles as the crow flies from my safe, comfy home. None of this is easy, or feels even a hint of being fair. But it is finished. Sarabeth dances with him now, the Lover of her soul, body and mind fully restored and whole.

If I may be so bold, I don’t believe people become angels when they die. The Bible says that angels long to understand the salvation that God had in mind for humans when he created them in his image. Our destiny, our reunion with God is not the boring harp-playing, Clarence working tirelessly to ever earn his wings. Somehow we can better understand that than the mystical reality that God chose us. He made the way. He reconciled his creation (his image) to himself. And he began this with Sarabeth Rose Hammond on a seemingly inconsequential Wednesday in July of 2016. Sarabeth, you leave us all different people. People who grieve deeply, so very deeply. But a people that understand better what it is to not grieve without hope. Your life was precious. Your death was tragic. Your legacy is and will be forevermore amazing. I will always love you, Girl. I will never forget. Thank you Jesus, for being You. Amen.

16 thoughts on “Sarabeth Rose Hammond, a Treasure”

  1. What a beautiful eulogy to Sarabeth and to the work, we often think, maybe insignificant, sharing Christ everyday in so many “everyday” ways. Thank you for sharing Lynne. This really touched my heart and encouraged me to remember to put at “cross” at the top of my of my day saying “All for You dear Jesus.” let Him do the rest. After all, it is His day, His divine appointments, for His sake, His purpose and His glory. We just need to be there, willing, like you were for Sarabeth. That little brief moment in time affected Sarabeth’s whole eternity.

    1. This is so beautiful and true. I am so happy Sarabeth knows the love of God and that she is with him now. Fly high Sweet Child of God and let us feel your Spirit of love and light!

  2. I am very pleased to know this about your ministry and young Sarabeth. Such a loss for her family and friends. I’m glad you met her.

  3. What amazing connections we can make. I am so grateful you shared this amazing story. After church we went to the site to pray for her and to thank Jesus for knowing things we cannot yet understand. God is good.

  4. God has blessed and ordained your ministry. Thank you for these words, they comfort me greatly having been a friend of Sarabeth and her family. I’ve oftentimes wondered, now I know.

    Isaiah 43:25

  5. Thank you for sharing your experience. What an amazing ministry. The loss of Sarabeth has made a profound impact on our community.

  6. What an amazing story and I am grateful for the peace I now have in knowing that Sarabeth knew the Lord… Praise God for this young girls life…

  7. Wow! This is absolutely beautiful. God is so amazing! I love hearing stories like this, it strengthens my grasp onto God as I just got baptised for my 2nd time October 2016. Happy tears just flowing saying Thank You to God for putting you two together that day. Love you sister in Christ!

  8. I love reading beautiful stories like this as sad as it seems I see the glory of God shining through! I love how you allow God to use you & don’t plan but let Him plan, not putting our Creator in a box but allowing Him to move is so powerful!! I’d love to be a part of a ministry like this. Praying God brings to light what He has for this next chapter of my life. I want to be used for His glory & to share how awesome our God truly is!!! Thank you for sharing this, may He bless your ministry greatly!

  9. What a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing. Whenever I hear of someone’s passing, especially that of a young person like Sarabeth, my first thought always is, did they know Jesus. While I never met her, I did meet her talented mother at some women’s event many moons ago. I grieved for Caroline when Sarabeth went missing, and I grieved for her when the tragic accident was discovered. But your story has taken some of the weight off of my heart, knowing that she is now in Jesus’ arms. I no longer have to wonder. Thank you for sharing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *