On October 18, 2001, one year ago, Bethany went “home.” I know that many people have been praying for us throughout the year. I know many of you are wondering how we are doing and so I thought I would take this opportunity to tell you.
One of Bethany’s favorite Bible verses was Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” As I reflect back on this past year I realize that we have made it through each day without her only by His strength.
I don’t even know where to begin . . . I guess first with an apology to all of you who sent gifts, flowers, cards, meals, etc., both while Bethany was sick and after she went home to be with the Lord, and have never received a thank you from us. I’ve been told by many that you don’t expect that, but our Moms raised us better than that…so please forgive us if you are one who has not received a personal note until now. Every blessing we have received has been greatly appreciated. It’s been quite an overwhelming year…! I will never forget the look of horror on a lady’s face that I met at a wedding this summer when I told her what we have experienced this year. She said it wasn’t bad enough that you lost your daughter, but you also moved to another state in the midst of it. That is like experiencing two deaths. I had never thought of it that way, but maybe that’s another reason why we’ve been so slow in expressing our gratitude.
There is so much I would like to share with all of you. This year we have learned that God is true to His Word. He is “close to the broken hearted” (Psalms 4:18). His “grace is sufficient” (2 Cor. 12:9). Like Neil has said, some days it’s just sufficient. We have experienced Christ living through His Church, His people. I remember when we first learned we would be moving to Florida how I dreaded the thought of having to make new friends and find another church home. Well, we never had to make the effort, nor would we have had the strength to try. God provided us with wonderful neighbors, instant friends and the church found us. Our new church home, even though we aren’t even official members yet, sent us a beautiful bouquet of flowers this week remembering it was a year since Bethany died. The minister sent us a special card letting us know that they are praying for us. In addition to our new friends, all our other friends, our family and Bethany’s friends have kept us busy with email, visits and phone calls. Neil and I are truly amazed how Bethany’s friends have kept in touch with us and blessed us with their friendship. As we have been privileged to get to know them this year, we have fallen in love with each and every one of them. She sure knew how to pick them!
We have also been kept busy with the memorials and tributes to Bethany. The Wade Hampton Singers dedicated a concert to her. The Fine Arts Center dedicated the graduation to her this past year. In June, The EDGE, the youth camp that Bethany loved and attended when she was in middle school and then worked at in high school, had a memorial service for her. The last thing Bethany did before she entered the hospital was skits for this camp. They will be giving scholarships to four girls, so they can attend the camp, every year in her memory. The memorial for the EDGE can be seen on the website www.TimsPlace.com. There are pictures, a clip of her in the skits, and entries from her journals and other treasure she has left us. A fund was set up at Mitchell Road Presbyterian Church for Youth Missions in her memory. To date there has been over $16,000 donated to the Bethany Caryl Enloe Youth Missions Endowment.
Bethany would want me to brag on her brother a little. She was always very proud of him. Even though he missed almost 6 weeks of classes his senior year while she was sick, he was still able to graduate with his class this past May from the Citadel. I think she was even prouder when she heard from heaven, the President of the Citadel, General Grinalds, tell us how Micah’s testimony and the way he had dealt with his sister’s death had ministered to him. I know we were. Micah has moved back to Greenville, and is employed by Optimum Mortgage Company, so if you want to take advantage of the low interest rates, give him a call.
As I close, I would like to share one more thing with you. As I was unpacking, I came across a notebook that Bethany used when she was leading a discipleship group of middle school girls her senior year. In it she had a page entitled “resolutions”. We assume they were the group’s New Year’s resolutions for 2001. Next to her name she had written “just want Jesus.” To a brokenhearted mom, who for the most part just wants her baby back, happy and healthy, that was quite convicting. It was so like Bethany to be simplistic yet so profound. So as you think of us and pray for us, please ask God to help us to “just want Jesus” for He “will supply all our needs” (Ph. 4:19).
In Christian Love,
Elaine and Neil Enloe