Love you Madi Vincent. Your mom will forever be alive in my heart and the lives of so many others. It feels like yesterday when Mason and your mom stopped by the motor home to tell us the news. We were stunned and my heart ached, our hearts beat together and we cried but still found hope.
I lost another dear friend the very year that cancer brought our family back to North Carolina. Monty’s dad battled Renal Cell cancer for three very short months. My beautiful friend Liz took her last breath on an unassuming Easter morning the same year. From death to life on the day we remember the resurrection.
These things I know:
Our Romans 8 road led us “home” and that had not been our plan. Life was significantly empty for a time and different but as we endured the pain our hearts found new life in relationships rekindled and the immeasurable wealth of God’s lavished love.
The road paved with so many hard things, hard firsts, that life could even go on as if nothing had happened was always awakened by the Spirit of God alive in us. The days grew more bearable where we did not cry with the same fervor but the relinquishing and surrender that came in the beautiful memories and stories sustained our family.
If there had been no cancer, there would have likely been no Motor Racing Outreach connection and our lives would have never been so entwined with such a pure love for each other. Mason and Vicki Vincent would become our greatest support, encouragers and friends. Our sweet Madi-girl and siblings are loved today as if we have shared a lifetime.
Madi, I feel her in your words, I remember her with great fondness for every time she spoke life into this old girls weary bones! Your mom and dad loved us for real and we loved and love them right back. A life of ministry can often isolate you from people and they refused to allow us to give in to such disengagement because their heart was to serve US. Amazing.
Thanks for keeping her passions alive because every seed that she planted in you is the fruit of her labor and that beloved of God remains her gift to us all. Your beautiful heart and words continue to carefully paint the Rembrandt that she remains as her legacy of faith in every life that she touched.
Be blessed today Vincent family. Vicki would be one praoud mama and I would give almost anything for one more conversation to let her know how very grateful I am for her inconditional love and friendship!
Vicki, you are with me always…….. You are loved! Mel
My heart is saddened to hear of Lynda Petty’s passing….. She was a blessing to me personally and professionally. Every moment we shared, she spoke wisdom into my life. You are and were the true strength behind your man. Your example in the NASCAR community is one that has been modeled by many women. And sweet friend, it continues to influence and lead women to this day.
Treasured friends Gaye Joy, Lynda Petty and Stevie Waltrip
You spoke often of God’s grace, your faith and reliance on your Savior, Jesus Christ. A faith that you did not hide but readily shared even in moments we shared together with other women in the community. Without a relationship with Jesus Christ, you assured me that your life as a racer’s wife would have been next to impossible.
I am grateful for every little shared visit and was honored when The King allowed me to drive the 43 Dodge Charger Bandolero, minus the Hemi engine, in YOUR honor in the 2011 Inaugural Better Half Dash. In this moment it seems only appropriate to share just a few special memories that are a part of my life forever.
Miss Lynda’s Petty Blue Dodge Charger
The Beautiful Miss Lynda
A treasure to carry the Richard Petty name in honor of His wife, Lynda Petty.
The King and I just before the race
I will likely not step onto a platform to speak of her life, except to share with you the small segments of time that we shared and how very special they are to me. But if there is one thing that I do know, it is that Lynda Petty would want me to share with you at her passing, to give up striving and surrender your life to Christ by believing on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. You can know for sure that being absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. Heaven will tell and I can know with great assurance that Miss Lynda’s passing from this life was made into the presence of her God….
What legacy will we leave? Will I leave? Will there be more to the story than what I do for a living? Where I live? My status in life? Or will it be filled with stories of a life of faith in Jesus Christ that has been invested in others?
Is my life defined by education? Worldy success? Earthen treasures? Or will it be defined as a life that represented a love for mankind, living for Christ and serving others in His name?
It is a joy to celebrate, while yet in sadness the memory of a life lived well and in relationship with the Lord. She has won the the greatest victory of life eternal. And she rests for good in being reunited with the heavenly Father.
On one of our last at-track visit’s, I dropped by for a visit. Toward the end of our time together, I asked Lynda what her favorite Bible verse was. She thought for a moment before handing me her well-worn Bible that was tucked right by her on a shelf. Her eyes were failing by then, so she passed it to me and asked me to read it to her. 2 Timothy 4:4-8 (I am sharing it with you today from the New Living Translation)
“…..keep your eye on what you’re doing; accept the hard times along with the good; keep the Message alive; do a thorough job as God’s servant. You take over. I’m about to die, my life an offering on God’s altar. This is the only race worth running. I’ve run hard right to the finish, believed all the way. All that’s left now is the shouting—God’s applause! You can depend on it…..”
No more taking the hard times with the good precious one. Heaven has been opened and is now your great reward. As for me, I will always remember, be challenged in my faith to walk with great strength because of the time that you have invested in my life.
And above ALL else….This IS a race worth running. I long to run hard right to the finish. I am committed to keeping my eyes on the Lord’s work and WILL do all within my ability, with the Lord’s strength, to keep the Message alive……for the building of the kingdom of God for His glory.
Hearts bent low, enlarged and filled with gratitude……
Every small gift glimpsed, this side of heaven today, culminates in fullness of joy!! When we fail to find the right words, Ann Voskamp’s daily journal entry captures thoughts, conversations, wonderings and the tenet of our collective hearts find definition.
“Something grows in me and it doesn’t have words and it doesn’t ask for words. Asks only witnessing. Only gratitude. Only the living that lets the everyday dirt become the sacred everyday. There are times it seems wrong to keep your shoes on, to do anything less than stand bare-heeled and bowed and broken wide open. Them bent. The way a soul can grow any way it chooses.” @AnnVoskamp One Thousand Gifts A Dare To Live Fully Right Where You Are http://www.aholyexperience.com/
Gwen Howard and Karen Clark
Tonight our hearts thank God for freedom’s voice captured on this warm, sunny day in May. The freedom to thoughtfully pursue life as God speaks, to find hope in the cumulative, simple graces of seasoned friendships with like hearts alongside together. For this life to have a reason to get up each day, to breathe and for hearts that beat to faithfully serve God out of His great love for us!
“Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord your God that He has given you.” Deuteronomy 16:17
We made & welcomed two new friends. Our walk through the River Street Community was so worth the time. The Spirit’s work in our hearts. Our eyes become the window genuine and touch all that God longs for on this day. We see the soil of hearts and seed every eternal truth we can into them. His touch like a fountain flows for the purpose of bearing witness to the something greater that He is within us. We absolutely understanding that we are so small in this world; the lesser things, nothing special except that His Holy Spirit lives in and through us. Blessed that He has purposed His desire, earnest and searing “for such time as this’
River Street Park “All of this darkness can’t overtake that little tiny light,” Michael “Big Dog” Burris
We, tucked beneath our sturdy roofs, safely protected from the rain, wind, and earthly elements. In the eternal, through life’s storms, promises made, broken and kept, daily bread, living water, provision, a future, a hope, an eternal promise……HIS promises…..oh yes, and the wind at the top of the hill on a very hot day. We commit, search, pursue, and pray in faith believing just as Jesus taught us. Our Father..in Heaven..hallowed be Thy name…Thy will be done….On earth as it is in Heaven….Daily Bread….forgiveness of debt…forgiving our debtors…lead not into temptation….deliver us from evil…Thine is: the Power, the Glory…Forever!!!
On reflection, we share hearts overwhelmed with goodness. Tender hugs, life’s challenges confessed…transparent. No place or need to hide. Life is hard. We are all on this journey of faith together as seekers, dreamers, hopeful hearts, open, guarded and filled with the raw emotion of scars from life’s raging battles….The rhythm of our movement still takes our breath away. We should listen more closely to the children. Their unheard cry for help is simple and their love is without demands. Sweet kisses on our cheeks. A small hand touches a back, just to be close and shares his applesauce as an offering for sharing our kindnesses…..
Mother, daughters and grandchildren share this day together.
It is whimsical, fun, intent as little hearts hug you from behind, beside, from the top of our heads to the very planting of our feet. Paint on noses, fingers, toes and clothing but with concentrated effort. Four small boys try to sit all at once on an open lap. Every person from young to old sits to paint, relax and feel child-like again. Every time our back is to them and upon turning around, another chair, a new face smiling at the simplicity of life’s activity in the neighborhood. Nowhere else to be but just in the here…the now. So far removed from any lingering thoughts of tense moments as they arise or what will be when the sun goes down. The “I love you’s” still linger and haunt us in every good way. Any child there could be loved as our own. No need for explanation or to know any part of the story because of the active heart of God’s Holy Spirit is breathing, seeing, stirring, bringing to life every closed off place in our hearts. His love for humanity surrounds us and is in EVERY touch!!!!
Kristen Yeley, Bobby and Missy deSouza
We pause, step back and see in every vignette, all hearts smiling. We are forced to take a deep breath and settle our spirits into the fullness of God. The wellspring of life!!!! Tangible. Measurable…Palpable. It is close: in your lap, on your hip, a jump from behind or in front that dares to literally knock you down.. To be reminded that a simple wooden car is the key that has opened this lovely door.
In the middle of everything that is messy, the square covered shelter becomes a life-giving place that allows us all to forget….even if just for one moment!! And how it stops us, dead in our tracks, with its fullness. Smiles….genuine, momentary, fleeting and there is little time to savor and chew on its richness….a snapshot of life….real life!! And then we consider and wish for one more life to live, to do more, to reach deeper and farther in the promise of seeing God’s Kingdom enlarged and made greater. Sigh.
Humbled…we slow and savor our heart’s cry. Hoping to capture every second and store the time deep within that place in our hearts that we draw from on the hard days. In recollection, we are posed with a relative question…In OUR day-to-day living, is there really this kind of hard? How God has filled our cups to overflowing. We cry out to God with hands uplifted in praise and pray, Lord, fill them up again tonight!!
“If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.” Daniel 3:17-18
“We’ll give thanks to You with gratitude. For lessons learned in how to trust in You. That we are blessed beyond what we could ever dream. In abundance or in need. And if You never grant us peace. But Jesus, would You please . .” Nicole Nordeman
“When thanks to God becomes a habit – so joy in God becomes your life.” Ann Voskamp
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