Friday, August 18, 2006

A Memory of Tim

Today is my birthday (Sandy) and I'm remembering all the thoughtful things Tim did in his quiet way. On every special occasion he would give us a card and include some encouraging words. My favorite birthday card from Tim hangs on a small bulletin board on the wall right next to my bed and is the first thing I see in the morning. I keep encouraging thoughts on 3X5 cards on it to remind me of God's promises each morning and areas that I'm trying to grow in. I also keep my favorite notes and cards from Sal and the kids. Tim gave me this card for my birthday two years ago. I scanned the picture on the front, but couldn't figure out how to paste it onto the blog. On the front is a black and white photo of an adult hand holding a small child's hand. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Above the picture are the words: "For as long as I can remember," and below it says: "you've always been there for me." And inside it says "Happy Birthday to a Wonderful Mother". Was I not there enough for him these past two years? Did I listen too much to those voices telling me to let go too soon? How did I not see the severity of the battle he was fighting? I trusted God and prayed for him daily. I shared all the things God had taught me through the years that I battled depression. I had every confidence that God loved Tim and would bring him through in His time. I shared scripture and books that had ministered to me and he always thanked me and encouraged me to speak into his life whenever I had something to share. I had experienced God miraculously speaking into my thoughts when I had concluded that ending Todd's and my life was the solution to the difficulties that my husband and 3 other kids (at the time) lived with on a daily basis. If God could intervene in my life in such a dramatic way and show me how deceived I had been in thinking that my plan was a "solution", surely He could intervene with Tim. I had experienced God's loving care in so many areas in Sal's and my lives, surely God was lovingly directing all the events in Tim's life. God had a different plan for Tim and for us and His promise is to work it for our good. I've experienced God's goodness so many times after trials and difficulties. I can only conclude that God allowed this to happen and will use it to fulfill His sovereign plan in each of the groups who knew Tim and will work it to our family's good. There is the possibly that God was very merciful to Tim and to us by not allowing Tim to battle Bipolar for the rest of his days on earth or for his family to watch two members deal with severe mental illness.
Tim would always include a personal note in his cards to me which I treasure so much, particularly now. Here's what he shared in this card two years ago.

Your birthday provides an opportunity to thank and encourage you, to let you knowthat each year I am more blessed and challenged by your life.

This year I have seen you grow in humility-admitting your own shortcomings as you share counsel.

I have seen you grow in patience- and we daily provide you many opportunities for growth in this!

I have seen you grow in wisdom- as you seek to practically apply the truth of thegospel.

Thanks for sharing your time, wisdom, and love with me this year! As I return to Philly, I hope to grow and learn from the way you take time to be still before the Lord.

Thanks for sharing your time, wisdom, and love with me this year! As I return to Philly, I hope to grow and learn from the way you take time to be still before the Lord.

Each of our kids is so unique and such a blessing from the Lord. Tim was not the result of our parenting, but of God's creating. We used to look at each other and say, "where did this kid come from?" Our other kids had our sin natures and similar struggles that we had growing up. Tim was far beyond us in godliness and we learned from him. I'm reminded of I Cor. 4:7b "What do you have that you did not receive?" Tim didn't boast. I don't think he realized what he had received was any different from the rest of us. God used the gifts He had given Tim to be an example to many of us of what a godly life looked like. We were truly blessed to have Tim for 26 years. God chose to bless us with him and I will be forever greatful!

Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name

You give and take away,
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say,
"Lord, blessed be Your name!"

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

One fun memory from our courtship...

One memory I love from our courtship is when Tim was about to tell his friends that we were courting. We were sitting in his car in the parking lot of the dorm after church that week, and he looked at me with these slightly excited, slightly nervous eyes and said, "Are you ready to do this?" I grinned back and said, "I think so." We both smiled and walked into Biblical's Dorm.

About ten minutes later I heard this amazing squeeling and cheering as I realized the "cat was out of the bag" - and when I came back into the room, the girls immediately steered me into the kitchen to hear all the "details"... good times. (I miss you girls!!)

Marriage and romance are such precious gifts that God gives us... how fun to get a chance to celebrate with friends in just the possibilities of God's goodness!

On the rest of the background... well - I was going to spend some time sharing a little about my relationship with Tim, but I'll wait on that a little...

I love talking about what God's done in my life through Tim... so if you would like to contact me to hear about some of what God did through Tim or have specific questions, let me know! I'd love to talk to you! I set up a new e-mail account just for this purpose, so feel free to e-mail me at:

I'll be sharing more good memories of Tim as I think of them - please feel free to jog my memory by leaving some more of your own!!


Thursday, July 13, 2006

What I'm Learning about Bipolar

The following information was found on several sites including the Mayo Clinic and National Institute of Mental Health.

Bipolar disorder causes dramatic mood swings from overly "high" and/or irritable to sad and hopeless, and then back again, often with periods of normal mood in between. Severe changes in energy and behavior go along with these changes in mood. The periods of highs and lows are called episodes of mania and depression. Symptoms of bipolar are severe; they are different from the normal ups and downs that everyone goes through.

In the book An Unquiet Mind Kay Redfield Jamison says "Manic-depression distorts moods and thoughts, incites dreadful behaviors, destroys the basis of rational thought, and too often erodes the desire and will to live. It is an illness that is biological in its origins, yet one that feels psychological in the experience of it; an illness that is unique in conferring advantage and pleasure, yet one that brings in its wake almost unendurable suffering and, not infrequently, suicide."

When the depression started again at the end of March, we realized there was a pattern to what Tim was experiencing that took a year to repeat. We know he was depressed during the summer of 2004 and then experienced an up swing towards the end of August that carried him through till the end of March, 2005. A friend shared when the change occurred last spring that it was like his brain was suffering from brain sludge and couldn't process when writing a paper or studying for an exam like he could the previous 2 1/1 years they had studied together. In her book Kay Redfield Jamison describes this period in her life at the beginning of her illness, "Then the bottom began to fall out of my life and mind. My thinking, far from being clearer than crystal, was tortuous. I would read the same passage over and over again only to realize that I had no memory at all for what I just had read. Each book or poem I picked up was the same way. Incomprehensible. Nothing made sense. I could not begin to follow the material presented in my classes, and I would find myself staring out the window with no idea of what was going on around me. It was very frightening." The pattern as it repeated this year was much more severe than last. I could sense Tim spinning faster and faster last fall and mentioned to him that his boundless energy would come to an end and to be prepared for it. He dismissed my idea then, but about a month later, at the beginning of December when writing asking for prayer, he agreed that there was some truth to my statement. He wrote, "Having gone through a thoroughly depressing summer, this fall is somewhat of a manic period for me. One that simply must slow at some point. Now don't get over-alarmed. I am sleeping fine. Eating well. Relating well with everyone. But my mind is running on over-drive. I am thinking much faster than usual... especially when I'm on drugs...i.e. caffeine:).
The Lord has allowed me to put some amazing thought together (though I know that everything seems move profound during a manic period)." He goes on to describe several ideas he has for essays he wants to write and that he has the entire outlines in his head. He closes this way: "Ok, so don't go over-board with this e-mail... I am doing fine. According to everyone I talk to I've never been doing better. ... Lastly, I have found only one thing to slow my mind: singing worship music. Singing and meditating on worship music have been the only way to slow down and focus on one thing for an extended period of time. Not even prayer slows me."
We noticed when Tim was home for Thanksgiving and had a friend over for dinner, he talked about himself and told story after story about himself and didn't include his friend in the conversation like he usually would. This wasn't the Tim we knew and when he came home at Christmas he was even more bizarre. He came in at 7:30 AM Christmas Eve morning and hadn't slept for a day or two. He got a couple of hours sleep and then Joe woke him up without thinking and he was talking so crazy. I immediately thought of schizophrenia since there was someone in the familiy who had this. Sal came home early from work and talked with Tim and he seemed to settle down and then there was dinner and church and Christmas morning and going to relatives for dinner. Sal asked Tim to stay home with Todd since he still wasn't himself while we went to the relatives' house. When we got home we watched the Ravens game and then as I was headed up to bed, Tim asked if we could talk. Andrew and Joe joined me since Sal had to work the next day and it was now almost 11PM. Tim was angry with me and after asking me to explain why I was so upset by his behavior Christmas Eve told me that he couldn't understand why I was over reacting. The discussion went back and forth with Tim displaying anger from time to time. This was something we'd never seen in Tim and it was very hard to comprehend what was going on. Had he contained his sinful heart so long and now sin was just flowing everywhere or what? Around 2 AM Joe, our 17 year old began to share after Tim and Andrew were on the verge of physically fighting with each other. Joe began sharing what the youth pastor, Matt Smith had been teaching the high school kids about conflict during the fall. Joe was able to take the information he had learned and apply it perfectly to the situation. We could see Tim deflate right before our eyes. When Joe finished, Tim suggested we all pray and we went around the table and all prayed and headed for bed around 3AM.

Tim slept most of the next day and then went to dinner with two friends from camp. They invited him back to camp where they hung out for most of the night talking and shooting baskets. They saw the changes in Tim and addressed their concerns with him throughout the night. They shared evidences of God's grace and also sin. Tim was able to receive what they had to say and repent and confess what had gone on at home. He stayed at camp, slept, and then met with Mr. Paul the next afternoon. Mr. Paul also addressed Tim's behavior and had a great impact on him. Tim wrote a detailed letter to Joe, Andrew, and me apologizing for his behavior. After that he seemed to be more like himself for the rest of Christmas week. We tried to get him to stay home for the month of January, offering to pay him what he would earn at the Y and what he would have to pay someone to do his kitchen duty each night in the dorm, but he felt he needed to fulfill his responsibilities. He came home in January and twice in March and went to the beach with us at Easter and each time seemed tired so we didn't try to have any heavy duty discussions with him. When he left to go back to school Easter Sunday, he apologized for being withdrawn during the vacation week. We encouraged him that it was OK and wasn't anything like last summer. We knew he had a lot on him and thought that once school was behind him, we'd have time to talk things through. We trusted that God would bring him through this time because we'd seen how God has brought us through so much. In April I'd told Tim that I thought there was definitely a pattern of Bipolar and that after graduation we needed to get to the bottom of what was going on. I had no idea of how severe Bipolar can be.

Here are some of the facts we've learned about Bipolar:
*it typically develops in late adolescence or early adulthood
*about 5.7 million American adults or 2.6% of the population 18 or older have it in any given year
*it's a long-term illness that must be carefully managed throughout a person's life
*10% of people with Bipolar commit suicide
*suicide is often the first clear sign of Bipolar
*only 12% of identical twins will both have Bipolar which indicates to me that environment plays a big roll in it's onset

Well, I think I know why I've put off writing so long. There's so much to share. I'll try to write just a little every couple of days or so. I would like those who knew and loved Tim to have some understanding of what led him to end his life. I hope people will remember the wonderful young man that he was and how he blessed others. It was a privilege to have him for 26 years. He truly loved the Lord and wanted to live a life that pointed people to Christ.

Friday, June 23, 2006

A Prophetic e-mail

When Andy got into Tim's e-mail account, he found this e-mail that Tim had never opened. It had been sent around 1 AM on the day he died, May 11, 2006. The sender was trying to encourage him as he faced the first of the 3 exams he had before graduating. He did very well on his ethics exam that he took from 2 -5 that day and got an A. Went by the Y to drop off his swimmers' report cards and talked till 5:45 and seemed like the same Tim. He left the Y and was dead by 6:01 from jumping, falling? in front of a Septa (sp?) train. I wonder if he left the Y and turned his attention to the remaining exams and realized there was no way he would pass the Salvation 2 exam with the struggle he was having in his brain to focus. If he didn't pass, he wouldn't graduate. In his depressed state he couldn't face the shame of that and in an instant in time Satan tempted him and won the battle that had been raging off and on for two years. Tim had never gotten less than a B in any college or seminary class. A couple of us had thought he might be bi polar and had said something to him about dealing the bi polar possibility as soon as exams were over. I'll share what I've learned about bi polar in the next week.
I just wanted to share these last few paragraphs that we see as prophetic and have been a comfort to us.

"I'll be praying for you... praying for rest tonight and focus tomorrow, for peace and a sense of His nearness during the exam, and hope that regardless of the outcome, you can praise God with the results.

I'll also be praying that in a little while, when God looks on Thursday, May 11th, 2006 of your life, that He smiles, puts a hand on your shoulder, and says, "Well done! My good and faithful servant!"

What more could we ask for? :)

Yes, what more could we ask for?

Friday, May 26, 2006

Driving to Church...

I was driving home to Cleveland today... as I was driving through the beautiful Pennsylvania countryside, I remembered a drive I had with Tim to church one Sunday. I was running late (as usual) and didn't get to finish all of my daily scripture readings before he was at my door.
"Do you mind if I read a little out loud, Tim? I didn't get to finish my reading this morning." He grinned at me from the driver's seat -
"Sure. Nathan and I used to do that in the car on the way to church... what were you thinking about reading?"
"Well..." I looked at the four chapters listed for March 19th in my book... "How about Proverbs 6?... Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise..." I paused, scanning the rest of the chapter.
"Hmmm...." Tim looked at me quizzically - "not exactly setting a worshipful tone, is it? How about something else?" He laughed.
"I'm also supposed to read John 9" I turned to that section of my bible.
"John 9! I LOVE that story." Tim smiled and settled back in his seat, waiting for me to read.
I remember pausing at this - recognizing yet again how well Tim knew scripture. I had no idea what story he was talking about.
"As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth..." I read the story of the blind man Jesus healed by making mud on his eyes and telling him to wash...
"Oh, wait - here's my favorite part!" Tim smiled as I read -
"One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see."

I flipped through my bible a little, trying to find something in the psalms to help prepare our hearts for Sunday worship...
"Hey, you've got a lot of hilighting on that page...let's read that one." Tim looked over and saw a lot of yellow on psalm 16:

"Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
I say to the Lord, "You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you...
the Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot.
The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.
I bless the Lrod who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me.
I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure.
For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption.
You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore."

May the Lord bless you today with a worshipful heart and joy in his presence.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Here is a picture of Tim - the one many of you saw this from the bulletin - I have a couple others of him as well... I'll post them periodically... thanks for asking for them! Thank you for your prayers ~ Shelah

Monday, May 22, 2006

Thank you, thank you, thank you

Sal and I would like to thank everyone who has cared for us so well these past twelve days. We have been surrounded by so many who love us and our Timothy. Our family, neighbors, friends, care groups, churches, Beachmont Camp families, Sal's District Court co-workers, Mary's co-workers at Bear Creek Elementary School, Andrew's bosses and co-workers from Merritt Athletic Clubs, Tim's co-workers from the YMCA, Westminster students and faculty have blessed us in so many ways during this time. We have felt your prayers and enjoyed your memories and stories about Tim. We are drained this morning and waiting to have the crew come and dig up our front yard to replace a broken sewer pipe we've dealt with this past week as well. Thanks to someone from our care group's recommendation we have a company doing the job for $800 less than the price our regular plumber gave us. Fortunately we were able to continue using the toilets. The kids had to run up to Grandmom's house for showers. It will be good to have this job done!
We just ask for continued prayer as we go through this week closing out all Tim's accounts, packing all his things and bringing them home from school, and attending his graduation. Westminster is awarding him a diploma on Thursday and we hope to celebrate with his friends who are graduating. God has been so gracious this week, ordering our days so that we could move through them with a peace and ease knowing He was in control. He brought just the right people to us at the time we could receive them and we never felt overwhelmed. He also gave us restful nights. Shelah (Shay-la), the young lady Tim was courting, has been such a blessing to us spending several days visiting with us, sharing memories, looking at pictures together, sharing e-mails Tim sent each of us, and mourning ourloss together. We have so many memories of this time that we will always cherish: all those faces of people who came to the funeral home, the God honoring funeral service and kind memories of Tim that were shared beautifully, the line of 120 cars going down Belair Rd. to the cemetery, the wonderful time of fellowship at Beachmont, the opportunity to worship at Grace Community Souderton yesterday, the thoughtful words that were shared at the memorial service afterwards for all those who knew him these past four years, and the chance to show Tim's grandmom his dorm and school.
In going through some e-mails I sent to Tim this year, I came across one where I shared some quotes from Jerry Bridges' book The Grace of God and the Bondage of the Will (not sure how to underline title). We had to read the first chapter entitled "Does Divine Sovereignty Make a Difference in Everyday Life" for the discipleship class Joe, Joanna, Sal, and I have been taking this year. I realized that God was preparing me through this article. This is what I shared with Tim in March. "...what difference does diviine sovereignty make? It makes considerable difference. Calvinists recognize that when they have done their best to plan and make wise decisions, their planning is at best imperfect andtheir decisions may sometimes turn out to be bad decisions. But they also believe that God is in control of even their bad decisions in such a way as to accomplish his sovereign will. In other words, they believe that God cannot be thwarted or frustrated by their bad decisions. They do not use this as an excuse for irresponsibility, but they do take courage in the fact that God's will and God's plan are not finally dependent on their coming through for God." For those of you who are seeing opportunities they missed to go deeper with Tim and draw him out more, I hope this quote will comfort you the way it did me along with the many ways God has shown me His sovereignty in my life during these past 7 years in a Sovereign Grace Church. A pastor several years back, seeing my sense of over-responsibility shared something that has stuck with me, "If you miss it and God wants it done, He will bring someone else to do it." A few other quotes from this chapter that spoke to me are: "If God is not is control, then I ought to be afraid. It is of little comfort to me to know that God loves me if He is not in control of the events of my life." "Both Arminians and Calvinists can be battered by a similar set of circumstances. Arminians apparently believe that the most God can do is to pick up the pieces of a disastrous situation and try to bring about some good from it. Calvinists believe that God was in control of the disaster from start to finish and that he knew from all eternity how he would use the disaster to bring glory to himself and good to his aching child." I hope this comforts and blesses you as it has me.
As I'm writing this, I'm remembering that the only reason I've come to understand God's sovereign grace is because of Tim. We had never been part of a reformed church, but in high school Tim started reading books by Tozar, Spurgeon, Sproul, Michael Horton, and others after doing a 13 week section in his Konos curriculum on the early church. Among the assignments he had during this time was one to read Augustine's City of God (~600+ pages). He had to summarize each chapter. I think we checked the book out of the library 3 times before he finished the assignment. When Andy and Mary hit this assignment, we read Tim's notes. They would have thrown themselves out a window if I had asked them to plow through this book. :) After reading Horton's Putting Amazing Back into Grace, Tim came to me and told me that I needed to read the book- it would change the way I worshipped. He began to explain election to me and I quickly told him that I wasn't interested in arguing with other Christians over religion and that I had been told you need to be like a child to come to Christ and I do four year old very well, thank you. Tim persisted and after reading it four times and asking him a ton of questions, the light began to dawn on me. Shortly after this time, the Lord brought us to Chesapeake and Tim was so right,it does make all the difference in how I worship, and it is important to pursue sound doctrine. How blessed we were to have Tim in our family; how kind of God to lend him to us for these 26 years!

Friday, May 19, 2006

Site now open to all...

I have just discovered how to enable everyone who reaches this site to write to Tim... so feel free - I will be checking often and will publish them as soon as I can - on behalf of his family and friends - thank you for loving Timothy so well. I look forward to many more opportunities of fellowship together with Tim in a little while...

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Schedule of Events May 17 - 21

* Viewing in Maryland - Wednesday, May 17 from 2-4 pm & 7-9 pm
Rucks Funeral Home
5305 Harford RdBaltimore, MD 21214

* Funeral service in Maryland - Thursday, May 18 at 11 am
Grace Community Church
11611 Belair RdKingsville, MD 21087

* Memorial Service in Pennsylvania - Sunday, May 21
(Tim's family will be coming up for the service and the memorial this Sunday.)
Grace Community Church (meets at Penn View Christian School)
Godshall Rd (just south of Rt 113)
Souderton, PA
(The worship service is at 10 am. The memorial on Sunday will be immediately following.)

Prayers for today...

Today is the viewing in Maryland - we're going down to spend some time praying and releasing Tim to Jesus... tomorrow is the funeral in Maryland at 11am at Grace Community.

Thank you so much for your prayers!

Please pray for the Barranco family:
Salvador, Sandy, Todd, Mary, Andrew, Joe, and Joanna.

~Pray for all the little details of getting ready to greet so many that loved their son - pray for grace and strength and peace and wisdom and words and compassion.... Pray for insight in others into creative ways to serve the Barranco family.
~Pray for God-sized comfort and wisdom - for a sense of purpose in the suffering that comes from the Lord.

Please pray for the pastors and counselors near to Tim:
Mike Emlet, Aron Osborne, Dan Muelners, Jeremy Hetrick, Jeremy Bell, Trevor Haines, Paul
~As they are searching for words to share to serve God's people, they are also grieving the loss of a dear friend. Ask for God's nearness to provide strength and peace that "passes all understanding."

Pray for dear friends of Tim:
Tara and Pete, Jaime and Mike, Jeff, Nathan, me... so many others...
~Pray that we can look for God's purposes for us in this today... that we will see God's compassion in our grief and cry out in times of need.

Pray for CCEF staff - especially interns and counselees that knew Tim well.

Pray for the Westminster students - finishing exams this semester...

Pray for the campers, counselors, and staff of Beachmont Christian Camp...

Tim was my good friend while I was at Westminster last semester, and we'd also been courting since March - we were spending time together to see if God would have us marry someday. In the eight months that I've known him, Tim's character, service, and obvious passion for God stood out so clearly that I've been compelled to learn from him.

I'm still learning from him.

During our courtship, Tim's gentle and sacrificial leading of our relationship has affected me so deeply that I've changed my career goals - reoriented my priorities to glorify God even more. Because of his patience in sitting down and walking me through the word of God, I have a completely different perspective on marriage and on love. I know this is because of Tim's precious investment in me.

I know that God is sovereign, and that He loves us well. It gives me hope to know that all burdens of earthly living are now far behind Tim as he stands before our savior. How precious to rest in the knowledge that any joy I could have offered him here in what "could have been" cannot even compare to what he is now experiencing with God!

I can just see him there - full of joy, being welcomed with open arms... and seeing our Father place his hand on his shoulder and speak to him: "Well Done!" Doesn't that give you such a hunger for heaven? Don't you just want to be with him? =)

Ask God for words of wisdom and direction in our thoughts, that we'd experience the nearness of God, and be reminded regularly of the sovereignty of God.

Pray that I'm able to grasp onto the steadfast love of the Lord in times when the waves of grief are overwhelming.

I miss him so much...

Thank you for your prayers and your support...


Tuesday, May 16, 2006

My Last Letter e-mailed to Tim, April 18th

I remembered sending Tim this e-mail after spending Easter week at the Outer Banks with him and decided to share it so that everyone might know that we have been aware of his struggles these past two years and have done everything he would let us do to help him through this time. I hope it gives some insight into how we have tried to encourage and support him at the same time respecting his decisions as an adult.

Dear Tim,
I hope all is going well with you. We really enjoyed your company on vacation. We knew you had a lot on you and didn't expect you to be care free. It was good just to be around you: your gentleness, kindness, the servant's heart you have, the quiet strength you project, the way you orient yourself to others, and the respectful way you treat each of us. It is easy to see Christ in you- I think that's why people enjoy being around you. God has graced you with many qualities of His Son. It's not the flashy stuff that some others might have, but Christ certainly wasn't flashy. At the end of the day you can't sit down and add up the impact you had on anyone, yet you've had a great impact on everyone who's ever known you. God has given you many gifts and it is easy to see Christ in you. God has clearly gifted you for what he has called you to do. You have faithfully followed His lead and He is sovereign over every aspect of your life right now. There are so many lessons in all you're going through. Don't minimize the pressures that you have and are living with at this present time. Trust whatever doors God opens or keeps closed for a while and don't let Satan convince you that it's your fault if things don't go the way you or others think they should. Think how going through these times of testing are going to grow your faith if you keep your eyes on the Lord and your confidence in Him and Him alone. You seemed surprised when I told you how well you did with the Bible reading at the Easter Sunrise Service this past Sunday. Every time I've heard you speak, I'm amazed at your ability to connect with the listners, project your voice, present the gospel with clarity, and bring the Word of God to life. I realized this week that I haven't told you how many evidences of God's grace I see in you and your life. I think I haven't trusted myself- I'm your mom, it's only natural for me to think you're great, maybe I'm not being objective. As I started thinking about this, this week I remembered what a critical spirit I have and how I always see any weaknesses or faults in people (especially my kids) before I see the good. Yet, every time I've heard you speak I'm blown away and amazed that God would have placed you in our family. I hope you are continuing to journal and I hope this summer you have a lot of time to reflect on all God has done in your life and that He will show you what He has allowed you to walk through these past two years. As I've thought about you this week, two hymns keep coming to mind. I hope they're in your hymnal- What a Friend We have in Jesus and Count Your Blessings. Also, the Casting Crowns song- The Voice of Truth. When I heard it on the radio yesterday, I thought of you and who's voice you might be listening to. When you find yourself stressing over things, what scriptures are you holding to? , are you taking your thoughts captive and replacing them with God's truths?, are you disciplining yourself to take your fears and worries to the Lord and leave them there after expressing them to God in prayer, are you able to leave them there? This morning I was struck by a few lines from Hebrews 12: 1-3 let us throw off everthing that hinders..........let us fix our eyes on Jesus......consider Him..... so that you will not lose heart! For these next 3 weeks just do whatever you have to do for school. The finish line is in sight for this season of your life. Don't rehearse your failures, but think of all the ways God has brought you through these 4 years. He won't abandon you now. Go forward in faith that God will complete what He has started. Get everyone you can to pray for and over you during these last few weeks of your race so that you may finish amazed at what the Lord has done in and through you!

In Memory of Timothy...

The loss of our dear friend and brother Timothy Barranco is, at times, most deeply felt because of the heart for God we saw in him. Tim drew us to Jesus with his life. Let us draw even nearer to Jesus in his death... honoring what God has done in him and through him. Let's give God the glory for a man who lived his life for that day... and is now standing before his father in glory.

Feel free to use this blogsite to honor Tim and pray for his family and friends, to recall your favorite memories about him, and even questions or struggles as we all are working through giving him up to Jesus.